ralston lawn

NDNU Honors Community Leader Marie Gallo

Belmont, CA, March 18, 2008 — Notre Dame de Namur University will honor alumna Marie Gallo for her exemplary community service within the Greater Bay Area and for reflecting the vision of the University at the Seventh Annual NDNU Gala, “Bella Notte,” at 6 p.m., Saturday, March 29.

The University’s signature fundraising event will be held at the Walter Gleason Center located on the University campus at 1500 Ralston Avenue in Belmont. Dinner, dancing, and dazzling entertainment, as well as a live and silent auction are sure to complete a “beautiful night.”

In keeping with NDNU’s mission to encourage students to develop their potential in a supportive environment and challenge them to share what they have learned through service and the promotion of social justice and global peace, NDNU established an annual award for an individual who has demonstrated outstanding community service. Gallo will be this year’s recipient of the “NDNU Community Spirit Award.” She graduated from NDNU, then College of Notre Dame, in 1957 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and a teaching credential. Affectionately known as “Mimi” by her former classmates, Gallo is a lifelong resident of Modesto and celebrated NDNU alumna.

“It is our goal to recognize citizens of the Bay Area who have given selflessly of their time, energy, and resources to improve the quality of life for others and to promote social justice,” said NDNU Acting President, Judith Maxwell Greig, Ph.D.

“Marie has devoted more than 20 years to the University, evidenced in the abundance of time she altruistically gives to NDNU, as well as her tremendous financial support,” Greig added. “We couldn’t ask for a more loyal and committed friend than Marie. We look forward to celebrating her enthusiastic philanthropy.”

As a student, Gallo demonstrated her personal commitment to service along with her exceptional leadership skills by serving as Senior Class President and Editor of the student newspaper, The Belmontan.  Described in her yearbook as having "unfailing solicitude for the feelings of others,” her extraordinary concern for people in need has been the foundation of her commitment to philanthropy.

In 1958, she married the love of her life, Bob Gallo. Together, they have gone on to enjoy a fulfilling and notable family and civic life, and are the proud parents of eight children and eighteen grandchildren. They look forward to celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary this July.

Gallo is a past Trustee of the University and served as Honorary Chair of the planning committee for the 75th Anniversary Celebration commemorating the school’s 75 years of educational service in Belmont. The generous gifts made to the University by Gallo and on behalf of her have made a significant and long-term impact on NDNU, its facilities, and the quality of service provided to our students. They include funds supporting the Master Plan Building Fund, construction of the Walter Gleason Center, and the new Koret Athletic field; improvements made to existing facilities, underwriting and donations for special events, and support for the Annual Fund.  In addition, Gallo has graciously hosted reunions and alumni luncheons in her ongoing efforts to solicit support for student recruitment and alumni events.

Gallo’s philanthropy extends beyond NDNU and includes a lifetime of service to cultural, social service, educational and religious organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area and especially within the Central Valley.  In January of 1997, she was appointed to chair a committee of community leaders from the private and public sectors to research the feasibility of building a performing arts center for the people of the Central Valley.  During the 10 years it took to plan and build this state-of-the-art facility, Gallo was leading the effort with her encouragement, dedication, motivation, persistence and hands-on involvement from start to finish.  In September of 2007, the Gallo Center for the Arts opened its doors in Modesto to rave reviews from the public and performers, including the legendary Tony Bennett, who headlined its opening.

In recognition of her many achievements, Gallo has been honored with the "Liberty Bell Award" from the Stanislaus County Bar Association and the "Torch of Liberty Award" from the Anti-Defamation League.  She was named "Man of the Year" by the American Legion Post in Modesto, and "Outstanding Woman of the Year" by both the Stanislaus County Commission for Women and the Senate and Assembly of the California Legislature. In October of 2007, she was inducted into the Modesto High School "Hall of Fame," her alma mater.

Sponsors for this year’s NDNU Gala include Title Sponsor-W.F. Batton Management Company, Platinum Sponsors-Julio R. Gallo Foundation, Bob and Marie Gallo, and Jim and Sue Coleman; Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy; and Yvonne and Angelo Sangiacomo, Gold Sponsors-Wente Family Estates; Wells Fargo, and Silver Sponsors-Hood & Strong LLP; Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.; Borel Private Bank & Trust Company; Bay Meadows Land Development, and George M. Keller.

Tickets cost $175 each. Those interested in attending the NDNU Gala or participating in the various levels of sponsorship for the event should contact Michelle Sazo at (650) 508-4161.