"Arnoldo Bettelini" scholarship


Institutional Communication Service

9 May 2021

A scholarship has been established for USI's 25th anniversary, inspired by Arnoldo Bettelini (1876-1970), a forest engineer, scholar and philanthropist from Ticino who, at the beginning of the 20th century, was one of the most enthusiastic supporters of the need to create a university south of the Alps. Supported by Bettelini's descendants, the three-year scholarship is intended to cover the enrollment costs for one of USI's bachelor's degree programmes in Lugano and Mendrisio. The competition scholarship will be awarded annually, and the first round will coincide with the academic year 2021-22.


Arnoldo Bettelini

Born in Caslano on 13 May 1876, Arnoldo Bettelini graduated in Zurich in forest engineering and philosophy, two fields that he tried to reconcile in the many projects in which he was active. Driven by a sincere philanthropic spirit, he founded in 1908 the Ticinese Society for the conservation of natural and artistic beauty (later STAN) and in 1920 the Opera Ticinese in support of childhood (OTAF), both still active. An enthusiastic promoter of historical and literary culture, he fostered the publication of the works of Stefano Franscini, Vincenzo Dalberti, Luigi Lavizzari and Giorgio Casella. Furthermore, he devoted much energy in the twenties to promote the creation of a University in Ticino, to which he dedicated many pamphlets. To him, we owe the first use of the term "Università della Svizzera italiana" (University of Southern Switzerland), as opposed to other names in vogue at the time, such as "Accademia cantonale" (Cantonal Academy) or "Università italiana del Ticino" (Italian University of Ticino). Following the same idealism, in 1938 he founded "Civitas Nova", a movement of intellectuals for universal brotherhood, based first in Lugano and then in Rome. He died on 24 June 1970.


How to apply for the scholarship

The "Arnoldo Bettelini" scholarship is awarded annually through a competition to a bachelor student of USI faculties, to whom the tuition fees of 4,000 francs (for three years) will be waived. The competition, published during the spring semester before enrollment, is in the form of a short essay from a given theme, among the many that Arnoldo Bettelini dealt with in his works, revisited in a contemporary key (philosophy of science, ecology and environmental sciences, conservation and promotion of historical and artistic heritage, universalism, philanthropy, human rights). A quotation from one of Bettelini's texts, or from an author dear to him, will serve each year as an outline for the paper, which can be submitted in the three national languages plus English, up to a maximum of 10,000 characters, including spaces. The competition is open to all those who have completed a baccalaureate or equivalent in Switzerland. A jury will evaluate the entries and select the winner by the summer.

The theme of the 2021-22 competition, along the lines of the motto "Facciamo conoscenza" chosen by USI to celebrate the 25th anniversary of its foundation, will be "The word, a vessel for knowledge and civilisation". Participants are asked to address the topic in an original and personal way, comparing it with the choice of enrolling in a university and the contribution of knowledge and civil responsibility that, in light of Arnoldo Bettelini's reflections, they intend to advance with their lives. Members of the jury will be Boas Erez (mathematician, Rector of Università della Svizzera Italiana), Cristina Bettelini and Pia Pagani (representing the Heirs), Pietro Montorfani (historian and Italianist, head of the Heritage Office of the City of Lugano, president of the jury), Giovanni Pellegri (neurobiologist, director of USI Ideatorio) and Dick Marty (lawyer, former Councillor to States).


Please refer to the 2021 Call for Papers for further details.