Geraldine Ferraro was an Italian-American attorney, politician and a Representative in the USA House of Representatives. She is possibly best known for being the first female Vice Presidential candidate and the only Italian American to be a major-party nominee for this position; she ran with Walter Mondale. EDUinReview will now take a look at the education background of this intelligent woman.
Geraldine was born on August 26, 1935 in Newburgh, New York. Her parents were Antonetta and Dominick Ferraro, both Italian immigrants. She had three older brothers, but two died during their childhoods. When she was eight, her father died of a heart attack, leaving her mother to raise the family as a single parent.
Geraldine attended Mount Saint Mary’s school until her family could not afford the school; she then attended the parochial Marymount Academy in Tarrytown, NY. She graduated from Marymount in 1952 and then received a scholarship to Marymount Manhattan College. In order to pay or her education, she used scholarship funds and also held up to three jobs at the same time. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in English in 1956, making her the first woman in her family to earn a college degree.
After spending a few years as an elementary school teacher, Geraldine decided to further her education by attending law school at Fordham University School of Law and earned her Juris Doctor in 1960. Geraldine was very dedicated to her goal of earning her Juris Doctor: she went to night classes while also continuing to work as a teacher.
In 1974, Geraldine landed her first full-time political job as Assistant District Attorney for Queens County, NY. Four years later, she ran for a spot in the U.S. House of Representatives and won the primary with 53 percent of the vote. In the general election, she defeated Alfred DelliBovi by 10 percent and won the position. She quickly became very active in the House and was viewed with respect by her male colleagues. In 1984, presidential candidate Walter Mondale named Geraldine as his running mate, but the pair lost to Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush. After the election, Geraldine continued to be active in politics and medical activism and was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 1994.
On a personal note, Geraldine married her college sweetheart, John Zaccaro, in 1960. They had three children: Donna, John Jr., and Laura. The family lived in Forest Hills Gardens, NY, while also having vacation homes on Fire Island and the U.S. Virgin Islands. In 1998, she wrote Framing a Life: A Family Memoir, which depicted the life stories of several of her family members.
In more recent years, Geraldine battled multiple myeloma, a cancer of plasma cells. In March 2011, she went to the hospital to have a fracture treated; sadly, doctors soon realized she also had pneumonia. She died on March 26, 2011 from the disease. Her husband, children, and eight grandchildren were all present at her side when she passed.