Profs. Ray Hutchison (Urban and Regional Studies) and Sarah Meredith Livingston (Music) recently returned from Florence, where they had been invited to participate in activities celebrating the award of the international Columbus Prize to Dr. Paolo Del Bianco, founder and director of the Romualdo Del Bianco Foundation. The foundation was established in 1998 to facilitate the integration of students and faculty from universities in Eastern and Western Europe following the dismantling of the Berlin Wall and collapse of the former Soviet Union. The city of Florence honored Del Bianco for his commitment to fostering international exchanges and goodwill. At the awards ceremony, the UW-Green Bay representatives were joined by counterparts from universities and cultural institutions in Armenia, Azerbaijan, China, Georgia, Italy, Japan, Poland, Russia, Slovakia and Ukraine, among others, in applauding the honor.
In 2006 UW-Green Bay awarded Del Bianco an honorary doctorate for his humanitarian work in the field of education, and this year the University received a special gift (to be unveiled in 2014) to commemorate the longstanding relationship between the University and the foundation. That relationship has facilitated international conferences — The Tourist City (part of the 2008 Florence Expo) and Everyday Life in the Segmented City, led by Hutchison. UW-Green Bay faculty including Hutchison, Meredith Livingston, Catherine Henze and Derek Jeffreys of Humanistic Studies have all organized student travel groups to Florence. The Del Bianco Foundation has also provided support for 14 UW-Green Bay Music students to participate in master classes and concerts and for another 23 choir members (highlighted by a performance at the historic Basilica della Santissima Annunziata) to perform under Meredith Livingston’s direction. Hutchison and Meredith Livingston report that an original art work by Amanda Tarras Hatton (a 2003 Art graduate) is now on display at the Palazzo Coppini, headquarters of the Del Bianco Foundation in Florence.