Naples City Planner Neno Spagna Honored By International College

International College on Tuesday honored City of Naples Planner Neno Spagna with a plaque that will hang outside the College’s Public Administration Faculty Office.

“I was stunned. I certainly wasn’t looking for anything like this,” Spagna said after he and his wife, Patricia, were presented the plaque by International College President Terry McMahan. “My real pleasure came from working with all those people from the very beginning – working with them as a team – to promote the goals of the college and building into the fine institution it is today.”

Spagna is best known in the community for his work as a planner with the State of Florida since 1947 and as the Collier County planning director from 1973 to 1979. But for those at International College who know him best, Spagna also is regarded as a generous person who gives of himself to help others succeed.

Louis J. Traina, Vice President of Institutional Advancement for the College, said it is fitting that Spagna’s plaque adorn the Public Administration office.

“Public administration reflects Mr. Spagna’s efforts as a true public servant,” Traina said. “He has brought leadership to the College and understood, early on, International College’s role for the adult learner and realized its importance to the growth of the county.”

When Spagna wasn’t planning for the population growth of Collier County, he was helping plan for the institutional growth of International College. Spagna worked with others to help establish the College in 1990 and has remained a loyal supporter.

One of Spagna’s most notable contributions was the creation of a scholarship fund for International College students, called the Neno J. Spagna Scholarship.

Roy Lash, director of the American English Center, also recalls a time when foreign students enrolled in the newly created ESL immersion program met with a challenge seven years ago.

“The students, mostly from Germany, had no cars. Neno was one of two people who volunteered to transport students to class,” Lash said. “He just willingly took on that responsibility. He’s just a great guy.”

Spagna has worn many hats at the college, including public relations coordinator and a past chairman of the International College Advisory Board. He currently teaches public administration as an adjunct professor and sits on the College’s Scholarship Committee. On June 9, the College’s commencement, Spagna will serve as Grand Marshall, a role he has held every year, McMahan said.

“Neno has always been novel to me in his commitment to community service. He gets a great deal of satisfaction out of helping people,” McMahan added. “It’s very fitting to honor someone who has given resources and time to building our institution.”
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