Who We Are

The Italian American Heritage Society of Note Dame/Michiana dedicates itself to charitable and benevolent activities in our community that promote the continuing recognition of the Italian American heritage as a positive influence in our community. We are registered as a 501(C)(3) charitable organization.

The Italian American Heritage Society conducts several key events during the course of every year.  In the Spring, we hold our Member Banquet, elect our officers, and present one or more Columbus Awards.  In June, we hold our golf outing, which many agree is one of the best in the Michiana area.  For this event, we have been very fortunate to have as our honorary chairmen such outstanding individuals as Lou Holtz, Ara Parseghian, Mike Berticelli, Muffet McGraw, Mike Brey, and Joe Kernan to just name a few. In August, we host the Ferrogosto Picnic, a "family friendly" event dedicated to good food and fellowship.  And in October, we have a Columbus Day "get together."

The "Columbus Award" recognizes local Italian-Americans who have distinguished themselves with courage, leadership, vision and service to our community.  Twenty-one such individuals have received this Award.

We are extremely proud of our record of awarding scholarships of $1,000.00 each to graduating high school seniors.  Since 1986, we have awarded 181 scholarships to high school students of wide ethnic diversity, from many neighboring communities.  We also have undertaken a scholarship endowment program, with a goal of having the scholarships funded in perpetuity.

With a dedicated group of officers, board members and members, and support from our community, we shall continue recognizing our Italian heritage, our tradition of service, and promotion of education, governed by honor and respect in pursuit of our mission.

Origins of the IAHS

The Italian American Heritage Society of Notre Dame/Michiana is an outgrowth of the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame in Chicago which began in 1977.  In 1984, a group of local Italian Americans led by Herb Giuliani who were involved with the Sports Hall of Fame began talks of forming a local chapter of the Hall. In 1985, the Notre Dame/South Bend Chapter was formed. The organizing committee was made up of in alphabetical order; Joseph, Peter and Pietro Agostino, Ideal Baldoni, Mike Decicco, Herb Giuliani, Mike Mancini, Roberto Parisi, Frank Rizzo, Joe Rodino, Joe Simeri, Bob Stephan and George Tezich.

niashf-organizational-meeting.jpg

NIASHF Organizational Meeting at Agostino’s Whistle Stop Restaurant. Sitting (L to R) Ideal Baldoni, George Tezich, Roberto Parisi, Joe Rodino, Bob Stephan. Standing (L to R) Rich Butera (VP NIASHF –Chicago), Mike DeCicco, Pietro Agostino, Joe Simeri, Mike Mancini, Frank Rizzo, Herb Giuliani. Dr. Philip Faccenda, General Counsel for the University of Notre Dame, was instrumental in securing the rights for the group to use the name Notre Dame.

In 2001, the membership wanted to expand its focus beyond sports and keep more of the money raised local. As part of its membership requirements, the chapter made payments to help maintain the Hall inChicago. In 2002, the chapter disbanded and the membership formed its own 501 (3) c non profit organization.  The name and format of the organization was borrowed from the Italian American Heritage Society of Indianapolis founded in part by Dr. Michael A. Agostino.

In 1992, the local chapter combined with the Indianapolis group to have then Governor Evan Bayh issue a special proclamation in honor of Columbus’ 500th anniversary of discovering America.

governor-evan-bayh.jpg

(L to R) Dr. Michael Agostino, Ideal Baldoni, House Speaker B. Patrick Bauer, Governor Evan Bayh, Dr. Tom Cortese, Pietro Ferri, Pietro Agostino, State Representative Tom Kromkowski, Joe Agostino.

first-scholarship-winner.jpg

In 1987, the group awarded its first scholarship grant. (L to R) Ideal Baldoni, Scholarship Recipient, and Phil Faccenda.