News and Events
New Italian Studies Degree Program Honors First Graduates
Several distinguished visitors, including Italian Consul General Nicola Faganello and acclaimed Italian author Dacia Maraini helped usher in a brand new bachelor of arts degree in Italian Studies for Seaver College students on Wednesday, Apr. 1 in Drescher auditorium.
"In April 2001, we celebrated the launching of the Italian minor. Only a few years later, we're here launching the major," said Paola Lorenzi, assistant professor of Italian and director of the Italian Language program at Seaver College. "The major will be embracing Italian theater, Italian literature, cinema, and students can really expand their knowledge of Italian to a more profound level."
Lorenzi introduced donor Robert Barbera, whose generous contribution made the new major possible. "Ever since my first trip to Florence, I became an 'Italophile' and I was struck by what could I do to have others repeat my joy of going to Florence," he said.
Following Barbera, Consul Faganello praised Pepperdine for adding the major, and inducted the first two graduates of the program, seniors Natalie Binczak and Brenden Rhead, into the Gamma Kappa Alpha Italian Honor Society, presenting them with ropes of red, green, and white – the colors of the Italian flag – to wear with their graduation robes.
The headline speaker, author Maraini, was then welcomed with robust applause. Maraini is one of the most well known Italian writers, whose works are among the most translated in the world. Her renown is also due to her talent as a critic, poet and playwright. Her first novel, La vacanza ("The Vacation") was published in 1962, and the second, L'età del malessere ("The age of discontent") won the International Formentor Prize in 1963 and has been translated into 12 languages. She has subsequently published eight more novels, several investigative studies, and collections of poetry and essays.
Mariani spoke about the Italian language, saying, "It is not the language of necessity, but the language of pleasure." She also answered questions from students in the audience about her work, her life growing up in Japan, and her creative process.
Video of the event can be viewed on the Pepperdine University channel of iTunes U. For more information about the new Italian major, visit the International Studies and Languages department Web site, or call (310) 506-7446.