This unique advisory board is composed of area citizens and university community members. Their participation and oversight is the driving force behind the Center's current programs and future initiatives.
Executive Committee 2018–2019
Anna Maria Clementi, President
Anna is a founding member of the CIC and currently serves as its President. Anna is proud of the CIC's twenty-year history of promoting the language and culture of Italy. She invites all who visit this site to contribute to the organization by attending sponsored events, studying the language and perhaps becoming active members of the Center for Italian Culture.
Anna serves on the Board of Trustees at both Fitchburg State University and the Fitchburg Art Museum where she chairs the Education Committee. At Boston College, Anna earned a BA and MA in Italian Studies and a BA in French Studies.
She traces her ancestry to Corfinio, Aquila in the province of Abruzzo. She is passionate about all things Italian and is especially happy to sponsor the annual Fred Plotkin Italian Dinner at Fitchburg State through her family foundation. Her proudest accomplishment is being a mom to three wonderful children and Nonna to a wonderful grandson.
Hank Lisciotti, Vice President
Hank is currently the Vice President of the Center for Italian Culture Advisory Board and has been a member of the board since 2012 and serves on the Executive Committee. A life-long Leominster native, Hank retired after 35 years as a plastics industry executive.
A graduate of Becker College and Clark University, Hank chaired the CIC Archives Committee and still serves as an active member.
Hank’s ancestors immigrated from Cocullo, Corfinio, Capestrano, and Civitaretenga in the Abruzzo Provence of Italy.
For 40 years Hank has been a beekeeper, and he is interested in Italian Ancestry and History. Hank was granted his Italian citizenship in 2004.
Karen J. Spinelli, CPA Treasurer
Karen J. Spinelli is a certified public accountant and owns her own CPA firm, Spinelli CPA, PC, with offices in Leominster and Worcester. Karen has over twenty-one years of experience preparing tax returns and financial statements for individuals, businesses and non-for-profit Organizations. Karen joined the Center for Italian Culture as the treasurer in 2018. In addition, Karen serves as a trustee on the Fitchburg Art Museum and on the board of directors of the Fitchburg State University Foundation. Karen graduated from Fitchburg State University with a Bachelor’s degree in 1992. Karen grew up in Fitchburg and currently lives in Leominster with her husband and two children.
Anne Tardanico, Secretary
Anne has been a member of the CIC for 18 years and Chair of Scholarship Committee for the past 17 years.
She her earned a BS and MA Ed from Fitchburg State and participated in Doctoral Studies at UMASS Lowell, and served her alma mater as an Alumni Director and the Chair of the Alumni Scholarships for 10 years
Anne’s grandparents came from the Region of Puglia and lived in Bari. Her maternal grandmother owned olive gardens. Her paternal grandfather was a stone cutter who studied in Egypt and maintained the Pyramids before coming to America. Anne has visited Italy four times along with 16 other countries.
Advisory Board 2018–2019
Rose Anne Addorisio
Rose Anne, a retired faculty member of Fitchburg State College, earned both Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Education from Fitchburg State College. She has also studied at various other Colleges in Massachusetts.
She served on the Fitchburg State College Alumni Board of Directors for 17 years where she served as Vice Treasure, Treasure, Vice President, President and Past President. In September of 2008 she joined the Advisory Board of Center for Italian Culture and is currently on the Archives Committee.
Her parents were both born in Italy. Rose Anne’s father was from the Province of Avellino and her mother was from the Province of Bari. She enjoys traveling and researching the genealogy of her family.
Franca Barricelli, Ph.D.
Pauline joined the Center for Italian Culture in 2015. She currently serves on the Scholarship Committee. Pauline holds a BA from Regis College and a M.Ed. from Fitchburg State University.
She taught for 34 years in both private and public school systems. She retired from Leominster High School in 2015 where she held the position of Chair of World Languages.
Pauline’s ancestors are rooted in the Foggia and Sicily regions of Italy. Her spare time is filled with cooking, reading, music and keeping up with grandchildren and their families.
Mary joined the CIC in 2014. She is a first generation American whose parents immigrated from Pretare and Bari Italy.
Mary received her bachelors and masters degrees in Education from Fitchburg State, and a CAGS in Counseling/School Psychology from Anna Maria College and served on the Fitchburg State Alumni Board of Directors for 15 years.
