Dear H-Net Subscribers---This is a fundraising message. Why am I sending it to modestly-paid academic types who don't live in the Chicago Area? The purpose of the fundraising is to create an endowed professorship of Italian American Studies at Loyola University. For people like us that is a job creation program that will give a job in perpetuity to an Italian American scholar. H-Net subscribers comprise the audience best able to understand and appreciate the goals of this project. As chair of the de facto fundraising committee, I am looking to you for a little financial support and a lot of moral support for this project. It would be very encouraging to our committee for me to be able to say that we had hundreds of (albeit small) donations from scholars around the country. How about it? $25 $50 $100--no contribution too large or too small, See the online and US Postal service options for donating at the end of this email. Hopefully--Dominic
Email me or phone me at 847-951-9109.
Loyola University Chicago-Campaign to Create an Endowed Professorship of Italian American Studies
DOMINIC CANDELORO (April 29, 2013)
The Campaign for an endowed chair in Italian American Studies at Loyola University Chicago was launched with a feature article in Fra Noi "Rising to the Challenge." The slogan "Your Past Deserves a Future," says it all.
We hit it off perfectly. There was complete understanding and agreement on the need to preserve and promote Italian American culture AND on the role that Loyola could play. We also explored the idea that Loyola and Casa Italia, with its library and cultural activities, would make a great partnership for this project. Moreover, Loyola’s Italian language and literature program, its history offerings, and the John Felice Rome Center (which attracts more foreign university students than any other institution in Italy) would be a perfect complement to the Italian American professorship.Could we raise the money? As important as the study of Italian American history/culture might be, it would never become a self-sufficient element in the University. With the pressure on students to take required and career-oriented courses, enrollment itself would be inadequate. Like a lot of specialized materials---the Greek and Roman Classics, Centers in Ethnic and Religious Studies, and other esoteric fields, an Italian American studies program would need to be endowed by this generation to preserve it for future generations. www.LUC.edu/italianamerican/
The history and culture and even the memory of our ancestors is at risk of being lost. No, I don’t mean Leonardo and Michelangelo or even the Roman Empire. I mean the epic story of our immigrant grandfathers and grandmothers, our parents who built the Little Italies and even us who are living the American dreams of our ancestors. Emigration from Italy and immigration to the US is one of the most powerful forces in the histories of both countries. But most Italian Americans (admit it!)---have only the foggiest notion of general Italian American history. With the exception of a few avid genealogists, Italian Americans know very little about their own family histories. How can we prevent loss of our ethnic heritage?
It’s really a no-brainer: We invest in our cause and we turn to our major, established cultural institutions to find partners who will invest in our cause. Just as universities, museums, and libraries keep alive the culture, history, learning and languages of the past, they can preserve the essence of the Italian American culture. OUR culture. As a person who has been connected to universities since I trundled off to Northwestern in 1958, my solution to this problem is to turn to a major University.
A few years ago, the Sicilian American Cultural Association honored Fr. Michael Garanzini, S.J., the dynamic President and CEO of Loyola University Chicago. He is a proud Italian American who grew up near St. Louis’Hill neighborhood. In the Q & A that followed his presentation, I asked him if he were open to an endowed professorship of Italian American studies at Loyola. Without hesitation he said, “Yes! I’ll match donation from the Italian American community at the level that it takes to make it happen.” Visions of sugar plums danced in my head---here was the golden opportunity to continue all the good work done at the Casa Library and the Italians in Chicago Project.
Unfortunately, health problems and academic tasks diverted my attention from the golden opportunity. One of those tasks was the editing and publishing of “Reconstructing Italians in Chicago: Thirty Authors in Search of Roots and Branches.” One of those authors was Robert “Mickey” Lombardo, Associate Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Loyola. When the book was finally published in 2011, I (remembering the SACA encounter) suggested that Mickey make a presentation of the book to President Garanzini. A luncheon was arranged at the President’s residence. Lombardo and I, accompanied by legendary Italian American leader Anthony J. Fornelli were treated to a small informal lunch with Fr. Garanzini and a few other Loyola officials including Art Lurigio, Associate Dean for Faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences.
We hit it off perfectly. There was complete understanding and agreement on the need to preserve and promote Italian American culture AND on the role that Loyola could play. We also explored the idea that Loyola and Casa Italia, with its library and cultural activities, would make a great partnership for this project. Moreover, Loyola’s Italian language and literature program, its history offerings, and the John Felice Rome Center (which attracts more foreign university students than any other institution in Italy) would be a perfect complement to the Italian American professorship.
