IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Angela Sanfilippo,
May 12, 2009 Telephone: 978 – 282 - 4847
Receive Honorary Doctorate
The Gloucester Fishermen’s Wives Association is pleased to
announce that its president of 32 years, Angela Orlando Sanfilippo,
will be awarded a Doctor of Humane Letters Honorary Degree. The degree, given
by Salem State College, comes in recognition of Mrs. Sanfilippo’s
decades-long leadership in the Gloucester and Massachusetts’ fishing
communities and of her efforts to protect the ocean environment. The Doctorate will be awarded May 16, 2009 at
Salem State’s undergraduate commencement
ceremonies. The degree also acknowledges
Mrs. Sanfilippo’s achievements by shaping the
Gloucester Fishermen’s Wives Association into a powerful force for conservation
of New England’s precious fishing grounds and
"Angela Sanfilippo is a true
asset to our community. Over the years, we have worked cooperatively on matters
of importance to Gloucester,
and she has left a lasting imprint on the city through her engagement and grass
roots work on fishing issues, health care and the preservation of the cultural
traditions and heritage of the fishing community," said Congressman John
F. Tierney (D-MA). "Angela is a community resource, and I congratulate her
on being presented with an honorary degree from Salem State College." Congressman Tierney, himself to be an
honorary degree recipient at Salem State College’s commencement, will be the
main speaker at the graduation.
John Bell, Former Mayor of Gloucester, and a life long
friend and colleague of Mrs. Sanfilippo, noted, "For
nearly four decades Angela has led local, national and global efforts to look
under every rock for opportunities to keep our fishermen fishing and safe. At
the same time, she recognizes the importance of fishing communities and has
worked tirelessly to gather their support.
There is really no one quite like Angela. I'm glad she is being honored
by Salem State College."
Angela Orlando Sanfilippo came to
the United States in 1963 from
Sicily. She graduated with honors from Gloucester High School in 1969. She was a member of
the National Honor Society and President of the Honor Business Club.
Mrs. Sanfilippo’s advocacy on
behalf of fishing and fishing families first came to public attention in August
1977 when she answered a call from the Gloucester
fishing community to translate important materials from English to Italian for Gloucester fishermen. Following the execution of the Stevens-Magnuson
Act in April 1977, which established a 200 mile fishing zone off the U.S. coast exclusively for U.S. vessels, these materials were needed
for meetings with the New England Fisheries Management Council and the National
Marine Fisheries Service. The meetings
created, for the first time, an opportunity for fishermen to discuss fishing
regulations and their opinions of them with government regulators. Since that day Angela Sanfilippo
has remained a strong and committed person dedicated to preserving a viable
fishing industry. Her voice has been
especially strong on behalf of the smaller, family fishing unit.
Angela Sanfilippo’s strong belief
in the protection of the ocean environment and the fishermen and their
families, has taken her to faraway places to help other fishermen and their
families protect their fishing communities. In October 1997, with her husband John,
she traveled to India as the
U.S. East Coast Representative to the First World
Conference of Fish Harvesters and Fish Workers. The conference was attended
by representatives of 42 countries and was successful in stopping the use of
large factory trawlers in many areas of the world. In recognition of her attention to and
coordination of the Japanese students who come annually to learn English and
American History while living with Gloucester
families, she was invited, by the Mayor of Tamano
City, Japan, to visit in February 2000. In October 2000 she traveled to France to attend the Second
World Conference of Fish Harvesters and Fish Workers.
In addition, Angela Sanfilippo has
traveled to many fishing communities in the United State seeking to improve the
safety of commercial fishing, to address fishing regulations, to demonstrate how
to prepare and enjoy underutilized fish, and to encourage fishing communities
around the world to continue to work together to defend and preserve their
fishing heritages. She has been invited
to Washington D.C.
numerous times to testify at a wide variety of governmental hearings and to meet
with political representatives from across the United States. In 1998 she was
invited by President Clinton to attend the Year of the Ocean Conference.
Joining with others at this conference, Mrs.
Sanfilippo pushed for and helped obtain an additional
10 year moratorium on oil drilling on Georges Bank.
In addition to her responsibilities as President of the Gloucester
Fishermen’s Wives Association, in April 1994, Angela Sanfilippo
became the Projector Manager of the Gloucester Fishermen and Families Assistance
Center, a position that
she held until February 2006. Under her leadership thousands of fishermen and
their family members, who had been forced out of the fishing industry by the
restrictive regulations, have received employment training and started new
Mrs. Sanfilippo is a founding
member of and serves on the board of the Fishing Partnership Health Plan. This Massachusetts plan is the
first and only health plan in the country that provides fishermen and their
families with high quality and affordable health care. She is a founder and board member of the
Northeast Seafood Coalition, Commercial Fishermen of America, the Gloucester Fishing
Community Preservation Fund, the Massachusetts Ocean Partnership and the
Massachusetts Fishermen’s Partnership (MFP). Since February 2008, she has
served as the part time Executive Director of the MFP. She founded and serves
as the President of the Gloucester Fishermen’s Wives Development Program and
the Gloucester Fishermen’s Wives Memorial which, on August 3, 2001, erected a
memorial statue and site in honor of all mariners’ wives, mothers and sisters
around the world. In 1990, she established the La Societa
Siciliana di Gloucester
on which she has served as board member and president.
Mrs. Sanfilippo has received many
honors and awards for her dedication to the betterment of the commercial
fishermen, their families and the ocean environment.
The Gloucester Fishermen’s Wives Association (GFWA) is proud
and honored by Angela Orlando Sanfilippo’s commitments
and accomplishments on behalf of all fishing people, their families, and the
preservation of the fishing community. The
GFWA wishes to thank Salem State College for their recognition of Mrs. Sanfilippo’s efforts by awarding her this Honorary Doctor
of Humane Letters at the 2009 Commencement, Saturday May 16, 2009.
The commencement will be able to be viewed live on the web
site of Salem State College at www.salemstate.edu
beginning at 10 AM.