This month, Penn State Worthington Scranton, in partnership with the Scranton Chapter of UNICO National, kicked off a three-part Italian Heritage Series with a presentation on Italian Immigration to the United States/Northern Italian Cuisine.
Stephanie Longo, a local newspaper correspondent, freelance interpreter and author, spoke to over 100 students, faculty, staff and UNICO members and their guests on the Italian experience in America and in Pennsylvania, highlighting the experience of Italian immigrants who settled in Northeastern Pennsylvania.
Those who attended also received a sampling of some authentic northern Italian cuisine, which included risotto and eggplant parmigiana.
The full series will consist of several lectures on the Italian experience, covering initial immigration to hostility and discrimination to third-generation assimilation.
Two more sessions are scheduled for this semester including one on March 15 and another on April 14.
The program was made possible thanks to a permanent endowment established by the Scranton Chapter of UNICO National. The endowment specifically funds a three-tiered program in Italian Studies, Heritage and Culture at Worthington Scranton that focuses on academics, co-curricular and out-of-classroom experiences, as well as community outreach.
The program is designed to complement the campus' existing cultural offerings in Spanish, French, German and Chinese, while expanding learning opportunities for students and community members interested in furthering their knowledge of Italian culture and heritage.
"In the past, Worthington Scranton offered Italian language courses, which were very well-received ," said Dr. Mary-Beth Krogh-Jespersen, Worthington Scranton's chancellor. "This endowment from UNICO allows the campus to expand upon this existing interest by creating additional opportunities for cultural enrichment, particularly for those interested in further exploring Italian history, heritage and culture."
"UNICO's generosity will allow us to make Italian studies an integral part of our campus' curriculum in perpetuity," she added.
UNICO National is an Italian American, membership-based service organization that works to increase the prestige of the Italian American community through its activities and volunteer efforts in the community and for various charities, as well as scholarship awards, fundraising efforts and holiday observances.
Penn State Worthington Scranton and the Scranton Chapter of UNICO National have enjoyed a very positive relationship for the past several years by virtue of an endowed scholarship the group created in 2002. This fund has been of tremendous assistance in helping local students pursue a Penn State education close to home.