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University News

Coccia Institute Welcomes New Director

Writer Mark Rotella takes over Institute

Posted in: Humanities and Social Sciences

Mark Rotella
Mark Rotella, the new director of the Joseph and Elda Coccia Institute for the Italian Experience at Montclair State University.

The College of Humanities and Social Sciences has appointed Publishers Weekly Senior Editor Mark Rotella as the new director of the Joseph and Elda Coccia Institute for the Italian Experience in America.

Rotella is a nationally recognized writer on the Italian American Experience, including his books Stolen Figs: And Other Adventures in Calabria, (Farrar, Straus & Giroux / North Point Press, 2003) and Amore: The Story of Italian American Song (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2010).

He has published nearly four dozen articles in a wide array of outlets including The New York Times, The New York Times Book Review, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Minneapolis Star Tribune, Vanity Fair, Saveur, and and has appeared on National Public Radio outlets across the United States (on flagship shows such as All Things Considered and The Leonard Lopate Show), as well as on CBS’s The Insider, Entertainment Tonight, and ABC News.

“I am thrilled to be leading the Coccia Institute for the Italian Experience in America, working closely with Dean Peter Kingstone and the wonderful Coccia family,” says Rotella. “The Coccia Institute has been highly recognized throughout New Jersey, New York and the country. I am excited to build on the excellent work done by Dr. Mary Ann Re to continue extending the scope of the Institute on a national and international scale. I look forward to working with old and new colleagues in the Montclair State community to continue advancing the growing interest in Italian and Italian American fields of study.”

Rotella’s appointment comes on the back of his cultural credentials as an observer and writer of the Italian American experience and a strong and inclusive vision for continuing and building on the Coccia Institute’s regional reputation as a center of engagement and learning about the Italian American experience.

Rotella is currently a visiting assistant professor in the Creative Writing Program at Montclair State. In addition, he has taught creative writing at Goucher and Lehman Colleges as well as in the MFA Program at Columbia University. Rotella’s own experience as a first-generation college student has helped him connect with students at Montclair State and informs his own passion for contributing to their education.

He will continue to offer his expertise to the students of Montclair State as part of his new role at the Institute. Rotella joins the University with the enthusiastic support of President Susan A. Cole, Provost Willard Gingerich, the outgoing director, Mary Ann Re, and Elisa and Elda Coccia.