Dr. Dominic and Helen Bitonte will receive Youngstown State University’s Friend of the University award at a dinner Friday, June 7, at the Youngstown Country Club. The invitation-only event begins at 6:30 p.m.
The award recognizes the leadership and contributions to YSU and the community by a particular individual or individuals. Recipients are presented a crystal penguin on a black marble base.
Dominic Bitonte grew up in Youngstown’s Brier Hill neighborhood, and Helen Bitonte was raised in Campbell. The son of immigrant parents, Dominic was the first generation to be born and raised in America. As a result of the strong commitment of his parents, education has been an important value to his family. Dominic followed his brother’s footsteps and became a dentist, graduating with his DDS from Ohio State University in 1947. The two even shared a dental practice at one time. During his career, Dominic also served as a Dental Officer in the Navy. He has been affiliated with many professional organizations, including as president, secretary, board member and ODA delegate for the Corydon Palmer Dental Society, a local component of the American Dental Association. He also served on the Ohio State Dental Board and is currently a dental examiner for the North East Regional Board. Last year, Dominic received the Ohio Dental Association Achievement Award.
The Bitontes have always given back to the community, especially when it comes to education. They are members of the YSU President’s Council. Following a 1999 gift, YSU named the Dominic A. and Helen M. Bitonte College of Health and Human Services in their honor. Their philanthropy extends beyond YSU to the nearby Northeast Ohio Medical University. In 2004, the couple’s gift there established the Dr. Dominic A. and Helen M. Bitonte Family Foundation Atrium in the Ralph Regula Conference Center. More recently, the Bitontes have donated funds to Ohio State to fund a pre-clinic lab in the dental school in memory of Dominic’s parents. The Bitontes have been named Outstanding Philanthropists by the Eastern Ohio Chapter of the National Society of Fund Raising Executives.
Dominic and Helen have also supported a variety of other causes through their service on a number of area boards. Dominic spent 21 years as a member of the Mahoning County Planning Commission and was founder and first chairman of Youngstown/Mahoning County Convention and Regional Visitors Center. Helen’s civic involvement includes service to organizations such as the American Cancer Society and the Youngstown Symphony Society.
The Bitontes raised three children, all of which are now physicians. They also have eight grandchildren.