Student award celebrates the legacy of a multicultural pioneer

Before most people had even heard the term "multiculturalism", the late Daniel Iannuzzi was bringing it to life.

Iannuzzi was the founder of world’s first multilingual television station, Channel 47 CFMT – now OMNI Television – but had long established himself as a multicultural media trailblazer when he founded a newspaper for Italian-Canadians, Corriere Canadese, in 1954 when he was barely out of his teens. Iannuzzi died in Nov. 2004, during the year of the newspaper’s 50th anniversary.

Right: Daniel Iannuzzi

His memory has been honoured with a $30,000 donation to York University Foundation for a student award at York University. This gift will be matched by the provincial government through the Ontario Trust for Student Support for a total of $60,000. Beginning in May 2008, the Daniel Andrea Iannuzzi Memorial Award will go to a student entering his or her second year of study, majoring in Italian Studies in the Faculty of Arts who has achieved a minimum grade of B and who demonstrates financial need.

"It’s a privilege and an honour for Multimedia Nova Corporation to commemorate the accomplishments and contributions of our late founder, Daniel Andrea Iannuzzi, by establishing a bursary to support Italian studies at York University," says Lori Abittan, president and CEO of the parent company for Corriere Canadese and several other properties.

According to Robert Drummond, dean of York’s Faculty of Arts, the award will make an already-successful program even more of a draw. "York’s Italian Studies program has been so successful that undergraduate Italian Studies course enrolments at York are now the largest of any university in North America," says Drummond. "And it has been deemed the top undergraduate Italian Studies program in North America."

A measure of Iannuzzi’s influence can be taken from the fact that the very first message of condolences after his passing in 2004 came from then Prime Minister Paul Martin: "A giant in the field of Canadian media has passed away." His was certainly a full life. Fluent in English, French and Italian, his loyalty and commitment to community began at an early age with his enrolment with the Canadian Grenadier Guards at the age of 18. A little more than two years later, Iannuzzi began a life-defining career as a pioneer in multicultural news media when he founded Corriere Canadese on the eve of Italy’s Republic Day.

Over the years, Iannuzzi served on many national committees and received numerous citations and awards including the Order of the Republic of Italy and the Order of Ontario before becoming a Member of the Order of Canada in 1990.

This article was submitted to YFile by Bruce Mitchell, marketing & communications specialist, York University Foundation.