Nicholas J. Ferrara Memorial Scholarship
Nick Ferrara, assistant vice president of the University Development Office, passed away unexpectedly on December 20, 2010. Nick left behind his wife, Mai Tran Ferrara, and his sons, Max and Nick. Born in Jeannette, Pa., on July 10, 1966, Nick grew up in Gettysburg. After graduating from Gettysburg High School he attended Penn State University, graduating in 1990. Throughout his life Nick worked to help and serve other people. After college he served two years with the Peace Corps, building rainwater jars to provide drinking water for rural Kenyans. He then returned to the States to work for Penn State University in their Office of Development. He started as an assistant director of annual giving in charge of the Penn State phone program and moved to individual gifts in 1997.
In 2000 Nick moved to Texas to serve as a development officer for The University of Texas, where he worked with many of the University’s top donors. It was here that he met the love of his life, Mai Tran, who he married in 2006. “Nick was a quiet but passionate leader who believed in making the world a better place,” says David Onion, senior associate vice president for development at UT. “From the time he spent in the Peace Corps to his career in development, Nick always found the right way to make a difference.” Nick had an infectious laugh and was passionate about everything in his life — travel, history, politics, college football, meeting new people, and his work with universities.
More than anything, Nick was passionate about his family. He loved coming home to Mai and Max, and his day centered on them. He loved Max dearly, playing with him every day and telling everyone he knew how much he loved his family. And Nick was excitedly looking forward to the birth of his second child, Nick, who was born June 20, 2011. In his professional life Nick helped Penn State and UT raise support for student scholarships, faculty research, buildings, and much more — an impact that will continue long after his passing. He devoted much of his time and energy to other causes in Austin, including soup kitchens, Big Brothers Big Sisters, St. Louise House, and Vincare Services, where he served on the board.