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Posts from the ‘Italy’ Category

RMU Celebrates Italian Heritage Month

In celebration of Italian Heritage Month, RMU recently hosted historian, educator, and author of Italian culture, Sam Patti.

Patti, the founder and operator of La Prima Espresso Company in Pittsburgh’s historic Strip District, has spoken around the country on the intricacies of the Italian culture. His presentation, “Italian American studies from 3rd generation and beyond,” focuses on how younger Italian Americans view their heritage and the traditions that were brought here and passed down by earlier generations.

Patti noted how America is a nation of immigrants, and that immigration is just as relevant today as it was a century ago. “It’s a political ball that people are passing around,” he said. “Just look at what’s happening in Arizona.”

He said that early Italian immigrants, as well as those of other backgrounds, were influential in shaping the America that we know today. “Think about what it was like to be an immigrant in 1907… All they had was hope. But they also brought strength and opportunity with them.

“There is such a distance from the earlier generations to kids today,” said Patti. “I’m interested in how these young people want to stay connected with their heritage. The new Italian culture is in the hands of the young,” he added. “We have to listen to them about where they see it going.”

One of these young Italian Americans is Maria Satira, founder and president of RMU’s new Italian heritage club. Officially known as Voci Italiane, or “Italian Voices,” the new club will work to share the positive aspects of Italian heritage and serve as a resource for students of Italian decent and others who may be interested in Italian culture.

Satira, a junior from Murrysville, Pa., with a double major in journalism and television production, said that she hopes this new organization will encourage RMU’s students of Italian heritage to develop a stronger connection to their family history and help preserve Italian tradition.

“I decided to start the organization because I wanted to learn about my own culture through others’ experiences and traditions. I have a very big, very Italian family, and I want to expand that to my own Italian family at RMU.

Voci Italiane already has many ideas in the works for the rest of the year, such as inviting speakers and poets, hosting a bocce tournament, volunteering at the Italian-American section of the Sen. John Heinz History Center, serving a spaghetti dinner at a homeless shelter, visiting the Strip District on an early Saturday morning, and bringing Italian lessons to the university.

“Italian culture is so fun and interesting to learn about,” said Satira “We have historical Italian groups and areas all over Pittsburgh, and I would love to be able to bring that atmosphere to RMU.”

Patti also touched how it’s actually easier for people to stay connected with their heritage today, thanks to technological advances like cell phones, the Internet, and valuable genealogy websites. “We haven’t abandoned our heritage,” he said, “we’ve just replugged into it.”

When asked why he thought it was important for young people to stay connected with their past, Patti shared a question of his own: “How do we know where we’re going if we don’t know where we came from?”

For more information, visit the RMU Multicultural Student Services page on

Written by Valentine J. Brkich

…and so, we hope, are the Italians

RMU decided to extend a formal invitation to Homecoming to another delegation visiting Pittsburgh for the G-20 Summit, a.k.a the Pittsburgh Summit. This time it’s Italy, which as you can see from the letter below has a special connection this year to RMU:

His Excellency Giovanni Castellaneta
Italian Ambassador to the United States
Italian Embassy
3000 Whitehaven Street, N.W.Washington, DC 20008

Dear Ambassador Castellaneta:

As Pittsburgh prepares to welcome the world’s leaders for the G-20 summit, it is my pleasure as the president of Robert Morris University to invite your delegation to attend our annual Homecoming celebration on Saturday, September 26, the day after the summit is completed. We would be honored for you to meet two Italian students who are studying at RMU this year, Berardo Artieri and Luca Lugini.

Berardo and Lugini were students at the University of L’Aquila in April when the university was heavily damaged in an earthquake. RMU has gladly agreed to pay the cost of their tuition so they can continue their studies, and I am pleased to tell you that they have made an excellent impression on our faculty and staff.

Berardo and Lugini came to the United States through the efforts of the American Italian Cultural Institute of Pittsburgh, which was co-founded by Joseph D’Andrea, a former honorary Italian consul to Pittsburgh. Joseph is a great friend of mine and this university, and in May we awarded him an honorary degree at our commencement ceremony.

Homecoming is a wonderful American tradition, with great food, music and an American football game. The students will elect a Homecoming king and queen, and graduates of the university visit for reunions with their former classmates. We would welcome your delegation as my special guests to meet Berardo and Luca and enjoy a relaxing day before they travel back home. Personally, I am eager to repay the hospitality my wife, Polly, and I experienced when we traveled to Italy last winter to visit our students studying abroad and make connections with your universities.

RMU is very close to the Pittsburgh airport, and we would be glad to make all transportation arrangements for your group’s visit, on Homecoming or on another day. If your schedule is too full, we would be pleased to meet you at your convenience to share ideas about how Robert Morris University can strengthen its commitment to giving its students a global perspective.

I wish you a pleasant and productive visit to Pittsburgh, and sincerely hope to have a chance to welcome you to RMU.


Gregory G. Dell’Omo, Ph.D.President, Robert Morris University

— Jonathan Potts