Fifty years ago, the University of Dallas launched its beloved Rome Program. Several decades later, the Eugene Constantine Rome Campus became a second home for UD students, housing as many as 7,000 students since its opening in 1994.
In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the program, Dr. Gregory Roper and Dr. Andrew Moran, associate professors of English, are releasing their book, Due Santi and the University of Dallas: Un Piccolo Paradiso, this October. They first announced their book on June 29, the memorial of St. Peter and St. Paul.
The contents of this work include the history of the Rome Program, from its founding to the purchase and development of the current Eugene Constantine campus. Figures who are briefly mentioned during the Rome Orientation tour are fairly presented in this book, including Gustavo Piga and his family, the original owners of the suburban villa and surrounding area where UD professors reside.
UD traditions and excursions are also detailed in Due Santi. Short sections called “intermezzi” by Moran explore Due Santi Wines, the Greek Olympics, class nicknames and other interesting aspects of the Rome Program.
Co-editors Roper and Moran accomplished this decade-long project in collaboration with several other members of the UD community. President Thomas Hibbs wrote the book’s forward, and the chapters include contributions from writers like Dr. Peter Hatlie, director of the Rome program, and alumnus Danny Milligan (’91).
Their words are featured alongside photos from Stephen Henderson, former Rome Coordinator and UD graduate student, and Vasile Chiriac, service manager of the Rome Campus.
Over 500 copies of Due Santi have been pre-ordered on the website www.duesantibook.com. The book is a “labor of love” for Dr. Roper, a compilation of praise for the beautiful property and the academic program UD offers.
“Every UD Romer would love to hear… this fascinating story,” Dr. Roper said. “I don’t know [if] many students know the amazing backstory of how this place came about.”
Promotion for the book will continue over the next few months, even without the opportunity to share it at Alumni and Family weekend, which was postponed due to coronavirus restrictions.
On Sept. 10, Dr. Wayne Ambler, former Director of the Rome Program, and Hatlie will join the book’s co-editors on a webinar to discuss the program’s development and the book. Following the official book launch on October 1, an alumni book club plans to read and discuss Due Santi on October 28 via Zoom.
Currently, every purchase of Due Santi ($25 on the book’s website and on Amazon) funds the Charles T. Uhl Memorial Scholarship, which assists students in attending the Rome semester.
To further boost the scholarship, UD alumni Danny and Kathy Milligan (B.A. ’91, MBA ’95) will match every book purchase with $10. The Milligans will donate up to $20,000 if Due Santi sells out in its first print run of 1,500 copies.
This book is offered to not only UD alumni, but also to current students coping with Rome sickness and even to students who haven’t experienced Rome. Due Santi serves as an introduction and gives “a better sense of what is ahead ” in the Rome semester for freshmen, according to Moran.
“I want the university to take joy in owning such a beautiful property and running an academic program that does such great good for so many students,” Moran said.
Due Santi inspires the UD community to reflect on “the way a place shapes us.” UD has enjoyed a connection with the Eternal City for fifty years, and this relationship has influenced the whole school as well as individual students.
UD community members are encouraged to read the book to learn more about the program and place that has influenced all of us in some way. In the words of Gustavo Piga, as quoted in Dr. Roper’s chapter “The Villa Gabriella,” “I am so happy that the university took over this place and kept it so beautiful.”