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August 31, 2006  Volume 28, No. 2
Library receives rare books

Sandro Sticca, professor of Romance languages, left, shakes hands with John Meador, director of the University Libraries.

Il Codice Atlantico
A Binghamton professor has donated more than $1,500 worth of rare Italian books to the Binghamton University Libraries, and plans to continue contributing to the collection.

“From now on I will bring from Italy wonderful publications,” said Sandro Sticca, professor of Romance languages.

The donations from Sticca and a number of his European colleagues will be given in honor of his mother, Gentilina Sticca.

Sticca called the library the school’s “heart” and said that, along with good faculty, students and administrators, it’s one of the key ingredients of a great University.

“Building a library is a collaborative endeavor,” John Meador, director of the libraries, said during an Aug. 24 reception in the Special Collections area. “Together, we can do great things.”

Sticca’s most recent donation, Il Codice Atlantico, is a facsimile reproduction published by Giunti in 2006 in Firenze-Milano. It’s worth nearly $1,000.

The Binghamton University Libraries is the first institution in the country to own this newly published three-volume set, which embraces material from throughout the career of Leonardo da Vinci.

The books, which include numerous illustrations, provide rich documentation of da Vinci’s contributions to mathematics, geography, architecture, botany, chemistry, mechanics and other fields. There’s even a drawing of a machine that looks a lot like a bicycle, though he drew it some three centuries before bicycles became a popular means of transportation. The books also offer examples of da Vinci’s unusual secret handwriting, in which the text runs from right to left and the characters are backward.

Sticca also has donated a five-volume set titled Storia della Filosofia, edited by Nicola Abbagnano. Only seven editions of this rare and valuable five-volume set are owned by other libraries in this country, including Johns Hopkins and Harvard. Published in 1969, it’s worth $700.

Homecoming planned Oct. 12-15

Staff members and volunteers in the Office of Alumni and Parent Relations are hard at work planning Homecoming 2006. Scheduled for Oct. 12-15, Alumni Reunion Weekend will be filled with activities for students, faculty and staff members, in addition to graduates.

Last year, more than 700 alumni returned to campus for Homecoming. Class agents and volunteers are eagerly spreading the news about the upcoming reunions, hoping this year’s turnout will be even better.

The following classes are having milestone reunions at Homecoming 2006: 1956, 1971, 1976, 1981, 1986, 1996 and 2001. There will also be a special Zero-Year Reunion for the Class of 2006. Other groups celebrating special reunions are: WHRW, Off Campus College Transport, Hillel at Binghamton, School of Advanced Technology, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, German majors/minors and alumni who studied abroad in Graz, Austria.

The Alumni Office could still use help planning an open house or an activity during Homecoming. If you’re interested, contact Rose Frierman at 777-2431 or For a complete schedule of activities, visit

New Episcopal catechism helps members understand evolution

A Binghamton University scientist helped to write an Episcopal Church catechism dedicated to evolution that has received international acclaim.

Sandra Michael, distinguished service professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, is one of four authors of A Catechism of Creation, which won the Polly Bond Award of Excellence from a group called Episcopal Communicators.

Michael, who holds a doctorate in genetics from the University of California at Davis, studies the endocrinology and immunology of female reproduction. Evolution has been a long-term interest of hers, and she has taught courses on the topic during her more than 30 years at the University.

“There’s a real academic core to this,” she said of her work with the Episcopal Church.

The 45-page catechism, which follows the traditional question-and-answer format, is designed to help readers better understand their own religion. The authors kept it simple and straightforward, accessible to young people as well as adult education groups.

“We wanted people to know that you can be a person of faith and still support good science and you can be a scientist and still be a person of faith,” Michael said. “There is a misconception that if you are a person of faith you cannot believe in evolution.”

Michael is a member of the vestry at Trinity Memorial Church in Binghamton and served as a deputy to the national church’s triennial legislative convention, held this summer in Ohio.

She’s the convener of the Episcopal Network for Science, Technology and Faith and a member of the national executive council’s Science, Technology and Faith Committee. Michael was also recently elected to a six-year term on the General Board of Examining Chaplains, a national group that prepares Episcopal ordination exams. She’s a former member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s Dialogue on Science, Ethics and Religion Advisory Board.

A Catechism of Creation is the latest major undertaking of the Science, Technology and Faith Committee, which has tackled issues ranging from genetically modified food to stem-cell research. It also recently published a pamphlet titled A Lay Guide to Good Science.

Emeriti revise guide to Dante’s ‘Comedy’

Two former faculty members have created a guide to Dante’s Divine Comedy designed to help students of any level unlock the meaning of the Italian masterpiece.

Anthony L. Pellegrini, professor emeritus of romance languages and literatures, and Aldo S. Bernardo, distinguished service professor emeritus of Italian and comparative literature, bring a combined century of experience with the poet to the task.

The book, titled Companion to Dante’s Divine Comedy, is a revised version of a text originally published in 1968. Focused primarily on those reading the work in translation, it includes background on Dante Alighieri as well as a canto-by-canto summary.

Pellegrini served for three decades as bibliographer of American Dante Studies and as founding editor of Dante Studies for the Dante Society of America.

Bernardo, founder of Binghamton’s Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, also supports an annual campus lecture in Medieval romance literature and/or philology with his wife, Reta.

Companion to Dante’s Divine Comedy, a 217-page paperback that sells for $14.95, was published by Global Academic Publishing, a nonprofit unit of Binghamton University.

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Last Updated: 10/14/08