Sica Family Makes $5 Million Donation to Engineering and Football Programs

Photo Courtesy of Catholic University

This August, the Sica family donated $5 million to the university in support of the School of Engineering and the athletics program, specifically the football program. 

The Sica family have been dedicated members of the Catholic University community for the past 37 years. Vinny and Ellen Sica have been supporters of the school for years, generously sharing their time and wealth since they graduated from the university themselves.

Just after graduating from the university in 1983, Vinny made his first donation that fall, just after he met his now-wife, Ellen. Vinny donated $100 and continued to donate whatever he could every year after. Both Vinny and Ellen were encouraged to continue these philanthropic efforts, particularly in support of their universities, by Ellen’s family, whose family had a tradition of philanthropy.

“I just kind of assumed that everybody gave something to their alma mater when they graduated,” Vinny said when interviewed by the university.  “It didn’t have to be a significant number. So I gave what I could, and I just kept doing it. We’ve been very blessed and in a position to give a good amount over the years.”

Over time, the couple began to make larger gifts, with Vinny and Ellen funding two impact scholarships and constantly supporting the School of Engineering and Cardinal Athletics. Along with their donations, Vinny has donated his time, serving on the advisory board to help renew the School of Engineering’s Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) accreditation in mechanical engineering. After a few years, he joined the school’s Development Board, which later became its Board of Visitors. Five years ago, he switched over to the Athletics Board of Visitors to help drive support for student-athletes. In 2020, he accepted the university’s invitation to join the Board of Trustees.

Vinny credits his 35-year success in the engineering field to the hands-on education he received at Catholic, and in order to allow students to gain the same opportunity, he has decided to allow $2 million of the donation to be used to establish the Sica Family Endowed Scholarship Fund for undergraduate scholarships in the School of Engineering.

The remaining $3 million of their $5 million donation has been contributed to the Catholic Athletics department in order to establish the Vincent and Ellen Sica Endowed Coach for Catholic Football. This contribution was made in consideration of Vinny’s influential time on the Catholic University football team as an offensive lineman and eventual captain during his senior year.

The Sica family donation was in the works for almost a year, after Vinny attended a luncheon for the St. Thomas Aquinas Society. The couple was inspired by the many other alumni, parents, faculty, staff, and friends who also attended the luncheon who had planned to make contributions to Catholic University.

This donation also counts towards the Catholic University: Light the Way Campaign, implemented by the university in Fall 2019. The Campaign inspired the couple to do as much as they could in order to do even more to preserve and advance the Catholic University’s plan for the present and future students. 

“We just want to make it a better place than it was yesterday,” Vinny said. “We got a ton out of my time at Catholic University, and then we spent a lot of time helping try to make it better for the next generation. That goes on and on, so you kind of continually pay it forward.”

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