Spring 2024

After ending the Fall 2023 semester on a high-note, the Coccia Institute continued its programming during the Spring 2024 semester, marking new partnerships and the return of annual events. The Spring semester began with the Coccia Institute’s on-campus viewing of the first night of the 74th annual Sanremo Music Festival. Students, alumni, and community members gathered to watch Italy’s most beloved music competition while enjoying pizza and having a surprise visit from Rocky “Rocco” the Red Hawk, our honorary Italian!

Shortly following our Sanremo Watch Party, the Coccia Institute’s sponsored the NJ Devils’ first annual Italian Heritage Night, where MSU students, faculty, and alumni attended a hockey match at Prudential Center, enjoyed performances by Italian American singer, Biagio, and took an exclusive group photo on the ice!

The Spring semester also marked a new partnership with Serie A USA, Italy’s premier soccer league home to renowned teams such as Juventus, AC Milan, Napoli, and more! On March 3, the Serie A USA team headquartered in Manhattan, NYC, traveled to campus and hosted an in-person watch party of the Napoli vs. Juventus match. Catering and exclusive giveaways were provided courtesy of Serie A USA, and the event also featured the return of Rocky “Rocco” the Red Hawk, who lead a Serie A trivia competition during halftime! The event turned out to be one of our most-attended events since the pandemic, drawing in Napoli and Juventus fans from all across the tri-state area!

In continuation of our Red Sauce docuseries, the second episode was presented on-campus in partnership with the School of Communication & Media. This episode featured Laico’s, one of the iconic Red Sauce joints located in Jersey City, well known for its chicken parm! The episode explored Italian immigration into the Jersey City enclave, and highlighted some of Laico’s star dishes, including its eggplant rollatini which was mentioned in the NY Eater’s 15 Best Dishes of 2022.

The end of the semester featured our annual Italian Scholarships and Awards Ceremony, in which 11 deserving students were awarded with scholarships towards the continuation of their Italian studies. The evening featured student performers from the John J. Cali School of Music, as well as alumni presentations by Francesca Oliveri (Communications Specialist, Bindi North America) and Steven LaPeruta (Italian Teacher, Nutley High School). Grazie ancora to the generosity of our donors: Coccia Foundation, the Inserra Family, Passaic Valley UNICO, and the Italian American Club at Four Seasons of Great Notch!

Our last event of the semester was presented in partnership with the National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) in welcoming Professor Amedeo Arena (from the University of Naples “Federico II”) to campus. Professor Amedeo Arena gave a talk on the Filangieri-Franklin correspondence, exploring how this historical discourse had a direct impact on our nation’s founding documents.

The Spring 2024 semester celebrated an array of programming initiatives, and we look forward to continuing newly formed partnerships in the future. Stay tuned for updates regarding programming for the 2024-25 academic year!