Saturday, October 29, NIAF will celebrate its 47th Anniversary Gala at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C. Purchase tickets
Tim Mcgraw and Luciano Pavarotti Headline List of Stars at Largest Italian American Gala in Washington, DC


Contact:   Elissa Ruffino (NIAF) 202/939-3106 or

(WASHINGTON, DC – October 11, 2004) Grammy Award-winning country music star Tim McGraw and legendary tenor Luciano Pavarotti are among the honorees at National Italian American Foundation’s (NIAF) 29th Anniversary Awards Gala, Saturday evening, October 16 at the Hilton Washington & Towers, Washington, D.C. The gala begins with a reception at 6 p.m. followed by dinner.

Before more than 3,000 people, McGraw, whose mother’s maiden name is D’ Agostino, will receive the NIAF Special Achievement Award in Music and Pavarotti will be inducted into NIAF’s “Italian American Hall of Fame” for his work in music. McGraw will be accompanied by his wife, singer Faith Hill and mother, Betty Trimble.

Popular entertainer Tony Danza is the master of ceremonies. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, singer Jo Dee Messina, NFL legend Franco Harris, actors Danny Aiello and Giancarlo Giannini will be joined by comedian Fred Travalena at the NIAF gala.

The NIAF gala has been traditionally attended by the presidential candidates, members of the Italian American Congressional Delegation, and Italian American leaders in business, sports, government, entertainment and the arts. This year’s dinner chairman is Thomas R. Tizzio, senior vice chairman for American International Group Inc. (AIG).

Honorees at this year’s NIAF gala also include: Carmella LaSpada, founder of No Greater Love and executive director of The White House Commission on Remembrance; and Joseph J. Plumeri, chairman and CEO of Willis Holdings Group Limited. LaSpada will receive the NIAF Special Achievement Award in Humanitarian Service. Plumeri will receive the NIAF Special Achievement Award in Business.

During the gala, NIAF will announce two new scholarships in honor of the late Jim Cantalupo, former McDonald’s chairman and CEO and member of the NIAF Council, and Jack Valenti, former president and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and former member of the NIAF Board of Directors.

The gala and convention weekend will also feature conferences, the traditional celebrity luncheon and auction, and a seminar on tourism. On Friday, October 15, attendees will have the opportunity to have candid conversations with some of the most famous Italian Americans at the Children of the Greats conference and attend Italian Americans and the 2004 Presidential Election conference. Alan Greenspan, chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, will attend a private NIAF CEO luncheon that day. The next day, Justice Antonin Scalia, Gov. Janet Napolitano and Hon. Louis Freeh, former FBI director, will participate in the Milestones of the Italian American Experience conference. Dinner tickets begin at $400 each. Proceeds to benefit the NIAF Scholarship and Education Programs. For tickets or sponsor information, contact: Bonni Cellini at 202/939-3114 or or register on-line at

The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) is a non-profit organization based in Washington, DC and dedicated to preserving the heritage of Italian Americans. Visit: