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Iona Sports Communication & Media Graduate Student Captures Baseball History

Graduate student Martino Puccio and professor Mike Damergis captured one of the most significant moments in baseball history as they joined the Rivera family at their home to document the phone call he received about his election to Baseball Hall of Fame.

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. - Iona College Mass Communication graduate student Martino Puccio '17 and his mentor Mike Damergis '89 recently captured one of the most significant moments in baseball history. Puccio and Damergis were on hand as Mariano Rivera P’15 took a phone call from Jack O’Connell, secretary-treasurer of the Baseball Writers Association of America, and received the news that he was unanimously elected into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. The parent of an Iona alumnus, Rivera became the first person in history to be marked on 100% of the BBWAA ballots.

Puccio has spent time recently with the future Hall of Fame inductee to document Mariano’s post-baseball endeavors as part of the Sports Communication & Media program at Iona College. Puccio earned his undergraduate degree in Mass Communication from Iona College in 2017 and is studying for his master's degree in SCM under the direction of Damergis.

Damergis is a clinical professor in the Mass Comm department and the coordinator of the Sports Communication & Media graduate program, which began in the fall of 2016 at Iona College.

Rivera, the newly minted Hall of Famer, is the father of Mariano Rivera III '15, a former Iona baseball standout who was drafted by the Washington Nationals and spent time with their minor league organization. The elder Rivera and his wife Clara were winners of the College's 2014 Blessed Edmund Rice Humanitarian Award.

Video transcript.

Founded in 1940, Iona College is a master's-granting private, Catholic, coeducational institution of learning in the tradition of the Edmund Rice Christian Brothers. Iona's 45-acre campus is just 20 miles north of Midtown Manhattan. With a total enrollment of nearly 4,000 students and an alumni base of over 50,000 around the world, Iona is a diverse community of learners and scholars dedicated to academic excellence and the values of justice, peace and service. Iona is highly accredited, offering undergraduate degrees in liberal arts, science, and business administration, as well as Master of Arts, Master of Science and Master of Business Administration degrees and numerous advanced certificate programs. Iona’s LaPenta School of Business is accredited by AACSB International, a prestigious recognition awarded to just five percent of business schools worldwide. The Princeton Review recognized Iona’s on-campus MBA program as a “Best Business School for 2020.” Iona College also recently launched a new, fully online MBA program for even greater flexibility.