Citadel names Carmine Pecorelli 2017 Alumnus of the Year

Posted:  Monday, October 30, 2017 - 10:30pm
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CHARLESTON, S.C. – The Citadel, known for educating several three- and four-star generals, as well as six state governors, officially acknowledged Belfast’s Carmine Pecorelli, class of 1954.

Friday, October 27, during a Homecoming Weekend celebration of the school’s 175th Anniversary, the Citadel Alumni Association recognized Carmine Pecorelli as Alumnus of the Year for 2017.

The award, given annually since 1976, recognizes an outstanding achievement, act of humanity, or service on the part of the alumnus.

“Life is for Service,” according to Pecorelli, who has a history of charitable acts attached to his name.

Upon receiving word of the honor, the month prior, he said he was overwhelmed by the nomination.

Pecorelli entered his freshman year at the Citadel at age 26 following service to WWII as a teenager, then high school, starting at age 21. While at the Citadel, he established a Negro catholic orphanage, for which he received the Sidney Sullivan Award.

According to the Sullivan Awards website, the highly prized awards are won by people whose lives of service have changed the world with little fanfare as well as those who have become household names. Recipients include First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, television icon Fred Rogers, and Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell.

Following graduation, Pecorelli’s service commitment included two more wars. He has advocated for charities, helped organize re-entry to civilian life for hostages, and continues to assist other veterans, as well as lecture education, honor, and commitment to younger generations.

In September 2017, Pecorelli received notification from the alumni association that he’d been nominated and awarded the association’s second most prestigious annual honor. According to Pecorelli, he did not know, at that time, who had nominated him. However, he was deeply honored and overwhelmed with emotion, he said.

The nomination that brought about the official recognition is as follows:

Mr. Carmine Pecorelli is the oldest member of the class of '54, starting as a cadet after returning from service in World War II at age 25. Today as a man in his 90's, he is still very active in The Maine Citadel Club. He has worked to bring the Traveling Vietnam Wall to his local museum, serving as one of the hosts while it was there. He has actively worked to raise funding for Honor Flights from the State of Maine for veterans to go to Washington, DC.  Carmine served as a marshal for the Wreaths Across America annual caravan from Maine to Arlington National Cemetery to place wreaths on the graves. During one of his many trips to honor America's Veterans, he was selected to place the wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, placed wreaths on the grave of his Citadel classmates, and the grave of General Summerall.

Most recently, Carmine found that another Citadel graduate in the state of Maine was in need of a kidney transplant and Mr. Pecorelli has offered one of his kidneys. At this point testing has not been completed to see if there will be a match, but preliminary testing shows that this may be possible.

After serving in three wars, Carmine continues a life of service to the country and the veterans that have given so much. Mr. Pecorelli's deeds and actions reflect and recognize the importance of his education at The Citadel and he exemplifies its core values of Honor, Duty, and Respect.

Previous alumni accolades include:

  • Medal of Honor Recipients: 1
  • Astronauts: 1
  • U.S. Senators: 3
  • U.S. Congressmen: 12
  • U.S. Ambassadors: 8
  • State Governors: 6
  • College Presidents/Chancellors/Superintendents: 41
  • Flag Officers: 281
  • Army Chief of Staff: 1
  • Four-Star Generals: 4
  • Three-Star Generals: 30
  • Vice Admiral: 1
  • Adjutants General: 10
  • Four-Star Generals/Royal Thai Armed Forces: 8
  • Distinguished Service Cross recipients for extraordinary heroism: 21
  • Navy Cross recipients: 9
  • “Ace’s”: 5
  • USAF Thunderbirds: 4
  • U.S. Navy Blue Angels: 4
  • 1st Team All-Americans: 57

See our previous article  For a Belfast nonagenarian veteran, life continues as a service to others