Charles N. Micarelli, one of the founding deans of the University of Central Florida who also was a patron of the arts, author and avid stamp collector, died Monday of complications from Parkinson’s disease. He was 83.
Micarelli was a charter faculty member at the University of South Florida in 1960, and came to Orlando as dean of humanities and social sciences in 1967 to help establish Florida Technological University, the original name of UCF.
He helped guide the new university through the years and in 1990 stepped down from his final administrative role – vice president for academic affairs and dean of undergraduate studies. He continued to teach full-time until 1998, and was the last of UCF’s founding deans to retire.
“He was someone who cared deeply about education, who valued the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake, and who was always concerned with the academic values being developed at the university,” said Elliot Vittes, interim vice provost and dean of undergraduate studies. “He was cosmopolitan in his experience and approach, and immediate in his application of goodwill and his time and knowledge.
Beth Barnes, UCF vice president emerita, said Micarelli was a trusted mentor throughout her years at UCF.
“If Charlie was your friend, he was your loyal friend forever,” she said “Through the haze of his ubiquitous cigar, he taught me, among many things, to pick my battles carefully – and to avoid them whenever possible. I’m not sure he had any enemies. He certainly had a legion of friends.”
After leaving his administration office, Micarelli returned to the classroom to teach his specialty – Romance languages, said his son Carl. Mostly he taught French and Spanish language and literature, but also sometimes Italian.
He supported the arts around Central Florida, his son said, serving through the years as president of the Orlando Opera Company and as a board member for the Florida Symphony Orchestra, Atlantic Center for the Arts and other organizations. He loved classical music, and while he was on the USF faculty he also was the music critic for the Tampa Tribune.
Micarelli’s favorite hobby was collecting stamps, and he wrote a book about U.S. stamps that went through several printings.
He also is survived by his wife, Sabina, and another son, John.