Ferrucci Fellow Dr. Marco Panza Honored with New Endowed Chair

During a recent conference to celebrate Chapman’s new Doctor of Science in Mathematics, Philosophy and Physics (MPP), Chapman University Dr. Marco Panza, the program’s founding director, was awarded the new Kennedy Chair in Philosophy.

When asked about how growing up and being educated in Italy influenced his thinking and work, Dr. Panza expressed his debt toward two types of school: “my Italian high school, Il Liceo Scientifico Galileo Ferraris of Varese,” and “the PCI of the 1970s, which was a real school of life for me, independently of the specific political ideas.” Dr. Panza also likes to recall how influential it was for him the fact that “historicism and analytical philosophy were discussed jointly in Italian academia,” namely “the idea that there is no philosophy without a history of philosophy and no mathematics without a history of mathematics (though they remain different things).” Finally, he fondly acknowledges “the sense of friendship, where an intellectual collaboration is firstly an experience of life.” These influences are examples of Italian intellectual legacies that have flowed into the inception and conceptualization of the idea for MPP, for which Dr. Panza also acknowledged Benedetto Croce and Federigo Enriques, two key figures for him.

With the newly established endowed chair, Dr. Panza intends to reinforce a community of scholars and friends.

Below, Dr. Panza, the first one to the left, during the ceremony.

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Dr. Pacchioni Speaks at Italy in Transit

Dr. Federico Pacchioni was invited to speak in the plenary session of the 8th annual international symposium Italy in Transit at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton about Italy’s popular puppet theater. The title of his talk was “Italian Puppetry Across Borders.”

Italy in Transit is organized by the FAU Italian Studies Program in collaboration with the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute (New York) and the FAU Initiative for the Study of the Americas, under the patronage of the Consulate General of Italy in Miami.

Program: https://www.fau.edu/artsandletters/llcl/italian/symposium

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The Ferrucci Institute Highlighted in 2024 State of the University Address

The Ferrucci Institute for Italian Experience and Research was highlighted several times during the recent State of the University Address as an example of academic excellence.

Toward the beginning of the presentation, when providing examples of germinal initiatives that are having an intellectual “cascade effect” and creating momentum for the institution, President Struppa spoke of the Ferrucci Institute as “a very exciting venture” and a type of “structure that will allow people from different parts of the campus to work together and expand their ideas” (0:35:40).

Following, when outlining recent progress in advancing the strategic goal of Academic Excellence and “key areas” Chapman University is investing in and growing, Executive Vice President Matt Parlow spoke of the Ferrucci Institute as “an interdisciplinary institute… that brings scholars and students from all over Chapman together not just to study and do research here but actually to go out to Italy and do more there,” and underscored the institute’s role in advancing global citizenship at Chapman (minute 1:01:00).

Watch the full video recording or only the highlights.

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January Abroad: Chapman Students Carry on Field Research in Rome

Rome is the quintessential site for examining the evolution of various cultural phenomena across millennia, the structuring of political power, intertextual relationships in virtually all of the arts, the development of religion, the aesthetic exploration of place, and more. The city stands as a theater of humanity where themes and questions can be explored within a deep historical spectrum, where artists and scholars are tested in their capacity to comprehend and relate to a tremendous complexity unfolding before their eyes and to the very essence of culture and human time.

This January, a group of Chapman students across various majors spent two weeks visiting Rome’s major museums and most representative neighborhoods while designing and carrying out individual projects. The travel course is the fruit of a collaboration between Chapman’s Ferrucci Institute for Italian Experience and Research and the Borromini Institute in Rome. Students under the mentorship of Dr. Federico Pacchioni, interviewed experts in various fields, and collaborated with Italian peers from local universities.

In the words of one of the students attending, Lauren Moyle, who is double-majoring in Creative Writing and History and minoring in Italian Studies: “To explore and study the past in a city so full of its presence at every turn was an experience I will never forget. Of the Eternal City, poet Percy Bysshe Shelley wrote: ‘Come to Rome——it is a scene by which expression is overpowered which words cannot convey.’ I have found this sentiment to be true, and I urge all those who can to come to Rome as well. It is a city that will remain eternal within me.”

