Count Paolo Emilio Cavazza

by Alberto Borghi

Guardian of the statutory values of the Istituto and active member of the civic life of Bologna.

The organization responsible for the instruction and education of people living with vision loss located on via Castiglione in Bologna since 1881 owes its existence and its name to Count Francesco Cavazza. When he founded the institution dedicated to the instruction and education of blind and visually impaired students, he asked that among the members of the Board of Directors there always be a male descendant of the closest possible rank" (for information, the other members are representatives of: the Department of Public Instruction; the Department of Interior; the province of Bologna, named by the Prefect; the Italian Blind Union; finally, two representatives of the members, designated by the assembly of members themselves). The above statutory provision was not the expression of a desire to control the direction of the charitable organization; it was rather a will to guarantee the active care and interest of the Cavazza family in regards to the institution.
The bequest of Count Francesco Cavazza represents, therefore, also a bond to his own family. When he passed away, his son Filippo took over from 1949 to 1959. In 1959, the baton was passed to Paolo Emilio, Francesco's grandson.
The new counsellor took on his role with the dedication of his ancestor with the full respect of independence of the Institution and of its representatives.

He never imposed the "weight" of his own name, also because the charitable organization had grown in the meantime and taken on a very important role in the Bolognese and national context, succeeding in being innovative and responding to the needs of people living with vision loss who wanted to live as independently as possible building on their own abilities and knowledge. He accompanied the organization in its most important growth, protecting it from undue institutional interference without ever taking prejudicial positions, adopting a perspective that includes dialog, with the only purpose of ensuring the best possible outcome for the Institute founded by his grandfather. Many still remember today his calm but firm reply to students who, in the "heated" years of the 60s, were making demands. Or, still, his calm in regards to claims of local agencies towards the Istituto Cavazza which were not refused right away but assessed objectively.
Count Paolo Emilio Cavazza was also a protagonist of the sports scene in Bologna. As a matter of fact, he created

the G.E.S.E., the Gruppo Emiliano Sports Equestri supporting his own passion for horses. He provided an important support to Mauro Checcoli, a Bolognese horse rider, the youngest winner of a gold medal (individually and with a team) at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. Transferred in Rome, the Count continued to be actively involved in the life of the Istituto, participating in the meetings of the Board of Directors. Bologna is a witness to his commitment on many levels. He was, in fact, a member of the council of the Chamber of Commerce and Counsellor of the Fiera di Bologna contributing this way to the completion of the Palazzo degli affari. Not only that: we also remember him for his participation in the Consulting Committee of the Cassa di Risparmio of Bologna and his role as Vice President of the farmers' union at the provincial level.
In 2007, he passed the baton to his son Gualtiero, after almost fifty years of having shared and supported with passion the needs and values of the organization founded by his grandfather Francesco, certain to let it in good hands. Certainty shared by anyone who has at heart the destiny of the Institute for the blind Francesco Cavazza.