2014 Celebrazione Italiana

Published: April 24, 2014

Enriching Minds, Changing Lives!



John & Ida Alia
Lifetime Achievement Award


Mrs. Elizabeth K. Brown
Leadership Award


The evening was filled with good food and good friends. Most importantly, it was filled with the type of generosity that enables area students to experience learning in Italy. The real reason to celebrate.

The 2014 edition of Celebrazione Italiana, the annual fund-raising event to support the University of Wisconsin-Parkside educational exchange with universities in Italy, including the University of Calabria, was held Friday, April 25, in the Parkside Student Center Ballroom. Each year, the event raises thousands of dollars to help students participate in the Italian exchange program.

UW-Parkside Associate Professor of Business Dr. Abey Kuruvilla told the hundreds in attendance that the value of global learning cannot be understated. "The data is mounting that suggests travel and study abroad, when integrated in the college experience, bring lasting benefits to students," Kuruvilla said. "A study by the Institute of International Education, which interviewed students over a 10-year period who participated in study-abroad programs, found that studying abroad served as a catalyst for increased maturity and self-confidence, enabled students to better tolerate ambiguity, and created a lasting impact on their world view." 

In addition to meeting students who have visited Italian universities and students from Italy who have come to UW-Parkside, the event honors the selfless efforts of individuals who support higher education and the greater community.

This year, John and Ida Alia, and Elizabeth "Betsy" Brown were recognized for their strong commitment to UW-Parkside and overall generosity toward communities in southeastern Wisconsin.

Brown is the wife of the late Howard Brown who owned the Kenosha News for more than 50 years. Howard and Betsy Brown embraced the mission of accessible and affordable higher education and worked to establish a four-year university in southeastern Wisconsin. Betsy Brown sustains support for UW-Parkside in its fullest sense – as a vital source of educational, cultural, artistic and economic strength. She established an endowment in the couple's name through the University of Wisconsin-Parkside Foundation to support special projects in the arts and humanities.

John and Ida Alia are co-owners of Salute Restaurant in downtown Racine with Ida's sisters Anna and Gemma. Throughout the years, the Alias have supported Celebrazione Italiana as sponsors and attendees. Their generous hospitality has helped shape the endearing nature of the educational and cultural exchange between UW-Parkside and the people of Italy.

As ambassadors for the community and UW-Parkside, John and Ida Alia often create a home away from home for the students, faculty, and visitors associated with the Italian exchange program. The couple has always made special arrangements to host the students from UW-Parkside involved in the program as well as the exchange students arriving from Italy. Their generous spirit and support are known across Calabria as many are aware of "La Signora Ida!".

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