Syracuse Stage is seeking talented local youth actors to audition for the role of Ivanka in its upcoming production of “Once,” directed by Melissa Crespo. Auditioners should note that the production schedule for “Once” includes morning student matinees in addition to…
Life Trustee Daniel D’Aniello ’68, H’20 Honored With Keys to the City of Florence, Italy
Alumnus, philanthropist and Life Trustee Daniel D’Aniello ’68, H’20 was recently celebrated by the city of Florence, Italy, for his dedication to the city and his support of the Syracuse Abroad program in Florence. In a ceremony hosted by the mayor of Florence, D’Aniello was presented with the keys to the city. University leadership, students, faculty and staff and local dignitaries attended the ceremony on Oct. 19 in the city’s town hall, Palazzo Vecchio.
“We are honored to open this ceremony in Palazzo Vecchio to give you the keys of the city, which is a sign of our friendship—our way to say to you thank you for your love and for your passion for our city, for our community,” Dario Nardella, the mayor of Florence, said.
D’Aniello, an alumnus of the Florence abroad program, has recalled his time in Florence as some of the most memorable of his college career and his recent support of the program and future generations of students reflects his deep connection.
In 2022, D’Aniello and his wife, Gayle, donated $10 million toward significantly enhancing the Syracuse Abroad Florence program. The gift will expand opportunities for students, attract exceptional faculty and improve facilities. It will also dramatically expand scholarship funding for whom study abroad programs have been out of reach, including student veterans, lower-income students and post-traditional students.
In honor of the couple’s gift, the program was renamed the Daniel and Gayle D’Aniello Syracuse University Program in Florence. The Daniel and Gayle D’Aniello Florence Program is located on Piazza Savanarola, at the historic Villa Rossa, with additional spaces for studio art and architecture on nearby Donatello Square.
The couple also has funded a scholarship for four military-connected students to spend a semester studying in Florence. The Daniel and Gayle D’Aniello Endowed Florence Scholarship will provide substantial financial support to the students. As part of the celebration activities, D’Aniello visited with student veterans who are studying in Florence with support from the endowed scholarship.
“Many tens of thousands of Syracuse alumni have come to truly understand and to love this place, no one more so than Dan D’Aniello,” Chancellor Kent Syverud said at the ceremony. “I also need to say thank you for giving back both to Florence and Syracuse University and particularly to the next generation so the next generation of students can love this city as you do.”
Chancellor Syverud explained the importance of D’Aniello’s support of the Florence program. “His gift is going to enable us to update the Villa Rossa and other University facilities in Florence. It’s going to help expand our programs, our faculty, our curriculum in Florence,” Chancellor Syverud said. “And most important it’s going to enable students who cannot afford to study in Florence to study abroad to receive scholarships to be here in Florence, and specifically scholarships for those who served in the U.S. armed forces and their families.”
After accepting the keys to the city during the ceremony, D’Aniello spoke in Italian about how much the honor meant to him and how it was with “great joy” that he was returning to the city he loved. His time there as a student coincided with the great flood in 1966. The disastrous flood deluged churches, libraries and museums, containing art and historical works, with mud. Residents and young people traveling the European continent and studying in Florence, including D’Aniello, helped rescue the priceless artifacts.
“Although I have visited this wonderful city many times over the years, my mind keeps taking me back to November 1966 and the great flood. To this day, I am still in awe of the heroic will of the Florentine people to overcome a disaster of such magnitude and to save and restore the Cradle of the Renaissance and the priceless iconic works of Western civilization,” said D’Aniello, co-founder and chair emeritus of The Carlyle Group. “Of all the titles I have received throughout my life I will forever cherish the title of ‘Mud Angel.’”
“Florence, through Syracuse University’s study abroad program, has given me more than I can ever repay, so helping to provide more young students with an unforgettable experience is a small gesture of my appreciation,” D’Aniello said. “My roots are 100% Italian, and my relatives in heaven and on Earth are smiling right now. I have no words to express my gratitude for the honor of receiving the keys to this beloved city.”
When he had heard of D’Aniello’s commitment to the Syracuse Abroad Florence program, which has been in existence for more than 60 years, Nardella said he understood more about the importance of the legacy of Syracuse University and its generations of alumni.
“This alumni community is an incredibly big family,” Nardella said. “Syracuse University I think is the oldest American university in our city. You are pioneers and after your decision to establish an important campus in our city, many other universities decided to follow you, to follow your example.”
Following the ceremony, the mayor invited those in attendance to his office, a unique part of Palazzo Vecchio, which is decorated with frescoes and tiled floor designs.