Central to St. Thomas University is its chapel, the Chapel of Saint Anthony, and it’s hard to believe it hasn’t always been there. The chapel’s doors first opened 13 years ago in February 2004, thanks to philanthropists Winifred “Wini” and Joseph “Joe” Amaturo.
Joe and Wini have been involved with St. Thomas for over two decades, and it started with a chance meeting with STU President Monsignor Casale through a mutual friend, David Lawrence, then Miami Herald publisher. Since then, their generosity has touched many STU and non-STU students.
The Amaturo’s first gift to STU helped build a vocational school in Haiti – Haiti Tec. And when they heard of Msgr. Casale’s dream of having a chapel on campus, they didn’t think twice about donating the funds needed to build it.
“We believe in the strong academic and ethical values taught in Catholic institutions, especially at St. Thomas,” said Wini. “So when we heard of the opportunity to help support St. Thomas, we were more than happy to do so. Especially with the building of the chapel, every Catholic university should have one; it’s the essence of the university.”
Over the years, the Amaturos have also funded STU’s Winifred and Joseph Amaturo Lecture Series that has brought several well-known speakers to campus to inform, educate and enlighten the community about several topics ranging from religion to autism.
“St. Thomas is a wonderfully well-rounded university, and it’s steadily growing. Knowing that its students are instilled with the skills and values to become leaders in our community is reason enough to support St. Thomas. Its students not only learn, but thrive.”
Wini is president of their foundation, The Amaturo Family Foundation, as well as serving on St. Thomas’ Board of Trustees making her and Joe regulars on campus.
“Just giving financially, isn’t as satisfying as actually seeing what you’re investing in. What always strikes me when I’m on campus is the feeling of comradery among everyone, a sense of family. We always feel welcomed in this tight-knit community.”
One of Wini’s favorite events to attend on campus is commencement.
“We love the various events at St. Thomas, but graduations are my favorite. Seeing many first generation college students proudly walk across the stage to receive their diploma and hearing their friends and family cheer for them is a very beautiful moment to watch.”
Joe, who holds an MBA from Harvard, is a prominent entrepreneur having owned and managed 22 radio and television stations and served as chairman of MUVICO Theaters, Inc. Wini attended NYU and worked in an advertising agency in New York City up until she married in 1956.
Committed to making their community a better place, both Joe and Wini remain active in, and generously support many local organizations including the United Way of Broward, The Salvation Army, and the YMCA. They are most enthusiastic about the excellent results of the ACCELERATED READING PROGRAM in 16 Catholic schools in Broward County, which they have underwritten for 13 years. Today, more than 6,000 students participate, and each student reads an average of 35 to 40 books per school year. Wini and Joe are also blessed with five children and seven grandchildren.
To learn more about supporting St. Thomas University, click here.