Devoted to his students and dedicated to making his school the best it could be, Frank Pellegrini worked tirelessly at Farmingdale State College, where he served for more than 40 years, most recently as Dean of the School of Arts & Sciences.
"He was a true educator," said Farmingdale Provost Dr. Lucia Cepriano. "He loved his students, he loved the college and he worked tremendously hard to improve the college and our offerings to students."
Pellegrini, of Dix Hills, died Thursday. He was 69.
Raised in Brooklyn, Pellegrini earned his bachelor's, masters and doctorate degrees at St. John's University. He began his work at Farmingdale in 1969 as an assistant professor of chemistry. By 1974, he was made chair of the chemistry department. In 2000 he was named Dean of the School of Arts & Sciences and served as interim provost for just over two years.
An organic chemist, Pellegrini was published twice in the Journal of the Chemical Society and co-authored the book "Chemistry: A Modern Introduction." He also wrote "Cliffs Quick Review for Organic Chemistry I and II." In 2001, he received a patent for a drug delivery system called a "A Novel Trans-Dermal Drug Delivery System."
Pellegrini was a member of the science honor society Sigma Xi, pharmaceutical honor society Rho Chi and the American Chemical Society. He became a volunteer firefighter with the Dix Hills Fire Department in 1976 and served as chairman of the board from 2000 to 2005.
More than a decade ago, when she was a faculty member in the biology department, Cepriano said Pellegrini took an interest in her research. She credits Pellegrini as being instrumental in bringing research faculty to campus and recognizing the importance of building these programs and engaging students in the research. "He knew what was right for the college," she said.
Cepriano called Pellegrini a "true gentleman" who was fun to be around and always offered kind words of others. "He could have retired many, many years ago, but he loved being here," Cepriano said. "He was a genuinely nice person and a true scholar."
Pellegrini is survived by his wife, Georgianna; daughters Christine Pellegrini Busch of Media, Pa., and Denise Pellegrini Knoll of Holtsville; brother Alfred K. Pellegrini of Dix Hills; and two grandchildren.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be said today at 9:45 a.m. at St. Matthew Roman Catholic Church in Dix Hills followed by interment at Cypress Hills Cemetery in Brooklyn.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Pellegrini's name to: St. Jude Children's Research Hospital or the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (firehero.org).