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Loyola celebrates the life of Joseph Procaccini, Ph.D., education professor for more than 40 years

August 19, 2014 | By Stephanie Weaver

Joseph Procaccini Loyola University Maryland
Joseph Procaccini in an undated photo from early in his career.

A scholar, teacher, and true servant to Loyola University Maryland for more than 40 years, Joseph Procaccini, Ph.D., left his mark on the University, faculty, and students through scholarship, academia, and service.

The associate professor in the education specialties department of the School of Education died Saturday, Aug. 16, at Johns Hopkins Hospital of complications following heart surgery. He was 72.

Procaccini’s lifelong career with Loyola began in 1973, after earning his Ph.D. in Philosophy from Catholic University. During his time at Loyola, Procaccini served as the department chair of the education department, director of educational leadership programs, and graduate dean.

“For decades, Joe’s invaluable contributions to the philosophy and practice of educational leadership have been instrumental in the School of Education’s rigorous preparation of hundreds and hundreds of assistant principals, principals, and other high ranking school administrators who have served and continue to serve in the Baltimore region and beyond,” said School of Education Dean Joshua Smith, Ph.D.

Procaccini also taught at the Sellinger School of Business and Management and was the director of the Center for Work, Family, and Schools. His expertise was educational leadership—training current teachers to be assistant principals and principals—and his work deeply impacted Baltimore.

He served as a management consultant for schools, churches, hospitals, banks, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies. He was a member of the boards of five private schools and numerous local and state boards, including the Anne Arundel County Planning Board and the Baltimore Regional Council of Governments.

Procaccini and Peter Litchka, Ph.D., a fellow associate professor in education specialties at Loyola, collaborated on several papers and traveled together to attend conferences, including a trip to Budapest to discuss and present their work on leadership and gender.

“He was a really good friend,” Litchka said, as emails from students—past and present—have flooded his inbox, sharing their fond memories of Procaccini.

In 1983, Procaccini published Parent Burnout, the most popular of his three books and one that quickly received national attention. In an interview about the book with U.S. News & World Report, Procaccini described “parent burnout” as a state of physical, emotional, and sometimes spiritual exhaustion resulting from chronic high stress and perceived enormous responsibility of parents.

Procaccini also had a passion for bioethics. He completed bioethics training at the Kennedy Institute of Ethics at Georgetown University, the Berman Institute of Bioethics at Johns Hopkins University, and Harvard Divinity School. He also served as a visiting research scholar in bioethics at Weston Jesuit School of Theology, Episcopal Divinity School, and Georgetown.

With Smith’s help, Procaccini organized the first Maryland conference on Bioethics in the High School Curriculum. The program was the first of its kind in the mid-Atlantic region and one of the first in the nation, bringing the topic of bioethics to high school administrators and teachers. Although he was sick the day of the conference, he filmed a 45-minute introduction video from his hospital bed, discussing the importance of bioethics in high school.

A man of deep faith, Procaccini served as the co-chair of the spirituality committee in the School of Education with Lee Joyce Richmond, Ph.D., professor of school counseling and colleague in the education specialties department. In this role, the duo designed spiritual retreats for faculty to help faculty take a step back from academics and reconnect with their spiritual selves and identities. 

“He went above and beyond the role of a teacher,” said Litchka, who described Procaccini as a gentleman with a great sense of humor. “His legacy will live on for a long time at Loyola.”

In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to support a Loyola scholarship in Procaccini’s name.

To donate via check, send to:

Loyola University Maryland
4501 N. Charles St.
Baltimore MD 21210
Attn: Office of Advancement

To donate online, visit campaign.loyola.edu and click “Make a gift.”

Please indicate the funds are for the Joe Procaccini Scholarship on your check or in the online donation form.

Memorial gathering (visitation):
Friday, Aug. 22 
3-5 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. 
Barranco Funeral Home
495 Ritchie Highway
Severna Park, Md. 21146
410-647-2400

Memorial Mass:
Saturday, Aug. 23
10:30 a.m.
Loyola University Maryland Alumni Memorial Chapel
4501 N. Charles St.
Baltimore, Md. 21210

Luncheon (open to the community):
Saturday, Aug. 23
Noon
McGuire Hall

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