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Tamburri To Make Inaugural Lecture In De Santis Series

Published: March 15, 2011

“Re-Thinking Italian American Studies in the Third Millennium: Where Have We Been? Where Can We Go?” will be the focus of the inaugural address of the CSULB Frank J. De Santis Lecture Series, beginning at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, March 23, in the university’s Karl Anatol Center.

Established under the aegis of CSULB’s George L. Graziadio Center for Italian Studies, the lecture series is named after De Santis, past national president for the Order Sons of Italy in America who played a key role in establishing the university’s Italian studies center back in 1994.

Delivering the series’ first lecture will be Anthony Julian Tamburri, dean of the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute at Queens College, CUNY, and professor of Italian and comparative literature. Tamburri will address the future of Italian Americans and programs addressing their heritage in educational institutions throughout the United States. He also will outline how the community can work in consort with universities such as CSULB to meet the needs of students.

“This presentation is very timely in view of the renewed interest in Italian studies throughout the United States and the commitment of the Italian government to support efforts to promote Italian language and culture at this time,” said De Santis, who noted that CSULB is the only university in California where students can obtain a credential to teach Italian in California schools.

The aim of the De Santis Lecture Series is to bring the community together once a year on a topic of Italian American interest. The center is in the process of establishing a $250,000 endowment to guarantee that the lecture will be conducted annually as a permanent enhancement to CSULB’s Italian Studies Program.

CSULB is also celebrating the appointment of Professor Clorinda Donato as the new George L. Graziadio Chair of Italian Studies, the first community-funded chair in the United States. Her appointment follows the retirement of former chair Carlo Chiarenza, the first academic to occupy this post.

The George L. Gaziadio Center for Italian Studies is also being recognized by the Italian community for its work in creating academic programs in Italian studies. To date, a bachelor’s of arts degree has been created as well as the credential program. Efforts are also underway to establish a master’s degree in Italian studies.

Frank J. De Santis
Frank J. De Santis

Among the invited lecture guests are The Honorable Nicola Fanganello, consul general of Italy, Los Angeles; Alberto Di Mauro, director of the Italian Cultural Institute, Los Angeles; the Graziadio family; members of the original community committee that collaborated to establish the Graziadio chair; and leaders of the Italian and Italian American communities.

Space is limited. Those interested in attending the De Santis Lecture can call 562/985-4318 or e-mail Cindy McCarty.

–Rick Gloady