College of the Arts Students Receive Cento Amici Scholarship Awards at Annual Spring Dinner

Pictured (left to right) front row: Col. Jack Jacobs, MSNBC Military Analyst, Congressional Medal of Honor recipient; Laken Whitecliff (student); Marisa Minogue (student); Bryana Arlington (student); Mark Di Ionno, "The Star Ledger" columnist; (back row) Daniel Gurskis, College of the Arts dean; Joseph Canderozzi, president, Cento Amici Organization; Michael Panepinto (student); and Thomas Santoro (student).

Thanks to the generosity of Cento Amici (100 Friends), a member organization dedicated to providing financial assistance to students in New Jersey, 13 College of the Arts students were awarded scholarships at Cento Amici's Spring Dinner on April 15.  

Cento Amici President Joseph Canderozzi welcomed the organization's members and their guests, as well as student scholarship recipients from five academic institutions including Montclair State University's College of the Arts. Special guests, Congressional Medal of Honor recipient and MSNBC military analyst Colonel Jack Jacobs, and The Star-Ledger columnist Mark Di Ionno, delivered inspiring messages to the students, encouraging them to work hard, plan to succeed in life and aim to extend a helping hand to others along the way.  Students were also given autographed copies of each speaker's recently published book (Basic by Jacobs and The Last Newspaperman by Di Ionno.).

“This event is always a highlight of the year for our members,” said Robert Zito, the founding president of Cento Amici. “The opportunity to meet the students, who are selected by their schools to receive our scholarships, is a great reminder of why we work to support funding these scholarships.  They are truly tomorrow’s leaders.”

Awardee Tom Santoro, who in addition was granted an internship by Cento Amici, expressed his gratitude.

“To be a recipient of the Cento Amici scholarship has been a tremendous honor.  I am grateful for the organization’s generosity and support towards my college education,” he said.  “It was a privilege to be in the presence of a highly-respected individual like Colonel Jack Jacobs and Pulitzer-Prize nominee Mark Di Ionno. They both offered invaluable advice for the future, and I certainly walked away with a renewed confidence for my desired ambitions.” 

Award Recipient Bryana Arlington felt similarly. "I had the pleasure of being in the company of some of the most inspiring, encouraging and supportive individuals I have encountered during my collegiate career thus far."  Regarding receiving the award, she said "The feeling you get when someone believes in your dreams as much as you do, and supports them in any way they can, is truly an encouragement to keep working hard..."

Student Laken Whitecliffe added "To be recognized with the Cento Amici Award is a very humbling honor for me.  It carries special weight to be recognized by a local community organization that has so many prestigious and inspiring members.  Being from New Zealand and studying away from home, this recognition gives me great encouragement..."


College of the Arts Award Recipients

The Cento Amici Scholarship was established at Montclair State University in 1999 and has recognized more than 100 College of the Arts students since its inception.  This year’s recipients, representing each of the College of the Arts’ four academic units, are:

School of Music   
Lauren Olivola – Music Education
Geraldine Valente – Music Education
Marisa Minogue – Music Education
Department of Theatre and Dance  
Peter Surace – Musical Theatre
Nicole Romaniello – Dance
School of Communication and Media
Bryana Arlington – Television and Digital Media
Michael Panepinto – Television and Digital Media
Thomas Santoro – Communication and Media Studies
Jack Smith – Television and Digital Media
Department of Art and Design
Jessica Mollica – Graphic Design
Victoria Leta – Animation Illustration
Lauren Morone – Animation Illustration
Laken Whitecliff – Painting / Sculpture

"The College of the Arts is grateful to have been chosen as a beneficiary institution of Cento Amici’s 100-plus friends – and we thank them for their generosity and support over the years," said Linda Davidson, College of the Arts' Assistant Dean.