Dittas to Receive 2023 University of Holy Cross Spes Unica Award
NEW ORLEANS — The University of Holy Cross will bestow its highest honor, the annual “Spes Unica” (One Hope) Award, to Joseph Carlo Ditta II and his wife Kolette Mandina-Ditta at an April 12 ceremony at the Higgins Hotel.
Together the Dittas exemplify the ideals of their shared alma mater, the University of Holy Cross, said a school spokesperson. Both graduated from the university with Bachelor of Science degrees in business administration.
The Dittas own and operate multigenerational family businesses to which they have dedicated their lives.
Along with his sister, Nicole D. Ciaccio, Joseph is the third-generation owner and president of Carlo Ditta Ready Mix Concrete. He has served on many professional industry boards, including the President’s Advisory Board at University of Holy Cross. He is also the executive administrator of the Rose Grilletta and Joseph Carlo Ditta Scholarship Fund, awarded annually at the University of Holy Cross. In 2001, Holy Cross University named him the Outstanding Alumnus of the Year.
Kolette and her daughter Lindsey purchased Tony Mandina’s Restaurant in 2020 from Tony and Grace Mandina, who founded the Gretna landmark in 1982. In 2014, Kolette created Tony Mandina’s Red Gravy. Along with the manufacturing and distribution of the popular grocery item, she also operates an import business, specializing in Sicilian wines and olive oil. In 2021, she published a cookbook, “Tony Mandina’s Kitchen,” which shares her family’s heritage through recipes that can be traced back five generations to Salaparuta, Sicily.
The Dittas were previously honored with the University of Holy Cross “Cor Et Menem” Award in 2018.