SUNY Oswego receives historic $7.5 million estate gift from community resident


SUNY Oswego President Deborah F. Stanley announced on Jan. 16 that the college has received the largest single gift in its 153-year history: a $7.5 million gift from the estate of Oswego County resident Lorraine E. Marano, an education enthusiast.

The gift establishes the Nunzio “Nick” C. and Lorraine E. Marano Endowment, which will be used primarily to fund scholarships for students with financial need, especially those who are first-generation college students.

“Lorraine Marano’s profound understanding of the transformative powers of public higher education is affirmed by this extraordinarily generous gift,” said Oswego President Deborah F. Stanley. "Her gift will help put a college education within reach for many students, fulfilling their hopes and dreams and investing in a better future for all of us, as our graduates forge productive lives in their communities. We are deeply honored by her confidence in establishing the Marano family legacy at SUNY Oswego. It will live on for generations.”

Lorraine Marano openly discussed her admiration for SUNY Oswego and believed the college was worthy of a gift of such magnitude because of the benefits it accords to students through academic programming, committed faculty and staff and strong, imaginative leadership.

“A highly educated woman, Lorraine believed in the value of education and considered this a gift to the entire community,” noted Theresa A. Sugar Scanlon, a close friend of Lorraine. “Her confidence in President Stanley’s leadership and the extraordinary opportunities that the college provided to its students were instrumental to her decision. She hoped to help keep a college education affordable for all students, especially those who are the first in their families to attend college.”

Agricultural Innovator and Educational and Cultural Enthusiast

The late Lorraine and Nunzio “Nick” Marano had a prosperous agricultural business located on a muck farm in Scriba. Nick was a communicant of Sacred Heart Church in Scriba and a former officer of Marine Midland Bank in Phoenix, and Lorraine served as the organist at Sacred Heart Church in Scriba and St. Peter’s Church in Oswego from 1991 to 2004.

A Scriba native, Nick owned Marano Vacuum Cooling and Sales Inc. in his hometown and held a seat on the New York Mercantile Exchange until his death in 2002.

Originally from Philadelphia, Lorraine Marano graduated from Glassboro State College (now Rowan University in Glassboro, N.J.) with a bachelor’s degree, Drexel University with a master’s degree and the accelerated paralegal program at Syracuse University. She worked many years as a librarian at Cherry Hill High School East in New Jersey, and then worked for Resorts International and Tropicana Casinos in Atlantic City. Lorraine died on Oct. 1, 2013, at the age of 67.

“Visionary leadership and a thoughtful stewardship of resources by our campus presidents across the state have increased donors’ confidence in SUNY and helped our system reach record levels of philanthropic contribution,” said SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher. “The Marano gift exemplifies this deserved trust in SUNY and the Oswego campus. Congratulations to President Stanley and the entire campus community on this generous contribution, which will help make college affordable and accessible for many students.”

Support for Future Generations

Joan Carroll, associate professor of accounting and Faculty Assembly chair at Oswego, said the gift will have a direct impact on the education that unfolds within the classroom and is a vote of confidence.

“The Marano Scholars will no doubt work hard and deeply engage in learning to honor this bequest,” Carroll said. “Receiving a gift of this magnitude signifies to the entire campus that we are making a difference, that our work is worthy of such an investment.”