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Past Newsmakers

Winter 2008

ANN BROGIOLI, a D.C. public school social worker, takes her responsibilities to heart. When she learned problem student Danny Govan, 16, had lost 11 relatives to gun violence, she got him medical aid and counseling, put him in a better school and helped his mother with her financial woes. She also sends Danny to her family back in Massachusetts every summer where he hangs out with her father, a retired basketball coach and 17 nieces and nephews.

VINCENT DeDOMENICO, 92, who invented Rice-A-Roni, died Oct. 18, 2007 of a heart attack. He created his "San Francisco treat" in the 1960s and also bought Ghirardelli Chocolates with his brothers from its founding family. Always on the go, he established the Napa Valley Wine Train in 1987 when he was 72. It featured white tablecloths, five-course meals and fine wines on refurbished vintage trains that traveled through California's wine country. "He lived every day to its fullest," says daughter Marla Bleecher.

MARIO R. CAPECCHI, Ph.D. was awarded the 2007 Nobel Prize in Medicine for developing the immensely powerful "knockout" technology that allows scientists to create animal models of human disease in mice. Born in Italy of an Italian father and American mother, he came to the U.S. after WW II as a child. Now 70, he is currently a professor at the University of Utah. [See details of his wartime experience on page 24.]

ANTOINETTE IADAROLA, Ph.D. is retiring in June as president of Cabrini College, after 16 years as head of the Catholic school, founded in Pennsylvania school in 1957 and named for Mother Cabrini, the first American saint. During her tenure, Dr. Iadarola transformed Cabrini from a commuter-based women's college to a coeducational college of more than 1,700 undergraduates; oversaw more than $100 million in capital improvements and raised the endowment from $3 million to more than $40 million.

MARIO FRATTI, who adapted Fellini's film "8 ½" as the acclaimed Broadway musical, "Nine," that won seven Tony awards, will soon see his creation on film directed by Rob Marshall ("Chicago"). Among possible leads, Sophia Loren and Penelope Cruz. Fratti has written over 80 plays that have been performed in 19 languages. He was born in Italy, but has lived in New York City since 1963.

JOY MANGANO, a New York housewife was raising five children when she invented a self-wringing mop. Working out of her home, her invention and other products eventually produced sales averaging $16 million annually. An inventor since her teens, she invited the fluorescent flee collar and put it out a year before Hertz, as well as cleaning products and storage containers.

JOHN F. MARIANI, the noted vintner, has received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Wine Enthusiast Magazine for producing outstanding wines and spirits. Mariani is a family proprietor of U.S. wine importers, Banfi Vintners and the Castello Banfi vineyard estate in Montalcino, Tuscany. In 2001, the Sons of Italy Foundation® honored Mariani with its National Education and Leadership Award.

MARY TESTA is currently making audiences laugh on Broadway in the role of the evil sister in Xanadu. E News reports, "Jackie Hoffman and Mary Testa play Kira's evil sisters. They steal every steal they are in. They are wickedly funny." Testa is a two-time Tony Award nominee for performances of 42nd Street (2001) and Leonard Bernstein's On the Town (1998).

ALDO CROATTI founded UniFirst in 1936, a uniform and supply company which grew from a single location in Boston to nearly 200 facilities and 10,000 employees here and abroad. Among its clients are the U.S. Postal Service and General Electric. He died in 2001, but his memory was honored last July with a commemorative plaque from the Italian government.