Excerpt presented & written by: Claire L. Gaudiani, Ph.D,  a former president of Connecticut College. She served as Clinical Professor at The George H. Heyman, Jr. Center for Philanthropy and Fundraising at New York University’s School of Professional Studies. Dr. Gaudiani was director of The Declaration Initiative, and a Senior Research Fellow at Yale Law School, and currently prepares young Catholic students in preparing for the sacrament of Confirmation. Claire also serves on ILF’s Board, see full bio.

The book,  Beyond “The Godfather” is a must read as it gives insights, through essays from various Italian American writers, on Italian American experiences from assimilating to its culture and preservation. The following Excerpt is presented by Claire L. Gaudiani, Ph.D., one of the essay writers. ~ ILF

Excerpt: “Years later I realize that my own drives in life are to increase social justice and tolerance, to strive for highest achievement myself, and to celebrate life. I get to do that as a mother, wife, and daughter and as a professor, college president, writer, corporate director, community volunteer, and Eucharistic minister. Those early experiences of trying to satisfy personal drives-say for spoonfuls of Parmesan cheese-with responsibility for the well-being of others probably helped me sort through the conflicts between wanting a career and concern for my family life.

I still feel power in prayer and find help from my heavenly coaches. I still pray for specific personal virtues and work for justice in civil society. I see that power comes from striving and expertise built through competition and cooperation, that it comes from achievements at home and at the office, from serving others and from leading them, from prayer and from work and from having access to friends in high places-worldly and spiritual.

I see that I had a whole set of role models. Our role models do not need to have the same profession or education we aspire to. They need to have the same human impact as we seek to have. My family and patron saints were powerful role models for me, though none of the women ever finished college or received a salary.

Now, more than a hundred years after Augusto Rossano arrived in the United States, more than eighty years after his marriage to Rosa Cosenza, and more than fifty years after their daughter Vera married Augusto’s best friend, Dr. Gaudiani’s only son, Vincent, our children speak Italian, cook, and pray and celebrate in their Italian culture. All the while they achieve at the highest levels by American standards in some of this country’s most prestigious schools, Andover and Princeton. They study art and science. One does architecture; the other, history of science. They are committed to the needy and to excellence, passionate about family, food, children, and their work. The synergy between our Italian family values and our American civic values continues. Their great-grandparents would be proud, I think. My husband and I are grateful.”