She worked as a Special Needs teacher for 30 years, including 23 years at Fitchburg State's McKay Campus School and worked as an adjunct professor at Fitchburg State, teaching undergraduate courses as well as supervising and evaluating prospective graduate students in the field of Special Education.
Mary serves on the Scholarship Committee and Programming Committees.
Frank DeSorbo, Ph.D.
Long-time educator Frank DeSorbo taught history at Clinton Community College, Plattsburgh NY and joined Mount Wachusett Community College in 1984 where he served as the Dean of Social Sciences and the Dean of Academic Affairs. Upon retirement Frank taught at Fitchburg State University and Anna Maria College.
Frank has served on the Center for Italian Culture Advisory Board since 2015, and serves on the Programming and Archives Committees.
Frank earned his Ph.D. in History from New York University, a MA in History from Fordham University and a BA from Siena College. Frank’s ancestry hails from Caserta and Avellino.
Rala Diakite, Ph.D.
Petri Flint, Ph.D.
David Ginisi is the Marketing and Communications Manager for the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce and Visit North Central Massachusetts. An alum of Fitchburg State University with a Bachelors Degree in Communications Media, David has a sincere passion for supporting the North Central Mass region and helping our local businesses grow and succeed. Last year, David won an ACCE Communications in Excellence Award for his organization for his creative efforts in promoting and highlighting North Central Massachusetts as a place to grow and succeed as a business owner and entrepreneur.
David currently sits on Applewild School’s Board of Visitors, the Fitchburg Civic Days Committee, and the Discover Clinton Committee. He also previously sat on Fitchburg Pride’s Italian Festival Committee. His Italian heritage is traced back to his ancestors from Calabria, who planted roots in Harrison, NY once they landed on Ellis Island. Today, David still visits with his many cousins and relatives who remain in Harrison, NY.
Christine Cimini Hoeske
Christine has served on the Center of Italian Culture Advisory Board since 2001. She has been on the Scholarship Committee since its inception.
She graduated from Our Lady of the Elms College in Chicopee, Massachusetts in 1964 with a degree in Sociology/ Education. She taught in Pittsfield, Massachusetts and Leominster, Massachusetts. She has resided in Pittsfield, Sheffield, Leominster, Harvard and now Bolton, Massachusetts.
Her paternal ancestors were from Naples, and her maternal were from Calabria.
Vincent Ialenti, Ed.D.
Vincent Ialenti retired after 49 years at Mount Wachusett Community College where he served as a faculty member, Chair of the Broadcasting and Telecommunications Department, Dean of Academic and Institutional Technology, and as Interim Vice President of Academic Affairs.
Vin joined the Center for Italian Culture Advisory Board in 2015. He currently serves on the Scholarship and Archives Committees.
Vin holds a BA from Providence College, a MA from Syracuse University and a Ed.D. from the University of Massachusetts. In 2017 Vin was granted his Italian citizenship and traces his roots to Casale in Abruzzo and Campolieto in the Molise region.
Nancy DeCiantes Lee
Nancy holds a BS and M.Ed from Fitchburg State College. She taught for 30 years in Leominster.
Nancy joined the CIC board in 2004 and worked on various projects. For many years she has been involved on the Scholarship Committee. She is a board member of the Friends of the Leominster Public Library , and is a weekly volunteer there.
Her paternal Italian roots are from Sora, Lazio, and maternal roots from Pietraperzia in the Enna Province of Sicily.
Carol Cavaioli Millette
Carol was born and raised in Leominster. She graduated from Leominster High School and earned a BS and Masters in Elementary Education from Fitchburg State University. Carol taught in the Leominster school system for 30 years, retiring in 2003. She was married to Armand J Millette for 49 years and has two sons, Michael and Rick.
Carol has served on the Leominster Public Library Board of Trustees for 43 years. She is an active member of Saint Anna’s Society and is the Eucharistic minister. Carol enjoys reading, gardening, and crafts, but most of all her eight grandchildren.
Catherine is a life-long resident of the Fitchburg-Leominster area. A graduate of Sullins College, in Virginia where she earned a degree in fine arts. She continued her studies in arts and dance at the Boston Conservatory of Music and taught dance privately and for local dance studios for over 21 years. After her dance experience career, she took a position as an account coordinator and trainer for a cosmetics company in the Boston area.
