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Why I Give: Vincent Mercadante ’57

Mercadente WIGMajor: Business Administration
Profession: Retired Sales Manager, Oscar Mayer

Q: What made you decide to attend UT?
A: Tom Mahin ’57, with whom I served in the U.S. Army during the Korean conflict, and I were teammates at that time playing service football. Tom was captain of the UT team before entering the service. He spoke highly of the coaches — Chelo Huerta, Angus Williams and Sam Bailey — and all of the staff at the school.

Q: Favorite professors?
A: I have always been interested in history and Dr. (J. Ryan) Beiser kept me excited about how he presented it to the class. He had a wonderful sense of humor. I thought (Professor G. Lawrence) Roberts was extremely intelligent and worked very hard to extend his knowledge to the students.

Q: Favorite place on campus?
A: The (Plant Hall) lobby, where I met my wife. She was standing on the balcony with Nanette Nivens ’57. Jack Mackie ’58 and I were standing in front of the fireplace that faced the balcony. My wife, Larrie Jean, asked Nanette who are those two fellows standing there? She replied that they are two veterans enrolled in school and would she be interested in meeting them. Larrie said yes, and Nanette asked me if I would like a blind date after a football game. Apparently it worked out — we have been together 57 years!

Q: What friendships began at UT?
A: Bill Minahan ’56, Jack Mackie, Louis Giacobbe ’58. All these veterans from all parts of our country attended UT and have given back to the community where they went to school. We have been in close contact throughout the years since 1954, when we immediately became close friends.

Q: How did UT help prepare you for a career?
A: The education I received from my business classes and my different job experiences helped me to direct myself into sales and sales management at Oscar Mayer & Company for 32 years. I retired in 1992 and have resided in Anna Maria for the past 35 years.

Q: Why do you think it’s important to give back to UT?
A: After the service, Tampa U gave me direction, and God knows I needed it. I want to thank UT for starting my new life in the adult world. I want to thank UT and Coach Huerta for keeping me on Athletic Help Assistance after I seriously injured my knee in a spring game in 1955. Because of my medical training in the army, Coach Huerta assigned me the team trainer until I graduated in 1957.

Q: Would you encourage other alumni to give back?
A: It is very important to carefully pick and choose what charities we donate to, and we are directing money to make sure our future is protected by educating our youth. There are many students who need this help. I would encourage our alumni to donate to UT to continue the wonderful progression of our University. I am proud to be a graduate of UT.