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Date: Feb 12, 2008
Queens Italian American Group Creates New Distinguished Professorship at Hofstra
Pellegrino D'Acierno to be invested as Queensboro UNICO Foundation Distinguished Professor of Italian and Italian American StudiesHofstra University, Hempstead, NY – Queensboro Unico, an Italian American service organization, has established a new distinguished professorship in Italian and Italian American studies at Hofstra University. Pellegrino D’Acierno, Ph.D., a professor of Italian and Comparative Literature at Hofstra, will be invested as the first holder of the chair on February 27, 2008, from 3-5 p.m. at the Hofstra University Club, Mack Hall, north campus.
Queensboro Unico is the first chapter of Unico National to have funded a distinguished professorship on its own. Unico National is an Italian American Service Organization with more than 125 chapters nationwide. The Queensboro chapter, which is comprised of more than 60 business people from Brooklyn and Queens, wanted to establish an Italian and Italian American professorship at Hofstra as a way of preserving the Italian and Italian American culture and highlighting Italian American contributions to American life in a positive light.
"The UNICO Professorship is an extraordinary benefit to Hofstra University and to the community of Italianists working at Hofstra - Stan Pugliese, Lori Ultsch, Gregory Pell, Simone Castaldi, Mary Anne Trasciati - and to the current generation of Hofstra students engaged in the study of Italian language, literature and culture,” said Dr. D’Acierno. “It will enable and inspire all of us to make Hofstra a model for the progressive teaching of Italian Studies and Italian American Studies in the United States and a vital center for the dissemination and showcasing of Italian and Italian American culture to both the academic community and the general public."
The idea for this professorship began in 2004, when then Chapter President Salvatore Mendolia attended a Unico National Regional Convention on Eastern Long Island along with Lou DiRico, an assistant to Frank Cannata, the Unico National Director of Italian Studies. The idea was
raised to establish a program of Italian American studies at Hofstra, which enthusiastically welcomed the idea. A contract to establish the distinguished professorship at Hofstra was signed in December of 2004.
Queensboro Unico began an ambitious fund-raising campaign for the professorship by soliciting donations from members and business associates, holding fundraisers such as dinner dances, cigar nights, a night at Shea Stadium and comedy nights at North Fork Theatre. Two $5,000 donations were provided by The National Italian American Foundation and The Coccia Institute.
"There's a saying that 'the measure of success is the legacy you leave behind'. To have that legacy reside at Hofstra University for generations to come provides a great degree of satisfaction for the members of Queensboro Unico," said Unico Professorship Chairman Frank Fabrico.
Dr. D’Acierno directs Hofstra’s Italian Studies program, which he founded soon after coming to Hofstra in 1983, He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in Italian Studies and Comparative Literature, in Comparative Arts and Culture and for Hofstra Honors College. Educated at Columbia University (B.A. 1965, M.A. 1967, Ph.D. 1973), he has a long history of teaching here, having held an assistant professorship in Italian and Comparative Literature (1973-1982) and, more recently, visiting professorships in three different graduate programs: Italian; Architecture, Planning and Preservation; and Comparative Literature and Society. He has also held visiting professorships in various fields at Cornell and New York University and in the graduate schools of architecture at Yale and Rice and at the Southern California Institute of Architecture. Last year he served at NYU as the first Tiro a Segno Visiting Professor in Italian American Studies. He has been awarded fellowships from the Guggenheim Memorial Foundation; the Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America at Columbia University; Villa I Tatti, the Harvard Center for Italian Renaissance Studies; the Fulbright Program; and a Prix de Rome in Post-Classical Humanistic Studies from the American Academy in Rome.
Dr. D’Acierno is the author of five books: “F.T. Marinetti and the Freedom of Poetry” (monograph) published in “European Writers: The Twentieth Century” (Vol. 9) (Scribner's, 1988); “The Itinerary of the Sign: Scenes of Seeing in Giotto's Frescoes in the Scrovegni Chapel” (Southern California Institute of Architecture Press, 1995); “The Italian American Heritage: A Companion to Literature and Arts” (Garland Publishing, 1998); “Thirteen Ways of Crossing the Piazza: Rome as a Cinematic City” (forthcoming, Palgrave Macmillan, 2008), and “The Signature of D’Annunzio and Other Counter-Essays on ‘Dagotude’” (forthcoming, SUNY Press, 2008).
Hofstra University is a dynamic private institution where students can choose from about 145 undergraduate and 155 graduate programs in liberal arts and sciences, business, communication, education and allied human services, and honors studies, as well as a School of Law. With a student-faculty ratio of 14-to-1, our professors teach small classes averaging 22 students that emphasize interaction, critical thinking and analysis. Hofstra offers a faculty whose highest priority is teaching excellence, cutting edge technology, extensive library resources, internships and special educational programs that appeal to their interests and abilities. The Hofstra community is driven, dynamic and energetic, helping students find and focus their strengths to prepare them for a successful future.