Mr. Greco is the founder and Chairman of The Montfort Academy, a classical high school in Katonah, New York.  Mr. Greco is a lifetime member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor. He is a graduate of Fordham University with a Bachelors degree in Chemistry, of the Johns Hopkins University with a Masters degree in American Foreign Policy, and of the University of Chicago with a Masters in Business Administration. Mr. Greco is married with five children and resides in Yonkers with his family.

The reason we are posting this information today is because his remarks at the event were ... in my opinion (and that is only my opinion) ... the most poignant remarks regarding Italians and Italian Americans ever delivered during this particular event.  Here is a portion of his remarks:

THANK YOU ORDER OF THE SONS OF ITALY IN AMERICA.  IT IS HUMBLING TO RECEIVE AN AWARD FROM AN ORGANIZATION THAT HAS 600,000 MEMBERS AND HAS THROUGH ITS HISTORY GIVEN MORE THAN $100,000,000 TO IMMIGRANTS, STUDENTS, SICK PEOPLE, VICTIMS OF NATURAL DISASTERS, AND SO MANY OTHER NEEDY PEOPLE.

AND CONGRATULATIONS TO MY FELLOW HONOREES DR. MICHELASI AND ROBERT MCBRIDE.  AND WELCOME VICE CONSUL GENERAL AGHILARRE.
I AM VERY BLESSED—EXTRAORDINARILY SO.  ONE OF MY GREATEST BLESSINGS IS MY WIFE MARLA, WHO ALWAYS STANDS STRONG SIDE BY SIDE WITH ME THROUGH ALL OF LIFE’S JOYS AND CHALLENGES.  GOD HAS BLESSED MARLA AND ME WITH SIX VERY SPECIAL (AND I MIGHT ADD FUN) CHILDREN—MARY, RICKY, CECILIA, CLAUDIA, MAX, AND LEO.

I AM ALSO BLESSED BECAUSE I HAVE PARENTS WHOSE LOVE I HAVE FELT EVERY MOMENT SINCE I WAS BORN.  AND I AM NOT SPEAKING OF SENTIMENTAL LOVE.  I AM SPEAKING OF THE LOVE THAT DRIVES A MOTHER AND FATHER TO SACRIFICE—NOT FOR THEMSELVES—BUT FOR THEIR CHILDREN.  MY PARENTS NEVER EARNED A COLLEGE DEGREE.  BUT MY FATHER WORKED THREEE JOBS TO ALLOW US TO LIVE IN PELHAM MANOR AND ATTEND GOOD PUBLIC SCHOOLS.  YET, HE NEVER CHOSE TO MAKE THAT EXTRA DOLLAR OVER SPENDING TIME WITH ME AND MY TWO BROTHERS TO TEACH US WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A GOOD MAN.  AND FOR ME, MY FATHER IS THE GREATEST MAN IN THE WORLD.  AND MY MOTHER IS THE GLUE FOR OUR FAMILY, ENCOURAGING US TO DREAM, TO BELIEVE, AND WORK TO CLIMB TO FULFILLMENT.  AND SHE MADE CERTAIN THAT WE WENT TO SCHOOL EACH DAY, THAT WE ATTENDED CHURCH EACH SUNDAY, AND THAT WE LOVED AND RESPECTED OUR GRANDPARENTS AND GREAT-GRANPARENTS.

FINALLY, I HAVE BEEN BLESSED IN MY WORK, WHETHER IN FINANCE, GOVERNMENT SERVICE, OR IN EDUCATION.

AS THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, I HAD THE UNPARALLELED PRIVILEGE TO WORK AMONG THE FINEST AND BRAVEST MEN AND WOMEN OUR COUNTRY HAS EVER CALLED FORTH.  GK CHESTERTON ONCE SAID, “THE TRUE SOLDIER FIGHTS NOT BECAUSE HE HATES WHAT IS IN FRONT OF HIM, BUT BECAUSE HE LOVES WHAT IS BEHIND HIM.”  THE BEAUTY AND GOODNESS OF AMERICA THAT LIES BEHIND OUR SOLDIERS, SAILORS, AIRMEN, AND MARINES TODAY IS THE SAME THAT LAY IN FRONT OF OUR PARENTS AND GRANDPARENTS AS THEY SAILED FROM ITALY FOR A WORLD OF PROMISE.  THEY CAME TO A LAND WHERE THE REALIZATION OF DREAMS DEPENDS NOT ON ONE’S LAST NAME, NOR HOW MUCH MONEY ONE HAS, BUT RATHER WHAT ONE DOES WITH THE TALENTS GOD HAS GIVEN HIM.

ADVANCEMENT IN AMERICA COMES THROUGH EDUCATION.  THROUGH EDUCATION WE CAN FULFILL OUR DREAMS AND MAKE GOOD ON OUR PARENTS’ AND GRANDPARENTS’ SACRIFICES.  I BEAR THIS WITNESS AS THE OWNER OF MY OWN BUSINESS, A MEMBER OF THE BOARD OF TWO PUBLICLY TRADED COMPANIES INCLUDING THE ITALIAN FINMECCANICA, AND A FORMER ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF THE NAVY ON THROUGH EDUCATION.

500 YEARS AGO IN RENAISSANCE ITALY, AN EDUCATOR NAMED VITTORINO DA FELTRE SAID, “WE CALL THOSE STUDIES LIBERAL WHICH ARE WORTHY OF A FREE MAN, THOSE STUDIES BY WHICH WE ATTAIN AND PRACTICE VIRTUE AND WISDOM, THAT EDUCATION WHICH CALLS FORTH, TRAINS, AND DEVELOPS THOSE HIGHEST GIFTS OF BODY AND MIND WHICH ENNOBLE MEN AND ARE RIGHTLY JUDGED TO RANK NEXT IN DIGNITY TO VIRTUE ONLY.”

