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Service group promotes study
of Italian-American history

A permanently endowed fellowship in Italian-American history has received major support from UNICO National, the nation's largest Italian-American service club.

The Aldo DeDominicis Graduate Fellowship in Italian-American History, in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, will enable outstanding scholars to embark on research toward a Ph.D., while helping to reconstruct the historical experience of the Italian-American communities in the United States.

UNICO National - under the leadership of past president, Frank G. Cannata - has initiated a campaign to fund the graduate fellowship, in an effort to promote and encourage the study of Italian-Americans' contributions to both Italian and American culture and society, and to establish links between the heritage of Americans of Italian descent and the events of modern Italian history.

The goal of the fund-raising campaign is $300,000, half of which may come from matching funds provided by the state under the UConn 2000 program. To date, the group has raised more than $100,000 toward the fellowship from businesses and individuals throughout Connecticut.

The fellowship is named for the founder of New England's first commercial television station, Aldo DeDominicis. In 1948 DeDominicis, a native of Italy, financed and built what is now WTNH-TV8 in New Haven. He also co-founded several radio stations - AM and FM - in Connecticut. The Aldo DeDominicis Foundation, established by DeDominicis to support a variety of educational and charitable causes, made the lead gift for the creation of the DeDominicis Fellowship.

UConn has a strong program in Italian studies, including the Emiliana Pasca Noether Chair of Modern Italian History, the first chair outside Italy that is dedicated to research and teaching in modern Italian history.

The program provides graduate and undergraduate courses and has initiated a number of major research ventures, including an oral history project on memories of World War II among the Italian-American communities of Connecticut and a major international conference on the United States and the liberation of Southern Italy after World War II. The chair is held by John A. Davis, a noted scholar and editor of The Journal of Modern Italian History, the first English-language journal to be devoted exclusively to the study of modern and contemporary Italian history, politics, society and culture. UNICO National was also a major contributor to the Noether Chair.

Gifts in support of the DeDominicis Fellowship may be made payable to The University of Connecticut Foundation Inc. and sent to Al Carrano, associate director of major gifts, U-201.