On the day before graduation, Sam Nardone’s family surprised the senior with three small but deeply meaningful gifts.

The first was a Vineyard Vines Stonehill tie. The second was a handsome tie tack featuring a brick and trowel and the third a College medallion.

All three gifts link the business major to his late, beloved grandfather Charles Altieri, a legend in the development and construction of the College.

Altieri began his association with Stonehill the year it opened in 1948. An apprentice bricklayer from Brockton, he worked on the College’s first major construction project, a science center and classroom building. It was only the third structure on campus after Donahue Hall and our old gym, which is now Alumni Hall.

Altieri went on to start his own masonry and construction companies, and his many Stonehill projects include the Chapel of Mary, Duffy Academic Center, Stanger Hall, the Sports Complex, W.B. Mason Stadium, residence halls and numerous renovations. In appreciation for his decades of partnership in developing the campus, then-President Mark Cregan, C.S.C. ’78 presented him with the President’s Award for Excellence in 2011 [see below].

Successful in business, Altieri never attended college himself, but he encouraged his daughter and two sons to do so. When they graduated, he bought each one a desk chair with their college logo on it.

With his four grandsons, he stressed the importance of being professional, especially in terms of dressing appropriately—wearing suits, jackets and ties, as a mark of respect for themselves as well as their clients and customers.

“When my four sons started graduating high school, Dad expanded the tradition, giving them a tie from their future college and a tie tack that they would wear at their college graduation,” recalls Mary Nardone, Sam’s mom and Altieri’s daughter.

“For him, the ties and chairs with logos were how he felt we could show our loyalty and appreciation for the schools that educated us,” she said.

The College means so much to our family from Dad's humble beginning as an apprentice bricklayer, his long personal and professional association with the College, a family wedding on campus, and now my son's—his grandson’s— college graduation. Today, my Dad would have been beaming with joy.

However, Sam’s initial college choices did not work for him. It was not until he transferred to Stonehill in 2020 that he found what he was looking for academically.

“My college journey involved a good bit of trial and error, which was challenging. However, I always looked to my grandfather’s example for strength and inspiration. To my own surprise, that path brought me to Stonehill where I have thrived,” explains Sam.

In June, Sam, who graduated with a bachelor of science in business administration, will begin working for Essence Global Limited as a media activation coordinator.

As Commencement approached, Sam’s parents knew that something at the Stonehill ceremony would be lacking if he did not have an appropriate tie and tie tack.

With the passing of Charlie in 2017, Sam’s grandmother, Eileen, had her husband’s favorite brick and trowel tie tack as well as the medallion that came with the President’s Award for Excellence in 2011. The family knew that these two items would be the perfect way to include Charlie in the ceremony, on the campus he loved, while honoring Sam for his hard work. So, they entrusted them to him.

Finding a Stonehill tie, however, proved more of a problem as Vineyard Vines had discontinued the product.

After much unsuccessful searching, Mary contacted Doug Smith, vice president for advancement, in case his department had a spare Stonehill tie of any design or vintage. He had one—his own Vineyard Vines tie.

“I worked with Charlie on many occasions over the years. Given everything he did for the College, it felt right for his family to have it. As I told, Mary, ‘I would literally give the tie off my neck for Charlie,’” said Smith.

 “The College means so much to our family from Dad's humble beginning as an apprentice bricklayer, his long personal and professional association with the College, a family wedding on campus, and now my son's—his grandson’s—college graduation. Today, my Dad would have been beaming with joy,” recalls Mary.

The day before Commencement, Mary, her mom, Eileen, and other family surprised Sam with the tie, the tie tack and the President’s medallion. On the day itself, they watched Sam walk across the stage with the Stonehill tie under his gown with his grandfather’s favorite brick and trowel tie tack attached.

“It was a wonderful day for our family, a fitting salute to Dad's legacy at the College, a moment of triumph for Sam and a great beginning to his life after Stonehill. Across eight decades—1948 through 2022—everything came full circle and a tradition was passed on,” says Mary, before adding, “My father would have been proud, very proud.”

  • The Gift of Giving

    Doug Smith, vice president for Advancement, gifts his Stonehill tie to Sam Nardone ’22, here with his mom, Mary Nardone. 

  • A Close Look

    On Commencement, Sam Nardone ’22 wears his grandfather's brick and trowel tie tack to honor his legacy as a bricklayer. 

  • Family Gathering

    On the evening before Commencement, the Nardone family gathers to give Sam three meaningful gifts. 

Heart and Soul

In 2011, Charles Altieri received the Stonehill President's Award for Excellence. An excerpt from his citation read, "Our theme tonight is 'The Building of Stonehill' and, as we reflected, we realized that your contribution to the development of this campus has been enormous. You attend to the details. Your word is your bond, and you always deliver quality and professionalism. But more than that, you have invested your heart and soul into each Stonehill project. You share our history and care about our future in a very personal way." [Charles and his wife, Eileen.]