Binghamton University Libraries’ and Special Collections were saddened to hear of the passing of friend, Aldo Bernardo. Bernardo, 91, was a distinguished service professor of Italian and comparative literature. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Brown University and his PhD from Harvard University.
One of the few remaining original faculty members of Harpur College, Dr. Bernardo joined the faculty in 1949 (then Triple Cities College) and retired in 1987 after 38 years of teaching, research, and service to the University. Among other accomplishments, Dr. Bernardo founded the Center for Medieval and Early Renaissance Studies. He was the first of the original faculty to receive the Order of Merit from a foreign government (the equivalent of knighthood from the Republic of Italy), was responsible for adding the performance dimension to the University’s Fine Arts program, and was the first to initiate a multi-nation study abroad program for undergraduates (a Mediterranean studies program in Venice, Malta, and Tunisia). A prolific writer, he was also the author of several books, including the Companion to Dante’s Divine Comedy: A Comprehensive Guide for the Student and General Reader (2006).
In December 2010, Aldo and Reta Bernardo gifted the University Libraries with a large number of books from his personal library. This donation greatly enhanced the Libraries’ collection of Medieval and Renaissance resources. Notable titles included: Machiavelli’s 1540 Discorsi di Niccolo Machiavelli sopra la prima deca di Tito Livio; Giovanni Battista de Castiglione’s 1532 I Luoghi difficili del Petrarcha nuovamente dichiarati, da M. Giovambatista da Chastiglione; and Augustin Calment and Giovan Domenico Mansi’s 1726 Dictionarum historicum, criticum, chronolgoicum, geographicum, et lietrale Sacrae Scripturae, all of which are now housed in Special Collections.
We were honored to have known Prof. Bernardo and benefited greatly from his knowledge and generosity.
Listen to a 2008 Harpur College oral history interview here.