Campus: CSU Stanislaus -- May 25, 2005

CSU Stanislaus Graduate Leaves Funds In Estate For University

The California State University, Stanislaus Nursing and Music programs will split an estimated $500,000 from the estate of University graduate Aleta M. Rossotti of Atwater.

Rossotti, who died June 12, 2004, at the age of 89, willed a portion of funds from her estate to the University’s Nursing and Music departments. Under the terms of her will, each department receives an initial $140,000 payment and then 12.5 percent of the remainder of the estate once it has been completely liquidated and distributed.

The Nursing Department plans to use its share of the funding for department needs that include a student scholarship endowment and faculty development. Funds will be used for student scholarships in the Music Department.

Noted for her love of learning and music, Rossotti was known by many as “Rusty,” a nickname she picked up as a youngster in reference to her maiden name Rusk. The former school teacher, nurse and Civil Service employee became the oldest graduate of the nursing program at CSU Stanislaus when she received her bachelor’s degree with honors in 1987.

“This is an example of what can happen when faculty provide solid education and when students receive full support to enable them to develop their dreams,” said Dr. Marvalene Hughes, President of CSU Stanislaus. “Mrs. Rossotti chose to pay it back as her expression of gratitude for the education she received at the University.”

Rossotti went on to serve as a hospice nurse in Merced County and then as a nurse with the Ballico-Cressey School District until retiring. She was married to Augustine Rossotti for 47 years until his death in 1999.

“She had a great yearning to learn and worked very hard at it,” said her cousin, Bill Champlin of Torrance. “Her experience in the nursing program at CSU Stanislaus was a source of great inspiration to her and she loved music, playing the piano and organ. She and two of her brothers sang as an amateur threesome in her younger days.”

An Iowa native, Rossotti was a Merced County resident for more than 50 years. She attended Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, taught elementary school in that state for 10 years, and then resumed her higher education pursuits, earning a degree at the American Institute of Business College.

Rossotti worked for the Federal Civil Service for 31 years at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio; Oakland Municipal Airport, the Port of Alameda; McClellan Air Force Base in Sacramento; and Sharpe Army Depot in Lathrop until taking a retirement in 1976. After recovering from an illness, she resumed her education with nursing classes at Merced College and then transferred to CSU Stanislaus to complete her four-year degree.

Contact: Don Hansen, (209) 667-3997

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