Narragansett’s Vincent Colapietro honored with University of Rhode Island Part-time Faculty Teaching Excellence Award

KINGSTON, R.I. – July 3, 2024 – The Office of the Provost at the University of Rhode Island recently honored Narragansett resident Vincent Colapietro with the Part-Time Faculty Teaching Excellence Award. Colapietro has been a part-time faculty member in the College of Arts and Sciences Department of Philosophy for five years.

“Vincent is a highly accomplished scholar who has made many contributions to the field of American philosophy yet has refused to rest on his laurels,” said Vice Provost Matt Bodah, who chaired the selection committee. “Instead, upon his retirement from Penn State, he opted – in his own words – not to deprive himself of the ‘joys and challenges of teaching,’ but to continue to teach and to inspire his students.”

Professor Colapietro poses with past Part-Time Faculty Teaching Excellence Award winners. From left: Robert Burns, Robyn Riley Perry, Niels-Viggo Hobbs, Colapietro, and Rebecca Kelly.

Colapietro came to URI after a distinguished career at Penn State, Fordham and several other institutions. He has authored several books and hundreds of articles and reviews and was most recently recognized by the Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy with the Herbert Schneider Award for his career-long achievement of distinguished contributions to the understanding of American philosophy.

In his nomination of Colapietro, associate professor and philosophy department chair William Krieger wrote, “I could give you examples from every class where students talk about Vincent’s thoughtful nature, his ability to connect the class materials with the world around us, and the way he dispelled the ‘fear’ that many students have when they hear the word ‘philosophy,’” before noting his nature and the friendliness, skill and compassion he displays toward his students.

Professor Colapietro joins with members of the faculty and some of his students at the Part-Time Faculty Teaching Excellence Award breakfast reception. (l-r: From left: Prof. Desirée Melo, Prof. Scott Kushner, Provost Barbara Wolfe, Prof. Will Krieger, PC Prof. and URI alum Amy Foley, Prof. Vincent Colapietro, Vice Provost Matt Bodah, URI student Meera Mennillo, Arts and Sciences Dean Jen Riley, and URI students Melea LoPiccolo, Gianna Gesualdo, Max Mercurio and Logan Humphries)

Students recognize their interactions with Colapietro as not only eye-opening, but life-changing.

One student wrote: “Prof. C has managed to change my life in many ways. He has opened my eyes to the world of philosophy and how to be a deep thinker … Perhaps what has stuck with me the most, he has taught me to be a kind and respectful person. I look up to him as a role model and strive to be as thoughtful, compassionate, caring and devoted as he is.”

Another student wrote: “I remember on the last day of class, someone said something along the lines of, ‘Thank you for everything you have taught me. You have really changed my life.’ I think this perfectly sums up Professor Colapietro: life-changing. Professor Colapietro is a wise, pleasant and engaging professor who has deeply changed not only how I think philosophically but how I engage with the world and others within it.”

In addition to a breakfast reception in his honor, Colapietro received an honorarium and was recognized in this year’s commencement program. His name was also added to a plaque honoring each year’s award winners, which will be placed in the Great Room of Green Hall.