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DaVinci Society to honor 7 at scholarship dinner - Next Article

The Wagner College DaVinci Society will host its 10th annual scholarship and awards dinner on Wednesday, Sept. 18 at the Hilton Garden Inn. Tickets for the dinner are $150 ($75 tax deductible). To purchase tickets, or for more information, call Betty McComiskey at 718-420-4014.

The DaVinci Society is co-chaired by the Honorable Ralph Lamberti, former Staten Island borough president, and Richard Guarasci, president of Wagner College. The scholarship dinner is chaired by Eleanor Conforti.

Seven special people will be honored at the dinner this year: Carol Ann Benanti, Mark Lauria, Joe Sorrentino, Dr. Gerard Villa, Sam Farag, Dr. Ginny Mantello and Dr. Frank Forte.


Carol Ann BenantiCarol Ann Benanti is the Inside Out columnist for the Staten Island Advance. She is a board member of the Iron Hills Civic Association and a member of the National Association of Italian-American Women. Borough President James Molinaro presented her with the 2012 Italian-American Heritage Award for her interest in and commitment to Italian history and culture. She has been recognized by a number of charitable and civic organizations within the community.

Mark Lauria (a)Mark Lauria is the president of Mark Lauria Associates Inc., an independent insurance agency. He serves as chairman of the board of Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Gardens. He is a major supporter of the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, and he serves on several committees at the Richmond County Country Club.

Joe Sorrentino (a)Joe Sorrentino is a lifelong Staten Islander, born in West Brighton and raised in Westerleigh. He served as a prosecutor in the Bronx District Attorney’s Office under the legendary District Attorney Mario Merola. He has distinguished himself as one of the most highly regarded attorneys in cases in both New York and New Jersey, as well as federal cases in Florida, Pennsylvania and Connecticut.

Gerard VillaDr. Gerard Villa is a practicing dentist in partnership with Dr. T.J. Galligan in Eltingville. As a parishioner at St. Clare’s Roman Catholic Church in Great Kills, he has served as finance chairman and as athletic director, serving over 1,000 young people in various programs. He serves as a board member of his alma mater, Msgr. Farrell High School, and continues today as the vice chairman of its board of trustees. He was honored by the CYO of Staten Island and the Eger Nursing Home for his service and contributions. Dr. Villa has recently been vested as a Knight in the Sovereign Order of Malta.


The Renaissance Award is presented by the DaVinci Society to other-than-Italian Americans who have contributed greatly to Staten Island in many different organizations. This award has been given to community members of different cultures and backgrounds. This year’s honor will be presented to two special recipients: Sam Farag and Dr. Ginny Mantello.

Staten Island Mental Health Society's Anniversary BallSam Farag, born in Cairo, Egypt, has been a resident of Staten Island since 1969. He is the founder and president of Worldwide Electronic Corporation of Staten Island. He has a long history of service in our community. Among his commitments, he is a trustee at the College of Staten Island and a board member of the Staten Island Mental Health Society, Rotary Club of Staten Island and the Staten Island YMCA. He is a trustee of the Staten Island Children’s Museum, and he serves as vice chairman of the Staten Island Children’s Campaign. He has been honored by the New York Urban League, American Red Cross, the College of Staten Island, the Boy Scouts of America and Project Hospitality. His long-time commitment to making a difference on Staten Island has earned him this year’s Renaissance Award.

Ginny MantelloDr. Ginny Mantello is a neuroradiologist who practices her specialty at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. She was born in India and has a lifelong passion for education. She has taught meditation and stress management to students at Staten Island Technical High School. Her mission is to encourage people to take an active role in their health by teaching healthy lifestyle choices and stress reduction. She currently serves as co-chair of the Wellness Committee at Staten Island University Hospital, implementing an employee wellness program that she hopes to expand to the local community. She has been very active in teaching medical students, residents and fellows for the past 15 years.


Frank ForteEach year, the DaVinci Society presents a special award — the Lifetime Achievement Award — to an outstanding recipient who has worked tirelessly to improve the lives of people in our community. This year, the honor goes to Dr. Frank Forte, director of medical oncology and hematology at Staten Island University Hospital. For the past 38 years, he has been active in teaching, as well as actively involved in research, and has had numerous research publications in his field of cancer care. He has been honored by the Staten Island Heart Association, the Hemophilia Society and the American Cancer Society. In the community, he has served on the board of “On Your Mark” as well as the Todt Hill Civic Association. For his long-time commitment to the Staten Island community, he is the perfect choice to receive the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award.

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