The catalyst for this vision becoming a reality is due to the incredible generosity of Rocco and Mary Frances Abessinio, who in December 2018, announced a historic $16 million gift to Salesianum School for the new stadium and its endowment.
Mr. Abessinio is the Founder and CEO of Applied Bank, a full-service personal and commercial bank headquartered in Wilmington, Delaware. He also founded Roch Capital which owns hotels and various commercial office buildings throughout the U.S that includes, locally, the former Rollins Building and a world-wide waffle company. The son of Italian immigrants, Mr. Abessinio grew up in Wilmington, Delaware, where his parents operated Pio’s Luncheonette. He enrolled in Salesianum and was a graduate of the class of 1959, having played football for the legendary coach, Dim Montero ‘38.
After graduating from Salesianum, Mr. Abessinio earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business from Neumann University. In addition to his work with Applied Bank and its related entities, Mr. Abessinio, a noted philanthropist, has helped fund educational and religious initiatives at a variety of institutions primarily across the Philadelphia region. He and his wife currently reside in Boca Raton, FL.
At Salesianum, the Abessinio family has a long history of generosity, where they have invested significantly in the school’s endowment and the science center, which bears Mr. Abessinio’s name.
He shares, “As a native of Wilmington, this is an opportunity for me and my family to support Salesianum and help the city in its resurgence...With the new stadium, it’s an opportunity to share the lessons that were learned under Coach Dim Montero - teamwork, grit, discipline, and perseverance - with an audience that goes far beyond Salesianum. It’s why we asked the school to specifically honor him with a memorial at the new stadium and why we feel so proud to be able to make this gift.”