On Tuesday, November 9, Mrs. Julia Stanzione GP’00 was honored with the 2021 Deo et Patriae Award. Affectionately known as “Grandma Julia,” she was recognized in front of family, alumni, and friends of Regis for her 25 years of devoted service to the Hearn Speech and Debate Society and the entire school.
Returning in-person after being held virtually last year, the 2021 Deo et Patriae Reception and Celebration took place at the New York Athletic Club to cheers and laughter for all who attended. Following food and drinks, the evening’s formal programming began with a singing of the Regis alma mater led by current seniors. After opening remarks from Vice President for Development James L. Kennedy ’02 and a prayer from Principal Fr. Anthony D. Andreassi, CO, Eric Di Michele, the Director of Admissions and longtime moderator of the Hearn, introduced Grandma Julia as this year’s honoree.
“No one is more tenacious, disciplined, organized, passionate, and loving than Grandma Julia. The success of the Hearn—and, be clear about this—is directly attributable to her extraordinary efforts over the last 26 years, especially so over the last two years of this rather grim pandemic, where she’s been downright heroic,” Di Michele said. “You know, in a world of doubt, equivocation, polarization, depression, and moral collapse, there is one constant, and that is you, Grandma Julia.”
Grandma Julia's contributions to Regis began in 1996, when her grandson Richard Rivero '00 asked if she would be able to volunteer some time to support the Hearn. Very soon, Grandma Julia assumed a leading role, recruiting volunteer judges, overseeing logistics, and attending weekend tournaments. She continued to do this gracious work for 25 years, often volunteering for Regis up to 30 hours per week, all while working as an administrator for a tutoring service. Grandma Julia has supported the successful running of over 1,100 speech and debate tournaments, and outside the Hearn has offered her assistance yearly to Regis' Open House, Interview Day, and other important events.
Before concluding remarks from Interim President Christian Talbot ’93, Grandma Julia took to the stage to accept her award. “I’m overcome, so emotionally overcome by the outpouring of love I feel in this room, and from the bottom of my heart, believe me, it is sincerely reciprocated, much, much more than you will ever imagine,” Grandma Julia said. “This is a night that will remain indelible in my mind and in my heart, so along with my love, and warmest hugs, I thank you a gazillion times over for this incredible honor.”
First held in 1981, the Deo et Patriae Reception & Celebration recognizes generous supporters of Regis High School who have given to the Annual Fund at the Order of the Owl level or greater during the previous fiscal year. The night’s award is presented to a person who has served Regis and the community in a distinguished capacity during the course of their life. Grandma Julia becomes the third woman in Regis history to earn the illustrious honor.
“Those four things—being optimistic, being a Person for Others, being super smart, being collaborative rather than competitive—that to me defines the best of what Regis is about,” Talbot said, praising of Grandma Julia. “And, I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that if you know Julia, you have been part of a long line of people whose lives she has changed one smile and one conversation at a time, over many, many, many years.”
A recording of the 2021 Deo et Patriae Reception and Celebration and pictures of the evening’s event can be found below.