Nicholas D. Ricco Sr. (’61), 86, a longtime supporter of UNT, died May 4 in Plano.
He was a military veteran with 24 years of service, first with the U.S. Army National Guard in New York and then with the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Navy. He was an Air Force navigator-bombardier and an instructor of pilots and navigators before entering North Texas in 1959, where he studied banking and accounting while continuing to fly with the U.S. Air Force Reserve. He earned his business degree in 1961. After the U.S. Navy recruited him in 1963 for his aviation skills, he became the first non-pilot in the Navy and Navy Reserve to be appointed as executive officer and commanding officer of naval flying squadrons. He retired from the Navy Reserve as a commander in 1974.
Simultaneously, he built a successful career in the insurance, real estate and finance businesses, developing the largest personally owned insurance agency in Texas and building and acquiring 45 buildings and other properties between 1971 and 2003. He was the president of Ricco Properties and general partner of Ricco Family Partners Ltd.
He returned to UNT in 1999 to pursue graduate studies in journalism. A recipient of the Green Glory Award in 2003 and the Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2007, he was a major supporter of the university. He served on advisory boards and contributed to the College of Music, the Mayborn School of Journalism and the G. Brint Ryan College of Business, where he is a member of the Hall of Fame. He also contributed to Emerald Eagle Honors and other programs, and was among the first financial supporters of the Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference. With his wife, Anna, he mentored hundreds of UNT students through the years, was a member of the McConnell Society and created UNT’s Ricco Ethics Scholarship competition in 2011. In 2015, he was awarded the prestigious Mayborn Medallion for his commitment to his alma mater. The Cmdr. Nicholas and Anna Ricco Music Dean’s Suite was dedicated in 2018.
Visitation is from 6 to 8 p.m. May 8 at Rhoton Funeral Home, 1511 S. Interstate 35E, in Carrollton. Interment will be at 10 a.m. May 9 at the Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery, 2000 Mountain Creek Parkway in Dallas, followed by a memorial service at 2 p.m. at the First Baptist Church of Carrollton, 2400 N. Josey Lane. Memorials may be made to the National Kidney Foundation or to any campus in the UNT System.