by Max Brantley
I shared the late Santo Formica's love of food, particularly Italian, and education. Those things brought us together for frequent pizza lunches at Iriana's, even though we lined up on different sides of the partisan political divide.
I thought of him today. UALR announced that Santo and his late wife Mabel had made a $90,000 bequest to the college to bring distinguished speakers to the UALR History Institute lecture series and to provide scholarship aid to history majors. Santo rarely missed a History Institute lecture. He rarely missed, too, a chance to try to draw the speaker out on a question related to his Sicilian heritage. He wasn't an Italian chauvinist, though. He happily introduced me to stewed Chinese-style chicken feet, a delicacy he'd discovered in his world travels.
I had to smile at the news, though probably not as broadly as Santo did when he signed the document mentioned here:
The Mabel W. and Santo D. Formica Endowment will be established for the Department of History to bring to campus exceptional scholars, “who will excite the imaginations of our faculty, students, and community leaders and who will exemplify the rewards of the vibrant community-university relationship and the importance of education for a society’s well-being,” the couple said in documents establishing the endowment.