October 16, 2006
St. John’s University served as the host site for several events
last week to commemorate Italian Heritage and Culture Month. The
Manhattan campus was host to New York Governor George Pataki’s 12th
Annual Italian Heritage and Culture Month gala on October 12th, one
of many highlights during the week-long celebration.
The event began with a rousing rendition of both the American
and Italian National Anthems by soprano Cristina Fontanelli.
Governor Pataki then followed with opening remarks and
acknowledgements of deserving Italian-Americans who were presented
with the Governor’s Awards for Excellence citing the Italian
Heritage and Culture Month Committee of New York on the occasion of
its 30th anniversary. He also presented special proclamations to
Minister Antonio Bandini, Counsel General of Italy, Dr. Angelo
Gimondo, adjunct professor at St. John’s University and President
of the Italian Heritage and Culture Month Committee, as well as
Joseph Sciame, St. John’s Vice President for Community Affairs.
And, Claudia Massimo Berns, Assistant to the Governor for Italian
Affairs, presented Brian Browne, St. John’s Assistant Vice
President for Government Relations and Director of the Manhattan
campus, with a framed proclamation to commemorate the event.
Pataki expressed his thanks for the past 12 years of dedication
and devotion to the assembled crowd of VIP’s and special guests as
he closed the formal portion of the celebration.
“This is bitter sweet for me hosting my final Italian Heritage
and Culture Month celebration,” said Pataki, as he finishes his
final term in office. “I would like to thank all who have
contributed to the success of this event the past 12 years, and a
special thanks to Joe Sciame and St. John’s University for its
hospitality in hosting the final one.”
Guests were treated to food fair and wines from several Italian
Restaurants in the New York Metropolitan Area.
The St. John’s University Italian Club began the week by
participating in the Columbus Day Parade in Manhattan on October
9th followed by Borough President Helen Marshall’s salute to
Leonardo Da Vinci and awards night for the Italian community on
October 11th at St. John’s Queen’s campus. This special night was
highlighted by an appearance from the 65-member chorus group Corali
Polifoniche Citta di Ercolano traveling from Naples, Italy for the
Finally, the university held a “Dimensions of the Italian
American Experience” roundtable discussion sponsored by the Italian
Cultural Center on October 14th featuring St. John’s Hall of Fame
men’s basketball coach Lou Carnesecca.
For more information on the Italian Heritage Month events,
contact Dominic Scianna, Director of Media Relations by calling
(718) 990-6185 or e-mail inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.