Dr. Greg Riccardi, a Professor in Florida State University’s iSchool, retired in June 2018 after 37 years of teaching. Known as one of the most influential and supportive professors, Dr. Riccardi has taught many subjects across Computer Science and Information Technology. He also directed iDigInfo, a research institute here at FSU that has been a part of several national research grants.
Dr. Riccardi enjoyed attending graduate school and having the opportunity to further his education. He thought that teaching was an excellent profession, and says he always knew he wanted to be a teacher. Even though Dr. Riccardi could see himself as a teacher early on, his passion for it truly showed when he taught undergraduates while in graduate school. This opportunity set the stage for his teaching career.
Dr. Riccardi fondly remembers receiving a University Teaching Award while he was still in the Department of Computer Science. He also received the Mentor of the Year Award from the McKnight Foundation, a group that promotes education for African American Students. Samuel Eaves II, a Ph.D. student of Dr. Riccardi’s at the time, nominated him for the award.
After Dr. Riccardi taught Computer Science for more than two decades, he began teaching Information Technology. Dr. Riccardi joined the IT program when it first began, allowing him to get to know his new colleagues while helping to develop the new school. Dr. Riccardi and his colleagues recognized that most other schools failed to teach modern computer skills. They used this thinking in order to build the iSchool, teaching real life skills on top of basic computer skills. Dr. Riccardi is proud of the fact that he was able to help and see the school grow to become successful.
Aside from teaching, Dr. Riccardi’s most valued memories involved students’ real-life application of his coursework. Many former students would come back to visit, saying how his material, especially for his database class, had prepared them for their current jobs. “I would teach my students using real world examples to help them better understand the lessons while preparing them for their future career.” Dr. Riccardi explains.
Dr. Riccardi started a research institute here at Florida State within the College of Communication and Information. The Institute for Digital Information and Scientific Communication (iDigInfo)aims to alleviate the dissemination and management of scientific information for researchers. Receiving several national research grants, he later started the project Integrated Digitized Biocollections (iDigBio).This aimed to digitize and make available the nation’s specimen data. His research made a huge impact with both scientific researchers and Natural History Museums.
Larry Dennis, Dean of the College of Communication and Information, shares his memories of Dr. Riccardi. “I have had the pleasure of working with Greg for many years and he is a great colleague. His work in big data and in helping large groups of people work with big data for scientific goals was pioneering; he developed and put into practice innovations that have changed the way science gets done.”