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December 7, 2016

Gift benefits music students & programming

The sweet sound of music resonates more strongly at Florida Gulf Coast University’s Bower School of Music & the Arts thanks to a gift of great significance made by Maurizio and Laura Nisita of Estero.

Bower gift
Maurizio and Laura Nisita, pictured in the center, with, from left, Dr. Robert Gregerson, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences; Dr. Michael Baron, professor of music and head of keyboard studies; FGCU President Wilson G. Bradshaw; and Cathy Albergo, director of the Bower School.

Half of their gift toward music excellence will be designated for the school’s greatest needs, which currently are scholarships, and the balance will be established in an endowed fund that will support the guest musician performance series.  In recognition of their generosity, FGCU will title that series the Nisita Concert Series, effective in fall 2017.

The Nisitas’ gift reflects the fact that both are devout lovers and practitioners of the fine arts. Maurizio Nisita —  who retired as senior vice president of global operations based in Minnesota for Ecolab, which provides water, hygiene, energy technologies and services to the food, energy, healthcare, industrial and hospitality market —  is a pianist in his own right and past president of the Naples Music Club. Laura Nisita is an award-winning painter who works in oil and also has experience in graphic design and animation.

Beyond their personal experiences, the Nisitas are very passionate about the music performed by both students and faculty in FGCU’s Bower School of Music & the Arts. They have enjoyed Bower School concert performances since moving to Southwest Florida from Minnesota several years ago. “We started hearing about the music program here through (Maurizio’s) friends at the Naples Music Club, so we started attending concerts here and were very impressed,” Laura Nisita said. “We love the small concert hall here — it’s just beautiful.”

Maurizio Nisita sees their commitment as an investment in music’s future. “We wanted to do something for music in general, and we thought that giving to FGCU, as a teaching institution, was the best way to go,” he said. “They are producing the performers of tomorrow.”

FGCU President Wilson G. Bradshaw said the Nisitas’ gift will enhance one of the university’s signature programs and greatest assets for engaging the Southwest Florida community. “We are honored and pleased that your generosity will help the Bower School of Music & the Arts, one of Florida Gulf Coast University’s crown jewels, shine even brighter,” he said.

During their engagement with FGCU and the Bower School of Music & the Arts in particular, the Nisitas have formed a close friendship with Michael Baron, the Myra & Van Williams Distinguished Professor of Music and head of keyboard studies. In fact, when one of Baron’s acclaimed students – Priscila Navarro, the Peruvian pianist who made university history when she performed a solo concert at New York City’s famed Carnegie Hall in 2013 (a concert the Nisitas attended) — toured Europe, the Nisitas arranged for the young prodigy to stay with Maurizio’s sister and niece during stops in his native Italy.

“As an educational institution, we feel strongly that we need to provide our students and the community access to world-class performers, and this gift allows us to bring those people to campus for everyone to enjoy,” Baron said. “Also, the funds going toward scholarships will enable us to continue to attract the best and brightest music students from around the world to FGCU.”