Pizza Sam To Receive Community Service Award
One thing most Alma College students agree about Sam Ortisi: He makes a tasty pizza.
For nearly 50 years, “Pizza Sam” has prepared, cooked and sold his special brand of pizza and Italian food at his restaurant on Superior Street in Alma, just a few blocks from campus.
“When it comes to food, I want the best,” says Ortisi. “I buy the best flour, cheese, pepperoni and anchovies. I don’t buy junk. The food has to be right.”
“Pizza Sam” Ortisi is the recipient of the third annual Alma College Community Service Award, presented during the College’s Community Appreciation Day festivities on Saturday, Sept. 12. He will receive the award during halftime of the Alma College football game against Illinois Wesleyan.
The Community Service Award recognizes Ortisi’s strong ties to the community and Alma College, says Community Relations Director Brandan Snook.
“Sam has been a fixture in the Alma community and has served Alma College and its students for decades,” says Snook. “He has reached out to the many students who have attended Alma and is very deserving of this year's Community Service Award.”
Ortisi came to Alma in 1960, setting up his pizza shop on State Street. He moved around the corner to his present location in 1962. Ever since, Alma students and Gratiot County residents regularly dine at his restaurant or order takeout.
In 1996, former alumni director Bob Eldridge decided to schedule an annual Pizza Sam Night during Alma College’s homecoming weekend.
“Pizza Sam is such an institution in Alma,” says Eldridge. “Every time alumni come back, whether it’s for homecoming or some other reason, they go to Sam’s because they spent so much time there as students.
“We started bantering around the idea about scheduling a campus Pizza Sam night on Friday evening of homecoming weekend and then took the idea to Sam. At first, he was reluctant because we wanted him to come to campus and talk with the alumni, and he didn’t want to do that. But we talked him into it, and Pizza Sam Night has been a great tradition ever since,” he says.
A number of activities are planned for the College’s Community Appreciation Day on Sept. 12. An open house with guided tours of campus take place from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., originating at Bahlke Field. A family picnic and inflatable games begin at noon adjacent to Bahlke Field. The football game begins at 1 p.m.
Alma College’s Community Appreciation Day festivities also coincide with the City of Alma’s annual Lucky MacDuck Community Day. Activities include music, dancing, food and games from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Alma River Walk near the public library.
Posted: Wed, September 2nd, 2009 at 8:45AM