Dr. Clorinda Donato Will Receive the Western Foundation of OSIA Education Award

July 24, 2012

Dr. Clorinda Donato, Chair of the George L. Graziadio Center for Italian Studies at California State University, Long Beach, will receive the Education Award from the Western Foundation of the Order Sons of Italy in America (OSIA) during the Foundation’s tenth Humanitarian and Leadership Gala on September 22, 2012, at the Doubletree Hotel in Santa Ana.

The Western Foundation of OSIA honors and celebrates individuals who have demonstrated extraordinary achievement. Dr. Donato earned her Ph.D. in Romance Languages, Literatures and Linguistics from the University of California, Los Angeles. She has served CSULB for 24 years as a professor of French and Italian, and eight years as the Chair of the Department of Romance, German, Russian Languages and Literatures. She helped save CSULB’s Italian program in the 1990’s with support from the community and Commendatore Frank J. De Santis who secured both the founding gift from Henry Salvatori and the naming gift from George L. Graziadio.

Dr. Donato’s academic interests include eighteenth- and nineteenth-century literature, gender studies, and the history and compilation of encyclopedic knowledge. She has published over 50 articles and four edited collections regarding her interests. Dr. Donato, along with her colleagues Dr. Claire Martin and Dr. Markus Muller, has earned CSULB a National Endowment for Humanities $100,000 grant for their work in “Italian and French for Spanish Speakers.” This grant gives CSULB the necessary funds to implement new, innovative courses based on the Intercomprehension method that gives students with knowledge of one romance language the ability to learn and comprehend another romance language at an accelerated pace. Dr. Donato and her colleagues have also trained educators from local colleges and high schools in this method. Thanks to the efforts of Dr. Donato, Dr. Martin, and Dr. Muller, San Pedro High School will expand their Italian courses to include Italian for Spanish Speakers. The collaborative project was recently featured on Pasadena City College’s radio station KPCC by renowned journalist Adolfo Guzman-Lopez.

Dr. Donato’s Italian background fuels her passion for Italian and Italian American Studies. Her work influenced CSULB to create the B.A. program in Italian Studies and the Single Subject Teaching Credential in Italian. She remains deeply committed to her students who admire her for the knowledge and warmth she exudes in and out of the classroom. She is known to say “students first,” and always makes herself available for advising, writing letters of recommendation, and assisting students with writing and editing scholarship application papers and grants. In addition, she has established new connections with Italian universities and consistently helps students find suitable study abroad programs in Italy.

Dr. Donato’s numerous awards and recognitions include the following: The CSULB Distinguished Faculty Scholarly Achievement Award (1999), the Prix De Felice from the University of Lausanne (2000), the “Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques” from the French Government (2005), the American Society for Eighteenth Century Studies Innovation in Teaching Award (2008), The George L. Graziadio Chair of Italian Studies at CSULB (2010), and Corresponding Member of the Accademia Roveretana degli Agiati (2012). The Education Award from the Western Foundation of OSIA adds to Dr. Donato’s lifelong devotion to the promotion of Italian and Italian American Studies. Her accomplishments would not have been possible without the love and support of her devoted husband Dr. Sergio Guarro and her children Marcello, Adriana, and Gianluca.

Photo adapted from the RGRLL department website

Written by Alessandro Russo, Program Assistant, The George L. Graziadio Center for Italian Studies

Edited by Cortney Smethurst, Graduate Assistant, The College of Liberal Arts