Rockette and John Brunetti: Giving in Dad's Name
Like many of our alumni and friends, Rockette and John Brunetti have a special place in their hearts for their dads and for Syracuse University. It is why they chose to give to the Orange Family in honor of their own.
Rockette (Pirro) and John Brunetti have a long history with Syracuse University.
Rockette cheered on the Orange as the daughter of Syracuse University Football offensive line coach Rocco Pirro (1952-73) and graduated from the College of Human Development, now the Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics in 1970.
John taught at the College of Law and was later appointed a New York State Court of Claims judge after being recommended by his College of Law teaching colleague and law partner, State Sen. John A. DeFrancisco.
Over the years, the couple—who established the annual Thomas S. Pirro Award for a football player who demonstrates character and coachability—have been donors and active supporters of the University.
The Brunettis are also providing support to future generations of student-athletes through a generous estate gift to the Syracuse Football program. Their gift of commercial real estate in New Jersey, which John's father, "Fritz" Brunetti, bought in the 1950s, honors their longtime connection with Syracuse University and the legacy of both of their fathers.
"My dad grew up in Onondaga County so he was proud to be coaching at Syracuse University," Rockette says. "He never looked elsewhere even when he was offered other positions. Syracuse University was family."
"My father valued education," says John, whose father passed away in 1959 when John was 11 years old. "He always emphasized becoming a lawyer to me, and he was a pro football fan before it was popular. He even took my brother and me to what is known as 'The Greatest Game Ever Played'—the 1958 Colts vs. Giants championship game."
John says his father would be pleased that his vision—his investment—would help others.
"He was very generous, and the thought that the real estate that he purchased so long ago could be used to help students in the future would make him very happy," John says. "We know he would be moved and humbled that his hard work would make life a little easier for future student-athletes."
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