As a young boy, the son of Italian immigrant parents, Alex Frino learned to play bocce and unravel his ancestral culture at Fairy Meadow's Fraternity Club.
Now, the University of Wollongong Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Global Strategy) and Professor of Economics has returned to help the Fraternity continue servicing the community.
Mr Frino has also reconnected with club chairman Mick Cuda, who was coach of Prof Frino's Port Kembla Under 15 soccer team 35 years ago.
"We are all delighted and honoured to have Prof Frino join our exceptional and talented team of club directors," Mr Cuda said.
"We look forward with anticipation to the contributions of Prof Frino through his considerable economic and financial knowledge."
Prof Frino said that joining the Fraternity board was a great way for him to give back to an organisation that had provided so much to his family and others, especially early Italian immigrants to Australia, over many years.
"The Fraternity allowed us (Italian community) to keep in touch with our roots; our culture," he said. "As a child of Italian immigrant parents, the Fraternity Club played an important part in my life and that of my family as I was growing up.
"My father, Luigi, came to Australia in 1951. He was well known in the Illawarra region as a champion boxer in the 1950s.
"He went to the Fraternity regularly in the 1950s and 1960s to play bocce with his cousins, who were also new immigrants to Australia.
"I even learned to play bocce at the club and it is good to see that the bocce court has survived."
Prof Frino added his appointment also provided a great opportunity to strengthen connections between the Fraternity Club, wider community and UOW.
"Just as community clubs like the Fraternity gave migrant families the chance to maintain contact with their culture, the university gave so many children of those migrants a chance for a first-class tertiary education.
"So, I see a real connection between the Fraternity and the University of Wollongong - one I am keen to enhance."
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