I want to present my personal condolences, and those of everyone at the College of Performing Arts, to Marybelle Musco and her family on the death of Paul. I also want to add something to the deserved accolades that he is receiving. Paul was an exceptional businessman and a philanthropist of the first magnitude, as everyone knows; and what was very obvious to everyone was his deep humanity, evident in his love for our students.

Group of smiling young people wearing medals and two elderly people standing on each side of the group.

Paul (far left) and Marybelle Musco (far right) join the 2019 Musco Scholars for an intimate luncheon to celebrate the students’ achievements.

One example among many is the simple end-of-the-year reception we had for the graduating CoPA students who received a Musco Scholarship so that Paul and Marybelle could personally congratulate and hear from them. Paul came to me one year and told me we needed to turn it into a sit-down lunch, which he offered to pay for, so that students would have a chance to talk around a table, over a meal, the way Italians do. We did have some luncheons before COVID and what I observed was the way Paul and Marybelle engaged the students and made them talk about themselves. They really took pleasure in hearing the individual stories, accomplishments and dreams of each student. This had a deep effect on the students, who saw Paul and Marybelle not as some distant donors, but as two wonderful people who were truly interested in their success and were proud of them for their achievements. This, in turn, was a great motivation for all Musco Scholars, as they are called.

Nothing for me captures the essence of Paul better than remembering him enjoying his time with the students, cracking jokes, telling stories, giving them sound advice, and listening to them. You couldn’t help enjoying being with him and listening to what he had to say, also knowing he listened to you and was genuinely interested in you as an individual.

No person is more worthy of hearing the timeless words of the liturgy: May the angels lead you into paradise; may the martyrs receive you at your arrival and lead you to the holy city Jerusalem!

Giulio Ongaro
Dean and Professor
College of Performing Arts