Farewell to Cele Daccò
Institutional Communication Service
3 August 2021
Cele Daccò, the most important supporter of the project for a university in the Italian-speaking region of Switzerland, passed away today. She enabled the realisation of the Lugano Campus and her commitment has continued over the years with numerous scholarships and the financing of projects. Università della Svizzera italiana remembers her with deep gratitude.
Celestina Pasquali Daccò, known as "Cele", was born on 27 May 1919. She was married to Aldo Daccò, an eclectic and visionary Italian industrialist, sportsman and patron of the arts who died in 1975.
Through the foundation that bears her husband's name and her own, she supported various projects and initiatives, providing thus a fundamental contribution to the development of USI, the Faculty of Theology of Lugano, SUPSI, IRSOL and the IRB.
Appointed honorary member of USI in 2003, Cele Daccò was "a generous woman, who firmly believed in the project for a university, supporting it in a decisive way". Her patronage "enabled the realisation of the Lugano campus and that of the aspirations of many deserving young people", reads the announcement published by the University in the newspapers.
In memory of Cele Daccò we offer an extract of the interview that was published 5 years ago on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of USI and entitled "A project to emancipate the Italian-speaking regions of Switzerland".
What was your first connection with the project for USI?
[...] The idea was to combine two projects, that of the Faculty of Theology and that of the USI campus. I decided to allocate 17 million Swiss francs, 5 million for the construction of the building for the Faculty of Theology and 12 million for USI, especially for the Aula Magna, designed by the architect Aurelio Galfetti. The ambitious project to redevelop the area and build the campus we know today could thus begin.
Everything was done through the Daccò Foundation. What motivated your commitment?
"My husband Aldo had a genuine admiration for the Swiss system, even though he was an Italian with deep, vibrant and solid roots in the Republic: his grandfather Ambrogio was the first mayor, upon the Unification of Italy, of the municipality of Gaggiano, in the Milan area, and he himself was a prominent figure in the Italian corporate world. We decided to move to Switzerland in the seventies in search of a safe haven in what were, as we know, challenging years. Here we found a country with a capital C, capable of structuring itself in the name of law and rich in civic awareness. However, we also found a region - Southern Switzerland - which in our opinion, was somewhat neglected compared to the rest of the Confederation. After his death, I decided to devote part of the family's assets to a project that would emancipate the Italian-speaking region of Switzerland from this sort of "subordination". Like a seed planted in good soil, in the hope that the sprouts would bear - in the medium term - the most important fruits, namely the steady social, economic and human progress of this region." [...]