The late Lorraine and Nick Marano may have never imagined that their farming endeavors would grow a legacy of learning for future generations of SUNY Oswego students. When Lorraine E. Marano designated $7.5 million from her estate to benefit SUNY Oswego, she did just that.
The bequest—the largest single gift in the college’s 153-year history—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,” says 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.
An estate gift of this size reinforces the important role Oswego plays in the region and recognizes the college’s strong track record of success and prudent decision-making, said Jack James ’62, a retired Marine Corps colonel and chair of the Sheldon Legacy Society Steering Committee, which honors those who include Oswego in their estate plans.
“That she wasn’t an alumna made her gift even more remarkable,” says James, a College Foundation board member, a Reunion volunteer and the former chair of The Fund for Oswego. “Here’s a person who has been in the area a long time and sees what the college has done for the community—the economic impact, the cultural activities, lectures and sporting events. The Marano gift will help plant the seeds for success to grow everywhere our students go.”
Agricultural Innovator and Educational 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.
“A highly educated woman, Lorraine believed in the value of education and considered this a gift to the entire community,” says Theresa A. Sugar Scanlon, a close friend of Lorraine. “She hoped to help keep a college education affordable for all students, especially those who are the first in their families to attend college.”
Nourishing the Minds of 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 says. “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.”
James adds that the Marano bequest will encourage others to consider supporting Oswego.
“This gift will make others take note of SUNY Oswego,” James says. “The college inspires confidence that this institution will use donors’ investments wisely. When you leave a bequest to Oswego, you’re leaving more than memories. You’re leaving a true legacy that will outlive you and your family—an investment in the future.”
Just as their farm provided a bountiful harvest for the region, the Maranos—through their bequest—will nurture the minds of Oswego students in perpetuity.