Students in DePaul PRAD professor Marshal Goldman’s class were invited to research and write about legendary Chicago PR pro Dominic DiFrisco, who passed away last week. Here is one of their tributes.
By Allegra Acosta
While many people during their lifetime on earth focus on leaving their mark on the world, Dominic DiFrisco dedicated his life to making the world a more comfortable place. In his 85th year of life, DiFrisco maintained his title as one of the titans of public relations in the Midwest, while serving as a spokesman for the Italian American community in the city he helped flourish.
The roots of public relations become functional from the formation of relationships. No matter what race, gender, sexuality, or creed, Dominic DiFrisco was a man who held genuine relationships with people from any walk of life.
“Dominic was open to everyone, that was who he was. He was what I would call an ‘enabler,’ the type of person that brought people together to help each other without being asked,” said close friend John LaSage.
Carried by his power to transcend opinions and his unique ability to act with fortitude in any situation, Dominic DiFrisco will be missed. Many felt he personified what makes Chicago great.
In our society, a genuine individual with such selfless qualities is becoming excruciatingly rare. However, Dominic DiFrisco worked for the world. DiFrisco wanted to see the change in communications, so he became the change by solving problems using his personal judgment and approachable nature. It is an accomplishment to succeed in an industry, but it is a gift to revolutionize new ideas and techniques into a heavily precedent-setting field of storytelling. By being a bridge builder between public and private sectors, DiFrisco monopolized public relations interactions within his sphere of influence.
DiFrisco is celebrated in Chicago and always will be for not only mastering public affairs in whatever field he was placed in but for passing on his wisdom to his many friends and fans, many of whom are now affiliated with my university—professors like Jim Motzer, Jill Stewart, Don Ingle and Ron Culp.
Professor Marshall Goldman shared fond memories of when he lived in the same building as DiFrisco: “As special as Astor Street is, Dominic gave our humble building something magical. He was always giving my four-year-old daughter, Leah, a lucky dollar every time he saw her (an Italian tradition he explained), and me a business card every time we met — he on his way to Gene and Giorgetti, and I on my way to someplace else far less cool.”
Over the past 40 years, DiFrisco has strongly represented the Italian-American community in Illinois as a pillar of hope and development. Through his gift of dominating a room, DiFrisco brought many people together, single-handedly setting the tone for Italian-Americans within the city of Chicago. At lunch most days, he could be found at the corner table of River North steakhouse Gene & Georgetti’s, always meeting with people who shared his desire to help others and advance this great city.
Dominic DiFrisco’s expertise in public relations encompassed the social, legal, and commonwealth sectors of Chicago. The techniques he used during his career all revolved around respect for everyone — which was the most crucial factor in how he conducted business.
As the business of public relations encourages storytelling, Dominic DiFrisco not only has a remarkable life story but has left a legacy of people to tell it.
Allegra Acosta is a sophomore at DePaul University with a concentration in Public Relations and Journalism. Allegra has had articles published in Joriki Yoga, 14 East Magazine, The DePaulia, and she plans to attend law school to study criminal justice.