Leonardo da Vinci  Award of Excellence Gala History


Leonardo da Vinci  Award of Excellence Gala History the Grand Lodge instituted this event in 2002 to acknowledge and award Italian and Italian Americans, in our communities, who have distinguished themselves in their respective fields of Artistry, Communications, Community Leadership, Education, Business,Law, Medicine, etc.The reception is similar to the Oscar and Golden Globes, and combines great Italian food and wine together with live entertainment and heartfelt acceptance speeches.

This event takes place the first Sunday in May.


 Eleven distinguished professional Italian Americans were honored with a Leonardo da Vinci Award of Excellence at the 17th Annual Reception and Ceremony on May 6, 2018 at the Roma Lodge in Racine, Wisconsin.

The event is hosted by the Grand Lodge of Illinois and Wisconsin, Order Sons and Daughters of Italy in America

 Master of Ceremony and event Chair was Frank Schiro, Grand Lodge 1st Vice President. Schiro introduced Richard R. Della Croce who gave a wonderful performance as he sang both the American and Italian national anthems. Grand Lodge President Marie Marsalli was introduced and welcomed the honorees and guests.


In attendance at the event to honor the recipients were OSDIA’s National President Vera Girolami from California, National 5th Vice President Richard R. Della Croce, the Honorable Scott Walker, Governor of the State of Wisconsin and the First Lady of Wisconsin, Tonette Tarentino Walker, who was honored for her community leadership.


In the spirit of da Vinci, the Order recognized the successful and outstanding accomplishments of excellence to our society by the eleven honorees in their various paths and fields of life’s pursuit.



 In presenting the award to the recipients, President Marsalli stated: “Our honorees are truly professionals and walk among giants in their chosen field. They are outstanding and respected citizens in their community. They are profoundly proud of their Italian heritage, its traditions and culture. We wish them continued success in their endeavors”.



 The prestigious da Vinci Award of Excellence was presented to: Anthony J. Bruno (Community Leadership); Joseph T. Emanuele (Community Leadership); Deacon Russell Missureli (Community Leadership); Tonette Tarantino Walker (Community Leadership); Prof. Joseph Mangiamele (Education); Representative Peter Barca (Government); CJ Martello (Journalism); Honorable John J. DiMott (Jurisprudence); John Salza (Law); Luigi Caira, D.D.S. (Medicine); and, Kathryn A. Occhipinti, M.D. (Medicine).Guests enjoyed a delicious noon buffet featuring Italian dishes prepared by the Roma Lodge chefs. Home made Italian biscotti, cannoli and fresh fruit were served as dessert.


Entertainment was provided by DJ John. Photos by Tim Townsend.



 Carl Demma – 2000

 Salvator Dimecelli – 2001

 Tony Spavone – 2002

 Rocco & Linda Taglia – 2003

 Honorable Anthony Calderone – 2004

 Francis Cardinal George – 2005

 Lenny, John & Fred Minelli – 2006

 Frank Cerrone – 2007

 Bernard DelGiorno – 2008

 Ronnie Colosimo – 2009

 Louis H. Rago – 2010

 Special Awards presented in 2010

Joe Mantegna

Lifetime Achievement in Entertainment

Willie Novelli

Patriotism Award

 The Shrine of Our Lady of Pompeii – 2011

 Frank Amaro – 2012

 The Honorable Renato Turano – 2013

Giovanni D. Bucci – 2014

 The DiNovo Family - 2015

The Honorable John D'Amico- 2016

Chef Bruno Abate -2017