Louis Vaccaro took a long route to Albany, and not just because it’s clear across the country from his native Los Angeles.
Raised in an Italian Catholic family, Vaccaro grew disillusioned with California as a young adult. It was too materialistic, he said. The traffic and the smog bothered him. He decided he wanted to teach at a small Catholic college east of the Mississippi.
Vaccaro wound up doing more than teaching at a college. He was the president – not just of one, but of several. Albany’s The College of Saint Rose was his last stop, following schools such as Colby-Sawyer in New Hampshire (which Vaccaro helped make a four-year institution) and Siena Heights University in Michigan. He spent 14 years in Albany, leading Saint Rose from 1983 to 1996. During his tenure, enrollment rose 53 percent, graduate enrollment rose 100 percent, full- and part-time faculty rose 35 percent.
In retirement, Vaccaro decided to head back out west, but not to California. He owned a piece of land in Las Vegas and learned that home prices were very low there. So he and his wife settled in Nevada.
His mother-in-law’s health is declining, though, so Vaccaro again came east. He’s in the Capital District indefinitely, helping to take care of his mother-in-law. He was at the library when he came upon an issue of the Senior Spotlight. He dropped me a note about his autobiography, and we talked for nearly an hour on the phone, resulting in the story you can find on page 4.
I’d love to share your story, too. Like Vaccaro did, you’re welcome to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or give me a call at 439-4949. The chief reason I became a journalist was because I love to tell people’s stories. I hope yours is next.