Another student, Kelly Taylor, majoring in History and Creative Writing and minoring in Honors, reflects, “I keep thinking about the quote on John Keats’s tombstone: ‘Here lies One Whose Name was writ in Water.’ I hear it repeated over and over in my head as I walk around the city. We all want to be remembered. Names without faces. Faces without names. And some in the invisible spaces who will never be recovered, seen, or called. But they can be felt. Here, in Rome, we remember. We remember humanity. And we experience it.”

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Memories from Paul’s Pasta Piazza Party

The recent revival of Paul’s Pasta Piazza Party at Chapman University was a heartwarming scene, symbolizing the joyous return of a traditional and cherished celebration. Amid the gentle embrace of autumn weather, the event unfolded in an atmosphere brimming with camaraderie and anticipation. For a magical afternoon, Attallah Piazza transformed into a bustling Italian square filled with delicious aromas and a lively crowd of students and community members alike. Everyone came together to revel in the shared love for Italian culture and cuisine and to enjoy life’s simple pleasures in the Italian way! 

A huge GRAZIE to our amazing hostess, Marybelle Musco, who continues to give so much to our Chapman Italian Studies family. Many thanks to the Italian Club for contributing to this celebration, DJ Angelo and accordionist Linda Herman for the upbeat music!

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A Semester of La Serata: Italian Gestures, Dance, and Games

Embarking on a cultural journey, our La Serata events transcend the boundaries of traditional language learning. This semester, we started by delving into the unspoken language of Italian hand gestures. Participants discovered the fascinating world where conversations flourish without uttering a single word and learned about the importance of this other part of the Italian language! 

The journey continued with a rhythmic exploration of Sicilian culture. Guided by the enchanting Michela Musolino, students swayed to the beats of traditional Sicilian dance and music. The workshop unfolded the stories behind each step, weaving a narrative of a region rich in history, tradition, and artistic expression. Michela’s expertise transported us to the sun-soaked landscapes of Sicily, leaving an indelible mark on our understanding of Italian heritage.

Finally, in December, we gathered to share holiday cheer and camaraderie through the most quintessentially Italian pastime: Tombola. Laughter echoed as students eagerly engaged in this time-honored game, creating bonds that transcended cultural boundaries. Tombola became more than just a game; it became a celebration of community, a festive conclusion to a semester dedicated to exploring the multifaceted facets of Italian identity.

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Alumni Letters – Ayuj Consul: Chapman, Italy, India

It was a joy hearing from  Italian Studies/Dodge alum Ayuj Consul! Ayuj has always been a dedicated learner of Italian. Now, he continues this interest post-graduation in his hometown, New Delhi, in connection to his artistic pursuits. 

“After graduating from Chapman in 2022, I returned to New Delhi, India. I knew that wherever I lived, I wanted to continue building on my connection with the Italian language and culture. However, at the time, I didn’t know any places in Delhi where I could continue my Italian journey.

Searching for cultural events, I discovered the Istituto Italiano della Cultura (Italian Cultural Center) here in New Delhi. There, I attended concerts, film screenings, and art exhibits; most memorably, I attended a retrospective dedicated to the films of Pier Paolo Pasolini, where I had the honor of meeting the Italian Ambassador to India. I got to know new teachers and other institute staff who were all Italians posted in India. The discussions with them were invaluable, we shared a deep admiration for each other’s country and culture. More recently, I have also been involved with the Institute’s activities, volunteering as a film curator and presenter for their screenings. The screenings and introductory notes I prepare for them are a way to share my love for Italy and her cinema with the people of Delhi, in my mind, doing my little bit to bring the two countries that much closer.

My work as a writer, artist, and filmmaker continues to be influenced by my time studying Italian at Chapman and a summer I spent on the Italian immersion travel course to southern Italy. Earlier this year, I had an article and photos describing my impressions of Salento published by Globally Rooted Magazine. I also continue to write poems, stories, and ideas for films in Italian that I hope to develop into larger projects one day.

More than anything, learning Italian has served as a bridge to a whole treasure of knowledge that would otherwise be inaccessible to me. There are many Italian books, lectures, and interviews with artists that haven’t been translated into English and would thus be opaque to me if not for my time studying the language. Overall, I believe that the connections – personal, professional, intellectual – that I have built over Italian are some of the most meaningful to me, and I am incredibly grateful to the Italian Studies program and my professors for building a platform from which I could embark upon this journey.”

