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LUISS Guido Carli


Overcoming obstacles with hard work and determination

LUISS graduate Francesco De Ponte selected by President Mattarella as testimony to the values of the Republic

Francesco De Ponte LUISS

On November 12, 2016, Italian President Sergio Mattarella announced 40 nominations to receive the Merito della Repubblica Italiana, recognizing “significant examples of civil commitment, dedication to the common good and testimony to our republic’s values.” 

Among the honorees was LUISS graduate Francesco Maria De Ponte, nominated Order of Merit of the Italian Republic, for “for his exceptional demonstration of hard work and determination that allowed him to carry out and successfully complete his university career, overcoming difficulties presented by autism.”

Last April, Francesco completed his master’s degree in Political Science, specializing in Political and Administrative Institutions. “I chose Political Science because I studied social sciences in high school and I knew that this was the university topic that I could have the best approach to, even though I must admit I don’t love politics. My favorite subject has always been History, I love everything about it, especially the key figures and the great moments of the course of history.”

Under the supervision of Professor Carmela Decaro, Francesco received full marks on his thesis on the role of judges in common law and civil law systems. “I have always been interested in subjects that mix history and social sciences with progress in administrative law. This is why I decided to focus on the difference between the two primary legal families from a historical point of view, analyzing the different methodologies over the course of time, starting from the respective Anglo-Saxon and French-continental models. It was a lot of hard work, but perhaps the most difficult aspect was presenting it in only twenty minutes before the degree committee.”

Francesco De Ponte Laurea LUISS

Seven months later arrived the surprise recognition from President Mattarella. “I found out through my mother, but I finally understood what was happening when I saw it on the nightly news. Afterwards I received several calls from friends and family, calling me Cavaliere. It’s strange being nominated Cavaliere. I know it has to do with autism and that it comes after after all the interviews I did after graduating in April. However, I don’t really think I have done something to have earned such recognition. Already being referred to as Dottore is strange, Cavaliere is way more so!”

In a few weeks, President Mattarella will award all forty recipients with an official ceremony at the Quirinale. Francesco’s attention however is focused on the present, between work, family and friends. “Right now I am working on a video archiving project and I still meet up with my friends from university. At LUISS I had so many friends, from my classmates to tutors, and I have such great memories of the time I spent with them.”