Pellegri Grant

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The National Italian American Foundation is pleased to announce today a $500,000 grant from the late Ernest L. Pellegri, one of the Foundation’s donors, to the University of Maryland’s Department of Classics. Their project entitled, “Between Washington and Ancient Rome: The NIAF Pellegri Program on Roman Antiquity and Its Legacy in America,” was selected to receive the NIAF Ernest Pellegri Grant to support the study of Latin, ancient Roman archeology, and ancient Roman civilization; and to offer opportunities for students to study abroad, conduct research, and pursue fellowships in the United States and Italy.

“NIAF Chairman Joseph V. Del Raso, President John M. Viola and the Board of Directors are pleased to award one of the largest grants in our Foundation’s history to such a prestigious educational institution,” NIAF Chair of the Education and Scholarship Committee Anita Bevacqua McBride said. “NIAF’s leadership was thrilled to review the many outstanding proposals from respected universities that support the robust study of Classics. Through the NIAF Ernest Pellegri Grant and the program outlined by the University of Maryland, we have the opportunity to make a long-term impact on the study of Latin and its scholarship. Scholars and students will connect the ancient remains of the Roman past found in Italy today, and the formation of our American identity as recognized by our founding fathers through their ideas, documents, and monuments that formed our nation.”

“This generous grant exemplifies the expertise of classics faculty and allows us to capitalize on our proximity to Washington, D.C.,” said ARHU Dean Bonnie Thornton Dill. “This partnership is a logical extension and complement to the ways the faculty blend scholarship, teaching and community engagement to strengthen the study of Latin and promote its relevance to our modern lives.”

The University of Maryland’s five-year proposal will enhance its existing study abroad for both undergraduate and graduate students in Italy, as well as create new opportunities for students to participate in additional research on the Roman past. The proposal further encourages the study of Latin and Classics by supporting graduate students who serve as high school educators in the Washington Metropolitan Area.

Twenty-five prominent colleges and universities across the United States and in Italy submitted proposals for the development and implementation of the program(s) outlined in the grant. They were evaluated based on the compatibility with NIAF’s mission; the overall expertise and experience of their faculty and staff to design and implement a comprehensive program; as well as the impact of the program on students, university departments and NIAF.

NIAF has awarded millions of dollars in scholarships and cultural and language grants throughout the Foundation’s 39-year history. The NIAF Educational Program grants advance the understanding and preservation of Italian and Italian American heritage and culture; develop new information on social, cultural, economic and ethnic characteristics of Italian and Italian Americans; and foster increased United States- Italy relations and greater bonds among ethnic communities nationwide.

The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit, nonpartisan educational foundation that promotes Italian American culture and heritage. NIAF serves as a resource on the Italian American community and has educational and youth programs including scholarships, grants, heritage travel, and mentoring. NIAF is also the voice for Italian Americans in Washington, DC and works closely with the Italian American Congressional Delegation and the White House. NIAF’s mission includes advancing US – Italy business, political, and cultural relations and has a business council that promotes networking with corporate leaders. The NIAF was founded in 1975 as a non-profit organization in Washington, DC. It is entirely non-partisan. Visit

The University of Maryland is the state’s flagship university and one of the nation’s preeminent public research universities. A global leader in research, entrepreneurship and innovation, the university is home to more than 37,000 students, 9,000 faculty and staff, and 250 academic programs. Its faculty includes three Nobel laureates, two Pulitzer Prize winners, 49 members of the national academies and scores of Fulbright scholars. The institution has a $1.8 billion operating budget, secures $500 million annually in external research funding and recently completed a $1 billion fundraising campaign.

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