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The Carmelina Cutro Albino Memorial Endowed Presidential Scholarship

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Mrs. Carmelina Cutro Albino
Mrs. Carmelina Cutro Albino

The Carmelina Cutro Albino Memorial Endowed Presidential Scholarship was established by the Board of Regents of The University of Texas System in 2005 for the benefit of the College of Natural Sciences. Gift funds were provided by Lucia Albino Gilbert, Ph.D. and John C. Gilbert, Ph.D., of Austin. Lucia earned her doctorate from UT Austin in 1974. The endowment honors Lucia’s mother, Mrs. Carmelina Cutro Albino.

Carmelina began working at a New York garment factory at 12 years old. Her father, an Italian immigrant, died in an accident that year, and she needed to help support her family, including her siblings. She graduated from the sixth grade and then went to work heartbroken. Her love of learning never ended, though. She taught herself basic accounting in her late 20s and worked for an accountant for a number of years. She obtained her GED in her 40s. 

“She had dreams of higher education for her children, and both my brother and I attended college even though this meant she and my dad needed to work several jobs, commute long distances, and make financial sacrifices,” says Lucia.

Lucia remembers that her mother loved helping them with their homework, particularly math. In elementary school, she made them mathematics flash cards. 

“It was always clear to us that she loved math. Numbers intrigued her,” says Lucia. “In later years, she would ask me to make up problems for her to solve! She wanted to go to Las Vegas for her 90th birthday, so we did. Our first night there, she announced to us that she had figured out how to beat a particular slot machine. She was greatly surprised the next morning when she found out that she hadn’t!”

Lucia and John created this endowment to honor Carmelina’s work ethic and love of education. They served as faculty at the university for more than 30 years: John was a professor of chemistry and biochemistry as well as associate dean for academic affairs in the College of Natural Sciences. Lucia was a professor of educational psychology as well as vice provost for undergraduate studies in the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost. They both know the value of education from The University of Texas at Austin and hope this endowment lightens the financial burden for students in their academic pursuits.

John is a member of the College of Natural Sciences Advisory Council, and both he and Lucia are now professors at Santa Clara University in California.

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