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Nazareth names Casa Italiana cultural center after Rochester Business leader Frank DiMino

Published September 22, 2023

At a ceremony kicking off its Centennial Celebration, Nazareth University today announced that it has received a major gift in support of the University's Casa Italiana cultural center. In recognition of the support from the Frank DiMino Foundation — which has made a generous gift of $1.5 million to the Casa — Nazareth University's Italian cultural center will now be known as the Frank DiMino Casa Italiana.

The Frank DiMino Casa Italiana has been a gathering place for Nazareth students and the Italian community of Rochester and beyond since opening in 1978. The Casa has hosted visitors from Italy, including students, guest faculty, writers, musicians, artists, and dancers – all of whom have educated, entertained, and inspired Casa guests through activities like Italian language and cooking classes, cultural events, and community camps.

The gift will ensure a vibrant future for The Frank DiMino Casa Italiana — a center for the Rochester community and Nazareth students to study, appreciate, and celebrate the Italian and Italian American experience. It will also be used to fund annual student scholarships for Nazareth and Italian students in the Pescara, Italy exchange program and to support the directorship of the Casa.

"There's no more fitting way to kick off Nazareth University's two-year centennial celebration than to honor the incredible generosity and support the Frank DiMino Foundation has provided to support the Frank DiMino Casa Italiana," said Beth Paul, president, Nazareth University. "Our centennial celebration certainly has a reflective, historic aspect to it, which is evident in the nearly 45 years that the Casa Italiana has been a treasured center of education, inspiration, and community on our campus. But our centennial celebration is also forward looking and focused on the next 100 years of Nazareth – and this gift ensures an incredible future for the Frank DiMino Casa Italiana as it furthers its mission of helping our students study, appreciate, and celebrate the Italian and Italian American experience."

"Few, if any, colleges or universities have a resource like the Frank DiMino Casa Italiana, and we're truly grateful that this unique facet of Nazareth University will continue to help us stand out and foster integrated learning through action and reflection, educating whole persons who are guided by empathy, committed to equity, and prepared to lead innovation for our time," added President Paul.

The Frank DiMino Casa Italiana is a resource for all students and alumni, whether they are of Italian ancestry or are "citizens of the world;" interested in learning more about Italy and its people. The Casa offers a broad range of educational, social, and cultural programs related to Italy, including undergraduate credit courses as well as non-credit classes in the study of the Italian language, and study abroad programs for students to further their studies at universities in Italy.

The Italian program at Nazareth University has produced the majority of middle and high school Italian teachers in the region, many of whom are still connected to Casa and collaborate with us. Just last semester the Casa Italiana hosted about 80 highschoolers from the Greece School District's Italian program.

The Pescara study abroad program has enabled countless visiting students from Pescara to improve their English proficiency by coming to Nazareth for an international experience — for many of these students it was their first opportunity to travel abroad. Likewise, Nazareth students who study in Pescara (short-term in the summer or for an entire semester) are able to broaden their academic horizons by taking courses in any of their fields of interest at the University G. d'Annunzio of Chieti-Pescara and to have a practical internship experience in Italy.

The Casa also hosts a variety of programming for children including La Scuola Italiana (Italian School language classes offered once a week) and an Italian Language and Arts Day Camp during the summer.

"The Frank DiMino Foundation wishes to maintain and grow the rich Italian language, culture, music, and cultural curriculum at Nazareth University for the next 100 years, and we're pleased that this gift will help make this possible," said Darren Bardell, executive director of the Frank DiMino Foundation. "Nazareth University often speaks of the importance of change makers and making an impact on society. The positive change and impact that Italians and Italian Americans have had on the world is immense, and it's exciting that the Frank DiMino Casa Italiana will play a key role in furthering this impact."

For More Information

Julie Long | Senior News & PR Officer | | (585) 389-2456 | (585) 781-8186 (cell)

Nazareth University is an inclusive community of inspired learners, educators, and changemakers who for nearly 100 years have been driven by a bold commitment to action, empathy, equity, and leading innovation for the common good. Impact experiences are at the heart of a Nazareth education, preparing each student to discover within themselves the potential to cultivate positive change in their life's work, in any career field, and in a world that is constantly evolving and infinitely interconnected.

Our broad academic offerings present a range of study options typical of larger universities, yet achieved in our supportive campus culture. Nearly 2,100 undergrad and 600 graduate students enroll in degree and certificate programs and engage in collaborative, transformative learning experiences, preparing for the professions and society of today and tomorrow. In a learning community that purposefully integrates liberal arts and professional programs, Nazareth University graduates are able to launch a lifetime of impactful leadership in communities and workplaces near and far.