Kappes: Peter Cacio was a longtime faculty member in the English Department and leader of the Bookstore gang. A popular and dedicated teacher, Pete was also a genial faculty colleague and friend whose good nature was a cheerful light in the sometime smoky faculty room. Pete was very helpful to me as a new teacher in 1957. Though Pete had started on the faculty only a year before me, he had more commonsense good advice for me than what that one year of experience taught him. Pete’s level-headed intelligence was a welcome gift to students and colleagues alike throughout his many years at Regis.
For many incoming freshmen in those years, the first name they encountered was Peter Cacio’s. Even before their first day of orientation, they had to contend with Peter’s list of suggested summer reading that arrived in the mail. The list included Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Great Gatsby, Lord of the Flies, and many other titles. Whether anxious freshmen were challenged or intimidated by Peter Cacio and his list, he was their first Regis teacher.
Peter was a city boy, proud of his Williamsburg, Brooklyn roots. He graduated from St. John’s University, and in his student days he worked at the New York Daily News. With that experience, he became an avid and careful reader of newspapers. While he respected the “news fit to print” New York Times, he admired the vivid coverage and reporting of the tabloid Daily News. All of that knowledge and experience became a gift to Regis seniors when Peter gave his course in Journalism, a practical and popular senior elective. The course was also a reflection of Peter’s character –– authentic, open-minded, good-natured, and generous.
Rapisarda: From the first day I joined the Regis faculty in 1961, Peter Cacio was a helpful mentor, and he became a close friend. He taught me valuable lessons about what teaching meant at a Jesuit school, indeed a special Jesuit school. I followed many of his classroom practices, adopting them for my French and Spanish classes with outstanding, and outspoken, students. To his students, Peter was always demanding, but fair and understanding as well. The respect he always showed his students was a trait they all appreciated.