Vince D'Amico Rides to Heaven by his Dashboard Lights
"Vince D'Amico was a one-of-a-kind gift! He gave so much to UST and our world by his wit, charm and love. I will miss him. We will all miss him, but his legacy endures because of the impact his love has made on all of us."
A Memorial Mass will be held for Vince D'Amico on Saturday, June 19 at 11 a.m. in the Chapel of St. Basil, UST campus.
This past Sunday, Jan. 31, 2021, Vince D’Amico ’52, passed away at 90 years young. Always impeccably dressed and topped with his Stetson, this giant of a man metaphorically stepped into his 1951 Mecca Maroon Plymouth and went his way to heaven.
One can imagine that when he arrived, his hero, the poet Robert Frost, was at heaven’s gate to greet him and wave him in. His mother and father, whom he honored in his earthly life, were joyful to see him.
Vince was an organist, so the heavenly pipe organ was playing his favorite song when he pulled up. Tipping his Stetson, he waited for God to open the door.
Vince's Education, Career and Admiration for Robert Frost
Vince, a graduate of the second class of the University of St. Thomas, always said how grateful he was to have the opportunity to attend the University. He went on to carve out a career as an English teacher.
It was after he retired from teaching in 1988 that his real work began. He had a remarkable chance meeting with Frost in 1958 after he was bold enough to drive down the country road that led to the poet’s farm in Ripton, Vermont. Along the way, he picked up the writer and gave him a ride. That fortuitous encounter began his avocation and years-long study of the life, works and natural imagery of Frost’s country in New England. He even kept the old car as a shrine and memory of his good fortune.
Vince's Love for UST and his Generous Giving
Over the years, Vince would pull up to a UST parking lot in his vintage car and step out to visit with folks on campus. A born storyteller, he would find you in your office, take a seat and visit for a spell. He might ask you to name your favorite Frost poem.
It was his deep love for the University of St. Thomas that kept him coming back. He needed that connection, and he wanted to help young people have the education he received. UST honored him with the Fr. Vincent J. Guinan Distinguished Alumnus of the Year Award in 2010. He was very generous with his philanthropic giving to UST.
During his lifetime, Vince donated more than $1 million in support of the University’s students and programs. He always said, “UST is going to receive anything that I have.”
In 2019, Vince gave a gift of land to UST in Conroe, Texas, to help launch the new UST campus in that community. The USTMAX Center, a micro-campus, opened its doors in downtown Conroe in October 2020, welcoming students to new territory filled with opportunity. Vince attended the ribbon-cutting, delighted to see he has made a difference.
Being Vince, he tied it all back to Frost. “The courses that UST offers do exactly what Frost says poetry does. ’Poetry begins in delight and ends in wisdom.’”
"Vince D'Amico was a one-of-a-kind gift!" UST President Richard Ludwick said. "He gave so much to UST and our world by his wit, charm and love. I will miss him. We will all miss him, but his legacy endures because of the impact his love has made on all of us."
Rest in peace, Vince