Dr. Dominic J. Guzzetta, the University's 11th president, passed away May 12, 2010 in Akron. The president emeritus was 90.
Guzzetta, who served as president from 1971 to 1984, sustained the campus expansion program initiated by his predecessor, Dr. Norman P. Auburn. Guzzetta oversaw the opening of E.J. Thomas Performing Arts Hall, the acquisition of the Rubber Bowl and the creation of Wayne College in Orrville. Under Guzzetta's direction, UA joined a consortium with Kent State and Youngstown State universities that led to the Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine and Pharmacy in Rootstown.
“Dr. Guzzetta was a man of many talents: a sound educator and scholar, an accomplished leader and administrator, and a passionate musician and supporter of the arts,” said UA President Luis Proenza. “To this day, he has remained a dear friend of the University and its students, and we are grateful for his many contributions to the institution and the region.”
Ted Mallo, vice president and general counsel, said Guzzetta was one of the most energetic people he has known.
“I don't believe the word 'retirement' was ever in his vocabulary,” Mallo said. “I have fond memories of his presidency as well as the many informal occasions at his home where he delighted faculty, staff and visitors with his skills as a jazz musician. Dom followed the 20-year presidency of Norman Auburn, and having served for many years on Dr. Auburn's leadership team, Dom both continued and greatly enhanced the upward trajectory of The University of Akron toward becoming a major state university in Ohio and the nation.”
Guzzetta also served as president at Marian College in Indianapolis from 1968-1971. Before Indiana, Guzzetta was provost and senior vice president at UA, and he held a number of deanships and vice presidencies prior to that.
On his retirement from the presidency in 1984, he became the president of the I-X Center in Cleveland until 1989, when he accepted a Distinguished Resident Scholar position in Higher Education at New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, N.M.
Returning full time to Akron in 1995, he continued as a higher education consultant nationally, filling various interim top-level administrative positions at colleges and universities and carrying out institutional searches for top-level administrative positions and serving as a higher education consultant to institutions and states.
Guzzetta Hall is named in his honor, in part because of the steps he took as president to strengthen the School of Music.
“One of his legacies is that he made The University of Akron a force to be reckoned with in the world of jazz music,” said Jack Schantz, an associate professor of music.
Dr. Larry Snider, professor of music, said Guzzetta reluctantly approved Snider's proposal to start a steel drum band in 1979, but under the condition that it come together within a year. The band, which marked its 30th anniversary this year, won Guzzetta over, and he attended nearly every concert that the band held.
A graduate of the University at Buffalo, Guzzetta earned baccalaureate, master's and doctorate degrees in 1948, 1951 and 1953, respectively. He completed additional coursework at other institutions, including Alfred University, Syracuse University and the University of Rochester. He was the recipient of honorary degrees from five colleges and universities. Additionally, he received more than 50 professional awards, citations and designations as well as a variety of community service, state and national honors and recognitions. He was listed in numerous publications such as “Who's Who in America,” “Who's Who in American Education,” “Who's Who in Ohio,” “Outstanding Educators in America,” “National Register of Prominent Americans” and “International Notables.” He was also the recipient of awards from Toastmasters International, Sales and Marketing Executives Association of Akron, Akron Board of Realtors, and the Alumni Association of the State University at New York. The governors of the states of Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky honored him for his leadership in higher education.
During his active years, he traveled abroad extensively, often with higher education leaders visiting selected countries including China, Taiwan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Japan, India, Iran, Israel, Egypt, England, Italy and Greece.
Prior to his career in education, Guzzetta was a shoe repairman, a professional musician and an active and reserve military soldier, earning the rank of lieutenant colonel, having served in the Pacific during World War II. He was an active participant in professional, cultural, social, educational and community activities, and he served on the boards of such organizations as Akron City Hospital, Children's Hospital, Interval Brotherhood Home, the International Institute and The Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine.
Guzzetta was a native of Western New York state, but had been a resident of the Akron area since 1954. Preceded in death by his wife, Nola Guzzetta in 1976; he is survived by two daughters and sons-in-law; JoAnne Anderson (Jerome) of Sequim, Wash., and Elaine Boehm (Herb) of Roselle, Ill.; three granddaughters; Stephanie Boehm Redlingshafer (John) of East Peoria, Ill.; Jessica Boehm Lambrecht (Nick) of Chicago; Shannon Boehm (fiancé Dan O’Connor), of Roselle, Ill.; two great granddaughters; Ellie and Ainsley Redlingshafer of East Peoria, Ill.; and close friend, Mary Anthony Weaver of Akron.
Calling hours were held May 14 and the service was May 15.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Dominic J. Guzzetta Music Scholarship Fund, The University of Akron, Development Department, Akron, OH 44325-2603.