Alumni Then and Now: JCU Hosts 2019 Rome Reunion

John Cabot University alumni from the classes of 1976 to 2019 came together on the weekend of September 19-22 to reconnect with old friends, celebrate the next generation of students, and foster the JCU community spirit.

More than 60 JCU alumni gathered in Rome from Milan, London, Dubai, Brussels, New York, Dallas, Denver, Leipzig (Germany), Pretoria (South Africa) and Karachi (Pakistan) to attend the 2019 John Cabot University Alumni Reunion. The reunion kicked off on Thursday, September 19, with a welcome aperitivo and a toast by JCU President Franco Pavoncello.

Alumni at the JCU President's Gala

Alumni Reunion at the JCU President’s Gala

On Friday, alumnus Jesse Smeal (’03), owner of Homebaked – Grandma’s Kitchen, an American eatery in Rome, prepared an American brunch for the attendees. Pancakes, donuts, cookies, eggs, and sausages were served in the newly inaugurated Cardia Courtyard of the Caroline Critelli Guarini building. “I sometimes miss that down-home American cooking,” said Jesse, explaining his choice to open Homebaked. In the afternoon, Francesco Ruspoli (’94), President of the Alumni Association, welcomed the attendees with a talk about the importance of fostering a solid JCU network and making an impact on the life of other students.

Afterwards, faculty and alumni participated in discussion forums about different topics. Applied Data Analytics Professor Alina Sorgner, alumni Paola Scotto di Frega (’13), Alberto Romano (’14), Giulia Primo (’18), Gaia Kouki (’19), Marco Pecchio (’17), and Charles Tabansi (’20) took part in the Entrepreneurship: Young Founders Flying High forum, while Communications Professors Brian Thomson and Alberto Micali, and alumna Ksenia Kurileva (’14) held the Virtual Reality & Gamification: A Look Into the Future forum. Communications Professors Peter Sarram and Antonio Lopez, Philosophy Professor Brunella Antomarini, and alumnae Fiamma Mozzetta (’16) and Elisabetta Petrucci (’19) talked at The Illusion of Authenticity: Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, whereas English Literature Professor Shannon Russell and alumnae Giorgia Conte (’16), Marialaura Grandolfo (’17), and Federica Bocco (’18) participated in the How to Become a Writer In the Harsh World of Communication forum. Lastly, Political Science Professor Federigo Argentieri held an open class about The Challenges of Sovereignism.

After the discussions, attendees gathered on the Secchia Terrace of the Guarini Campus to toast to JCU’s Faculty at the Wine & Cheese Tasting. Wine was provided by alumni Anselmo Guerrieri Gonzaga (’01) of Tenuta San Leonardo, Clemente Casini (’05) of Bindi Sergardi, and Marjorie Marino (’10) of Tenuta Marino. Alumni Beatrice Greta Zanasi (’18) of GRA-COM and Serafino Pinno Vodret (’19) of Pinna Spa contributed cheese, and student Virginia Corradini (’20) of GRABees brought honey produced in the archaeological parks of Rome. Alumna Chiara Di Vito (’20) joined the event with Torpedino tomatoes grown by her family and made gazpacho, bruschetta, and panzanella, a typical dish of central Italy.

Saturday evening, President Pavoncello, alumni, Trustees, and friends participated in the annual President’s Gala. Held in the Hotel Hassler at the city center, the President’s Gala is a celebration of John Cabot University’s achievements and a way to support the growth of JCU. During the evening, alumnus Antonio Santarelli, who majored in Business Administration and graduated in 1981, received the Distinguished Alumni Award for his work in his family’s Wine Estate Casale del Giglio, and for founding the association called The Vineyard of Latium, which aims to restore the prestige of the Lazio region’s high-quality wines and to promote cultural heritage and local cuisine.

The Reunion ended on Sunday, September 22, with a Tex-Mex lunch catered by alumnus Alberto Romano (’14) from Rey Nacho. Among the participants were alumnae Roseanne Terry from Richardson Texas (TX) and Lisa Pakulski from New York (NY), who graduated from John Cabot in 1976, when it was still known as John Cabot International College.

John Cabot University thanks everyone who participated in the 2019 Alumni Reunion and look forward to welcoming you back next time!