National Education & Leadership Awards Gala

 

 

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About the NELA Gala

Each year since 1989, the Sons of Italy Foundation® has honored outstanding Italian American scholars, business leaders and humanitarians at a gala event in Washington, D.C. The National Education & Leadership Awards (NELA) Gala is the SIF's most important fund-raising and public affairs event and also highlights the foundation's commitment to educational excellence, leadership and the betterment of society.

At the NELA Gala each year, 10 to 12 of the brightest and most talented scholars of Italian descent, chosen from a highly selective national competition, receive substantial awards ranging from $5,000 to $25,000 to accredited colleges and universities. The SIF also recognizes its annual award recipients, who are well-known Italian Americans with outstanding records in their professions and communities.

The hallmark of the SIF's public affairs program, the NELA Gala has traditionally been attended by the U.S president and other leaders in government, business, sports, labor, entertainment, the arts and the media.

Past Honorees

Year
Recipient
Sons of Italy Foundation® Award
2013
Sergio Marchionne
Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Chrysler Group LLC
Chief Executive Officer, Fiat S.p.A.
Award for Excellence in Global Business
General Colin L. Powell, USA (Ret.)
12th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Lifetime Achievement Award for Public Service
Robert F. Corrao
Chairman & CEO, Ski TV Network
National Education & Leadership Award
Gary Sinise
Founder, Gary Sinise Foundation
Actor and activist
Award for Courage & Patriotism
2012
The Hon. Hillary Rodham Clinton
U.S. Secretary of State
2012 Lifetime Achievement Award for Public Service
 
General Peter Pace, USMC (Ret.)
16th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Special Award for Courage & Patriotism
 
Claudio Bozzo
President, Mediterranean Shipping Company, Inc.
Award for Excellence in Business
 
Armand E. Sabitoni
General Secretary-Treasurer, Laborers' International Union of North America
Humanitarian Award
2011
U.S. Senator Jack Reed
Rhode Island
2011 Lifetime Achievement Award for Public Service
 
Carmen Policy
Former President & CEO,
San Francisco Forty-niners
National Education & Leadership Award
 
Steven Nardizzi
Executive Director, Wounded Warrior Project
Special Award for Courage & Patriotism
 
Pier Francesco Guarguaglini
Chairman of Finmeccanica
Special Award for Excellence in Global Business
 
SSgt. Salvatore Giunta
U.S. Medal of Honor Recipient
Sons of Italy Foundation $10,000 Scholarship
2010
President Bill Clinton
Founder, William J. Clinton Foundation
42nd President of the United States
2010 Lifetime Achievement Award for Public Service
 
Lewis C. Merletti
Former Director, U.S. Secret Service
Veteran, U.S. Army 5th Special Forces Group, Vietnam
National Education & Leadership Award (NELA)
 
Capt. Anthony K. Odierno (U.S. Army, Ret.)
Board Director, Wounded Warrior Project
Special Award for Courage & Patriotism
 
The Rienzi Foundation for Cochlear Implant Research and Fondazione Alberto Sordi, Universita Campus Bio-Medico di Roma
Special Tribute
2009
The Hon. Joseph R. Biden, Jr.
Vice President of the United States
National Education & Leadership Award (NELA)
 
Mary Ann Esposito
Creator & Host, PBS's "Ciao Italia"
Lifetime Achievement in the Culinary & Cultural Arts of Italy
 
The Hon. Arthur J. Gajarsa
Judge, U.S Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
Lifetime Achievement in Jurisprudence & Italian American Leadership
 
Robert A. Scardelletti
International President, Transportation Communications Union-IAM
Humanitarian
2008
Michael Petruzzello
Founding & Managing Partner, Qorvis Communications
Excellence in Business
 
Joseph Plumeri
Chairman & CEO, Willis Group
NELA
 
Dr. Alfred Rotondaro
Italian American Activist
Humanitarian
 
Steve Wynn
American Developer
Global Vision & Philanthropy
2007
Nicholas Donofrio
Exec. V.P of Innovation & Technology, IBM
NELA
 
The Hon. Geraldine Ferraro
Former United States Congresswomen
Lifetime Achievement for Public Service
 
Frank Giordano
President, Union League of Philadelphia
Humanitarian
 
The Rienzi Foundation
Making a Difference Award
2006
Robert E. Juliano
Chairman, Robert E. Juliano Associates
Humanitarian
 
Franco Nuschese
President, Georgetown Entertainment Group
Excellence in Business
 
Michael A. Rienzi
President & Founder, Rienzi & Sons, Inc.
NELA
2005
Joseph Battipaglia
Chief Investment Officer, Ryan Beck & Co.
Excellence in Business
 
Dana Gioia
Chairman, National Endowment for the Arts
NELA
 
Karen Ignagni
President & CEO, America's Health Insurance Plans
Lifetime Achievement
 
Joseph Procacci
CEO, Procacci Brothers Sales Corp.
OSIA/SIF Centennial Award
2004
Joseph Grano
Chairman, UBS Financial Services
NELA
 
John De Gioia
President, Georgetown University
Lifetime Achievement
 
Frances Visco
President, National Breast Cancer Coalition
Humanitarian
 
On. Silvio Berlusconi
Prime Minister of Italy
International Man of Courage Award
2003
Charles Gargano
Chairman, Empire State Development Corp.
NELA
 
Andy Granatelli
Automotive designer, driver & engineer
Lifetime Achievement
 
Richard L. Trumka
International Secretary-Treasurer, AFL-CIO
Humanitarian
2002
Robert Gallo, M.D.
Director, Institute of Human Virology
NELA
 
Martin Maddaloni
General President, United Association of Journeymen & Apprentices
Humanitarian
 
Joe Mantegna
Actor of Stage & Screen
Excellence in Media
2001
Robert Georgine
Former Chairman, President & CEO, ULLICO Inc.
Humanitarian
 
John Mariani
Chairman, Banfi Vintners
NELA
 
Regis Philbin
TV Personality
Lifetime Achievement
2000
Mario Andretti, Racing Legend
NELA
 
Connie Stevens, Entertainer
Humanitarian
1999
Tony Bennett
Legendary Singer
Humanitarian
 
Andy Giancamilli
Former President & General Merchandise Manager, Kmart Corporation
NELA
1998
Phil Guarascio
Executive V.P. & General Manager of Marketing and Advertising, General Motors
NELA
 
Frank Sinatra (posthumously)
Legendary Entertainer
Humanitarian
1997
Tommy Lasorda
Vice President, L.A. Dodgers and baseball legend
Humanitarian
 
The Hon. Peter F. Secchia
Former U.S. Ambassador to Italy
NELA
1996
Alfred A. Checchi
Former Co-Chairman, Northwest Airlines
NELA
 
Joe Paterno
Head Football Coach, Penn State University
NELA
1995
Joseph E. Antonini
Former Chairman, President & CEO Emeritus, Kmart Corporation
NELA
1994
The Hon. Louis J. Freeh
Former Director, FBI
NELA
1993
Annette Funicello Beloved Entertainer
NELA
1992
Anthony S. Fauci, M.D.
Director, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease at NIH
NELA
1991
The Hon. Antonin Scalia
U.S. Supreme Court Justice
NELA
1990
The Hon. Silvio O. Conte
Former U.S. Congressman
NELA
1989
Lou Carnesecca
Head Basketball Coach, St. John's University
NELA