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Pharmacy School Receives Major Gift from Estate of Slidell, La., Alumna

Donor Madeline O. Sciacca

Madeline O. Sciacca

Thanks to the generosity of the late Madeline O. Sciacca of Slidell, La., who remembered her alma mater in her will, generations of University of Mississippi pharmacy students will receive scholarship support.

Madeline, who obtained her pharmacy degree from UM in 1953, directed a gift of $400,000 to the Ole Miss School of Pharmacy for the Madeline Occhipinti Sciacca Memorial Scholarship Endowment.

To honor the gift, Madeline's 1953 diploma and a plaque bearing her name have been placed in the pharmacy building on the Oxford campus.

"We are humbled by this tremendous gift," says David D. Allen, the school's dean. "It greatly expands our ability to help young people pursue their dreams of becoming practicing pharmacists and ensures that Madeline Sciacca's name will remain a part of our school for years to come."

Madeline practiced pharmacy at Walgreens in downtown New Orleans for years. After retiring in the 1970s, she began buying rental properties and buying and selling real estate.

In 2001, shortly after Barbara G. Wells became dean of the Ole Miss pharmacy school, Madeline contacted her and said she wanted to leave part of her estate to the school for scholarships.

"She wanted to help students, and that fit very nicely with our goals for the school," says Wells, dean emeritus of pharmacy. "That began our 10-year relationship."

During that time, Madeline told Wells of her fondness for the school.

"She loved the School of Pharmacy," Wells says. "She loved her time here and her memories. She also said her father valued education, and it was important to him that all his children get educated."

Madeline attended San Marcos Academy, a boarding school in San Marcos, Texas, as did her four siblings, sisters Frances and Fara and brothers Anthony and Gasper, says her niece and the executor of her estate, Leslie Occhipinti of Metairie, La.

"They were all college-educated, and they became engineers, lawyers, pharmacists and physicists," Leslie says. "Madeline left a nice donation to that academy as well as Ole Miss."

Madeline married Thomas V. Sciacca when she was 47.

"Her husband was truly devoted to her, as she was to him," Wells says. "He was a fine gentleman, and they had a genuine late-life love for each other."

"When she got into real estate, Thomas did, too," Leslie says.

He died two years ago, and she died Sept. 5 at the age of 80.

"Madeline was Italian," Wells says. "She was fiercely loyal to the people and institutions that she cared about. She was a strong-willed woman who fought the good battle against her illnesses the entire 10 years that I knew her."

Madeline took care of both her mother and father before they died.

"She also cared for students and wanted to make a difference in their lives," Wells says. "She wanted to give back and make things better for people. She was very generous, as expressed by her gift to our school, and she is an excellent role model for our students and for all of us in pharmacy."

The Madeline Occhipinti Sciacca Memorial Scholarship Endowment is open to accept gifts from individuals and organizations. To contribute, contact Raina McClure at (800) 340-9542 or, visit or mail a check with the endowment noted to the University of Mississippi Foundation, P.O. Box 249, University, MS 38677.

For more information about the School of Pharmacy, call (662) 915-7265 or visit

To learn more about how you can support Ole Miss, click here.


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