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Past Newsmakers

Spring 2012 Newsmakers

DOMINICK ARGENTO, considered America’s greatest living composer of opera and art songs, turns 85 this year. A Pulitzer Prize recipient, he was honored by the University of Maryland School of Music, with fully staged performances of his most famous works this April.

GEN. PETER W. CHIARELLI, 61, stepped down as the Army’s vice chief of staff in January after a 40-year career that includes two combat tours in Iraq. As the Army’s second-highest-ranking general in the Pentagon, he urged the Army to set physical standards for combat duty and allow women to fight. He also championed better care for veterans suffering post-traumatic stress.

SAL DIMICELLI & BRUNO SERATO, were among CNN’s “Top Heroes in 2011.” Each received a $50,000 grant from the network that recognizes “everyday people” who change the world. Dimicelli assists about 500 people a year with food, rent, and other necessities through his non-profit, “The Time is Now to Help” in Lake Geneva, WI. Serato, who has a restaurant in Anaheim, CA, gives pasta dinners to 200 homeless children seven nights a week through “Caterina’s Club,” which he named for his late mother. Both men will use their grants to expand their projects.

ROBERT LANZA, M.D., is the chief scientific officer at Advanced Cell Technology, a Massachusetts biotech company that is conducting experiments with human embryonic stem cells that might restore sight to people going blind. Two women in the study have had encouraging results that include reading, threading a needle and going out alone. Twenty-four people suffering from forms of macular degeneration have volunteered for the study.

LUCIA ANNA “PIA” TRIGIANI, president of the Virginia Bar Association, has been elected to the Italian American Business and Professional Società Hall of Fame. The organization recognizes outstanding Italian Americans in the Richmond area. Trigiani, a second-generation Italian, was recognized for her legal career. She is a principal in the law firm MercerTrigiani and practices community association law. Her sister is the best-selling novelist, Adriana Trigiani.

And "Addio" to...

MICHAEL COLALILLO, who received the Congressional Medal of Honor for his heroism in World War II, died of congestive heart failure Dec. 30 at age 86. In 1945, when he was a 19-year-old Army private, Colalillo led his patrol through a firefight in which they were outnumbered. After killing or wounding at least 25 German soldiers, he carried a wounded soldier over his shoulder through open terrain while being fired at..

RENATO DULBECCO, a virologist who shared the 1975 Nobel Prize for medicine for his crucial discoveries about the genetic nature of cancer, died Feb. 19, four days before his 98th birthday. A medical officer in the Italian army during WW II, he was seriously wounded in Russia, and later joined the partisans fighting the Germans in Italy. He was born in Catanzaro, Calabria and in 1947 immigrated to the U.S.

ANGELO DUNDEE, who trained Muhammad Ali for 20 years, died Feb. 1 following a heart attack. He was 90. Born Angelo Mirena in Philadelphia, he worked in boxing for 60 years, and also trained Sugar Ray Leonard and more than a dozen other world champions.

BEN GAZZARA, the legendary stage and screen actor, died Feb. 3 in his native New York City at age 81. His career spanned 50 years, appearing on Broadway, in more than 70 films and countless TV programs. He was of Sicilian descent.

SERGIO SCAGLIETTI, a sports car designer hailed by the Italian automotive industry as “the Michelangelo of aluminum,” died Nov. 20 in Italy at age 91. His hand-shaped Ferraris of the 1950s and 1960s are the most valuable collector cars in the world, commanding multi-million-dollar sums at auction. He created the 1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa that sold for $16.4 million.