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Lou Saccoccio ’68 elected president of the Alumni Association
Nov. 19, 2012
Lou Saccoccio ’68 has spent a long time in Rhode Island’s public higher education system, going from student to adjunct professor, to University of Rhode Island general counsel, to Community College of Rhode Island Alumni Association president.
Saccocio enrolled at Rhode Island Junior College, now CCRI, in 1966, the year that its first class graduated.
“It was new and it was exciting,” Saccoccio said. “I remember that we were a very close class. The relationships with the faculty were wonderful and everything was positive. I remember the groups of students being really interested and happy about where they were.”
Those students met at the Foundry Building in Providence, the college’s only campus, across from the Providence Place Mall.
It was at RIJC that Saccoccio discovered and nurtured his interest in political science, history and, eventually, law. He delivered RIJC’s 1968 commencement address and urged his classmates to be involved in the community.
Like many of his fellow graduates, Saccoccio went on to a four-year university. He wanted to remain in Rhode Island and was choosing between Providence College, then a small liberal arts college, and URI, which he chose in the end because he thought the larger size would give him a broader experience. He attended from 1968 to 1971.
After URI, he enrolled at the New England School of Law, graduated in 1974, passed the bar and promptly returned to Rhode Island. He worked in private practice until 1990, when he joined the URI legal department as assistant legal counsel. He was promoted to general counsel in 1995.
During his tenure, he has represented the university in many cases before state and federal courts. He is the senior legal adviser to URI President David Dooley and the university administration, and deals with many of the same legal issues and matters that present themselves to private counsel. These include employment law, personal injury law, property law and contracts.
“If you think of a university, it’s like a small town,” Saccoccio said. “We have everything a little town would have, including electricians, plumbers, carpenters, engineers, architects and medical doctors in addition to students and faculty. There are a lot of issues that come up so I do a lot of what I would normally do in a private practice.”
Saccoccio said the distinction from private practice that he finds most satisfying professionally is when a case presents a significant issue of public policy or constitutional issues dealing with freedom of expression or due process of law.
For approximately the last 30 years, Saccoccio has spent some of his evenings as a CCRI adjunct law professor. He teaches courses such as the Law of Property, Contract Law, Business Organizations, Law and Society and the Administration of Justice.
“Teaching has been my constant connection [to CCRI],” said Saccoccio, who returned to teach 10 years after graduating. “I think it’s very satisfying to give back to students who are where I was at one time.”
Saccoccio was named president-elect of the CCRI Alumni Association in 2010. He took over as president in September.
“I’m very happy to be the president of the Alumni Association,” Saccoccio said. “I look forward to working with President Di Pasquale and Associate Vice President Joe April to move ahead with the goals of the Alumni Association and the CCRI Foundation.”
One thing Saccoccio said he would like to focus on is getting more of CCRI’s alumni to reconnect with the college.
“I look forward to that challenge,” he said. “CCRI has a special place in my heart so I’m happy to be involved.”