Ron Del Vecchio, dean of the Missouri State University Darr College of Agriculture, died April 4.
Del Vecchio, 64, had cancer, according to MSU officials.
An MSU staff member since 2016, Del Vecchio is credited with overseeing the naming transition in 2017 of the Darr School of Agriculture to the Darr College of Agriculture, securing $10.4 million in grants and working with Springfield Public Schools to construct an agriculture magnet school, according to a news release. During his tenure, the college also received an 80-acre land donation from the Kindrick family near Springfield-Branson National Airport, and it's now used to provide students and faculty with opportunities to research crop production.
"He was a strong, yet humble, individual who led with integrity and was respected by all who were fortunate to work and interact with him," MSU Provost Frank Einhellig said in the release. "We’ll miss him dearly, and we offer our deepest sympathies to his family and loved ones."
Del Vecchio was the first person in his family to attend and graduate from college. He received his bachelor's degree in animal and veterinary science at the University of Rhode Island and went on to earn master's and doctorate degrees in animal science from Texas A&M University.
“I like to think that I was able to set an example for my younger family members," Del Vecchio said in a 2020 MSU blog post. "Since I broke the ice, many of my nieces and nephews have attended or are attending college and are doing well."
Springfield-based Ozarks Elder Law expanded its footprint in Nixa; Skin Wax Ink changed its location and name; and food truck The Deck Pizza Co. opened.