Could we raise the money? As important as the study of Italian American history/culture might be, it would never become a self-sufficient element in the University. With the pressure on students to take required and career-oriented courses, enrollment itself would be inadequate. Like a lot of specialized materials---the Greek and Roman Classics, Centers in Ethnic and Religious Studies, and other esoteric fields, an Italian American studies program would need to be endowed by this generation to preserve it for future generations.
Could we do it? There are 300,000 people of Italian descent in the Chicago area, about 700,000 in the state. There are a number of high-profile, wealthy Italian Americans. In many cases of endowed professorships, wealthy individuals and families come forward with gifts over $200,000, allowing them to attach their family name to the professorship---We should be so lucky! There are over two hundred Italian American clubs in the Chicago area that could be called upon for support. The vast majority of our co-ethnics are middle class or better---easily able to afford donations. And finally, we could ask each of the 300,000 in the Chicago area to pay a small “tax” to support the project.
In January of 2013, our ad hoc committee and the Loyola Advancement Office worked out the broad outlines of the campaign, creating a brochure and a webpage, and setting the fund-raising goal at Funds raised by the Italian American community will be matched dollar for dollar by Loyola to create an endowed professorship in partnership with Casa Italia—permanently preserving our culture. Thus, achieving the goal of linking our legacy to a major university ---a 150 year old institution with an unlimited future.
Shortly after our January meeting, the committee formally announced the campaign to the community through a press release and photo in the March issue of Fra Noi. Composed of attorney Leonard Amari, former Chicago Heights Mayor Angelo Ciambrone, Casa Italia Executive Director Vito D’Ambrosio, attorney and Fra Noi publisher Anthony J. Fornelli, Loyola assistant director of development Abby Leng, Metropolitan Planning Council project manager Marisa Novara, City of Chicago chief technology officer John Tolva, Casa Italia chair and president of Turano Baking Company, Tony Turano, Senator Renato Turano, and myself, the committee has sent out a call for all Italian Americans in the Chicago Area to support this momentous initiative. The group will conduct a multi-level fundraising campaign beginning with a focus on major gifts with. The committee declared its intention to achieve the fundraising goal prior to Columbus Day 2015.
Is this an unrealistic plan? We are heartened by the fact that our Italian American friends in New York, New Jersey, Ohio, and California HAVE already raised money for and established endowed Italian American studies programs. Loyola and Chicago Italians would join, SUNY Stony Brook (Sen. D’Amato Chair), Seaton Hall University (LaMotta Chair), Hofstra, Queens College, U-Cal Long Beach (Graziadio Chair), and John Carroll University (Bishop Pila Chair) in establishing a permanent home for study of the Italian American legacy.
We are just getting off the ground, but frankly, it’s not been easy. To me, it is a no brainer: Universities are the most important institutions we have. Our culture is at risk. We have a generous offer to help preserve our culture at a well-established, thriving university. We, as a group, can afford it. End of Story?
Not Quite. The amount of money that we are talking about is unprecedented. Not since the time of Fr. Pierini and Villa Scalabrini has the Italian community been asked to support such an ambitious project. Small donations here and there will not, by themselves, hit the marks. Support has to be broad---everyone must contribute something. Everyone must buy into the project. If you have read this far into this report, you are probably a good prospect to serve on the committee, or get your club to run a fundraiser in support of the project. Contact us at 847-951-9109 or Candeloro@CasaItaliaChicago.org
The organizing members of our groups are committed to the project. We will come to your house and wash your windows, cut your grass, or babysit your kids, if you make a contribution.
To make a Tax Deductible contribution or learn more about the project contact Abby Leng at 312.915.7942 or akoepfle@LUC.edu or visit Loyola’s Italian American website at www.LUC.edu/italianamerican/. Or mail your check to Abby Leng, Development Office, Loyola University, 420, N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60611...Make the check payable to Loyola University Chicago with a notation in the memo "Italian American Studies."
Send comments and questions to H-Net
Webstaff. H-Net reproduces announcements that have been submitted to us as a
free service to the academic community. If you are interested in an announcement
listed here, please contact the organizers or patrons directly. Though we strive
to provide accurate information, H-Net cannot accept responsibility for the text of
announcements appearing in this service. (Administration)