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The late Virginia and Anthony Broccoli have entrusted a generous endowment to Rhode Island College to benefit rising RIC seniors who are unable to persist in their pursuit of a four-year degree due to a financial hold. The Virginia A. and Anthony Broccoli Endowed Scholarship is valued up to $5,000 for the fall and spring semesters of the recipient's senior year and is administered through the RIC Foundation.

RIC Foundation Executive Director Ed Pacheco notes that the Broccoli scholarship is designed to help eligible seniors complete their education, and there is no limit to the number of students who can receive this award.

Virginia Broccoli was former administrative secretary for the Department of Music at Rhode Island College while Anthony Broccoli was a Veteran and co-owner of the Delaine Collision Center, an auto body repair shop. Unable to have children of their own, the Broccolis held, throughout their lives, an enduring affection for young people and placed importance on student achievement through education.

According to longtime friend and financial advisor Andrew Beaudry, Anthony would mentor the young men who came to work in his autobody shop, while Virginia enjoyed the close interactions she had with students in the Music Department. On occasion, Anthony would come to the college, where he would meet some of the students Virginia knew. "The students were everything to them," Beaudry says.

"At family gatherings, my aunt always had stories to tell about the students at Rhode Island College," recalls Virginia's niece, Eleanor Balassone. "She met so many wonderful young people there. She enjoyed listening to their stories and hearing about how they were progressing in their studies. Even after she retired, she kept in touch with a few of them through letters, holiday cards and birthdays."

The Broccolis came from a generation of people who saw the world as part of a community. In that spirit, the couple established the Virginia A. and Anthony Broccoli Endowed Scholarship to help the neediest.

"Rhode Island College is both grateful for and honored by this generous endowment," says RIC President Frank D. Sánchez. "It is a testament to Virginia and Anthony Broccoli's deep character and commitment to bettering the lives of future generations. It's also a testament to the value they see in Rhode Island College students, many of whom will be able to receive their diplomas because of their generosity. This will have a significant and lasting impact on our students for years to come."

"No student should ever have to work hard to get through their first three years of college only to find themselves unable to graduate due to financial challenges," says Pacheco. "The Broccolis recognized the importance of removing those barriers. Their planned gift epitomizes the true meaning of philanthropy. It benefits our students as well as our state, because 70 percent of RIC graduates remain in Rhode Island after graduating. Both our students and the state will benefit from the Broccoli's incredible generosity."