Remembering one of our own: former professor Regis Tucci

Regis Tucci, a former WSC professor, left his mark on campus with his moustache and zany sweaters during his tenure in the1980s until the 1990s.

Photo courtesy of College Relations

Regis Tucci, a former WSC professor, left his mark on campus with his moustache and zany sweaters during his tenure in the1980s until the 1990s.

Brenden Buskirk, Staff Writer

One of the largest voices at Colorado Mesa University has gone silent with the recent death of former Wayne State professor Regis Tucci.

Tucci was found in his home on Monday, Jan. 12, according to The Criterion, the Colorado Mesa University newspaper. He was found dead by the Grand Junction Police Department after his fiancée called the school to say that she had not heard from Tucci in a number of days.

GJPD and the county coroner investigated the scene and determined that he died from natural causes.

Known for his grandiose moustache and vast collection of flashy sweaters, Tucci stood out, and so did his personality, The Criterion wrote.

Tucci earned both his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts from Marshall University with doctoral courses from Bowling Green State University.

After he taught in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Mississippi and at Wayne State, Tucci eventually accepted a job at Colorado Mesa University, where he taught as an assistant professor of mass communications and faculty adviser to the school’s radio station, KMSA.

Tucci came to Wayne in the fall of 1982 to take over the radio-broadcasting program.

While teaching at WSC, it was evident Tucci had a gift for developing his students.

On top of running the radio-broadcasting program, Tucci began tutoring students in speech activities, which eventually led to him traveling with the speech team as a judge. Knowingly not being compensated, he was more than willing to spend his free time traveling with and teaching his students.

Dr. Ron Whitt, professor of Communication Arts at Wayne State, was the forensics coach at the time. Tucci and Whitt formed an close bond in and out of the classroom.

“It was a friendship where you just thoroughly enjoy each other’s company,” Whitt said.

Challenging their students’ perspective and holding them accountable, Tucci and Whitt both presented similar teaching philosophies.

“Regis Tucci was one of the finest educators and the finest faculty member that I have ever worked with at Wayne State. He was always willing to help students, regardless of the time commitment,” Whitt said. “And I’m sure I’m not alone in my praise of Regis. Loved that man.”

Not only was Tucci gifted at connecting with people, he also produced flawless radio and knew how to educate his students to do the same.
“Regis didn’t let his students off the hook. They had to perform—and they did,” Whitt said.

His real passion was radio, launching the careers of many students.

Former WSC student Darrell Johnson, radio name-DJ, became a radio celebrity in the Denver Area.

John Swanson, radio name-Swan Johnson, WSC graduate, became a radio celebrity in Dallas.

Sherry Kennedy, who was known for her sweet radio voice, worked for the radio station in Wayne (KTCH), worked in Sioux City and was on the air in Omaha.

“These are just a few of the fine radio people he worked with and grew,” Whitt said.

Tucci always loved comparing Wayne students to uncut diamonds: it’s his job as a teacher to make that rock priceless.

He embraced outlandish ideas, The Criterion wrote. He loved Frank Zappa and Hunter S. Thompson. He liked to keep his office dim and drank his martinis with gin.

His favorite piece of advice?

“Never apologize, it’s a sign of weakness.”