Campus & Community

Oristano gift celebrates a family legacy

Victor Oristano

For the late Joan and Victor Oristano, giving was always a family tradition. Throughout his lifetime, Victor had put his values into action by investing time and resources to help the underserved. A recent gathering at Palm Beach State College’s Palm Beach Gardens campus honored the Oristanos and their lifelong commitment to those in need, launching the Joan and Victor Oristano Endowed Scholarship.

The Oristano’s generous scholarship continues the family’s legacy of philanthropy with a $1 million gift to the PBSC Foundation, as well as a $60,000 gift toward scholarships to be awarded in fall 2022.

Students pursuing nursing or health sciences degrees or certificates may benefit from the Oristano’s generosity, with each scholarship recipient receiving up to $12,000 per academic year. The Oristano Endowed Scholarship gives these young people opportunities to follow fulfilling academic and professional paths that make a difference in their lives and ours.

David Rutherford, vice president of Institutional Advancement and executive director of the PBSC Foundation, appreciates not only the Oristano’s generosity but also their vision for what their gift means to the community. “The Joan and Victor Oristano Endowed Scholarship fund helps students who may not otherwise be able to afford a college education. These students will ultimately become the first responders in our community, potentially impacting our lives for many years to come.”

Joan and Victor’s son Mike, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, recalls how his father valued what others can do for each other. “My dad believed that first responders contribute to the life blood of the country. He believed nothing was of greater value than being able to contribute to these professions.”

Victor served as an air officer in the U.S. Navy in World War II, retiring from active duty in 1946 as lieutenant commander. For decades, his generosity and passion for the public good would come with a long and successful career in the cable television and public relations industries.

Victor and Joan were married for 48 years before Joan passed away in 1996. A graduate of Smith College in Northampton, Mass., and an administrative assistant for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, Joan shared in her husband’s tremendous passion for philanthropy.

This gift helps students learn the skills and cutting-edge technology they need to succeed as medical professionals in our community.

Even though he enjoyed a thriving yet busy career, Victor always found time to be active as a board member for many nonprofit organizations. Mike, along with his brothers Mark and Matthew, admired how his father contributed to these vital causes and individuals, especially healthcare providers.

Victor, who died two weeks before his 103rd birthday in 2019, had undergone several major surgical procedures and saw firsthand the essential roles of today’s medical professionals.

Mike continues to share his father’s sentiment today. “These people are not appreciated enough. It cannot be easy to watch people take their last breath, and I’m sure there will be another pandemic down the road, so I’m really happy to be able to help facilitate these gifts today with Palm Beach State.”

“One of life’s most enduring questions asks what we have done for others. Throughout his life, Victor did much for many, including his family, country and future generations of students,” Rutherford said. “While these young nurses and medical professionals never knew Victor, they certainly know his generous heart and passion for not only giving but also serving, allowing them to know a better life and help others in the tradition of the Oristano family legacy.”

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2 comments on “Oristano gift celebrates a family legacy”

  1. The Oristano family’s generous gift will transform the lives of our students. Thank you for posting this heartfelt article.

  2. I had the pleasure of working with Victor and Joan and this scholarship is truly a generous gift to students. Thank you to the Oristano family for your continued support.

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