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SMU Community Loss: Dr. Leo Pucacco

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SMU Community Loss: Dr. Leo Pucacco

Postby shadowman » Thu Nov 11, 2021 2:42 am

I am very sad to report that Dr. Leo Pucacco passed away yesterday, one week short of his 81st birthday.

Any SMU student who was an engineering major during the late 80s up until the mid 2000s undoubtedly was quite familiar with Dr. Leo. I personally know how much he meant and how motivating he was to all of his engineering students. He was truly beloved by everyone he came into contact with.

I remember as a freshman coming onto campus for the first time in 1986 as an electrical engineering major and meeting him for the first time for academic advising. He made me feel at ease right away and talked me through my academic plan. His personality and demeanor (and all the Star Trek memorabilia in his office) inspired me instantly. You could tell he really cared.

While I am just one of the countless many he helped and encouraged, I was blessed that he stayed close with me and my family throughout the years. It was a sad and dark day for SMU when he left the Hilltop in 2006. Now is not the time or place to debate why that happened, although all engineering students at the time were truly upset.

Personally, he was the main motivating factor that steered me towards my SMU degree and all the privileges that go along with that.

Just two years ago, upon my daughter's college graduation, he handwrote her a 10 page letter, offering his valuable life advice that she still reads and follows regularly to this day.

Dr. Leo Pucacco, thank you so much for all that you did and how much you meant to me and my family, and the SMU engineering community, you will be missed.
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Re: SMU Community Loss: Dr. Leo Pucacco

Postby DanFreibergerForHeisman » Thu Nov 11, 2021 9:18 am

Sad news. Thanks for sharing.
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Re: SMU Community Loss: Dr. Leo Pucacco

Postby tristatecoog » Thu Nov 11, 2021 5:05 pm

Sounds like he was a great man. RIP and thanks for your service!

I see that he clashed with Orsak who's been at HPISD for the last four years in a STEAM innovation initiative. Christensen took over for Orsak in 2012.

Engineering seems like a key opportunity area for SMU and hopefully the Moody Research College will help.
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Re: SMU Community Loss: Dr. Leo Pucacco

Postby AfricanMustang » Mon Nov 15, 2021 10:11 am

tristatecoog wrote:Sounds like he was a great man. RIP and thanks for your service!

I see that he clashed with Orsak who's been at HPISD for the last four years in a STEAM innovation initiative. Christensen took over for Orsak in 2012.

Engineering seems like a key opportunity area for SMU and hopefully the Moody Research College will help.


He was a very good man. His ouster by Dean Orsak was very unfortunate. He was beloved by the student body and new how to cut through the bureaucracy and get students registered for the classes that they needed to graduate in time.
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Re: SMU Community Loss: Dr. Leo Pucacco

Postby TwoTimeGrad » Sun Nov 21, 2021 11:31 am

Thanks for posting. He was a great instructor and a personal inspiration.

After going through freshman physics which included some light Electrical Engineering, I was questioning whether I had the chops for the degree. I stuck with it, and had Dr. Pucacco in my first EE class. Suddenly, all the circuit diagrams and formulas made perfect sense. I attacked his '60 problems' with great joy and vigor and aced the class. Never looked back and got my degree in four years.

God bless and prayers for his family. He lives on in our memories.
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Re: SMU Community Loss: Dr. Leo Pucacco

Postby PlanoStang » Sun Dec 12, 2021 7:49 pm

Prayers for him, and his family.

He got me through my second attempt at double E to replace a D with a B!
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Re: SMU Community Loss: Dr. Leo Pucacco

Postby JasonB » Tue Dec 21, 2021 3:07 pm

Leo was great. I had no idea he was pushed out by Orsak. That is really disappointing to hear, Leo really should have stayed at SMU until he was ready to retire.
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