Moriello Pays it Forward with Division of Business Scholarship Endowment
When Nick Moriello came to DeSales in the mid ’90s, it was on a full scholarship. Now the current president of Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Delaware is paying it forward.
The management graduate and his wife, Carissa, have set up a scholarship endowment for an incoming student every year in the Division of Business worth $6,250 per year, or $25,000 over the course of four years.
Moriello has held DeSales close to his heart since his time in Center Valley and has been eager to give back to the University and its students. But he wanted to do so in a meaningful way just as was done for him, and so he approached Professor Chris Cocozza, head of the Division of Business, for help in setting up a fund.
“[The Moriellos] wanted to make a significant gift to help students who are in a similar situation they were in when they were younger and maybe make a gift to a student who could not otherwise afford a DeSales education but really desired a DeSales education,” Cocozza said. “So we had several conversations back and forth about different options about how to structure the scholarship that ultimately would have a significant benefit to one student over a four-year period.”
Since graduating in 1996, Moriello has enjoyed a successful career in the insurance industry. His start in insurance came when he arrived home after his freshman year at DeSales, when his father signed him up for the Insurance Producer’s Licensing Exam, which then allowed him to get a job with Chase.
“I came home and my father said, ‘I’ve got you scheduled to take your insurance licenser’s exam on Saturday,’ and I said, ‘But dad, it’s summer, what are you talking about, it’s summer, I’m going to the beach,” Moriello says. “Then I started following him around in the business and working full time in the summer and part time in the winter.”
The fact that Moriello had his insurance license as well as a four-year degree allowed him to get a job with Chase in Wilmington, Delaware, after he graduated from DeSales.
Five years later, Moriello went on to work for his father’s agency and would eventually buy it out, growing it into Delaware’s largest independent insurance agency. He would then sell the agency in 2016, which allowed him to set up the scholarship at DeSales.
Now, as of August 2018, Moriello is the president of Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Delaware. He says DeSales has played a large role in his career trajectory.
“I had a world-class education while I was there, and I attribute some of the successes that I’ve had in my career back to the foundation that was laid for me as a student at DeSales. It laid the groundwork for me to really understand how to learn, and so in my career I continued to learn everyday and have done that for 20-plus years now.”
According to Cocozza, Moriello is the first alumnus to have set up a scholarship endowment within the Division of Business so far. He says that these gifts like Moriello’s are crucial in helping to make DeSales more competitive in recruiting students, and both he and Moriello hope that the fund encourages other alumni to set up scholarships or contribute to the endowment.
“It’s really important that alumni care about the University, and we’re very fortunate in business that we have a ton of alums who like to dedicate their time, their treasure, their talents to the University, and particularly those that have the financial means to give back to give us the opportunity to recruit students who really desire a DeSales education and can’t afford a DeSales education,” Cocozza says.
“It is really a great thing that we’re lucky to have, and I think the Moriellos are at the very front of that.”
In the future, Moriello says that he will continue to grow the endowment through annual giving, and hopes to get it to a point where it can one day fund multiple students.
He also says he thinks endowments like this benefit incoming students and the University alike.
“DeSales provides a wonderful education. I almost in my mind equate it to an Ivy League-level experience. And in the Division of Business what I would like to see is if there are top applicants out there and they’re deciding between their options and they also have some level of financial need, I’m hoping that this scholarship is meaningful enough that it can persuade them to want to come to DeSales,” Moriello says. “Not only will they receive a great education, but also I think it raises the awareness and perception of DeSales when you’re able to attract top-caliber students like that. So it’s a win-win for the student, and a win-win for DeSales.”