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Pa. Judge Robert Messa Elected National President of Order Sons of Italy in America®

Press Contact: Diane E. Crespy, (202) 547-2900 dcrespy@osia.org

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Palm Beach, Fla., August 24, 2001 - Retired Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline Judge Robert A. Messa, of Feasterville, Pa., was elected by acclamation to serve as national president of the Order Sons of Italy in America® (OSIA), the world's largest, longest-existing organization representing Italian-American men and women, at OSIA's 47th Biennial National Convention in Palm Beach, Fla.

In his acceptance speech, Messa stressed the importance of unity in working towards a common cause, strengthening ties with Italy, and continuing to reach out to the nation's youth to preserve their heritage. He recognized the need for innovative fund-raising techniques to further the goals of OSIA, and stressed the role education also would play in reaching those goals.

Over the past two years, OSIA's focus on youth-related programs has increased significantly and outreach efforts continue to grow. A program started during OSIA's last administration, the OSIA National Student Summit, will continue in Messa's term, he announced to the crowd of nearly 400 OSIA members, delegates, friends and family gathered to watch the national officers being sworn in.

"Our young people are the lifeline of the Order and I will do whatever it takes to encourage them to become part of the Order," he said.

"I look forward to serving OSIA members and the Italian-American community over the next two years," Messa said in an interview after his installation to OSIA's highest leadership position. "Education, both the financial support of scholastic achievement and educating others about OSIA and the Italian-American culture, will remain a top priority in the Order. We will also continue to reach out to the nation's youth to encourage participation in OSIA and to strengthen the roots to their heritage."

Messa had served OSIA as a national vice president since 1995. He also headed the organization's Membership Commission from August 1999 until his recent election to the presidency. Under his leadership, OSIA gained more than 32 new chapters and more than 1250 new members. Also during Messa's tenure as membership chairman, OSIA's revamped Web site "One Stop Italian America" at www.osia.org debuted in September 2000, with a Members Only area that has already attracted more than 700 members. Additionally, Messa has lead OSIA's World War II Memorial Commission, which has pledged to raise between $125,000 and $250,000 for the memorial to be built on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

A member of OSIA for 34 years, Messa joined and continues to be an active member of the Judge Eugene V. Alessandroni Lodge #2184, and has served in many leadership positions within the lodge, including recording secretary, trustee, vice president and president. On the state level, Messa has been vice president, trustee and the chair of many state committees for the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania. Among the state and local committees he served on were membership committees, fund-raising (charity) committees, and the Commission for Social Justice® (anti-defamation) committee.

Messa is a graduate of the Indiana University Graduate School of Business and he made a career in the banking and real estate business. He currently is employed by Abington Bank as a business development consultant. He is a member of many civic and professional associations including Lions International, Children's Aid Society of Montgomery County (director), the Mortgage Bankers Association of America and the Pennsylvania Home Builders Association (past president).

Messa was born in Philadelphia and has resided in Pennsylvania his entire life. He and his wife, the former Elizabeth Santomero, have three children, Lynn, Karen and Robert, and two grandchildren, Austin and Caesar.