$2M Lisio gift endows Italian studies program

$2M Lisio gift endows Italian studies program

A $2 million gift from Arnold Lisio ’56, ’60M (MD) and Anne Lisio endows the Lisio Program in Italian Studies within Arts, Sciences & Engineering (AS&E) at the University of Rochester. This gift ensures that students will always be able to study in Italy and have opportunities to enhance their understanding and appreciation for the language, art, culture, and history of Italy.

“Arnold and Anne truly love all things Italian,” said Joel Seligman, president, CEO, and G. Robert Witmer, Jr. University Professor. “Their ongoing support has made it possible for scores of students to travel to Italy to study in our programs there. Their continued generosity ensures that these opportunities will last forever.”

“It has always been important for us to share our passion for Italy with University of Rochester students,” said Arnold Lisio. “It’s a tremendously valuable experience for them to live, visit, and study in a country where beauty, art, and history are a part of daily life. It helps students learn about themselves and about the world around them.”

Anne Lisio and Arnold Lisio ’56, ’60M (MD).

The Lisios’ most recent gift was made in recognition of Arnold’s 60th Class Reunion at the College, but their support for Italian studies began in 2006. At that time, his 50th Class Reunion served as a catalyst to endow the Dorothy and Anthony Lisio Prize in honor of his parents. The prize recognizes excellent work related to some aspect of the study of Italian language, art, or culture.

With a father who came from Italy and a mother who was American Italian, Arnold grew up hearing many stories about his family’s homeland. Since he first visited at age 34, he has been to Italy about a dozen times, with each visit providing opportunities to explore Italian culture and language.

The Lisios’ new gift supports AS&E programming that involves Italy from a variety of departments and programs; its flexible terms will support programs as they evolve over time. The gift also will help fund student scholarship prizes, summer fellowships, and faculty and program grants for the following multidisciplinary programs:

  • The Arezzo Program: A semester-long study program in which students are immersed in academic courses, community life, cultural activities, and study-related travel.
  • The San Martino Archeological Field School: A summer program that provides students opportunities to study the archeology of ancient Italy.
  • The Roman Structures Program in Italy: An interdisciplinary study of Roman engineering and architecture that places students in small group living and learning situations.
  • An experiential summer learning program: A one-month sustainable education abroad course that takes place on the island of Procida, off the coast of Naples.

“Within AS&E, several research areas and approaches related to understanding and appreciating Italian culture and studies are very strong,” said Gloria Culver, dean of the School of Arts & Sciences. “The Lisios’ ongoing commitment to Italian studies will have significant reach. This will positively impact our students, faculty, staff, and alumni across our campus and beyond.”

Arnold is a retired internist in New York City, where he was on the staff of the New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center and a faculty member at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. As an educator, he has worked with medical students since 1961, thus helping to create generations of physicians. Arnold earned his bachelor’s and medical degrees at the University, and received full scholarships to both programs.


The Lisios are founding members of the Wilson Society, the University’s planned giving society.  

–Kristine Thompson, November 2017

More Stories

  • Coach Pat Stark with Jeff Wittig ’86

    Coach Pat Stark: ‘He was part of our family’

    Peter “Pat” Stark, who had a highly successful career as a coach and an administrator at the University of Rochester, passed away on June 19. He was 90 years old....

  • Mike Sportiello

    Getting food onto the tables that need it most

    Mike Sportiello is third-year PhD student at the School of Medicine and Dentistry. He’s studying immunology and how certain cells fight influenza infection. This is the kind of research that could lead to the construction of an effective ...

  • ‘Our community is rallying together’

    Rochester alumni and friends around the world are helping to keep health care workers safe, advance COVID-19 research, and support students with emergency needs....

  • ‘Our parents and alumni in China are true University ambassadors’

    The University’s China Parent Network Committee arranged an initial donation of 3,000 face masks for immediate distribution to students who were still on campus. The network then called upon the broader Chinese parent community—comprise...