Frances and Sully Nesta Scholarship Endowment - Graduate

This scholarship supports global learning experiences (study or research) for graduate students in Italy for not less than five weeks in summer.

Salvatore “Sully” Nesta and his beloved wife, Frances Statti Nesta, were leaders and trail-setters of the University of Pittsburgh’s Italian Nationality Room. They also participated in the Cornaro experience.

Frances, along with her two brothers and two sisters, graduated from Schenley High School, while Sully matriculated at Central Catholic High School. For her career, Frances Statti went to Frick Training School which was highly regarded in educational circles. In 1931, she obtained a Bachelor’s in Education degree, and in 1944, a Masters in Arts in Education from the University of Pittsburgh. She taught at Homes School in Oakland. Sully proposed and they were married.Frances Nesta assumed chairmanship of the Italian Room Committee following the untimely death of Erma D’Ascenzo, the first woman to serve on Pittsburgh’s City Council, in an automobile accident.

Mrs. Nesta served as a member of the Cornaro Tercentenary Committee which commemorated the 300th anniversary (1967-1978) of Elena Lucrezia Cornaro Piscopia, the first woman in the world to earn a university degree. The portrait of Elena Piscopia graces the rear wall of the Italian Room. Celebrations of this remarkable Italian woman were held both in the United States and in Padua, Italy.

Devoted to the scholarship program, the Nestas gave generously to the Italian Room Committee Summer Study Abroad Scholarship, which has been given since 1958. No other committee has matched their number. Shortly before his death, Mr. Nesta informed the Nationality Rooms Program that he and his late wife intended to establish an endowment of $50,000 to continue the awards in perpetuity. On four of his birthdays, he presented Director E. Maxine Bruhns with a check for $10,000. His estate has fulfilled the intention.