A graduate of Indiana University of Pennsylvania and her husband have made a $2.4 million gift to IUP for scholarships and to support the IUP Department of Counseling.
The gift from Dolores Spinelli Gigliotti, a 1970 elementary education graduate, and her husband, Vincent Gigliotti, will be used to support the Gregory Spinelli Memorial Criminology Fund, the George L. Spinelli Memorial Scholarship and will establish the George L. Spinelli Enhancement Fund for the Department of Counseling.
The Gigliottis, who now live in Bernalillo, N.M., both grew up in Indiana. Dolores attended Keith School (on the IUP campus) and Vincent attended St. Bernard’s school.
Dolores’s father, Dr. George Spinelli, founded the guidance and counseling department at IUP and was the first chair of the Department of Counseling, serving in that role until his retirement in 1983; her mother was a graduate of IUP. Both Dolores and her two siblings completed their degrees at IUP.
“IUP helped me to be a good teacher, but more importantly, how to think, analyze and formulate thoughtful conclusions. IUP teaches its students a great deal both inside and outside of the classroom,” she said.
“As we were making decisions about our future, we realized that we had an opportunity to do good for others, which we feel makes our lives have meaning, to help others long after we are gone. We chose to make this gift to IUP because we trust that IUP will make the right decisions on the best candidates to receive the scholarship, to be inclusive and to help students in need.
“We want these scholarships to help students to pursue their passions without fear of debt or financial insecurity. We were very fortunate to be able to afford our IUP education, and we want to offer that opportunity to other students as much as possible, to help them to be successful,” she said.
“Both my father and my brother were incredible people, and they really loved IUP,” she said. “This gift will help to ensure that their lives will not be forgotten.”
Dolores’s brother Greg Spinelli was a 1970 biology graduate of IUP. Following graduation, he worked for two years as a physical science technician in an FBI laboratory. In 1972, he became a special agent with the FBI field office in Charlotte, N.C., and on March 15, 1973, at age 24, he was fatally wounded in pursuit of an offender who had escaped from prison.
Since 1974, the Greg Spinelli scholarship has been awarded annually by faculty in the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice at departmental graduation ceremonies in May. For many years, Dolores’s late mother, Ruth, attended the scholarship ceremony, and routinely kept in touch with the scholarship recipients. In 2013, members of Theta Chi fraternity and friends honored Special Agent Spinelli with a ceremony to dedicate a remembrance portrait permanently mounted in Wilson Hall, home of the IUP Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice.
The George L. Spinelli Memorial Scholarship has been presented annually since 1997 to outstanding students in the Department of Counseling.
The George L. Spinelli Enhancement Fund for the Department of Counseling will provide funding to enhance the academic and programmatic needs of the Department of Counseling. The majority of the funds will be used for scholarships for students enrolled in the department, with the remaining funds supporting departmental initiatives.
Gigliotti said that she hopes their gift will inspire others to take advantage of the opportunity to create a legacy for their loved ones while providing opportunities for IUP students.
Her advice to current IUP students?
“Remember the gifts you have been given, and pay back if you are able, in the way that you are able — through time, treasure, kindness — or by being a better person.”
“This is an extremely generous gift, providing support for our students for generations to come, and a wonderful way to provide an everlasting tribute to their beloved family members,” IUP Vice President for University Advancement Khatmeh Osseiran-Hanna said.
“While times are challenging and change is inevitable, this remains constant: our alumni and friends care deeply about this university and our students, and with their continued support, we can maintain and grow the resources needed to provide stability for IUP’s scholarship opportunities and programming.”