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Mayor of Florence, Italy to address SU Class of 2024 at graduation ceremony

By Eric Reinhardt (


Dario Nardella — the mayor of Florence, Italy — will address the Syracuse University Class of 2024 at the May 12 commencement ceremony. (Photo credit: Syracuse University news website)

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Syracuse University (SU) has chosen Dario Nardella, the mayor of Florence, Italy, to deliver the commencement address for the SU Class of 2024 on May 12 in the JMA Wireless Dome.

The ceremony that morning will begin at 9:30 a.m.

Nardella’s city shares a “deep connection” with SU, as it is home to the Daniel and Gayle D’Aniello Syracuse University Program in Florence, the university says. The Syracuse Abroad program, at the historic Villa Rossa, has welcomed tens of thousands of Syracuse students for more than 60 years, SU said.

“The City of Florence has hosted generations of Syracuse University students, and we are delighted to welcome Mayor Nardella to our campus to address the Class of 2024,” Syracuse University Chancellor Kent Syverud said in the announcement. “His leadership of such a globally significant artistic, cultural and historical city, along with his collaboration with city leaders across Europe, will make for an inspired Commencement message to our graduating students, their families and the University community.”

Nardella was first elected in 2014 and is currently serving his second term as mayor of Florence. He also serves as special rapporteur for Ukraine at the European Union (EU) Committee of the Regions.

In addition, Nardella serves as secretary general of Eurocities, a nonprofit organization made up of over 200 large cities, representing more than 150 million people across 38 countries, from within and outside the EU. He previously served as its president from 2020 to 2023, SU said.

“It’s always an honor and a privilege when one is called to address young people. But, we should always be aware that with honor and privilege also comes responsibility, more so, when the recipients are young professionals who will one day be our future leading class,” Nardella said in the SU news release. “I’m humbled and overwhelmed with gratitude and joy. Thank you for this opportunity and thank you, Syracuse University and Daniel and Gayle D’Aniello Syracuse University Program in Florence for your long-lasting commitment to the city of Florence, to the values it embodies and to the community I serve.”

A professor at the University of Florence where he teaches cultural heritage law, Nardella started his political career in 2004 when he was elected councilman for the City of Florence, SU said.


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