Dante Alighieri Society of Michigan to Award Maria Harris its “Dante Distinctive Citizen Award”

Oct 14, 2018 159

The Dante Alighieri Society of Michigan is pleased to announce that the recipient of the 2018 Dante Distinctive Citizen Award is Maria Harris.  The purpose of the award is to honor members of the community who strive to promote the Italian language and culture with great energy and passion. 

Maria immigrated to the United States from Italy with her parents at a very young age. In her new country, she learned that education was vitally important and began to develop her knowledge, skills and capabilities. She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting, a Masters Degree in Taxation, and has also taught accounting classes at the college level.  

Her career expanded to working in the fields of accounting and financial management, holding positions with companies in the automotive design, engineering services, residential building industries in the USA, and special assignment in Germany. She worked as an accountant and tax specialist with public accounting firms, and currently consults with an Italian company that has start-up operations in the United States. 

For several years Maria has been extensively involved in promoting Italian language and culture by serving on the Boards of numerous non-profit organizations: AMIT, Italian American Cultural Society, Verdi Opera Theatre, NOI Foundation, Dante Alighieri, and the Italian American Club of Livonia, where she is now the President of their Charitable Foundation. As President, Maria is passionate about partnering with other non-profit organizations to advance Italian culture and supporting worthy causes in the community. She emphasizes the importance of offering generous college scholarships to students of Italian descent and encouraging young adults to join in the endeavor of carrying on the mission in the future.  

In addition to her continued commitment to the Italian community, she has been actively involved with organizations that promote women in business and that encourage education for children. Having experienced the challenges of immigration, she is an officer of the International Institute of Metropolitan Detroit (IIMD). She offers her insights to IIMD as they assist refugees and immigrants with naturalization, employment applications, skills training and English classes. In 2019, when IIMD celebrates its Centennial, Maria will co-chair the event. 

In 1994, Maria was honored with the title “Cavaliere of the Italian Republic” and in 1981 received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the Detroit College of Business.   She is the proud mother of a dynamic daughter and adores her son-in-law and her three outstanding grandchildren.  Maria loves to spend her free time with family and friends.  Congratulations to Maria for this well-deserved recognition of her accomplishments on behalf of the Italian community of Detroit. 

The award will be presented at the Dante Alighieri Society End of Year Party on Friday, December 7, 2018.  The event will take place at the Detroit Historical Museum – Streets of Old Detroit.  Doors open at 6:30 PM, and dinner will be served at 7:00 PM, followed by the Dante Distinctive Citizen Award presentation. Tickets are $95 for DAS members, and $105 for non-members.  Ticket price includes dinner, wine, access to the museum, and live entertainment provided by the D-TOUR Band.   Attire for the evening is formal or cocktail attire.  Please RSVP by December 1, 2018 on the DAS website: http://www.dantemichigan.org/events/das-annual-gala.  Please call  248.250.8928 for additional information.

SOURCE: Sandra Tornberg

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