NIAF Mourns the Passing of Former Executive Director of NIAF Alfred Rotondaro


Danielle DeSimone
National Italian American Foundation

(Washington, D.C. – June 28, 2017) The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) mourns the sudden passing of Alfred Rotondaro, the former executive director of NIAF, Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress, and a leading figure in the Italian American community.

“On behalf of our Board of Directors and our entire NIAF family, I can say this is a loss that is being felt both personally and for our organization as a whole,” said John M. Viola, NIAF president and chief operating officer. “For over 20 years, Fred Rotondaro was an incredibly important part of building this organization into what it is today. In the time that I got to know him as a friend and a mentor, he shared incredible insights and his infectious passion for the Italian American community. Honoring him with the NIAF Community Leadership Award at our 40th Anniversary Gala was a highlight of my time here at the Foundation, and I hope a small way to recognize a man who deserves all the credit in the world for what we are today. His loss will be deeply felt.”

Born in Pittston, Pa., in 1939, Rotondaro earned undergraduate degrees in English and Philosophy from the University of Scranton, a Master’s degree in English from Creighton University and his PhD in American Studies from New York University. After receiving his Master’s degree, Rotondaro became a professor at the University of Scranton. He would go on to serve as executive director of the Community Progress Council in York, Pa., before moving to Washington, D.C., where he served as the executive director of NIAF for 22 years.

Throughout his career, Rotondaro worked as the communications director of the National Center for Urban Ethnic Affairs, the chair of Catholics In Alliance for the Common Good and the treasurer of the Italian American Democratic Leadership Council. He was also a board member of the Washington, D.C. Urban League, the International Review of African American Art, the National Colonial Farm, the Faith and Public Policy Institute and the Advisory Council of the Arab American Institute. Following his retirement, Rotondaro was made a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and, in 2015, Rotondaro was honored at NIAF’s 40th Anniversary Gala with the NIAF Community Leadership Award for his outstanding work within the Italian American community.

Rotondaro was a strong proponent of the Italian American community, which was evident in not only his work, but in the friends and family he left behind. He passed away on June 26, 2017.


The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to preserving, promoting and protecting the Italian American heritage and culture. To learn more about the Foundation and become a member, please visit