In Memory: Louis Cicotello

Portrait of Louis CicotelloTo the Campus Community:

Please join me and the faculty of the Visual and Performing Arts Department in offering condolences to the friends, family and colleagues of Professor Emeritus Louis Cicotello who died March 6 following a climbing accident near Hanksville, Utah.

Professor Cicotello joined the Department of Fine Arts in 1984 as professor and served as chair for many years of the Department of Fine Arts and, later, the Department of Visual and Performing Arts, before retiring in 2007. In 1996, he earned the Chancellor’s Award in recognition of his campus leadership. He returned to campus to co-teach core humanities courses. He was a world traveler, excellent cook, and a vigorous canyoneering enthusiast.

According to his colleagues, Professor Cicotello was an energetic participant and stalwart champion of the arts on the campus and in the community. He was a frequent and respected contributor to exhibitions and galleries along the Front Range and beyond. His work in sculpture and collage was consistently recognizable. Many of his collages can be found on campus. One of his most prominent works is the commencement mace which is carried by the commencement marshal during the graduate processional at each graduation ceremony.

Professor Cicotello modeled and lived the creative process. He valued curiosity, experience, personal connection careful observation, and joy. He taught, encouraged and challenged his students who will carry his legacy.

Professor Cicotello died in a rappelling accident in a remote canyon in the Robber’s Roost area of Utah. His brother, David Cicotello, survived six nights on a ledge in the canyon following the accident before he was rescued March 12. David is recovering in a Moab, Utah hospital.

In addition to his wife, Millie Yawn, and brother, survivors include his daughter, Sarah, son-in-law, Chris, and a granddaughter, Olive.

Memorial services are pending and will be shared when they are available.


Pam Shockley-Zalabak


15 Comments on In Memory: Louis Cicotello

  1. I’m shocked and saddened by this news. I enjoyed taking several art, art history, & humanities classes from Louis in the 80s & 90s. He was a talented lecturer, in addition to creating eye-opening art. Louis was much admired by many students. I’ll miss his decorative office door and his humor. I sure treasure the 2 asselmblages of his that I own, in addition to many fond memories of topics he taught & experiences that Louis shared. Take care Millie & Sarah.

    Krissy Oppenheimer Caudle

  2. I have memories connected to creativity and Louis, also. I remember a boy who built model airplanes and flew them in the back yard using small gasoline engines, who helped create a magical train layout at Christmas that would enchant anyone, whose third floor attic-type bedroom represented a person who understood style and artistic layout even as a teenager. He shared this bedroom with his brother, Carl, who also participated in the memories. Louis was the first of my relatives who attended collage and I held him in awe. I thought he could do anything and he pretty much did. Like many families life spreads us apart and I lost Louis for many years, but always followed him and his life when I could. Because of who he was and what he achieved it was easy. About a year ago I touched base with him and had a brief exchange of emails. I still have those emails. Many of you know about Louis as a sculptor, artist, author, educator, supporter of the arts, humorist, and avid lover of adventure. But I know him as David, Carl, and Tim’s big brother and a cousin who seemed quite amazing, even when I was a little girl. Peace to your family, Louis.

  3. Dear Millie and Sarah, my sincere condolences at your loss. As and artist, Louis was one of the most important people in my life. He inspired me to do more, and compelled me to look further into a subject, not just scratch the surface, and he taught me to accept all that was out there in the world of art. His classes were some of my favorite memories while at UCCS, and I am sure anyone who was fortunate to attend a “Louis” class agrees, they were challenging and very rewarding. Fond memories.

  4. Louis was the most powerful people in my adult career. I owe so much of who I am as an artist to his teaching and mentoring. This news is hard to accept – my heavy heart goes out to his family and friends. His great contributions and dedication to all the art and artists he touched will forever immortalize him. He will be sorely missed.

  5. My thoughts go out to the family. Louis Cicotello was one of my first professors at UCCS and really sparked my interest for learning and the arts through his passion. He will be missed.

  6. Dear Louis — Wonderful Colleague — Talented Artist — We will miss you so very much —

    “Sweet is memory of a dead friend!”

  7. So sad! He was inspiring, and so helpful in training the eye to view things in different ways.
    My prayers go to his brother for recovery and comfort, and the rest of their family for comfort through these early times after such a sad loss.

  8. I am deeply saddened at the loss of a awesome teacher, and a great man. Professor Louis was my greatest inspiration and I was blessed to have had him as my teacher 30 years ago. He really cared and that was so charming and very rare. Many years have passed but I always smile whenever I think of him. Thank you Louis – for not cutting my hair off when the electric sander decided to grab it! Thank you for being a a angel when I needed it most – Rest in Peace

  9. I’m so in shock and am very saddened that such a bright and authentic soul is gone. I have many funny stories about Louis as my professor that I will cherish. From what I knew of him as an educator, he did not live a life of half-steps or timidity. He liked ambitious and provocative art and students who stirred things up a bit. Of all the professors I had during college, I will and do remember him most of all. – Rest in peace.

  10. I thank the gods for having been in the presence and profoundly inspired by such an incredible teacher, mentor and soul! I owe my ability to work and thrive in the museum industry to Louis. He opened a door into a world of art and history that has become my passion and love of life. We sculpted, discussed, and laughed in his classes during my entire tenure at UCCS. Louis made history come to life which captured my heart forever.
    Thank you and I bid you a very fond farewell my Knight!

  11. Many, many thanks to you Louis for all that you’ve taught and opened up to me as a teacher, a mentor and a friend. You’ve made a lasting impact on my life that is clearly evident in my interests, my work, my art and in the way I work with my own students. It is true to say that you continue to live on in me and the many that were lucky enough to have you as a professor and a friend. I am deeply saddened by your passing, but am inspired by the way you lived your life to the fullest. Full of energy, curiosity, intellect, humanity and a joyful desire to share, it is your many inspirations that are of immeasurable influence. Rest well dear Professor. Much love to you and your family.

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