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William A. Acierno

January 3 2014


WILLIAM A. ACIERNO,  Doctor of Education, age 83,  of  Danville, PA died  on January 1, 2014.  His health had been failing as a result of diabetes for several years.  He was born on July 6, 1930 in Pittsburgh, PA (Allegheny County), the son of the late Agnes (Sgambati) and Victor Acierno. 

 Bill graduated from Central Catholic High School in 1948.  He received a BA from the University of Pittsburgh, his MFA from Carnegie Institute of Technology and a doctorate from Carnegie Mellon University, all located in Pittsburgh within walking distance of his childhood home.

A veteran of the Korean War, Bill served in the Navy.

Bill worked at WQED, Pittsburgh’s public TV station, where he was acquainted with “Mr. Rogers” of children’s public television fame.  For a period of time he worked in New York City writing TV commercials, jingles and product slogans for CBS.

Bill taught Speech and Theater Arts at Greenville High School in Greenville, PA and also taught for Pittsburgh’s Public School System.

He resurrected, managed, directed and acted in plays at Rabbit Run, a summer stock theater in Madison, OH located on the shore of Lake Erie.  Long before his success in “The Graduate” and “Tootsie”, Dustin Hoffman performed at Rabbit Run Theater.

Bill came to teach at then called Bloomsburg State College in the Fall of 1966.  He instructed Speech, Theater Arts and eventually, Mass Communications until his retirement in 1992, at which time he was designated as a Professor Emeritus .  Throughout his tenure, Bill served as Acting Chair of Speech and Theater Arts and as Chairman of Mass Communications.  He was elected as the first president of the faculty union and served in that capacity from 1971 to 1979.

In 1980 and 1985 respectively, Bill founded WBSC-AM and WBUQ-FM and served as moderator for “Night Talk” which featured the movers and shakers from area businesses, organizations and governmental bodies.

He produced, directed and acted in a variety of musicals and plays that were offered to the community at large over the years.  Most memorable were, “The Man of La Mancha” and “Becket”.

He was affectionately known as “BWANA” by the players on Bloomsburg University’s Lacrosse team that he coached for 12 years and by the brothers of Phi Epsilon Chi fraternity which he helped to found and then served as the local fraternity’s advisor.  Bill was later affiliated with a national fraternity, Lambda Chi Alpha.  He also served as advisor for Alpha Si Omega, a theater arts academic fraternity.

In partnership with the American Cancer Society, Bill helped found a local telethon using the Mass Communications Department’s studios, TV equipment and student volunteers to raise thousands of dollars for the Cancer Society locally.  Additionally, he served as President of the Columbia County Cancer Society for many years.  In 1975, Bill was awarded the prestigious Ray Calabrese Medallion for his support of and volunteer work for the Cancer Society.

He is survived by his sister, Angeline Acierno Lovuola (wife of the late Joseph A. Lovuola) of Pittsburgh PA.  Bill was a cherished uncle of Victor Lovuola (Melanie) of Houston, TX, Lisa Lovuola of Fairview Park, OH, Nina Lovuola Tommarello (Jerome) of Pittsburgh PA, Paul Acierno (Nancy) Rennerdale and Jeff Acierno (Elaine) of Taylors, SC. There are several great nieces, great nephews, and godchildren of friends and former students.  He was preceded in death by two brothers; Dominic and Victor Acierno, both from Pittsburgh.

A Memorial Mass will be celebrated in Pittsburgh at a later date.  In lieu of flowers, memorials are encouraged to be sent to the American Cancer Society Montour Unit 1420 N. Susquehanna Trail Selinsgrove PA  17870.  Online donations in Bill's memory may be made at www.cancer.org/donate or 1-800-227-2345. 

Arrangements are under the direction of Visneski Funeral Home, Inc. 10 W Mahoning Street Danville PA.  www.visneski.com


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