Chicago – The Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA) recognized Michael V. LaRocco, a U.S. Marine Corps Vietnam veteran and 33-year professional educator at University of St. Francis (USF) in Joliet, as the Illinois Veteran of the Month for September 2013.
“Far too often the public narrative regarding veterans is incomplete, with veterans painted as victims,” said Erica Borggren, Army veteran and Director, IDVA. “Dr. LaRocco is an excellent example of the more complete narrative of veterans as tremendous assets to our communities. Dr. LaRocco’s service has extended long beyond days in the military and has made a marked impact on those around him.”
LaRocco was honored at a ceremony on Thursday, Sept. 19 at the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Stempien Post 8821, 5104 South Archer Ave, Chicago, IL, with Borggren on hand to present the award on behalf of Governor Quinn. Also on hand was Edward M. Burke, Alderman of Chicago's 14th Ward, who offered his congratulations to Dr. LaRocco.
LaRocco worked at USF for 33 years and was dean of USF’s College of Business and Health Administration from 2004 until he retired in May 2011. He was the 2005 recipient of the University of St. Francis Innovation Award, the 2001 recipient of the Special and Salutary Award "for the use of technology in teaching” and the 1993 recipient of the USF "Excellence in Teaching and Campus Leadership Award." He also coached elementary school sports teams and advised several campus groups and activities.
“The University of St. Francis congratulates Dr. LaRocco on this well-deserved honor,” said Dr. Arvid C. Johnson, USF’s President. “Mike’s positive impact on our students and our university has been significant and continues to this day. We’re proud and thankful that the IDVA has chosen to recognize one of our own for the great work that he does.”
As a leader in the veteran community, Dr. LaRocco served in offices of the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars at all levels. He help organize and ran in the 1985 Chicago to Springfield POW-MIA run and served on organizing committee for Chicago’s 1986 Vietnam Veteran Parade, as well as on the 2011 Chicago Vietnam 25th Parade Reunion Committee in Chicago. He resides in Chicago, Cook County, IL and was nominated by Bruce A. Foote, a U.S. Army veteran and Executive Director of Financial Aid Services, USF.
In the Marines, LaRocco served as a Marine Supply Clerk for nearly four years during the Vietnam War, including over a year’s service in the Republic of Vietnam, leaving the Marines at the rank of Sergeant. His awards include the Presidential Unit Citation, the Vietnam Service Medal, the Vietnam Campaign Medal with device, the National Defense Service Medal and the Good Conduct Medal.