DePaul Hall of Fame Class of 2013: Vic Cacciatore
Jan. 17, 2013
(Sixth in a series of feature stories portraying the Class of 2013 inductees into the DePaul Athletic Hall of Fame)
CHICAGO - When it comes to innovative thinking and foresight, Vic Cacciatore is a veritable visionary.
And after a lifetime of success and good fortune while building a business empire, this proud DePaul alumnus has done all he can to share his energy, vision and prosperity with his alma mater.
He joined the DePaul University Board of Trustees in 1973, and as chairman of the Physical Plant and Property Committee helped DePaul acquire the Goldblatt's building. He headed the drive to acquire the Blackstone Theatre, now the Merle Reskin Theatre. Cacciatore also played a leading role in bringing the Goodman School of Drama into the DePaul community.
His generosity resulted in the construction of Cacciatore Stadium where the Blue Demon softball and soccer teams compete. The stadium features permanent seating for 1,200, complete concessions and restroom facilities and a state-of-the art press box.
Along with the stadium, his endowments include the Victor J. Cacciatore Annual Scholarship Award and the Joseph Cacciatore Classroom---both for the DePaul College of Law.
For all he has accomplished in enhancing the university's academics, facilities and athletics department, Cacciatore is being inducted Sunday into the DePaul Athletic Hall of Fame and will receive the Dr. Robert Hamilton Special Service Award.
"I was absolutely thrilled to find out about the Hall of Fame," Cacciatore said. "I never thought this could happen to anyone but an athlete at DePaul. I was an undergraduate student who got my degree in 1952 and graduated DePaul Law School in 1955. DePaul has always been a place that makes me feel right at home.
"It was the only school I could afford. Students back then were pretty much the same as now. Everybody was friendly and we had a similar profile. A good 90 percent of us had parents who did not attend college. DePaul made an education very possible for kids who didn't come from affluent families and couldn't afford college.
"I love DePaul. Father (John T.) Richardson baptized all of my 10 children and married most of them. I've been blessed with 21 grandchildren. DePaul has a rich heritage and tradition because of people like Father Richardson and our president, Father Dennis Holtschneider."
Vic's father, Joseph Cacciatore, started a real estate company in 1906 while working as a milkman and delivering from a horse-drawn wagon. He was living by himself at the age of 15 with no parents or relatives to take care of him. He worked for a family as a handyman and they taught him English.
Upon his father's death in 1975, Vic Cacciatore was elected as Chairman and CEO of the Joseph Cacciatore & Co. real estate firm. He now runs seven companies including Lakeside Bank and Elgin Sweeping that cleans the Chicago-area expressways.
"I started that company in 1970 and remember people questioning that move," Cacciatore said. "What does he know about sweeping? Well, that company has expanded to four states.
"I'm still working at the age of 82 and have been blessed with good health. I've been able to build Lakeside into a billion-dollar community bank and one of the top-rated banks in the Chicago area with five branch facilities."
As an attorney with a law office on South Wells Street, he has represented Shell Oil for 28 years and at one time represented five oil companies. Some of his other clients include the FDIC, a large number of banks, the Chicago Park District, the Midwest Stock Exchange, Illinois Housing Authority, Illinois Department of Transportation, Illinois State Toll Highway Authority, Federal Express, Chicago Title & Trust Company, DePaul and Mt. Carmel High School.
In 1986 he was appointed Special Assistant Attorney General for the state of Illinois, and he has represented seven other governmental agencies.
"I served as a U.S. Counter-Intelligence Special Agent in France from 1956-58 and went undercover gathering intelligence on Soviet activities," Cacciatore said. "I investigated police chiefs in France and also the French Communist Party.
"There was an incident where one of my informants was killed. If I had been there that night, I might have been killed as well."
He served his university well with the addition of the Goodman School of Drama.
"One of the things I am the most proud of in my role as trustee was helping bring the Goodman School of Drama to DePaul despite some opposition on the board," Cacciatore said. "Some of the trustees felt DePaul was not a college for the silk-hats crowd and that people wanted to learn accounting, computer skills and business to get a job and didn't have any interest in the performing arts. But I felt very strongly about it and fought to get it done."
As those who have known Cacciatore down through the years can attest, his perceptive instincts are generally right on target. There was the time he came upon a deal to purchase 28,000 cases of Greek wine. He jumped in with both feet and wound up selling them for a nice profit.
"When I became a trustee, DePaul was selling some of its real estate to pay some of its operating expenses," Cacciatore said. "I petitioned to stop selling real estate and to build more dormitories.
"I believed the DePaul area was an up-and-coming neighborhood and didn't want students to pay so much for housing. Even back when Lincoln Park wasn't what it is today, I had always felt the DePaul area was a great place to live."
Although DePaul owes Cacciatore a great debt of gratitude, he feels just the opposite.
"Everything I've been able to accomplish in my life would not have happened without my education at DePaul," Cacciatore said. "Everything I learned led to all these opportunities to represent so many top companies.
"I'm so glad DePaul is being aggressive in trying to play basketball in the city again. I will do anything I can to bring them here."
NEXT: Stanley Brundy, Men's Basketball