Carrie Malanga G’05 Creates Scholarship in Honor of her Late Husband

The Drew alum shares her love of Italian with students

June 2023 – In many ways, the Italian language has helped shape who Carrie Malanga G’05 is today.

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Professor and Director of the Italian Studies program Emanuele Occhipinti with Carrie Malanga G'05

Her journey started, quite literally, with a honeymoon to Italy over 30 years ago to meet the family of her husband, Gerard. 

“I spoke no Italian at the time, but his family embraced me with a love that needed no words,” she said during a speech at the Italian Honors Society ceremony. “On that trip, I dreamed of being able to speak Italian and I made a promise to myself to learn the language one day.”

Carrie, who had earned her Doctor of Letters at Drew’s Caspersen School of Graduate Studies, returned to Drew to fulfill her promise by taking undergraduate-level Italian Studies courses—which she continues to this day to increase her proficiency.

Progressing further along her journey, her knowledge of the Italian language enabled a career change, many trips to Italy, new friends, and a bond between her and Gerard as they practiced their Italian nightly at their kitchen table.

Gerard passed away this year. To honor her husband, Carrie created the Gerard A. Malanga Italian Studies scholarship to provide financial assistance to students interested in studying or continuing their studies in Italian. 

“Although my husband didn’t go to Drew, he was so proud of my studies and this scholarship is a tribute to his Italian heritage, his family in Italy, and to him,” said Carrie. “I feel certain that this makes him happy.”

The scholarship will be awarded annually to a Drew College of Liberal Arts or Caspersen student with a preference given for a student(s) in good academic standing pursuing Italian studies, which could include as a major or minor, through a study abroad or TREC trip, and/or in a graduate program.

“We sometimes hear about the measurable reasons for learning a language like global marketability and gaining a better understanding of other cultures, and these are true but there are also the intangibles like following dreams and reconnecting with family,” said Carrie. “Like me, you may find that in the years ahead life takes you on a sacred journey as a result of studying Italian.”


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