In Memoriam – Armand Patrucco, retired RIC professor

Armand Patrucco
Armand I. Patrucco, RIC professor emeritus of history who transformed RIC into a national chess power, died June 3. He was 75.

Patrucco, who began at RIC in 1962, taught at the college for 34 years. He revived RIC’s Chess Club in 1971, and built a team that was ranked in the top 10 nationally, winning the Pan American Intercollegiate Team Chess Championship in 1985, and the U.S. amateur team championship in 1980.

In a 1984 interview with The Sporting News, Patrucco said of his chess team: “We’ve done well. The top collegiate teams are Yale, MIT, the University of Chicago, the University of Toronto and Cal-Berkley. We can play right in that league.”

During his leadership, RIC was thought to be the only college in the country to offer scholarship money for chess.

Patrucco received the RIC Alumni Association’s Faculty Award in 1984. He was “widely known for his excellence as a teacher, dedication as an academic advisor and his development of a first rate chess club,” according to Holly Shadoian, director of Alumni Affairs at the time.

A book by Patrucco, “The Critics of the Italian Parliamentary System, 1860-1915,” was published in 1992. The work makes the case that attacks on the pre-World War I Italian parliamentary system prepared the way for the rise of fascism. The book’s title was the same as his 1969 PhD dissertation.

Patrucco was born in New York City and lived in Johnston and Providence after moving to Rhode Island. He earned a BA from Queens College, and an MA and PhD from Columbia University.

According to his obituary, he was the former treasurer of the New England Historical Society, past president of Meeting Street School, Easter Seals Society and former chair of the Rhode Island Developmental Disabilities Council. His affiliations included the American Historical Association and Society for Italian Historical Studies.

He leaves a sister, an aunt and many cousins in Italy.