Scholarship fund will benefit generations of talented students
Joyce Anne and Raymond Vitelli moved to Pelican Bay in Naples two decades ago and immersed themselves in the life of the community.
Joyce Anne passed in 2006; Raymond in 2016. But their legacy lives on in the Joyce Anne Vitelli Scholarship Fund, established by Raymond in 2010 to honor his wife and to benefit music majors in FGCU’s Bower School of Music & the Arts. In 2017, the university received a generous bequest from the Vitelli estate, significantly enhancing much-needed support for students wishing to pursue careers in music performance, music education, music therapy or music composition.
Music was in Joyce Anne’s blood. She attended Syracuse University on a violin scholarship, earned her master’s in music and became a public-school music teacher in Newington, Conn. She had a passion for music and inspiring others to love it. While her early adulthood was focused on her work as a music teacher, she went on to volunteer for several music-focused organizations. After retiring to Naples, Joyce Anne continued to play music and sing and volunteered with Artis-Naples for several years.
Raymond, too, enjoyed music, in particular, Beethoven, Mozart and Gershwin. Not surprisingly, he also loved patriotic songs, having served in the Navy during the Korean War. A highly educated man, he began his career as an administrator in the public school system in Ellington, Conn. His long and varied career included consulting for the U.S. Department of Justice; director of education and training for the Connecticut Department of Correction, and consultant for major corporations such as Hallmark. He eventually got into land development and retired to Florida.
Judie Cassidy, senior director of Advancement, got to know Raymond Vitelli well and admired the way in which he lived his life – fully and completely. Through her friendship with him, she was privileged to have insight into the heart of his wife as well. Cassidy described Raymond Vitelli as “very much in love with Joyce Anne, insightful and thoughtful.” She not only feels fortunate to have met him and, by association, “met” Joyce Anne, but also said, “I believe I am a better person for having known him.”
The Joyce Anne Vitelli Scholarship Fund is a godsend for FGCU music students. “Joyce Anne was a wonderful musician,” said Cassidy. “And Ray, a great benefactor of music. The Joyce Anne Vitelli Scholarship Fund creates untold opportunities for music majors to broaden their horizons, and it ensures they have what they need to develop superior skills for performance.”
Cathy Albergo, director of the Bower School, said, “The Vitelli gift is a very important part of our endowed scholarship program.”
“The Bower School of Music is a limited-access program,” she said. “Students must audition to be accepted as a music major. Out of approximately 130 students who applied this year, the class of 2017-18 will include 50 new music majors. Given the rigors of the required core courses for music majors and an additional three to five hours of practice and performance each day for their solo instruments and ensembles, students have very little time to work at a job. The Vitelli scholarship is very helpful.”
Roland Forti, a 2010 recipient of the Vitelli scholarship, double majored in Music Performance and Music Education; he graduated in 2011. He was the first Bower School student to receive the award, and his success is a testament to its impact. Forti is the choral and orchestra conductor at Diplomat Middle School in Cape Coral, where he also teaches guitar. In 2013, he received the Outstanding Young Teacher of the Year award from the American String Teachers Association in Florida. He also serves as conductor of the Concert Orchestra of the Southwest Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra.
Cassidy summed up what the Vitelli scholarship means to FGCU music majors: “Because of Ray’s love for Joyce Anne and his creation of the Joyce Anne Vitelli Scholarship Fund in her honor, FGCU music majors will benefit for generations to come. These funds will assist exceptionally talented music majors in achieving their educational goals.”
For more information on making a gift:
Please contact the FGCU Foundation at (239) 590-1067.