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Bay Area Alumnus Brings Local History to Life

Jack FioritoJack Fiorito ’59, a graduate of the College of Arts and Sciences, has been recognized for his work with preservation and community heritage education. Last year, the Town of Tiburon (California) Heritage & Arts Commission presented him with its annual Heritage Preservation Award.

A dual major in Earth sciences and geography, Fiorito began his career as a U.S. Naval officer. He credits much of his early success, including specialized training at the Naval Intelligence School in Washington, D.C., to his Syracuse University education. "My classes in photointerpretation—the science of identifying and describing objects in photographs—during my senior year put me in a good position," he says. "Without the help of dedicated professors, I would not have been as successful as I was."

Fiorito eventually settled in Tiburon, north of San Francisco, where the founding director of the Belvedere-Tiburon Landmarks Society learned of his impressive background—including a leadership position at AT&T—and asked him to join the society's board of directors. In addition to the board, Fiorito has served as lead docent of the China Cabin, a strikingly preserved room from the S.S. China, which was a 19th-century side-wheel steamer, rigged for sail. He says his favorite part of being a docent is interacting with children. “They are so interested in learning about travel from the United States to the Far East during the late 1870s,” he says.

Fiorito says that his experiences at Syracuse University and in the Navy helped mold him into the leader he is today. “Coming from a small high school, I was exposed to many different aspects of education," says Fiorito, regarding his time at Syracuse University. "Being a student and then a naval officer, I got to meet all kinds of different people. Those experiences were my window to the world and influenced me immensely."