McCartheys Gift Florence Scholarships

9/10/2014

SPOKANE, Washington – In recognition of the 50th anniversary of the Gonzaga-in-Florence (GIF) campus and study abroad program, the McCarthey Family Foundation has pledged $1 million to establish an endowed scholarship fund to help ensure generations to come will experience this transformative educational experience in Florence, Italy. This will be the largest endowment associated with the program.

The family’s commitment was announced at the culminating 50th anniversary gala in Florence on April 26. The McCarthey family has numerous ties to Gonzaga as members of boards, parents, and alumni of the Gonzaga-in-Florence program. Four McCarthey siblings spearheaded this endowment and are proud GIF alumni: Thomas K. McCarthey, Jr., a Gonzaga Regent, is a 1973 Gonzaga alumnus (’69-’70 GIF); Philip G. McCarthey, a Gonzaga Trustee, is a 1974 GU alumnus (’72-’73 GIF); Sarah McCarthey (’75-’76 GIF); Maureen McCarthey is a 1982 alumna (GIF ’79-’80). Many other members of the family’s next generation also attended the Florence program.

Thomas McCarthey said Florence provided him with a sense of freedom, adventure and discovery that has stayed with him forever. “I made lasting friendships, explored new lands and learned a lot about myself. I would be sitting in art history class one moment, out in Florence seeing the real thing the next moment. I will never forget roaring up to the Accademia on my newly acquired Vespa scooter. I made my way inside, turned the corner, and there in front of me stood Michelangelo’s marble masterpiece ‘The David.’ I was speechless,” he said. “I am proud to be part of the Gonzaga family. I love the sense of community the school exudes whether in Spokane or Florence.”

Phil McCarthey: “Gonzaga-in-Florence has left footprints upon my heart! Knowing how much Gonzaga has given us, I do not want finances to be the reason a qualified student is denied the Gonzaga experience.”

Sarah McCarthey said she “loved being part of the whole experience” in Florence. Specific memories include “hearing the bells of the Santa Maria Fiore on Sunday mornings; the taste of pompelmo; cappuccinos at the bar by the Palazzo Antinori; lone visits to specific rooms in the Uffizzi to spend time with Botticelli, Da Vinci, and Raphael; wondering about the scaffolding on Santa Croce that was there the entire year; walking up to Belvedere for the glorious view; singing ‘Wild Thing’ with Katey Brichto at the farewell party in Fiesole,” she said.

Maureen McCarthey said travel has always been important to her family. “I always say that experiences are enhanced only by the people you meet along your journey,” she said, adding that her year in Florence would not have been the same without her host family, Orlando and Bruna Casci and their son Lucca and daughter Minola. At the reunion, she visited with Minola. “That made my return to Florence complete. It was as if we were still family. Because of Gonzaga, I have lifetime friends that I met along the way.”

Thayne McCulloh:“For 50 years, the Gonzaga-in-Florence program has provided our students with a profound learning and personal growth experience. The McCarthey Family are all students of the program and have been consistent in giving back so that others can experience the magic that happens as a result of the Florence program. In a time when the cost to attend this program is significant, I am deeply grateful that the McCartheys would create an endowment that will forever support our students’ access to the Gonzaga-in-Florence program, during this celebratory anniversary year.”