by SJC Press Room

STANDISH, MAINE– Saint Joseph’s College of Maine has named Donato Tramuto, an author, social justice activist, corporate leader and philanthropist, as the college’s first Honorary Scholar-in -Residence.

Tramuto delivered the Saint Joseph’s commencement keynote in 2019 where he received an Honorary Doctorate of Public Service.

In making the video announcement during the annual Convocation to the incoming freshmen class, faculty, staff, parents and alumni, President James S. Dlugos noted how Tramuto’s “extraordinary achievements and authentic character align with the core values of Saint Joseph’s College: community, compassion, integrity, faith, justice, respect and excellence. In addition, Donato’s commitment to social justice closely aligns with our goal to expand upon our mission and create an exemplary 21st century college.”

As Honorary Scholar-in-Residence, Tramuto will be focused on three core areas in collaboration with students, faculty and staff across the college: compassionate leadership, loneliness and social isolation, and social determinants of health.  The author of Life’s Bulldozer Moments: How Adversity Leads to Success in Life and Business, Tramuto is currently working on his second book, which will feature interviews with a group of highly accomplished men and women whose leadership is guided by the values of compassion, courage and community support.

“As someone who has created companies and served as a CEO for many years, I view compassionate leadership as the core tenet of how one can successfully influence a workplace by truly embracing the notion that each person’s dignity is to be valued and respected,” said Tramuto.

The Maine-based Tramuto Foundation and the global non-profit Health eVillages, have partnered with Saint Joseph’s College Institute for Integrative Aging to address what Tramuto sees as the new chronic condition of the 21st century – loneliness and social isolation. A leading national voice on this topic, Tramuto often cites clinical studies that maintain that social isolation can be as lethal to one’s health as obesity or smoking 15 cigarettes each day.

“From students who prefer social media to communicate, to social distancing during this pandemic, the toxic effects of loneliness do not discriminate between the young and old, the rich or poor,” Tramuto noted. “It is my hope that we can build a platform for lifelong learning that will continue to support the need that every life is deemed relevant, regardless of age or income.”

For several years, Tramuto has been intent on analyzing how the community where people live, the kinds of food they have access to and their economic status is a greater determinant of health outcomes than their genetic code.  He intends to involve faculty and students in ongoing discussions around the social determinants of health and how, in this time of COVID-19 and racial injustice, populations with limited access to healthcare and economic security are being disproportionately impacted.

According to Tramuto, “All of these factors speak to the inequality that remains rampant in our society. It is simply time for all of us, including the students, administration, staff and faculty of Saint Joseph’s College, to take the necessary action that will have a sustainable and positive impact for generations to come.”

“As the college’s first Honorary Scholar-in-Residence Donato will continue to highlight his life’s mission to do good and help those most in need,” President Dlugos added. “It is my firm belief that Donato’s compassionate leadership will strengthen Saint Joseph’s efforts to heal the fragmented parts of our society, all while capitalizing on the united spirit of this community.”

Tramuto is a resident of Tennessee and spends his summers in Maine.