$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

  • We met here

    Many University of Rochester love stories began in the halls, tunnels, and green spaces around our campuses. Explore this interactive map to learn more about some of these couples and how and where they met....

  • an asian man is standing in the middle of a hall as he is leading an orchestra of students

    Powerful performances for artistry ever better

    When industrialist George Eastman purchased the property on Gibbs and Main Street to build a school of music and theatre, one of his primary goals was to provide the citizens of Rochester with a place to study, make, and enjoy music. Etched...

  • A female nurse checking a patients heartbeat

    Breaking down barriers to healthcare for outcomes ever better

    Nurse practitioners at the School of Nursing provide free health services to students in the City of Rochester....

  • Woman in white cap and gown holding her diploma over her head on stage during graduation

    Transforming education for futures ever better.

    Rochester’s Warner School of Education partnered with East Upper and Lower Schools to transform the classroom and the community....