Professor Camillo P. Merlino had been the only regular professor of Italian from his appointment in 1930 to his resignation in 1937. After his departure, Vincent A. Scanio was for many years the only full-time staff member of the Italian section. In 1940, ten classes were offered. During the war years, special classes in Italian were provided to various military and civilian programs, and a Conversational Grammar by Professors Scanio and McLaughlin was widely used and received official commendation from the government. As enrollments increased, they were accommodated by the employment of Teaching Fellows and by bringing a series of Visiting Lecturers from Italy to supplement the staff for the upperclass offerings.
By 1970 there were 40 classes taught in Italian. The development of the Romance Linguistics section of the department included the offering of various courses in pre-Italic and Old Italian language, and these courses were available to graduate students in Italian. Since 1940, five master's degrees and one Ph.D. have been granted in Italian.