Academics and Research

Gift establishes chair in Italian program

The Italian Program in the Department of Languages and Literatures has received a $1.5 million gift from the Anna and John J. Sie Foundation. The gift will establish the Anna Maglione-Sie Endowed Chair in Italian Culture.

Italian is among the most popular languages of study for DU students. This quarter, 157 students are taking Italian courses; 42 students are majoring or minoring in Italian. And, Italy is the most popular study-abroad destination for DU students.

“The generous gift from Anna and John Sie will allow us to increase the number of study-abroad opportunities for our students in Italy and improve an important language program at a time when there is clearly more interest in studying the country’s rich history,” says DU Chancellor Robert Coombe.

The chair, which is DU’s first endowed chair in languages, will honor the contributions that Anna Maglione-Sie has made to the University, the Italian culture and the community.

Maglione-Sie is originally from Italy and is very active in Colorado’s Italian community. While attending a conference in Bologna, Italy, and visiting the DU-Bologna International Center for Civic Engagement there, she and her husband, Trustee John Sie, had a vision to make DU’s Italian program stronger.

“As a poor immigrant from Italy, I am now living the American dream,” says Maglione-Sie. “Through this Italian chair I am so pleased to be able contribute to U.S.-Italian relations for the peoples of both countries. I hope that this gift encourages more students to enroll in the Italian program at DU and that it inspires other donors to contribute to the University’s division of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.”

Assistant Professor Roberta Waldbaum will hold the initial Anna Maglione-Sie Endowed Professorship. Waldbaum has won two teaching awards at DU, including the Distinguished Teaching Award in 1998 and the Driscoll Master Teaching Award in 1992.

“Because of the Sie’s generosity we can develop a new curriculum, enhance faculty research projects, develop ties to the community — both locally and in Italy — and establish innovative programming and projects with DU departments,” Waldbaum says.

“We also can enrich the study-abroad experience of DU students studying in Italy and Italian students coming to DU.”

In addition to the language immersion and study-abroad opportunities offered through the Italian program, students can receive credit or a stipend by teaching Italian in Denver-area elementary, middle and high schools through the Ital Internship program.

The Anna Maglione-Sie Endowed Chair in Italian Culture will be established and funded through the University’s permanent endowment. Anna and John Sie will stay involved by reviewing proposals for the program and participating in the selection of future appointments to the chair.

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