It is a great privilege for Terry and me to share in the tribute to Rosario Brancato: a great father, grandfather, husband, physician, teacher, mentor, and friend. We wish he here alive to hear the tributes now being bestowed upon him.
We first met Rosaria and Laura many years ago on one of our many trips to Italy. We immediately realized we were in the presence of a “great man” who was revered and admired by all. He was “the man” to his students, colleagues, friends, and family. As the years past our friendship grew, not only through medicine but through our many social interactions. We enjoyed traveling and spending time with both Laura and Rosario at meetings and during vacations. The most memorable vacation we took with the Brancatos was an African safari along with Larry and Margaret Singerman. Terry and I arrived in Botswana in the sweltering heat. We were dripping wet. We waited for Laura and Rosario who were flying directly from Italy. When their plane landed the two of them walked off the plane together with Rosario in full, amazing, dapper, safari dress. He was wearing knee-high socks, Bermuda shorts, a beautiful shirt, and a magnificent Italian scarf. In the sweltering heat he did not have a single wrinkle in his clothing. He was a true Italian gentleman going on safari.
One year at the annual meeting of ARVO Rosario had a suite at the Colony Beach Hotel. He held court with a constant flow of internationally acclaimed retinal specialists who came by his hotel room to pay him tribute. That year, Rosario, and his team from San Raffaele Hospital in Milan, had, I believe, the largest number of abstracts and papers of any other institution to attend the meeting. It was truly a remarkable performance that gained Rosario and his team the international attention which has continues to this day. He built a department made up of exceptional individuals who were academically productive and are today leaders in the ophthalmic community. Led at this time by his protégé Francesco Bandello, that reputation of having a fantastic faculty continues.
The European Journal of Ophthalmology was a vision that was realized by Rosaria, but we must acknowledge that behind every great man is a great woman. In private, Rosario freely acknowledged to Terry and I that the success of that journal, for which Rosario was the Editor-in-Chief, was to a great extent successful through the support and efforts of Laura who was the managing editor.
Rosaria Brancato is dearly missed by us personally and by the rest of the ophthalmic community. He had so much to give, and we had so much to learn from him. We are so pleased that Francesco Bandello has been able to formulate an award in Rosaria’s name, and we congratulate Francesco for this unselfish and most generous tribute to his mentor. We congratulate the first recipient of the Rosaria Brancato Award in Ophthalmology in the year 2022.
Terry Brucker and Alexander Brucker