Patrice and Sal Cusimano Endow A Nunez Scholarship In Honor of Their Son, Jeffrey A. Cusimano

Pictured L-R: Danny Bourgeois (Kiwanis), Ellis Fortinberry (Kiwanis), Patrice Cusimano (Kiwanis),Katherine Lemoine (Nunez Director of Development), Ronnie Rodriguez (Nunez VCFO), Mitchell Perkins(Kiwanis), George Schlorff (Kiwanis)

CHALMETTE, La. – Patrice and Sal Cusimano recently established an endowed fund with the St. Bernard Kiwanis Foundation benefiting the Nunez Community College Scholarship Program for culinary arts in honor of their son, Jeffrey A. Cusimano. A $25,000 endowment has been designated to fund the scholarship program. This will assure that a $1,000 grant will be made to Nunez Community College annually in perpetuity. Details were shared in a press release.

Jeff Cusimano attended Nunez after Hurricane Katrina and completed most of his core courses before transferring to the University of New Orleans as a business major in the Hotel, Restaurant, Tourism curriculum.  He was six hours shy of graduation when his life was tragically cut short on June 7, 2011. Jeff died from bacteria in the St. Bernard Parish water supply that entered his system by way of a neti pot used for treatment of severe allergies.

Patrice made it her mission to alert others about the dangers of using tap water in a neti pot. Unfortunately, Jeff’s neti pot instructions indicated that tap water was safe for use in developed countries. As a result of Jeff’s death, the Center for Disease Control has issued warnings to never use tap water.  Patrice and Sal wanted to do more in Jeff’s name. They decided to fund a scholarship for someone else to have the chance to succeed in the tourism industry – a chance that never came to fruition for Jeff. 

Patrice believes that Jeff would have gone far in the hotel business. She commented, “Jeff had such an engaging personality and truly enjoyed helping people.”  

The Cusimanos hope this scholarship will help others succeed in the tourism industry.

Mitch Perkins, President of the St. Bernard Kiwanis Foundation, expressed his appreciation to Patrice and Sal for creating the scholarship program.  

“Our Foundation and community are grateful for their generosity to ensure that a scholarship program in the culinary arts, and potentially a broader tourism-related curriculum, will be in place for generations to come,” he said.

Patrice and Sal are both members of the Kiwanis Club of St. Bernard-Arabi and the St. Bernard Kiwanis Foundation, and also frequently volunteer with numerous other organizations throughout the Parish.

Dr. Tina Tinney, Chancellor of Nunez, echoed Mr. Perkin’s sentiment, saying: “We are extremely grateful for the general gift endowed by Patrice and Sal Cusimano.  A legacy in Jeff’s name will carry on for years to come and impact students’ lives along the way.”

Categories: Education