After spending almost 20 years dishing up pizzas for hungry families, an ASU professor is taking home a slice of recognition.
Economics professor Phillip Mizzi is receiving the Andy Andreano Lifetime Achievement Award for his work with a downtown St. Vincent de Paul location, where he and other volunteers serve pizza to working-class families.
Mizzi said he was surprised with the award, but that he was honored to receive it.
“I feel undeserving just because a lot of the work has been with ASU students,” he said. “We have been involved with the project since 1994. It started with some student involvements. Our business students, MBA and economic students have been working together over the years.”
The project started making 40 pizzas once a month for working families. Now, they serve more than 200 pizzas every third Friday, Mizzi said.
Mizzi said he wanted to make sure the families would not only go home with dinner but eat a healthy meal.
“The idea is to provide fresh food for the families,” he said. “Charitable organizations often bring donated food, which tends to be high in fat and sugar, which isn’t the best food. We are trying to change it with healthier pizza.”
Mizzi said volunteers make and serve the pizza in the dining room of St. Vincent de Paul.
The pizza is made with whole-wheat dough and vegetables to ensure it is healthy as possible.
Mizzi, who has been a professor at ASU for almost 20 years, said he is thrilled to get this honor and is proud of being part of ASU’s commitment to give back to the community.
“I think it’s a great honor for ASU in demonstrating we made a long commitment to this organization, ” Mizzi said. “So they say it’s a lifetime achievement for me, but it’s been 20 years involvement of Arizona State University.”
Mizzi said he didn’t want to take all the credit for the group’s effort.
“It’s a great honor, but I have to share it with the students and the University for supporting this effort,” he said.
Jose Mendez, an economics professor at the W. P. Carey School of Business, has worked with Mizzi for five years.
“He is a warm person.” Mendez said. “He is one of the faculty members who are willing to collaborate. He is one of those people who you can turn to for help.”
Mendez said he is proud of Mizzi for receiving the lifetime achievement award.
“I’m thrilled (Mizzi) is getting the recognition he deserves,” he said. “He’s the person that likes to give back to the community, and I think it’s important as part of the ASU community to give back to community.”
Mizzi is a humble person, Mendez said.
Mary Chou-Thompson, communications manager of St. Vincent de Paul Charity said Mizzi has been a great contributor to the charity and the award is well-deserved.
Chou-Thompson said the families enjoy the pizza.
“Families are appreciative of the extra effort we put on the pizzas and meals,” she said. “Phil Mizzi has put in a lot of thought in the pizza. He works with a nutritionist to work with him to make a recipe and worked with fresh vegetables.”
Chou-Thompson said the Andy Andreano Lifetime Achievement award is an annual charity award named after their longest-serving volunteer, who is currently in his 44th year of volunteering with the charity. Andreano chooses a volunteer who he believed did amazing work during the year.
“We are grateful to have someone like Phil Mizzi volunteer here,” Chou-Thompson said.
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