NIAF News Releases



Contact:   Elissa Ruffino (NIAF) 202/939-3106 or

(WASHINGTON, D.C. – October 11, 2006) The Honorable Samuel Alito, Jr., Supreme Court Justice, will receive the National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) Special Achievement Award for Public Service at the Foundation’s 31st Anniversary Awards Gala on Saturday, October 21 at the Hilton Washington & Towers, Washington, D.C. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia will present the award.

The NIAF gala is one of the premier annual events in the nation’s capital, attracting more than 3,000 people from throughout the country and Italy. The gala begins with a 6 p.m. reception followed by dinner at 7 p.m. At the gala, singing legend Frankie Valli will receive the NIAF Lifetime Achievement Award in Entertainment. A performance by Valli and The Four Seasons is one of the highlights at NIAF’s annual Salute to the Martini on the evening of Friday, October 20 at the hotel.

During the gala, Academy Award-winning actress Anne Bancroft will be posthumously inducted into the NIAF Italian American Hall of Fame. Her husband, director Mel Brooks, will accept the award on her behalf. Actor Alan Alda will present the award. NIAF will also honor Raffaello Follieri, chairman and CEO of Follieri Yucaipa Investments, who will receive the NIAF Special Achievement Award for Humanitarian Service. Tom W. LaSorda, president and CEO of Chrysler Group, will receive the NIAF Special Achievement Award in Business. Catherine B. Reynolds, chairman of the Catherine B. Reynolds Foundation, will receive the NIAF Special Achievement Award in Education and Cultural Affairs. The dinner is chaired by Lawrence Auriana, founder and portfolio co-manager of Federated Kaufmann Fund and a NIAF board member.

Alito will join Scalia and other distinguished justices and judges at a legal conference on “Judicial Independence” during the afternoon of Saturday, October 21.

The son of an Italian immigrant with roots in Calabria, Alito was born in Trenton, N.J. He graduated from Princeton University in 1972, and then Yale Law School, where he served as editor of the Yale Law Journal. After Yale, he held various positions including assistant to the Solicitor General . Alito argued 12 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court during his tenure there. He served as deputy assistant to the Attorney General and U.S. attorney for New Jersey, where he prosecuted many cases that involved drug trafficking and organized crime. In 1990, Alito became a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit.

For information, contact: Carolyn Laurenzano at 202/939-3114 or or register online at

The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) is a non-profit, non-partisan foundation dedicated to promoting the contributions of Italian Americans. Visit our Web site at

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