Grazie Ayuj! Tienici informati e auguri per tutto! 
– I professori di Chapman Italian Studies

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Ferrucci Institute’s Windows to Italy Talk Series is Launched!

This September saw the start of a new talk series dedicated to exploring new ways of thinking about Italy. The series, organized in partnership with the Leatherby Libraries, consists of four annual talks alternating renowned scholars from outside Chapman and Ferrucci Institute Fellows who are interfacing with Italy from their disciplinary angles.

Introducing the series’s concept, Institute Director Dr. Federico Pacchioni said: “We are all familiar with the symbol of the window, omnipresent on the Chapman campus, known by the Latin word fenestra. Fenestra now turns into the Italian finestra as we come together to intellectually glimpse new Italian vistas and, simultaneously, ideas that can help us return to humanistic and interdisciplinary teaching and learning with a fresh pair of eyes.”

The inaugural talk was delivered by Dr. Thomas Harrison from UCLA, author of the acclaimed book Of Bridges: A Poetic and Philosophical Account (Chicago University Press, 2021). In the words of John Razzano, Chair of the Institute’s Leadership Board, “Dr. Harrison’s talk centered on the importance of bridges in Italy. He examined the use of bridges in a physical sense, with the Italian peninsula itself acting as a bridge, the metaphor of bridges in time and space in literature and poetry, and finally, the imagery of bridges in film.” Indeed, the bridge is a core symbol in the mission of the Ferrucci Institute, evoking “the link between Chapman and Italy, between fields of knowledge, and between generations,” as can be read on the homepage.

The audience had a good representation of faculty, senior administrators, including Provost Norma Bouchard and President Daniele Struppa, and students. The professors present came from various departments and schools, including engineering, theater, music, mathematics, food science, history, and philosophy, demonstrating the Ferrucci Institute’s strides in activating the intellectual potential of Italy as a transdisciplinary reservoir and common ground.

The series will resume on October 18 with a talk by Dr. Bouchard titled “The Global Italian Diaspora: Texts and Contexts of Italianness in an Era of Global Migration.” For more details, click here.

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The Larger Chapman Italian Studies Community Celebrates the Start of the Academic Year at Festa d’Autunno

A couple of weeks ago, the Chapman Italian Studies Community gathered at the beautiful home of Vicky and Michael Carabini in Corona del Mar to celebrate Festa d’Autunno. Long tables adorned with fall colors were set up in the yard welcoming students, alumni, faculty, and community members on a beautiful day with clear skies. Guests enjoyed a wonderful array of Italian dishes that showcased the diversity and richness of Italian gastronomy, all accompanied by enchanting music. The afternoon began with a performance of the Italian national anthem performed by Gino Gaudio, which many were quick to join in on. Later in the afternoon, talented Chapman students performed traditional Italian operas. The enchanting melodies and beautiful lyrics added an extra layer of festivity to the occasion, making it even more special.

While the food and the music were amazing, the company was even better. Students had the opportunity to speak with some important guests, such as the Consul General of Italy, Raffaella Valentini, and the Director of the Italian Cultural Institute, Emanuele Amendola, as well as Chapman’s former president, Jim Doti. Members of the Italian Studies Council and the Ferrucci Institute also mingled with students and community members over their love and knowledge of Italian language and culture.

Festa d’Autunno is a beautiful example of how Italy’s rich cultures and traditions are intertwined with everyday life even in a school setting in Southern California! This celebration offered students the chance to indulge in delicious food, bond with their peers, and immerse themselves in the country’s evergrowing heritage.

The Italian Program is very grateful to all its supporters and, in particular, to Vicky and Michael Carabini for their generosity in organizing this event.

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Chapman Students Explore the Subpeninsula of Italy

This summer, Chapman’s Italian Studies Program offered its signature language immersion travel course. The course offers students the unique opportunity to connect deeply with a specific area of Italy, one defined by unique geographic and historical features, while developing their language skills and cultural knowledge.