Her maternal and paternal ancestors were from the province of Avallino in southern Italy. Catherine has embraced Italian culture all her life and has traveled extensively throughout Italy.
Daniel Sarefield, Ph.D.
Daniel received his B.A. in History and Religion from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio and his M.A. and Ph.D. from The Ohio State University, where he studied Ancient History. He joined the Fitchburg State University faculty in 2007 and teaches courses in History and Latin. He has been a member of Center for Italian Culture since 2007 and serves on the Programming Committee.
An avid traveler, Daniel has visited many parts of the Roman world and, in particular, he has traveled all over Italy. He has led summer study abroad courses to Verona and the surrounding region on three occasions.
Daniel’s Italian ancestor emigrated from the town of Frontone in the Marche region of Italy.
Throughout her twenty-seven-year career, she has served the Leominster Public Schools in various capacities recently as a Title I Curriculum Specialist and is now the Principal of Early Childhood Education in Leominster.
Ann-Margaret has an undergraduate degree in elementary education and Spanish from Assumption College and holds a Master degree from Lesley University. She joined the CIC in 2016.
Ann-Margaret is in her second year serving on the Center for Italian Culture Advisory Committee. Ann-Margaret has traveled to Italy several times, often visiting her cousins, who now live in Rome, but whose ancestry can be traced back to the province of Avellino.
She is a third generation member of Saint Anthony di Padua Church in Fitchburg, where her children have been active participants in the Madonna Della Cava Festival. Ann-Margaret enjoys traveling, spending time with family and friends and teaching her two sons about the wonderful Italian traditions that were embedded in her childhood.
Prof. Teresa Fava Thomas, Ph.D.
Teresa Fava Thomas is a professor of history at Fitchburg State University where she teaches Italian-American Immigration History and Modern Italian History, as well as afternoon adult ALFA program courses in Modern Italian History, Italian Immigration and Five Best Italian Travel Cities.
She is the author of The Reluctant Migrants: Migration from the Italian Veneto to Central Massachusetts, as well as articles and conference papers on Italian immigration history. Her current research is on the Allied strategic bombing campaign in Rome and Palestrina, Italy, and the experience of war and recovery in those areas, and does research in Italian as well as US archives.
Teresa has served on the CIC Advisory Board for more than a decade and has hosted book reading groups as well an Italian film series. Professor Teresa Fava Thomas holds a masters and a doctorate in history from Clark University. Her grandparents are from the Veneto region.
Marie Fusco Valeri
Marie has been a member of the Center of Italian Culture Advisory Board since 2012 and serves on the Archives Committee.
Marie’s father was born in Villa Latina in the Lazio region of Italy and her maternal grandparents were born in Naples.
Marie is a graduate of Fitchburg State College and was an elementary school teacher in the Leominster Public Schools for over thirty years. Following her retirement, she volunteered as a teacher of language arts enrichment and art for several years at St. Anna Catholic School in Leominster.
She and her husband have owned and operated Cristina’s Restaurant in Leominster since 1988.
Archive Committee 2018–2019
- Rose Anne Addorisio
- Frank DeSorbo, Ph.D., Co-Chair
- Vincent Ialenti, Ph.D., Co-Chair
- Hank Lisciotti
- Teresa Fava Thomas, Ph.D.
- Marie Valeri
Program Committee 2018–2019
- Franca Barricelli, Ph.D.
- Anna Clementi
- Mary Dennen
- Frank DeSorbo, Ph.D.
- Rala Diakite, Ph.D.
- Irene Greco
- Catherine Roncone
- Daniel Sarefield, Ph.D.
- Ann-Margaret Tessi-Mitchell
- Teresa Fava Thomas, Ph.D.
- Nelly Wadsworth
- Cynthia Wironen
Scholarship Committee 2018–2019
- Anne Tardanico, Chair
- Pauline Carulli
- Mary Dennen
- Christine Hoeske
- Vincent Ialenti, Ph.D.
- Nancy Lee
- Carol Ann Millette
Honorary Board Member 2018–2019
- Dr. Richard S. Lapidus, President of Fitchburg State University
Consulate General of Italy in Boston
- Nicola DeSantis, Consul General