Anselmians Honor a Remarkable Legacy at the Dedication of the Thomas A. Melucci Jr ’88 Theater

November 25, 2019

By Anna Brennan-Curry

On Saturday, November 23, 2019, members of the Saint Anselm community, past and present, joined together to dedicate the new Thomas A. Melucci Jr. ’88 Theater.

The dedication began at the Abbey Church with a Memorial Mass celebrated by Father John Fortin, O.S.B., former Dean of Students at Saint Anselm College and Professor Emeritus of Philosophy.

Following Mass, the Melucci family, the Melucci scholars in attendance, and members of the community which included a large contingent of the Class of 1988 made their way to the Roger and Francine Jean Student Center Complex for the dedication of the Thomas A Melucci, Jr.’88 Theater, where attendees honored the life of Thomas A. Melucci Jr. ’88 and recognize the tremendous generosity of Thomas and Gail Melucci over the past 30 years.

“We, the Saint Anselm College community, can never put in to words how the Melucci Family’s generosity has touched the lives of so many Anselmians,” shared James Flanagan, senior vice president of college advancement.

The theater is named in memory of Thomas A. Melucci Jr. ’88, who died in May 1988, and whose diploma was awarded posthumously to his parents. Melucci entered Saint Anselm College in the fall of 1984 as a business major. He quickly stood out as an athlete, as a member of the hockey team his freshman year and a member of the ski team his sophomore, junior, and senior years. During the theater dedication, friends remembered his “miracle catch” on the field as part of an intramural softball game. Melucci also regularly volunteered at New Horizons soup kitchen and food pantry in Manchester.

“I first met Tom in the fall of 1984,” recalled friend and classmate, Charles Gadbois ’88. “Over the coming days, weeks, years. I got to know Tom well, as the guy across the hall, classmate, and then close confidant. Through all of it one thing stood out, that was his infinite love for his family.” Speaking of Mr. and Mrs. Melucci, Sr., Gadbois continued, “Their dedication not only to the memory of their son, but to his true spirit reveals their character.”

Since 1988, Thomas and Gail Melucci have been active members of the Anselmian community. They established the Thomas A. Melucci Jr. Memorial Endowed Scholarship which, since 1989, has awarded full tuition scholarships to 61 students in their senior year at Saint Anselm College – the largest scholarship program of its type at the college. In 1998 Thomas Melucci received an honorary doctor of laws and Saint Anselm College dedicated the Thomas A. Melucci, Jr. Memorial Field. Mr. Melucci served on the Saint Anselm College Board of Trustees from 2002 until 2018.

“It's beyond imaging the impact the Meluccis have made on Saint Anselm College," said Dr. Joseph A. Favazza, Saint Anselm College president. “What a legacy we celebrate here today.”

Melucci scholars spoke about the impact the scholarship had on their lives during their senior year as well as how the generosity has impacted the choices they have made since then.

“Someday in your life, we want you to do something for someone else,” challenged Thomas A. Melucci, Sr. to those in attendance. “You’ll find that time to give help to another individual.”

The generosity of the Meluccis not only helped relieve the financial burden of the scholars during their senior year, but inspired them. Those recipients took the lessons and value of the “paying it forward” mentality so evident in the lives of Tom and Gail Melucci into their professional lives—to leave the world a little bit better.

“I couldn’t have known then, that the dream was not just to be here, but to leave here,” said oncology nurse Stefanie Iannalfo ’10, who founded the Food, Clothing and Furniture drive on campus.

The event ended with a reception where attendees had the opportunity to socialize and reminisce about their time at Saint Anselm College and memories of Thomas A. Melucci, Jr. “It was truly an amazing event – a homecoming in every sense of the word, recalled Maura Devine McShane ’88.

“I think of the smile, the laughter, his spirit, and that he was always at the center of things,” reflected Erik Jones ’88. “This theater is a fitting tribute for someone who had a starring role in all of our lives.”