This summer, the course explored Salento, the southern part of Puglia, with the elegant city of Lecce as its base. Once again, the Marybelle and Paul Musco Endowment for Travel Courses provided significant financial support for the course and allowed all deserving students to participate. In addition, thanks to the educational resources provided by the Ferrucci Institute, students were able to develop unique scholarly and creative projects through mentorship and interviews with artists and leaders in the community.

Several local experts in fields ranging from artisanal skills, cuisine, art history, and tourism contributed to the rich schedule of lessons, including tours of major cities and historical sites, craft workshops, and naturalistic excursions. The program was designed in partnership with Libera Università Mediterranea, which also provided linguistic training tailored to the student’s levels. Modeled on an experiential education approach, the course also included homestays with local families and personalized projects building on the student’s individual journeys.

The innovative model of this travel course continues to prove effective in enabling students to develop a complete and enduring relationship with Italy and to understand the degree of cultural and natural diversity present in the Italian peninsula; this knowledge and direct relationship hold the potential for the integration of new resources into the students’ professional plans and personal lives.

Below, students reflect on their experience:

“This travel course was one of the best learning experiences of my life. I learned so much about Italian culture, people, and about myself. I grew beyond just my Italian language abilities, but socially and as a creative. I wish I could experience it all for the first time again.” – Aidan Forte

“The invaluable element that came from submerging myself into an entirely new culture was the different pieces of myself that I found as a result of being stripped from my usual comforts. The feeling of temporary unsettlement allowed me to develop deeper connections to the city around me, bridging parts of my self-discovery to the revelations of experiencing the rich history present there.” – Maddie McMinn

“I feel like this trip not only helped me begin learning a new skill but unlocked a new level for me as a person. I went into this experience not knowing much about Italy and Italian, but after three weeks, I have been inspired to continue this exploration and pursue Italian Studies. The memories made on this trip will last me a lifetime!” – Skyler Poiley

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Film Culture in Bologna: Italian Studies + Film and Media Arts

Once again, the Ferrucci Institute for Italian Experience and Research (Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences) and the Film and Media Studies program (Dodge College of Film and Media Arts) joined efforts in the realization of a truly unique study abroad course in Bologna, Italy. Under the guidance of Dr. Emily Carman and Dr. Federico Pacchioni, a group of undergraduate and graduate students were exposed to a myriad of impactful screenings and talks offered by Il Cinema Ritrovato film festival.

The program featured conversations with emblematic directors such as Wim Wenders, Ruben Östlund, and Joe Dante and retrospectives on major expressions of Italian cinema, including the screenwriter Suso Cecchi d’Amico and the actress Anna Magnani, and various other examples of world cinema. Furthermore, students were introduced to Bologna’s cultural history and the local Cineteca research facilities, including a tour of Immagine Ritrovata, the world-renowned film restoration laboratory.

Restoration — as a cultural issue and technical practice — is indeed at the heart of this course and is understood within a broader and interdisciplinary discussion about the preservation and evolution of Western heritage and canon in today’s globalized community. Drawing from their subjective experiences and the wide-ranging resources of Bologna and its libraries, students developed a portfolio of critical writings probing into the theme of cinematic and cultural heritage. To many of them, the experience solidified an understanding of the universal power of film across ideological and national borders.

In the words of some of the students…

“Watching the open-air cinema at Piazza Maggiore was an unforgettable experience, where I witnessed the harmonious interaction of movies and life. It is magical to find a sense of belonging in the unfamiliar city of Bologna, as il Cinema Ritrovato renders this city pure, making these ten days a celebration of everything about movies.” – Tingyi Zhu

“The experience of watching this film surrounded by hundreds of people from all different walks of life is something that I will never forget. I found myself in awe of the film and music, but also the faces around me, completely immersed in the screening.” – Jovanna Vega

“Among Cinema Ritrovato’s most valuable offerings is the handful of 16mm screenings that expose the naive spectator to the celluloid splendor of analog conservation. There’s a certain purity and charm to the rolling projector and the crispness of each frame turning over to the next, the luminous flow of light tumbling forward toward the screen.” – Blake Stachel

“Despite language barriers or cultural differences, it warmed my heart to see people of many ages together and collectively enjoy the movie-going experience. My time here in Bologna has been both fascinating and eye-opening.” – Alesia Orta

