The Luso-American Foundation contributed $200,000 to leverage the combined $650,000 donations of five Portuguese-Americans, and qualify the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth for $650,000 in state matching funds. The $1.5 million grant total will fund the first endowed chair in Portuguese in the university’s history.
Chancellor Jean F. MacCormack received the funds from Dr. Rui Machete, president of the Luso American Foundation, and formally acknowledged the five private contributors at a reception at UMass Dartmouth on November 1.
The generosity of the Portuguese government to the Center for Portuguese Studies and Culture now totals over $1 million, she said. We are enormously appreciative of the confidence you and your government have shown the center over the years, especially now, since you have enabled us to meet the requirements for the matching funds, she told Machete.
The chancellor also thanked the private donors to the endowed chair: Luis Pedroso, businessman; Anthony Andrade, businessman; Frank B. Sousa, president, Colonial Wholesale Beverages and chairman of the UMD Foundation; Maria Furman, managing director/vice president, Standish, Ayer & Wood, Inc.; and Manuel Fernando Neto, principal, Neto Insurance.
The endowment will be named for the parents of the chair’s largest private contributor, Luis Pedroso, who gave $300,000, and for the Luso-American Foundation. The chair, which will be held on an annual, rotating basis by a distinguished professor in Portuguese studies, will be named the Hélio and Amélia Pedroso/Luso-American Foundation Endowed Chair in Portuguese Studies.
Pedroso said that he made the contribution because he is committed to promoting Portuguese heritage and wanted to give something long lasting to the country that has been good to my family and me.
Furman ’76, echoed his views. I also wanted to give back to my school. I wouldn’t be where I am today without this degree. I’d like my school to have a bigger presence and be more important in the Portuguese community. This gift enables me to achieve those goals as well.
The Hélio and Amélia Pedroso/Luso-American Foundation Endowed Chair in Portuguese Studies will bring scholars from all over the world to lecture to students and the general public on any number of topics in the fields of Portuguese, Brazilian, and Luso-African studies, according to Dr. Frank Sousa, chairman of the UMD Department of Portuguese.