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Ferrucci Family’s $1.5 Million Gift Fuels Chapman University Students’ Continued Studies in Italy The second major gift announced by Chapman in as many months puts the interdisciplinary studies curriculum focus on filmmaking, food culture and music, and brings the campaign total to nearly $318 million

Chapman University announced Saturday, March 11 that a $1.5 million gift from the Ferrucci family will create the Ferrucci Institute for Italian Experience and Research within Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Science. The cross-disciplinary program will support Italy-based research and coursework for faculty and students.

Federico Pacchioni, who holds the Sebastian P. (Paul) and Marybelle Musco Chair in Italian Studies at Chapman, helped announce the gift as a surprise at the department’s 7th annual Italian Perspectives Event.

“This program enables us to create such a strong connection with another country and to leverage their intellectual and cultural treasures to advance knowledge and research,” said Pacchioni. “The institute will serve as a bridge between Chapman and Italy.”

Planned interdisciplinary coursework includes a class focused on attending a film festival in Bologna as well as courses studying food culture in Perugia, linguistic immersion in Puglia and Sicily, and other courses in Florence and Rome.

“As an immigrant from Italy, I am proud of the rich Italian culture, and I have always been interested in higher education,” says Gabriel Ferrucci, who emigrated from Amorosi, Italy to the United States in 1957. Ferrucci’s career in the auto and aerospace industries culminated in the purchase of Keystone Engineering in Los Angeles, which he sold in 1998 to focus on charitable projects. 

“When I learned in recent years that Chapman University offered Italian Studies, I was excited and decided to support the program financially. It is a high honor for me to leave a legacy, which will enable future students to explore the richness of Italian culture,” says Ferrucci.

The institute is staffed by invited fellows who will produce research while engaged in the program. The inaugural group includes: Mark Axelrod (literature), Norma Bouchard (global studies), Emily Carman (film), Nicholas Gabriel (theater), Shira Klein (history), Andrea Molle (political science), Marco Panza (philosophy), Anuradha Prakash (food science), the University President Daniele C. Struppa (mathematics), and Louise Thomas (music).

This is Chapman’s second major gift announcement in as many months as part of its recently launched comprehensive campaign to raise $500 million by 2028. The $1.5 million gift brings the current campaign total to nearly $318 million. At the university’s Feb. 11 Chapman Celebrates gala, Chapman President Daniele C. Struppa announced a transformative $5 million gift from Jim and Kay Burra to establish the Burra School of Accounting and Finance. Chapman will announce many other gifts over the coming months.

About Chapman University
Founded in 1861, Chapman University is a nationally ranked private university located in Southern California. Chapman is categorized by the Carnegie Classification as an R2 “high research activity” institution and offers personalized education to more than 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students. The campus has produced a Rhodes Scholar, been named a top producer of Fulbright Scholars, and hosts a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, the nation’s oldest and most prestigious honor society. Based in the city of Orange, Chapman also includes the Harry and Diane Rinker Health Science Campus in Irvine. In 2019, the university opened its 11th college, Fowler School of Engineering, in its newest facility, Keck Center for Science and Engineering. Learn more about Chapman University:

Cerise Valenzuela Metzger