“It is incredibly inspirational to see how ingrained cinema is in the fabric of the city of Bologna. There is no better example of this than the screenings in the Piazza Maggiore. Watching a film outdoors with thousands of locals is an amazing and beautiful experience.” – Nick Fratarcangelo

“The audience was clearly international, creating a large language barrier between everyone, and yet, somehow, we all felt connected. Something I’ve learned on this trip is how we can share a universal language of expression and lower the language barrier by lowering our guard.” – Matisse Kellner



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Food Science and Italian Studies: An Exploration of Food, Culture, and Language in Italy

For the second year in a row, Food Science and Italian Studies at Chapman University collaborated on a travel course based in the beautiful city of Perugia, located in the heart of the Italian peninsula. The course, FSN 309/509: Topics in Food, Diet, and Culture, is one of the many interdisciplinary expressions of the newly created Ferrucci Institute for Italian Experience and Research. This summer, the course was led by Dr. Anuradha Prakash (Food Science) and Dr. Sara Mattavelli (Italian Studies) in collaboration with the staff of Umbra’s Program in Food, Sustainability & the Environment. Twenty students, both graduate and undergraduate, had the opportunity to explore the rich food culture of Italy. The participants embarked on a journey to experience the Italian farm-to-fork system and visit some producers of Italy’s most important and renowned products, such as Parmigiano Reggiano, Prosciutto di Parma, balsamic vinegar, and wine. There they had the privilege of observing the processes involved in creating iconic Italian products and learning about the impact of global pressures on different food sectors.

The travel course also included visiting the cities of Bologna and Modena, in the region of Emilia Romagna. In Bologna, the group met with representatives from Forno Brisa, “an independent and rebel bakery” founded on the core values of community and sustainability. Below is our group with Marella, our chaperone (bottom right), and the iconic BrisNonna in the background.

During the entire trip, all course participants were encouraged to immerse themselves in Italy’s cultures and learn about food and food production by interacting with locals. The students really embraced the challenge and even spoke a little bit of Italian with food producers, restaurant workers, and our bus drivers! Most participants did not know any Italian before leaving, but they all challenged themselves and practiced some basic sentences to communicate while in the country. Obviously, no food course in Italy would be complete without a hands-on experience in the kitchen! Pictured below, you can see a group of students learning how to prepare two traditional Italian pasta dishes from scratch (ravioli and fettuccine) under the guidance of an expert chef in Umbra’s didactic kitchen.

Rachel Berns (B.S. Health Sciences ’24 | Nutrition & Honors Minors) summarizes the travel course experience very well:

“My time in Italy, while short, was stuffed to the brim with enriching educational experiences. Food is so integral to the human experience, and the FSN 309/509: Topics in Food, Diet, and Culture class illuminated refreshing perspectives connecting the geographic origins, scientific processing, and cultural celebration of many ingredients and meals that we all know and love. Whether it be exploring Perugia’s beautiful city center, enjoying a traditional balsamic vinegar tasting, or conducting our own field research on a topic meaningful to us, there was always an opportunity to engage with a new aspect of Italy’s past and present, and to do so in a delicious way. I highly recommend that anyone with a love for food or Italian culture consider taking this wonderful class!”

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The First Gamma Kappa Alpha Induction Ceremony at Chapman!

The Italian Studies program proudly houses a chapter of the National Italian Honor Society, Gamma Kappa Alpha which recently held its inaugural induction ceremony. On May 10th, seven undergraduate students were formally inducted into the prestigious honor society, recognizing their outstanding academic achievements in the field of Italian Studies.

The Italian Program wholeheartedly congratulates Chapman University’s first inductees into Gamma Kappa Alpha:

Bella Ocana
Lauren Moyle
Sofie Kassaras
Hannah Prince
Owen Glidewell
Isabella Brancato
James Cigliano

From left: Isabella Brancato, James Cigliano, Sofie Kassaras, Lauren Moyle, Bella Ocaña

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A Spring about Present and Past Italian Creativity: Literature, Cinema, and Food

This Spring, Italian Studies students have participated in various courses ranging from Renaissance culture to contemporary film. Students in the honors program and advanced Italian Studies had the opportunity to attend the interdisciplinary course “Power and Imagination in the Italian Renaissance, ” analyzing literary, philosophic, and scientific texts foundational to humanistic legacy, and exploring themes such as caution, resoluteness, heroism, conformity, orthodoxy, and innovation.

