Philanthropist Establishes 'Institute For Italian Experience In America' at MSU

There's an Italian expression, "non ogni giorno e festa": Every day is not a holiday.

Thanks to the generosity of philanthropist and community leader Cav. Joseph Coccia, Jr., and his wife, Elda, that expression will not be operative at Montclair State University, where a holiday of Italian-American educational opportunities will be an everyday occurrence.

Coccia, past national president of the Italian-American service organization UNICO National, and his wife have made a generous pledge to Montclair State University to establish and maintain in perpetuity the "Joseph and Elda Coccia Institute for the Italian Experience in America."

The Institute has an ambitious agenda with both public outreach as well as academic components. The Institute will focus on the historical and contemporary interplay of Italian people, culture and society with American culture and society. It will be a central resource for organizing and presenting lectures, conferences, seminars and cultural programming; for initiating professional development programs and resources; and for fostering research relevant to the Italian experience in America. The Institute will work collaboratively with other regional and national organizations in the common cause of promoting an understanding of the important links between the peoples and cultures of Italy and America.

Formal dedication of the Institute is scheduled for Wednesday, October 8.

More information on the Institute may be found on the University's website at

"Joseph Coccia's continuing support of Montclair State University and his efforts to promote Italian-American educational opportunities are outstanding," said Dr. Susan A. Cole, MSU president. "We are extremely grateful for his generous gift to establish the Institute, as well as for his continuing work with UNICO National to create an endowed professorship in Italian and Italian-American Studies."

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