Campus: CSU, Long Beach -- April 04, 2001

Prominent Southern California Family Gives $500,000 to Cal State Long Beach to Establish Center for Italian Studies

George L. Graziadio, president and CEO of Imperial Bank, and the Graziadio Family have made a gift of $500,000 to the Italian Studies program at California State University, Long Beach. Through the family's generosity, a new Center for Italian Studies will be created and named in honor of Mr. Graziadio.

Cal State Long Beach President Robert C. Maxson recently announced the family's gift to create the George L. Graziadio Center for Italian Studies.

"The Graziadio Family, and George Graziadio in particular, have been a long-time friends of this campus, and their philanthropy guarantees success and excellence to the Italian Studies program," said Maxson, who noted the program's endowed chair that bears the family's name. "The addition of the George L. Graziadio Center for Italian Studies will mean a great deal to the program and the university."

Carlo Chiarenza, Graziadio Endowed Chair of Italian Studies, applauded the decision by George Graziadio to increase his support to Cal State Long Beach, and he is very excited about the formation of the new center.

"Through this center, our goal is to provide programs of interest for both the academic and the Italian-American communities," said Chiarenza, who joined the university's Italian Studies program in 1999. "The center will organize activities of interest, supervise the major in Italian Studies, invite European scholars to campus and host conferences and publications."

With additional support from the Southern California chapter of the Sons of Italy, the center offers three $1,000 student scholarships and will award a fourth this spring.

"This fourth scholarship is reserved for the student with the best mid-term results in a new course, `Introduction to Contemporary Europe,' offered this spring by Professor Jutta Birmele and myself," Chiarenza explained.

Scholarships will be used to travel to Italy in the pursuit of academic research and the improvement of language skills. All arts and liberal arts students involved in the study of Italian culture were eligible to apply.

The center will be guided by an advisory board which includes academicians as well as community representatives.

"It will be the perfect marriage between gown and town," Chiarenza said. "The creation of the George L. Graziadio Center for Italian Studies is an excellent way to promote Italian culture and organize activities that are of interest to our students within a European context."

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