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Throughout this past year, one phrase has been prevalent in our Iona community — Gaels Give Back. They are three simple words that embody our long-standing tradition of helping others.

When Iona launched its Bachelor of Science degree program in nursing last May, alumna Marlene Piturro, Ph.D., ’82MBA was delighted to learn of the new offering and saw an opportunity to give back. With the goal of helping students complete their degree, she established the Marlene Piturro, Ph.D., ’82MBA Nursing Scholarship.

Five students in the accelerated, 15-month second-degree program were chosen as the inaugural recipients of the scholarship. When asked why she chose to support the nursing students, she stated, “Iona has always focused on preparing students for work, and with the aging U.S. population growing steadily, opportunities in health care jobs, like nursing, are vitally important. Plus, having taught returning students at the college level, I found them to be incredibly motivated and to have enough life experience to enhance learning.”

Scholarship recipients give thanks to Marlene:

“This scholarship, while obviously relieving some of my financial burden, is also incredibly motivating. The intensity and difficulty of the curriculum have certainly tested me, and it’s empowering to feel that you fully believe in and want to support my classmates and me.”


“Receiving this scholarship has further enhanced my commitment and motivation to excel in my studies. I thank you for your generosity, confidence and willingness to help me achieve my goals.”


“I plan to use my degree to care for patients in the kind and compassionate way that nurses do. And as the first in my family to pursue higher education, I also hope to make my parents proud. I want them to know that their sacrifices and hardships were worth it. With your incredible generosity and the help of my amazing professors, I will do exactly that.”


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