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Past Newsmakers

Summer 2008

GIUSEPPE ATTARDI, M.D., a groundbreaking geneticist, died in April at age 84. His research into DNA has shown how mutations can lead to disease but also to longer life. Dr. Attardi was born in Sicily in 1923, immigrated to the U.S. in 1959 and became a citizen in 1974.

THE MOST REV. TIMOTHY BROGLIO, 57, is the new Archbishop of the U.S. Military Services. He provides pastoral and spiritual services to U.S. armed forces worldwide.

LOUIS BONALDI, M.D., a plastic and reconstructive surgeon in Reno, NV, founded New Beginnings, a program that offers one free reconstructive surgery each month to a person in great financial need whose surgery goes beyond pure cosmetics. Launched about 8 years ago, Dr. Bonaldi's patients have included children with ear deformities and adults with facial scars.

JoANN FALLETTA, hailed by The New York Times as "one of the finest conductors of her generation," is music director of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and the Virginia Symphony Orchestra. She has introduced over 400 works by American composers, with more than 80 world premieres, and has received 8 awards from ASCAP for creative programming, as well as the American Symphony Orchestra League's prestigious John S. Edwards Award.

ROBERT MONDAVI, the Italian American vintner who put California wines on a par with European wines, died last May at age 94. He introduced Napa Valley wineries to European wine-making techniques when he founded his namesake winery in 1966 at age 52 and built his business to a $500 million-a-year operation. Constellation Brands, the world's largest wine company, bought it for $1.35 billion in 2004. Mondavi was born in Minnesota to penniless Italian immigrants.

LORENZO ODONE, 30, whose life was depicted in the Oscar-nominated movie Lorenzo's Oil, died of pneumonia in May. Odone suffered from a rare genetic disease that left him unable to move or speak. Children thus afflicted usually die before age 5. The 1993 movie showed how his parents, Augusto and Michaela, discovered a treatment that kept their son alive and helped others suffering from the disorder.

SHEILA TAORMINA was the first woman to compete in three Olympics in three different sports and now has qualified for a fourth Olympics, where she will compete in five sports. In June, Sheila Taormina made the U.S. team as a modern pentathlon athlete and will participate in the 2008 summer Olympics in China. Taormina earned a gold medal as part of the U.S. relay swim team at the 1996 Summer Games and competed in the triathlon in the Olympics of 2000 and 2004. The modern pentathlon consists of fencing, shooting, swimming, show jumping and running. The fact that she qualified for the team is remarkable given that four years ago Taormina had never held a gun, ridden a horse or picked up a fencing epee. She sold her house to pay for her training and, at age 39, is one of the oldest members of the U.S. team.