“This class brings about a whole new understanding of the Italian Renaissance. It illuminates the powerful interconnectedness of art, literature, science, architecture, economics, politics, and more. The interconnectedness between these elements of society and culture reveals a new understanding of the Italian Renaissance and our own society and culture today. Perhaps most importantly, this class reveals patterns in the human experience throughout the course of history that we can connect to now with our own experiences as people. It is a connection that enriches the mind, body, and soul.”
Lauren Moyle, Chapman Italian Studies Minor.

In addition, students have explored Italian Cinema and its relation to politics, art, and industry. This course surveyed Italian cinema history, examining its evolution from the silent period to today, and its relationship to other national cinemas and Hollywood. Students analyzed aesthetic and ethical legacies connecting classical and recent films and learned about the stylistic and cultural underpinning of neorealist cinema, various genres, and poetic cinema. 

The course “History and Culture of Food in Italy” comprehensively explored the rich history of Italian food cultures from multiple perspectives. Students delved into the histories of certain Italian staple foods, regional gastronomical traditions, and socio-political movements that have shaped the country’s culinary landscape. In addition, the course covered contemporary sustainability issues and analyzed food’s role in Italian art, advertisement, and literature. 

“The Italian Food course expanded my understanding of topics I rarely thought about or considered in Italian culture. For example, the history of coffee in Italy is so much more complex than I could have imagined, with various experiments by numerous inventors leading to the making of the perfect espresso machine or the ingenious creation of the Moka Bialetti for people at home to make their favorite coffee. Topics like this are what drew me to the class in the first place, and I think anyone interested in food culture or Italian culture should definitely consider it.”
– James Cigliano, Chapman Italian Studies Minor

Looking forward to the Summer, students are excited for the journey ahead.
There’s no better way to learn a language than by immersing yourself in the language and culture. Students of all levels will be participating in three different programs across Italy. Stay tuned for more!

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Italian Studies Minor Receives Kugelman Arts and Humanities Award

Dulcie and Lawrence Kugelman have been underwriting the Annual Kugelman Arts and Humanities Awards Ceremony for over a decade in the Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences. The Kugelman Awards celebrate and acknowledge the top academic students within the departments of Art, English, Philosophy, Religious Studies, and World Languages and Cultures. This year, Bella Ocaña, graduating this spring with a major in Art History and a double minor in Advertising and Italian Studies, is one of the recipients of this prestigious award.

Recalling Bella Ocaña’s success in the Italian program, Professor Pacchioni and Professor Mattavelli stated: “She successfully completed advanced coursework in Italian language, including translation methods and business language, and deepened aspects of the culture through seminars on Etruscan and Roman Art and Italian cinema. Bella successfully participated in an intensive language immersion travel course in the southern Italian region of Puglia where she lived with a local family, advanced linguistically, and was introduced to the region’s identity. In addition, Bella was instrumental to the life of the Italian Studies student community by leading the student club for two years. We are proud of her academic success, the level of knowledge and skills she has achieved, and her commitment to the Italian community on campus and beyond. Congratulazioni e auguri, Bella!”

Bella conveys her experience in the program as follows. “To receive this award is an incredible honor. I started taking Italian courses in my Sophomore year hoping to enrich my Art History degree and learn a fun and new language. Little did I know that I would meet some of my best friends at Chapman, get close to the Italian faculty, and actually get to study abroad in Italy for a summer. My learning went beyond simply learning a language but enriched me with a beautiful culture filled with incredible people, food, and history. Over the years professors such as Dr. Paduano, Dr. Pacchioni, and more recently, Dr. Mattavelli have guided me through this process and have truly made me feel at home. I cannot count how many times we’ve all shared laughs in class or how much they have supported me through difficult times – to say I am grateful for the Italian department is an understatement. It is a bittersweet moment to graduate and leave the department, but I know I’ll be keeping in contact with all of them!”

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