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New faculty profile

February 2, 2018

Lily Guillen / The Courier

Anthony Ricco is a prime example of a success story; it is a story that is made even more poignant by the route he took to get where he is today. A self-proclaimed tradesman, Mr. Ricco started his career as a construction worker when he was a teenager, spending the next 20 years laying concrete for heavy highways and bridges. He started by working on roofs, and then worked as a carpenter’s apprentice. He finally took an apprenticeship in concrete that lasted four years. While he wasn’t working, typically during the winter time when work is slow, Mr. Ricco went to school, first for his associate’s degree at Carl Sandberg College, and then at Western Illinois University, where he obtained his bachelor’s degree, master’s degree and finally his M.B.A. “It turns out that I was good at it, I enjoyed it, and so it got me here,” Ricco said. After graduating from graduate school, Anthony has applied what he learned in his own concrete business.

Ricco said that he never envisioned ending up becoming a professor, saying, “Coming out of business school, I had to do an evaluation of where I was at in life to determine exactly what it is that I wanted to do.” Despite not knowing exactly what he wanted to do, Mr. Ricco knew exactly where he wanted to go once he realized it. “I’ve lived in Monmouth for 30 years now, and as an institution, Monmouth College was one of those prestigious things in the area. The circle of people I ran with just looked up to Monmouth College at what it represented: academia, success, learning, and those types of things.” Mr. Ricco said. Mr. Ricco also spent time constructing many notable halls and other projects, including Peterson and Bowers Hall, the swimming pool inside Huff Athletic Center and renovation of Poling Hall, lying concrete. The Poling Hall renovation is a testament of where Mr. Rico started. “In fact, the Poling project was one of my first projects as an apprentice. So, it’s a reminder to me, as I look out my office window, of where I started.”

Indeed, it has been a long road for Anthony. He dropped out of high school and earned his GED when he was 18. “I started off as a local hoodlum. But I, slowly but surely, worked my way out of that deficit of poverty and making stupid decisions.” Anthony, like most other people, didn’t have his life and future figured out early on. He said, “I just turned 41 and I didn’t have it figured out. I’ve got two graduate degrees, an undergraduate and an associate’s, and right along with everybody else I asked, ‘what are you going to do?” Still, Anthony feels that being a professor at Monmouth College is a milestone, one of many in his career.

Ricco is an ambitious man who won’t settle for the routine work that comes with being a professor. His next goal is to teach internationally. “I’d like to be temporarily assigned from this institution to teach internationally… I romanticize the idea of having international posts, so I can experience the world and the different people that inhabit it.”

Ricco’s story is remarkable in the way that rags-to-riches stories are. Anthony pulled himself out of poverty, became a successful construction worker and businessman, and finally a visiting professor at the school of his dreams. His story serves as inspiration for anyone who has fallen on hard times, that with determination and work ethic, anyone can accomplish anything.

Matthew Needham
Contributing Writer

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