Italian, BA, Concentration

The Italian Program, its B.A., and its Concentration encompass a field of study whose language, literature, and culture are among the primary sources of the Western intellectual tradition at the very center of the Mission of the University of Dallas.

The Italian programs at the University of Dallas are particularly applicable for students who choose to spend a semester of their sophomore year in Rome. By exploring the classic literature of Italy through modernity, students develop speaking, literacy and composition skills.

The Italian Program at the University of Dallas

“Consiliis pare quae nunc pulcherrima Nautes / dat senior; lectos iuvenes, fortissima corda, / defer in Italiam.”

"Obey the excellent / advice old Nautes gives; and take your chosen / young men, your bravest hearts, to Italy."

(Virgil, Aeneid, Book Five, vv. 728-730)

“When I arrived [at the University of Dallas], I wondered why my parents sent me to the middle of a brick factory! I now think of the campus as an Italian hill town.” 

(1979 valedictory address by alumna Delora Wojehowski)

Why study Italian?

In Book V of the Aeneid (vv. 728-730), Aeneas, off the coast of Sicily, is visited by the ghost of his father Anchises. During their conversation, Anchises advises his son to listen to his old friend, the prophet Nautes, and head to Latium: “Consiliis pare quae nunc pulcherrima Nautes / dat senior; lectos iuvenes, fortissima corda, / defer in Italiam” (‘Obey the excellent / advice old Nautes gives; and take your chosen / young men, your bravest hearts, to Italy.’) Like Aeneas, the Italian Program’s goal is to take our “chosen, our bravest hearts, to Italy.” UD’s Italian Program moves from, and complements, the Core, the Rome Campus, and existing programs in Music, Drama, Politics, English, Art, Architecture, Art History, Classics, Education, History, Medieval and Renaissance Studies, and Theology. In addition to the reading of Dante’s Comedy as part of The Literary Tradition II, in these other disciplines students at UD already encounter works and creations by Italian luminaries: composers (Palestrina, Bertolucci), artists (Fra Angelico, Michelangelo, Leonardo, Caravaggio et. al.), writers (Boccaccio, Petrarch), political theorists (Machiavelli, Guicciardini), scientists (Galileo), mathematicians (Fibonacci), saints (Catherine of Siena, Francis of Assisi), and theologians.

The Italian Program encompasses a field of study whose language, literature, and culture are among the primary sources of the Western Intellectual Tradition. Thus, it focuses on the great and the beautiful, and on the poetic, sacred, artistic, and musical legacies of Italy. The best of Liberal Arts learning entails the search for truth, meaning and knowledge, a search that ideally takes the seeker outside of both the present and the self. To learn a language is a paradox: one cultivates the self and one’s own humanity by going outside the self. Despite the tumult that has characterized its history, throughout the centuries Italy has been connected by nothing else if not by its culture, especially its language(s), art, and literature. The Italian Program offers an innovative and interdisciplinary approach grounded in tradition, with courses in Italian language, literature, history, linguistics, and art history. Throughout the major we examine the paradox of modern Italy, a new country with ancient customs. As Prince Tancredi Falconeri put it in the classic novel The Leopard, a country in which “if we want everything to stay the same, everything must change.” The Italian Program offers both a B.A. and a Concentration in Italian. The Concentration requires twelve credit hours beyond the core-language sequence. The B.A. requires thirty advanced hours. Majors must pass a Comprehensive Examination and complete a Senior Thesis during the final year of study.

The UD Italian Program and Dallas-Fort Worth

The University of Dallas has a long-standing connection to Italy by way of the Western intellectual tradition and its Rome campus. Beyond the University of Dallas, though, connections between Italy and Texas abound. In October 2017, the then-Italian Ambassador to the United States penned an editorial in which he noted that “the history of relations between Texas and Italy stretches back centuries. Italians were among the first Europeans to come to Texas. Amerigo Vespucci probably viewed the Texas coast in 1497 — and his countrymen were with Vazquez de Coronado in his epic journey across the High Plains in 1541. An Italian, Prospero Bernardi, fought alongside Texans in the war of independence at San Jacinto.” In short, Italians were in Texas before either Italy or Texas even existed.

There is no denying the innate beauty of Italian: It is the language of music and of fashion, of food and of art. Italy is best known for having produced poets and authors such as Dante, Petrarch, and Boccaccio; artists such as Michelangelo, Giotto and Leonardo; for its cuisine, fast cars, and design. Nevertheless, it is also a consequential country in the 21st century, an industry leader in sectors as diverse as yacht-building, petroleum engineering, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, and instrument-making. There are dozens of Italian companies operating in the state of Texas. Companies offering Italian-language employment, companies that are Italian, and companies that have offices in Italy have strong ties to DFW. Italian-related companies in north Texas are involved in sectors as diverse as aerospace engineering, medical-device manufacturing, furniture-making, and ice cream production, and include: Amazon, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, the Italian Consulate, the Italy-America Chamber of Commerce, Kimberly Clark (Dallas), Alpi USA (Grapevine), Agusta Aerospace Corporation (Fort Worth), Sportarredo (Arlington), ST Microelectronics (Carrollton), Beretta (Dallas), Orthofix (Lewisville), Savino Del Bene USA (Grapevine), Cometal (Carrollton), Valla SPA (Dallas), Arquati USA (Carrollton), Dondi Salotti (Dallas), Paciugo (Dallas), Ronparco (Dallas), Mutual Alliance Capital (Dallas), Lombardi Family Concepts (Dallas), Marazzi Tile (Dallas / Mesquite), DRS Technologies/Finmeccanica (Dallas), and Davi INC (Dallas). Beyond DFW, there are Italian-language career opportunities in Houston and Austin. The UD Italian Program also collaborates locally with the DFW Italian Festival, the Italian Club of Dallas, the Italy-America Chamber of Commerce Texas, and the Italian Consulate in Houston.




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Italian Language Faculty

Valeria Forte, Ph.D.

Valeria Forte Ph.D.

Affiliate Assistant Professor of Italian, Modern Languages

Phone: (972) 721-5746


Office: Anselm Hall #221

Anthony Nussmeier, Ph,D.

Anthony Nussmeier Ph.D.

Department Chair, Director of Italian, Associate Professor of Italian, Modern Languages

Phone: (972) 721-5248


Office: Anselm 111