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April 8, 2008

Salamenos endow educational program development position

Longtime supporters of Colonial Williamsburg Lawrence and Theresa Salameno of Allendale, N.J., have committed $1.5 million to endow the Theresa A. and Lawrence C. Salameno Director of Educational Program Development. Bill White currently holds the position in Colonial Williamsburg’s productions, publications and learning ventures division. Endowed gifts support key positions and programs throughout the Foundation.

The Salamenos are providing an additional $500,000 for education outreach – $400,000 for the final developmental phases of Colonial Williamsburg’s high school initiative, the Idea of America™, and $100,000 for support of education outreach initiatives in New Jersey and Massachusetts schools, bringing the total of this gift to $2 million.

“Larry and Theresa Salameno fervently believe in the importance of history and citizenship education,” said Colin Campbell, president and chief executive officer of The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. “Their exceptional generosity in support of our education outreach programs and the endowment of the program development position will help the next generation understand the contributions of the founders and the responsibilities incumbent upon all our nation’s citizens to maintain the American system of self-government.”

The Salamenos are lifetime members of Colonial Williamsburg’s Raleigh Tavern Society, the Foundation’s leading special donor society. They are strong supporters of education outreach and have sponsored teachers to attend the Colonial Williamsburg Teacher Institute, an annual summer series of weeklong history immersion programs for social studies teachers, as well as Teaching American History conferences, one- or two-day seminars developed by Colonial Williamsburg to introduce teaching concepts to teachers who are not able to commit to the full weeklong summer program. During the 2007 – 2008 school year, Colonial Williamsburg presents 10 conferences in nine states.

The Salamenos are part of a group of major donors whose generous gifts of $1 million or more have helped advance Colonial Williamsburg’s mission “that the future may learn from the past.” Their names join those of other distinguished benefactors in the Courtyard of Philanthropy beneath the flags of the 13 original states at the Visitor Center entrance plaza.

Mr. Salameno is a self-described American history buff who first visited Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Area in 1957 during the 350th celebration of Jamestown’s founding. He spent most of his business career outside the United States working for Merrill Lynch, and met his wife while he was living in London. He earned a bachelor’s degree and law degree from Cornell University. He is currently executive vice president of Permal Asset Management Group in New York City. Mr. Salameno serves on the boards of Stonehill College in Easton, Mass., Saddle River Day School in Saddle River, N.J., Oak Knoll School of the Holy Child in Summit, N.J. and Valley Hospital in Ridgewood, N.J.

Mrs. Salameno was born in London and earned her bachelor’s degree as a chef, with a major in catering management, from Brooklands College. She serves on the boards of The Valley Hospital Auxiliary in Ridgewood, N.J., Ramapo College in Mahwah, N.J., Stonehill College in Easton, Mass., and “Peace Games” of Boston, Mass., which provides conflict resolution programs in city schools across the country. She helps with a prayer program at St. Gregory’s School in Dorchester, Mass. The school serves a diverse community in the Boston area, with 27 languages spoken by the student body. Mrs. Salameno has also taught various religious education programs in her parish, Guardian Angel Church of Allendale, N.J., and has recently developed a new prayer program which she teaches to students in first through fifth grades.

"I am enormously grateful to Mr. and Mrs. Salameno for their continued support of history education. Their generous gift of the endowed position recognizes the work of many Colonial Williamsburg education outreach staff members who have created engaging American history and civics programs for students and teachers across the country,” said White. “I am incredibly proud of our staff and everything we have accomplished to extend the mission of Colonial Williamsburg. The endowment allows this important work to continue.”

As the Theresa A. and Lawrence C. Salameno director of educational program development, White leads the Colonial Williamsburg Teacher Institute, as well as the award-winning Electronic Field Trip series and an extensive publishing initiative that provides lesson plans, primary sources and activity kits for the classroom. He wrote and produced the Colonial Williamsburg Primary Sources CD ROMs for grades 1 – 3 and grades 4 – 6 with Pearson Scott Foresman, a program that won awards from Media and Methods magazine and Technology and Learning magazine. He also authored Pearson Scott Foresman’s K – 5 history-social science curriculum for California and writes a monthly column linking history and current events for the Newsweek Education Program

White earned a doctorate degree in American studies from the College of William and Mary and a bachelor’s degree in history from Christopher Newport University. His career at The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation began at the age of 12 when he became a fifer in the Colonial Williamsburg Fifes and Drums. He became a member of the Fifes and Drums staff in 1971 and was military music master of the group from 1981 to 1985.

In addition to the summer Teacher Institute and Teaching American History conferences, Colonial Williamsburg produces seven Electronic Field Trips during the school year on a wide range of American history topics. Each production is supported with lesson plans and other materials – historical backgrounds, glossaries, timelines and booklets – that help teachers make history more exciting for their students.

The Idea of America™ initiative the Salamenos are supporting is a digital American history and civics program for the high school classroom. The program links to a current events online site and an interactive civics program connecting classrooms across the nation in a digital gaming experience named “The Virtual Republic.” Students will examine case studies from American history to learn how citizens debated and engaged the issues of their time. Every case will link to current events, and students will have an opportunity to examine the issues critical to our nation today with the addition of historical perspective.

Established in 1926, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the not-for-profit educational institution that preserves and operates the restored 18th-century Revolutionary capital of Virginia as a town-sized living history museum, telling the inspirational stories of our nation’s founding men and women. Within the restored and reconstructed buildings, historic interpreters, attired as colonial men and women from slaves to shopkeepers to soldiers, relate stories of colonial Virginia society and culture – stories of our journey to become Americans – while historic trades people research, demonstrate and preserve the 18th-century world of work and industry. As Colonial Williamsburg interprets life in the time of the American Revolution for its guests, it also invites them to interact with history. “Revolutionary City®,” a daily two-hour interactive dramatic presentation, is a 2008 Rand McNally Best-of-the-Road™ Editor’s Pick. Williamsburg is located in Virginia’s Tidewater region, 20 minutes from Newport News, within an hour’s drive of Richmond and Norfolk, and 150 miles south of Washington, D.C., off Interstate 64. For more information about Colonial Williamsburg, call 1-800-HISTORY or visit Colonial Williamsburg’s Web site at

Media Contact:
Barbara Brown
(757) 220-7280