Men’s cross country/track standout Liam Dee ’18 and women’s lacrosse star Gabriella DiDomizio ’18 headlined the 2018 Senior Awards Banquet as the College’s Joseph E. O’Connell Award Winners.
The Gael pair was named Iona’s most outstanding senior student-athletes as 84 seniors were honored at the Larchmont Shore Club on May 3, 2018.
The Joseph E. O’Connell Award is named for Iona’s first outstanding athlete. The son of immigrants, Joe O’Connell grew up in Corpus Christi Parish, Morningside Heights, N.Y., and played basketball for the Brothers at All Hallows High School. Arriving at Iona in 1941, Joe joined the squad coached by Br. Arthur A. Loftus and became the Gaels’ leading scorer his freshman season with 242 points. After Pearl Harbor and the U.S. entry into World War II, Joe, together with most of his classmates, enlisted
in the military. On September 5, 1943, Cpl. Joseph E. O’Connell, U.S. Army Air Corps, was killed in the South Pacific. He was the first Iona student to give his life in the service to his country.
In 1946, Br. Loftus established this award in memory of his player, and on December 7, 1948, the seventh anniversary of Pearl Harbor, Br. Loftus dedicated the new Iona field-house as the Joseph E. O’Connell Memorial Gymnasium. Although the gymnasium no longer stands, the talent, grace and courage of
Joe O’Connell continues to be memorialized through the lives of all the Iona Gaels who have earned the Joseph E. O’Connell Award.
In addition to the O’Connell Awards, two members of Iona’s staff, administration and faculty were honored with the Br. John G. Driscoll Appreciation Award for their contributions to the athletics department. Vincent J. Calluzzo, Ph.D., provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, and Eric Moscato, clinical lecturer of finance in Iona’s School of Business, were honored for their support of Iona’s student-athletes. A program record 45 seniors also earned the Merit Award for maintaining a 3.5 or above cumulative grade point average during their time at Iona College.
Photo: President Joseph E. Nyre, Ph.D., Liam Dee ’18 , Gabriella DiDomizio ’18.