Trinity College alumni, students, faculty, staff, and friends joined state and local leaders at the Bicentennial Gala on May 11 to raise funds for the Bicentennial Hartford Scholarship, which will support Hartford students hoping to attend Trinity. At the gala, Board of Trustees Chair Lisa Bisaccia ’78 also announced the establishment of the Anthony J. and Carole Foley Bisaccia Scholarship, which she and her husband, Robert P. Naparstek, established in honor of her parents as part of the All In campaign.

“For some, Trinity might not seem financially possible,” Bisaccia said in her remarks. “But with the gift of financial aid, it becomes possible for more students from Hartford to create better lives through education.”

Bisaccia shared that her family’s endowed scholarship was funded with over $2 million to support first-generation students from the Greater Hartford area to enjoy the full student experience at Trinity for four years. Through this financial aid scholarship, a recipient would not need to worry about the cost of tuition and other expenses associated with attending Trinity, such as books, study abroad, and meal plans.

“This is my school,” Bisaccia said in an interview. “This is my hometown. And Hartford is also important to the person who became my life partner, my husband, Robert. We are united on giving back both to the school and Hartford in this way.”

Changing lives through education

Born in Hartford, Bisaccia was intent on attending Trinity from a very young age. Her father, a first-generation Italian American, was the first in his family to earn a bachelor’s degree thanks to the GI Bill. Then after earning a master’s degree from the University of Hartford, he served as a high school guidance counselor in Wethersfield for four decades. Her mother, who was a multigenerational Hartford resident, understood the value of education but grew up at a time when college was not a widely accepted option for women. Both instilled in Bisaccia and her sisters the belief that education could change lives.

Bisaccia recalled her childhood impression of Trinity. “It was that college on the hill that just seemed like the pinnacle to me.”

Once during a family car ride through Hartford, she glimpsed the lights and silhouettes of the campus buildings and asked her father, “Is that a castle?”

Her father responded, “No, that’s a college. That’s a place you go to study after high school.”

When she said she would like to attend, he replied, “You can’t. It’s only for boys.”

Fortunately, coeducation came to Trinity just in time, and she enrolled at the only college she wished to attend. Trinity opened new doors for her. She was astonished by the library and her newfound access to so many books. She studied modern languages—including “proper Italian” as taught by Professor Michael Campo ’48, who on her first day of college in an intensive Italian language course illuminated the proper pronunciation of her family surname. Campo was well-known in the close-knit Italian community of Hartford and was beloved as the war hero who returned to Trinity and became a professor and a renowned scholar.

Bisaccia also discovered a love for classical music. In high school, she enjoyed singing the usual program of show tunes. At Trinity, Bisaccia found herself in the Chapel Choir and learning how to master phrasings of classical pieces with complex multipart harmonies. “We learned how to breathe together and how to listen to the people next to you so you could blend your voice, which is the key to choral music,” she said. “This was a whole new level of choral singing—this learning about team collaboration was portable to any kind of group project or group endeavor.

“Trinity prepared me to be curious and to understand that there are different ways of doing things—diversity of thought, diversity of backgrounds, diversity of experience,” Bisaccia added. “It introduced me to different pathways that I think I might not have discovered on my own.”

Financial aid ensures the future

“When you think about the future, financial aid is one of the most effective levers we have to ensure that Trinity continues to be an accessible destination of choice to the most qualified students who will bring honor and value to our community,” she said.

At the gala, Bisaccia introduced a video that illustrated the power of financial aid for Hartford students who might not think Trinity is a possibility for them. Recently retired from a highly successful 42-year corporate career in human resources culminating  as the chief human resources officer of CVS Health, she credited her time at Trinity for “endowing me with the skills, confidence, and mindset that have enabled me to achieve my goals. Attending Trinity was the gift that changed my life.”

Bisaccia noted that creating this scholarship was a way to give back to local students, who in turn also will have the power to impact the futures of both Trinity and of Hartford.

President Joanne Berger-Sweeney remarked, “The histories of Trinity and Hartford have been intertwined since the very beginning, when the Connecticut General Assembly voted to create the second oldest college in the state. We are proud about what this scholarship will do for both the students of Hartford and for the future of Trinity College.”

Bisaccia added, “I think the most important commitment we can make is to recognize the enduring partnership between Hartford and Trinity. That partnership has been present for 200 years and will be present for hundreds of more years. We are important to each other.”


The All In campaign has raised $385 million for objectives articulated in Summit: A Strategic Plan for the Future of Trinity College, including support for student scholarships, faculty and the Trinity Plus curriculum, athletics, internships, student research, entrepreneurship, the physical campus, and the entire student experience through the Trinity College Fund. For more information, please contact [email protected].