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Sons of Italy® Elects Joseph Sciame National President

Press Contact: Kylie Cafiero, (202) 547-2900

NEWS - For Immediate Release

WASHINGTON, September 4, 2003 - University vice president Joseph Sciame was elected national president of the Order Sons of Italy in America® (OSIA) on August 15 at its 48th biennial national convention in St. Louis (Aug. 10-16).

OSIA state presidents, trustees, national delegates along with the OSIA Supreme Council elected Sciame the 30th national president in OSIA's 98-year history. He succeeds Judge Robert A. Messa of Pennsylvania, who served from 2001 to 2003.

OSIA is the largest and longest-established national organization for men and women of Italian descent in the United States. Established in 1905, it has an estimated 600,000 members and supporters and a network of more than 700 chapters coast to coast.

Sciame is vice president for community relations at St. John's University in New York City, his alma mater. He resides in New Hyde Park, New York where he is a charter member of the local OSIA Cellini Lodge #2206.

A former national chair of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, he has advised over 150,000 parents on financial aid and higher education and is a member of some 15 boards, foundations and community organizations.

Active in his profession, church and community, Sciame has received many civic, religious and professional honors. Earlier this year he was named Educator of the Year by the Association of Italian American Educators. He also has been knighted by the Republic of Italy as Cavaliere in the Order of Merit, is a Cavaliere Ufficiale in the Order of Merit of the House of Savoy and holds the Grand Cross of the Knights of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem conferred by the Holy See.

Sciame joined OSIA in 1968 and over the years, worked his way up through the ranks of the OSIA leadership from lodge president to state president of New York to national first vice president, his last post before becoming national president. His grandparents emigrated from Sicily at the turn of the last century.

During his acceptance speech, Sciame listed a number of goals and objectives of his presidency. Among them, he hopes to strengthen OSIA's state and local leadership, include more young people in all levels of OSIA activities, increase OSIA Italian language promotion and cultural exchange opportunities, improve OSIA's internal communications at the community, state and national levels, and promote cultural and business relations between the U.S. and Italy.

He also outlined plans for celebrating the coming 100th anniversary of OSIA's founding in 2005. To kick off the celebration, Sciame is planning a trip to Italy in April 2004 and a "count-down" event on June 22, 2004, the 99th anniversary of OSIA 's founding on Mulberry Street in New York City's Little Italy. That event would launch the passing of a torch cross-country from lodge to lodge, returning to New York City on June 22, 2005.

OSIA's 49th biennial convention will be in August 2005 in New York City.

OSIA works at the community, national and international levels to promote the heritage and culture of an estimated 26 million Italian Americans, the nation's fifth largest ethnic group, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. For more information, see