In an effort to preserve Italian American culture in a positive light, a group of Italian American business people have joined forces with Hofstra University to create a Professorship in Italian American studies.
Queensboro Unico is a Chapter of Unico National, comprised of over 60 business people from Brooklyn & Queens. Historically, it has taken several Chapters to complete an Italian studies program of this magnitude. Queensboro is the only Ch apter in the history of Unico National to have completed such a program on their own, and in record time.
Unico National is an Italian American Service Organization with over 125 chapters nationwide. One of its primary goals is to establish Italian American study programs in universities throughout the country, as a way of preserving the Italian American culture and highlighting Italian American contributions to American life in a positive light.
The idea for this Professorship began in 2004, when then Chapter President Salvatore Mendolia attended a Unico National Regional Convention on Eastern Long Island, and met with Frank Cannata, the Unico National Director of Italian Studies. Through his many contacts in the field of Italian Studies, Cannata helped to present the idea to several local universities. Soon after, it was a clear where this program would flourish.
Hofstra University enthusiastically welcomed the idea and gave Queensboro Unico incentives to make Hofstra home to this project. The idea was brought to the membership and was well received. In December of 2004 Queensboro Unico & Hofstra University signed a contract to establish thisProfessorship.
At that point, Queensboro Unico went to work, soliciting donations from their membership and their business associates, holding fundraisers such as Dinner Dances, Cigar Nights, a night at Shea Stadium, and Comedy Nights at North Fork Theatre, where money was raised and donations were received. In addition, $5,000 donations were provided by The National Italian American Foundation, NIAF, and by The Coccia Institute.
The Professorship began under the presidency of Salvatore D. Mendolia, a self made entrepreneur and real estate developer. Mendolia, who didn’t have the privilege of a college education, always valued its importance to America’s youth. It was his commitment to education that was the driving force behind the Professorship from inception to completion.
“This Professorship was completed because of the hard work and dedication of the members ofQueensboro Unico and the partnership that was developed with Hofstra University. It was the energy created between Queensboro & Hofstra that allowed us to complete a 5 year campaign in 2 ½ years” states the Professorship Chairman, Frank Fabrico.
And it is befitting that the Professorship will be completed under the leadership of the current Queensboro Unico President, Joseph Corsini. From the beginning, Corsini quietly contributed his time and resources to the Professorship in a big way.
Since December of 2004, several members of Queensboro Unico have visited with the Italian American student organization on campus, CIAO, in an effort to find out what type of programs the students would like to see presented under this Professorship. Queensboro Unico is also looking forward to a long lasting academic relationship with Hofstra University.
Professorship Chairman Frank Fabrico commented that “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”.