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J. Ronald Pecchenino

Emeritus professor and former art department chair Ron Pecchenino passed away Aug. 4. He taught more than 26 years at Pacific, receiving the Distinguished Faculty Award and the Order of Pacific.

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Emeritus art professor J. Ronald Pecchenino ’56 passed away Aug. 4

An outstanding professor, mentor and artist, his life was dedicated to creating, teaching, supporting and mentoring those in the art community.
Aug 17, 2015

Emeritus art professor J. Ronald Pecchenino '56 passed away on Tuesday, August 4, 2015, surrounded his family in Kona, Hawaii, his home for the past two years. He was 83 years old. 

During his more than 40-year career as an art educator, he spent 26 years at Pacific, more than 10 years as department chair. He guided Pacific's art department through a renaissance in the early 1980s, bringing in new faculty and leading a restructuring of instructional programs and renovation of the studio, lecture hall and gallery facilities. He brought computer technology into the art curriculum, initiated the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design degree program, and worked to obtain Pacific's first full program accreditation for professional degrees in studio art and graphic design from the National Association of Schools of Art and Design. He also served on many University committees and task forces, including on the first University Computer Planning Committee, advocating for the instructional role of computer technology.

Born April 3, 1932, in Murphys, Calif., Pecchenino attended Stockton College and served in the U.S. Air Force as a cryptographic operator. After earning his bachelor's degree in art from University of the Pacific in 1956, he went on to earn his Master of Fine Arts at California College of the Arts in Oakland. He taught art for 15 years in Manteca Unified School District before returning to his alma mater in 1970 to join the faculty of the art department. 

Pecchenino was an outstanding and engaging professor and an enthusiastic mentor and role model to junior faculty. He also cultivated community and regional support for the art department's programs, served on the College of the Pacific Campaign Leadership Council (2003-05) and on the Jeanette Powell Art Center and Geosciences Center Project Committee. In collaboration with the Gladys L. Benerd School of Education, he taught an Art in Education program to help future K-8 teachers foster a love of art in their students. 

In 1992, he was recognized for his teaching and scholarship with Pacific's Distinguished Faculty Award. At his retirement in January 1996, was awarded the Order of Pacific, the University's highest honor.

A nationally recognized artist, Pecchenino worked skillfully in a variety of mediums and was best known for an acrylic lacquer inlay technique that he developed. He completed numerous commissions for businesses and organizations, including many private and public art collections. He was a founding member of the Manteca Mural Society in 2002 and was commissioned to paint the 10 ft. by 20 ft. "Golden Gateway to Manteca" mural which hangs at 213 W. Yosemite Ave. in downtown Manteca. He garnered more than 80 awards in competitive exhibitions and had close to 50 one-person shows of his own work. He was actively creating up to his final weeks.

His wife of 47 years, longtime Manteca schoolteacher Regina (Feltz) Pecchenino '56, preceded him in death in 2004. He is survived by their son and daughter-in-law, alumni Brad '82 and his wife Karen (Spicer) Pecchenino '86, '90 and their children, Dylan and Chad.

A celebration of life is being planned later this fall. More information will be provided as it becomes available. The family requests that those who wish to do so make memorial donations to organizations Pecchenino favored: ALS, Hospice and the University of the Pacific Visual Arts Department. Contact Jimilynn Dorough for more information at 209.946.2869 or email

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