THIS IS THE INSPIRATION FOR THE MONTFORT ACADEMY, A CLASSICAL HIGH SCHOOL IN THE ARCHDIOCESE OF THE NY THAT MY WIFE AND I FOUNDED TEN YEARS AGO.  THE MONTFORT ACADEMY SEEKS TO TEACH THE BEST THAT MAN HAS EVER THOUGHT OR SAID OR DONE IN THE WORLD.  IT IS A SCHOOL THAT RETURNS TO THE BASICS OF GRAMMAR, LOGIC, RHETORIC, AND DEBATE, LATIN, GREEK, ASTRONOMY, MATHEMATICS, AND CIVICS.

CENTRAL TO THIS RENAISSANCE IN EDUCATION IS ITALIAN.  THE MONTFORT ACADEMY REQUIRES EVERY STUDENT—WHETHER ITALIAN, IRISH, BLACK, OR HISPANIC TO STUDY FOUR YEARS OF THE ITALIAN LANGUAGE AND CULTURE, AND IN BETWEEN THEIR JUNIOR AND SENIOR YEARS, STUDENTS TRAVEL TO CALABRIA, SICILY, TUSCANY, AND ABBRUZZI TO DISCOVER THROUGH ARCHEOLOGICAL EXPEDITION THE ROOTS OF CIVILIZATION AND THE SUCCESSES AND FAILURES OF MAN THROUGH THE AGES.
WHY THIS EMPHASIS ON THE ITALIAN?

UNESCO, THE UNITED NATIONS EDUCATION, SCIENTIFIC, AND CULTURAL ORGANIZATION, ONCE CONCLUDED THAT 62%--MORE THAN HALF—OF THE WORLD’S CULTURAL PATRIMONY COMES FROM A COUNTRY THAT TODAY REPRESENTS LESS THAN 1% OF THE WORLD’S POPULATION, ITALY.

ITALY TAUGHT THE WORLD TO SEE.  PYTHAGOROUS SAW BEYOND STRAIGHT LINES TO ADVANCE MATHEMATICS AND GEOMETRY; CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS SAW BEYOND FLAT HORIZONS, IGNITING EXPLORATION AND GLOBALIZATION; GALILEO GALILEI SAW BEYOND THE SENSES, INAUGURATING MODERN SCIENCEP GUGLIELMO MARCONI SAW BEYOND THE LIMITATIONS OF THE WIRE, MAKING POSSIBLE THE INVENTION OF THE RADIO, TELEVISION, AND EVERY WIRELESS DEVICE WE KNOW TODAY.  SAINT FRANCIS, SAINT ANTHONY, PADRE PIO, AND HUNDREDS OF OTHER SAINTS SAW BEYOND THE UGLY TEMPTATIONS OF THIS WORLD TO HELP US FOCUS OUR LIVES ON ACHIEVING ENTRY TO THE NEXT WORLD.

WE ARE THE HEIRS OF A CULTURE THAT INVESTED ACCOUNTING, MODERN BANKING, THE PIANO, OPERA, WHOSE GIANTS INCLUDE DANTE, DA VINCI, ENRICO FERMI, MARIA MONTESSORI, GAETANO FILANGIERI, AND FILIPPO MAZZEI, WHO INSPIRED THOMAS JEFFERSON WITH HIS WRITINGS AND WHO HAS BEEN CREDITED BY CONGRESS AS THE AUTHOR OF A UNIQUELY AMERICAN BUT FUNDAMENTALLY UNIVERSAL TRUTH THAT ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL.  WE ARE THE HEIRS OF ANONYMOUS ARTISTS AND COBBLERS, BAKERS, AND BRICKLAYERS, WHOSE INVENTIONS OF HAND AND MIND, ART AND SCIENCE FLOOD THE WORLD’S CHURCHES, TOWN SQUARES, SHOPS, AND LIBRARIES.  WE ARE THE HEIRS OF A CREATIVE GENIUS THAT CONTINUES IN AMERICA THROUGH SUPREME COURT JUSTICES, CEOS OF INTERNATIONAL CORPORATIONS, DOCTORS, LAWYERS, CLERGY, SCHOOL ROOM TEACHERS, GARDENERS AND TRADESMEN AND THROUGH COMPANIES LIKE FIAT, FINCANTIERI, AND FINMECCANICA.  WE ARE THE HERIS OF OUR MOTHERS AND FATHERS, GRANDMOTHERS AND GRANDFATHERS, WHOSE VERY DETERMINATION IN COMING TO THE UNITED STATES WAS AN ACT OF COURAGE, WISDOM, AND HUMILITY; AN ACT OF VIRTUE, GAINING US A HAPPY INHERITANCE.

LET US BE PROUD, SONS OF ITALY, LET US MAKE OUR FOREBEARERS PROUD THAT WE TOOK NOT ONLY OUR ITALIAN HERITAGE BUT ALO OUR ITALIAN INHERITANCE AND USED IT HONORABLE AND VIRTUOUSLY IN THE LAND OF OPPORTUNITY, MAKING GOOD ON THEIR SACRIFICES.  IT IS ONLY IN THIS WAY THAT WE INVLUENCE MEN AND BUILD THE FUTURE OF CIVILIZATION.  THANK YOU.

Bravo to Honorable Richard Greco!
The New York Grand Lodge Foundation, Order Sons of Italy in America is grateful to Foundation Director Robert Forito for bringing Mr. Greco to us.  Mr. Greco is a member of the Forito family ... and proudly so!
Article by
Nancy DiFiore Quinn
State Immediate Past President