JCU Students Receive America Award at the Italian Parliament


From left: Alessia Luisa Vitiello, Mary Curran and Addison Hollomon.

Three JCU Students were granted medals of the Italian Parliament in the framework of the America Award by the Italy-USA Foundation on October 7, 2022. Mary Curran, Addison Hollomon, and Alessia Luisa Vitiello received the prestigious award in recognition of their academic achievements and service to the university community.

The America Award is conferred to American citizens who are enrolled in a B.A. program at John Cabot University and have extensive knowledge of the Italian language and culture through formal study and extracurricular activities.

A celebrity hairstylist and make-up artist, Mary Curran is pursuing her B.A. in Italian Studies at JCU. In late 2020, Mary and her husband decided to purchase property in Umbria and renovate it into a hotel and event space. She applied to JCU to learn the Italian language and gain a better understanding of Italian culture and history. “This knowledge will enable me to open our business with the appropriate sensitivities to the community,” Mary explained.

Addison Hollomon is from Seattle, Washington, and she studies International Affairs at JCU. Last year she was the Student Government Chief of Staff and Events Coordinator, where she led a task force to draft and publish a university-wide sexual assault policy, as well as planned and executed events to bring together the JCU community. This year, she launched the Interfaith Alliance with the aim of promoting interfaith dialogues among members of the JCU community. “In the future, I would like to pursue a career as a Foreign Service Officer or as a religious studies scholar,” Addison said.

Currently in her last semester, Alessia Luisa Vitiello studies International Business. A first-generation Italian American, Alessia came to Italy in 2017 to join her family. After graduation, she hopes to pursue a master’s degree and start her career with an international company. “My time in Rome and at JCU has allowed me to experience and interact with people from all over the world, and I would love to be able to continue to do so throughout my life,” Alessia said.

Other recipients of this year’s award were Massimo Bottura, chef; Ilaria Capua, scientist; Luigi Contu, editor in chief of Ansa; Veronica Etro, fashion designer; Umberto Guidoni, astronaut; Luca Maestri, senior vice president of Apple Inc.; Alessandro Minuto Rizzo, former Deputy Secretary General of NATO; Francesca Nonino, social media influencer; Oscar-winning composer Nicola Piovani; Melissa Satta, television host; Jean-Claude Trichet, former President of the Central European Bank; Valentina Vezzali, Undersecretary for Sport. A special award in memory of Judge Giovanni Falcone also was conferred by the Italy-USA Foundation.

The Italy-USA Foundation is an independent institution established to honor and promote friendship between Italians and Americans by playing a bipartisan public role on both sides of the Atlantic. Each year, the Foundation confers the America Award to acknowledge and encourage initiatives aimed at favoring relationships between Italy and the United States.

“As Dean of Academic Affairs of John Cabot University, it is a great honor for me to be here today as JCU celebrates its fiftieth anniversary. We are very proud of this recognition of our students, because like the Italy-USA Foundation, John Cabot University seeks to build bridges between the US and Italy,” said Dean of Academic Affairs, Stefano Arnone.