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Ken Ciongoli, a Selfless Promoter of All Things Italian and Italian-American

Anthony J. Tamburri (October 28, 2008)
Dr. A. Kenneth Ciongoli, Chairman of the National Italian American Foundation, passed away at his home in Burlington, Vermont

It is with sadness that I write to inform you of the death of Dr. A. Kenneth Ciongoli, Chairman of the National Italian American Foundation. Ken passed away at his home in Burlington, Vermont earlier today.


I had the privilege of having met Ken a little less than two decades ago, the prominent neurologist he was, who immediately demonstrated a passionate interest in the Arts, especially literature. He proved, over the years, to be one of the very few, truly invaluable friends of the Humanities at large. When I mentioned this to him only last week in a brief conversation we aired yesterday on Italics, his immediate response was to turn it around on me, paying me the complement I had just made in his regard.


This was indeed the essence of Ken Ciongoli, a selfless promoter of all things Italian and Italian-American. He fought arduously the battles of ethnic stereotyping and discrimination; he did so with grace and aplomb. He was always proactive, never reactive; he was, also, always responsive to discussions about all relevant topics, and never unyielding to those who might disagree. This was Ken’s modus operandi, meaningful dialogue, when it came to such important matters. This is, to be sure, the legacy he leaves us: that we, too, engage in dialogue and debate, as we move forward in our work to perpetuate the overall culture of Italians in the United States.


In commemoration of his life and spirit, the National Italian American Foundation has set up The Dr. A. Kenneth Ciongoli Colloquium Endowment. For more information, contact Elissa Ruffino, 202/939-3106, [email protected].




Dr. A. Kenneth Ciongoli

Dr. Ciongoli is past President and Vice Chairman of the National Italian American Foundation and presently NIAF's Chairman. During his tenure at NIAF, Dr. Ciongoli launched a number of initiatives including the Gay Talese Writers Series for prominent Italian American authors at the University of Pennsylvania. He also has led delegations of business leaders on missions to Italy and Argentina to foster greater tourism and trade initiatives between the U.S. and abroad.

He is the author of 35 published articles and abstracts, medical and non-medical as well as three books; "Beyond the Godfather," "Let Me In," "Passage to Liberty." He has appeared on several TV shows including McLaughlin 's One on One and The Dennis Wholly Show.

Dr. Ciongoli is a board certified neurologist. Currently, he is President of the Neurological Associates of Vermont and Clinical Associate Professor of Neurology at the University of Vermont College of Medicine (UVM).

Born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he is a graduate of St. Joseph's Prep and The University of Pennsylvania (Penn). After graduating from medical school in Philadelphia (PCOM '68), he completed a general internship in Detroit, Michigan, followed by a year of internal medicine at UVM. Subsequently, he was the first Neurology Resident at UVM to be awarded the title of Chief Resident (1973).

Subspecialty interests and training:

  • Neuropathology (AFIP - Walter Reed Hospital)

  • Neuroimmunology (Komune Hospitalet - Copenhagen, Denmark)

  • Neuroimmunology (Penn-College of Medicine, GRM '74)
  • Dr. Ciongoli was the first non-Danish citizen to be awarded a Danish government fellowship. He was also awarded a NIB fellowship. He was appointed Physician Commissioner of the State of Vermont by three different Governors. Dr. Ciongoli was also appointed Senior Medical Officer of the United States Olympic Team in 1980 (Lake Placid, New York). He is listed in Who's Who in American Medicine, Who's Who in America and Who's Who in the World.

    Dr. Ciongoli is founding member of the Vermont Italian Colonial Association (VICA), a member of The Mutuo Soccorso, The oldest Italian American organization in Vermont and a past member of the Board of Governors of the Ethan Allen Club, the oldest continuous club in North America.