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Past Newsmakers

Spring 2005

Millions of women might be spared the tragedy of breast cancer, thanks to MASSIMO CRISTOFANILLI, M.D., who is working on a cure for this dread disease that strikes more than 200,000 women annually in the U.S. alone. A researcher at the University of Texas M.D Cancer Center in Houston, Cristofanilli led a research team that discovered Advexin, a gene-based therapy, that can reduce tumor size in patients with locally advanced breast cancer by nearly 80 percent when injected into the tumor before surgery.

Football legend DAN MARINO was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in February. When Marino left the Dolphins after the 1999 season, he had NFL bests of 4,967 completions, 8,358 passes, 61,361 yards and 420 touchdowns. Although he never won a Super Bowl, Marino was the 1984 league MVP, made three All-Pro teams and nine Pro Bowls.

Her investigative reporting has helped put countless con artists behind bars and earned MARY GAROFALO the nickname "electronic pit bull." Garofalo has been a TV reporter with WNYW-Fox in New York City since 1996. Her reports for FOX 5 Investigates have earned her four Emmy awards and a reputation for being one of New York City's toughest reporters.

MIKE D'ANTONI coaches the Phoenix Suns which have excelled under his leadership earning the club's best record. He has a 30-year professional basketball career including the NBA, ABA and the Italian League. Born in Mullins, West Virginia D'Antoni became one of Italy's fiercest soccer coaches before coming to the Suns.

ROBERTA GAMBARINI is considered by many as one of today's finest young jazz singers and a successor to Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan and Carmen McRae. This Italian native is known for her near-flawless pitch and vast range. Her first American CD, Easy to Love, is scheduled to be released this year.

SUSAN NIGRO GELSOMINO is one of the world's few contrabassoon soloists. In 2004, she had several world premieres playing music written specifically for her. For recital dates, to hear audio clips or order cd's, visit www.bigbassoon.com.

NICHOLAS P. GODICI retired as the Commissioner for Patents on March 29. He is the only Italian American ever to serve in the post in the 215-year history of the U.S. Patent Office.

MARIO LANZA was honored by the Met's Opera News magazine with a Lincoln Center gala tribute last January. Lanza's career lasted only seventeen years, but by the age thirty he was one of the world's best-known operatic tenors. He appeared in five Hollywood films and died in Rome in 1959 at age thirty-eight.

GENESIO MORLACCI, former dry cleaners owner and part-time janitor, passed away last October in Great Falls, Montana leaving $2.3 million to the local university, University of Great Falls. The endowment will generate about $100,000 a year for scholarships at the Roman Catholic university with around 800 students. The Italian immigrant worked 18 to 20 hour days and had no children. He was 102.

PAUL S. OTELLINI, president and CEO of Intel Corp, is the first non-engineer in the position for the huge communications firm's 36-year history. Otellini oversaw the introduction of the Pentium processor in 1993 and has spent 30 years with Intel witnessing its rise to the world's largest computer-chip maker. Otellini is the first Intel leader with an MBA and the first without a Ph.D.

JOHN SPEZIALE, former Connecticut chief justice, lost his battle with cancer in January. He was 82. A son of Sicilian immigrants, Speziale served in all three branches of the state government and helped modernize the Connecticut court systems during his term as chief justice in the 1980's.