Dear Editor: Thank you for the informative death notice about Dr. Robert Muccigrosso (May 23). I wish to shed some light on Robert Muccigrosso, the man. Bob, as the assistant principal at Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School, hired me to teach at the school in August of 1973. That began 42 years of mentorship and great friendship.
Bob became the principal of Bishop Loughlin in the summer of 1975 and his new tenure was greeted with an extremely tense labor strike by the teachers’ union. The strike was intensely draining on all sides. In terms of the strike itself, and its attendant issues, Bob had little control, as the strike involved several diocesan schools. All Bob could really do, as a brand new and young principal, was create as solid and positive a learning atmosphere as was possible for the sake of the students and their families.
For four plus weeks, he did this with a calmness, grace and dignity that were emblematic of the way he handled his entire career and lived his entire life.
The school was declared permanently closed to all but the seniors on Oct. 13, 14 and 15. During those three days, the younger students were transferring out to other schools. Everyone’s spirits were down in the dumps. On the afternoon of the 15th, a miraculous settlement was announced. The school was saved but the community was greatly damaged.
On Thursday, Oct. 16, Bob began the task of rebuilding the school and its community, despite its depleted student body and deflated morale. That began five years – from 1975 through 1980 – of Bob’s tenure as principal of Bishop Loughlin being brought back to its former self. He helped to make it a school that went on to thrive through the 1980s, ’90s and these first 15 years of the 21st century, right up until today.
The current students, faculty and staff of Loughlin are wonderful people who have many things and people to be thankful for. One of them is a man who has not worked there for 35 years but whose spirit lives there every day.
Bob brought the same grace and gentleness to Nazareth H.S., St. Francis College, and the entire Brooklyn Diocese through his work in the Education Office and to his family and friends every day of his life.
Editor’s Note: James Dorney also served as principal of Bishop Loughlin H.S.