Edoardo A. Lèbano was a beloved professor of Italian in the Department from 1971 until his retirement in 2000. He served and encouraged undergraduate students as co-founder and director of the Center for Italian Studies, director of Italian language instruction, director of undergraduate studies, and resident director of the IU programs in Bologna and Florence. After his death in 2020, the Department decided to rename the Mary V. Lèbano Memorial Award to be the Edoardo A. Lèbano Memorial Award and continue to celebrate exceptional undergraduate Italian students this way.
Before November 2020, this award honored the memory of Professor Lèbano's wife Mary Vangeli Lèbano, who died on September 8, 2007. Professor Lèbano funded the award to remember Mary, who studied and lived in Italy for extended periods of time, loved Italian language and culture and nourished a sincere interest in the progress made by her husband's students.