New Passions~Now that Robert was back from the war, he needed to find a calling, a serving like his early vocation of being a missionary priest. He was to find this in his love affair with the theater. With the hlep of the generous gift provided by the Government: the G.I. Bill, Robert wanting to continue his
education in a more meaningful way, entered Adelphi College where the love affair with acting and teaching happened through working with inspired teachers. These teachers had practical experience form working in the theater as well as having excellent academic training. But most of all, they had the ability to express that passion. "I will for forever owe a debt of thanks to those teachers; Marie Donnet, Mrs. Plugge, Clark Marlor, Richard Clemo, and all the students I worked with." Robert also continued his life of sports at Adelphi, participating in football and lacrosse as well as participating in all areas of college life. "A thank you to Coach Claude Ruggian who introduced Lacrosse to me, supported and encouraged me through the four years I played for him at Adelphi. And a thank you is owed to the late Frank Cassel, trainer of athletes at Adelphi who expressed and stood for all that is good and meaningful in sports. He stressed the importance of diet and a regimen of exercises that would keep the athlete in condition to perform at his highest level. He had an integrity and skill in dealing with injuries. Most of all, he talked straight about the need for us to struggle to develop virtues that really count in life as students, athletes and men, beyond college and sports. All who came in contact with Frank were better men on and off the field."For Robert returning safely from a war, College and all that it offered was experienced as a great and wondrous opportunity. It led him to receiving an award for his acting in College from the South Shore Dramatic Society, which involved money, and permitted him to go to New York City during college, and have his first exposure to the teachings of Sandy Meisner. Meisner's students have included Eli Wallach, Tammy Grimes, Marion Seldes, Joanne Woodward and Gregory Peck, to name abut a few. "this training gave me a sense of reality about all that was involved in the art of acting, and certainly made me realize how much I had to learn from this great teacher."
ROBERT X. MODICA
July 30, 1931 - March 14, 2015
Awards & Honors
- Co-President Senior Class
- Who's Who of American Colleges and Universities
- Member of the Men's Senior Honorary Society of Adelphia Flambeau
- Gold Mask Dramatic Society
- President of the Italian Club
- South Shore Dramatic Society Award for Best Student Actor on Long Island ($500.00)
- Football Letter Awarded (after his first year of Football at Adelphi, the college dropped the program)
- Outstanding Defense Man Lacrosse Award, 1956
- Selected to play in the North South Coconut Bowl Game in Florida, 1957
- Outstanding Lacrosse Player trophy, 1957
- Co-Captain Lacrosse team, 1957
- All American Lacrosse, 1957
- Co-Sponsor of the Finkle-Modica Lacrosse Pogue Award, 1957
- Inducted into the Adelphi Athletic Hall of Fame, 1968
"Dave Finkle, an All American Lacrosse player, a dear friend and fellow athlete at Adelphi, who, as far back as high school, I had always admired for his great athletic achievements, became the co-sponsor of the much coveted Finkle-Modica Lacrosse Pogue Award for Guts and Devotion. We both felt that an award should exist not only for the outstanding and best in sport but that there should also be an award that recognizes those qualities in a player who comes out every day and gives his all totally in all aspects of the sport no matter whether he is 2nd or 3rd string. Guts and Devotion. Often, this player is more valuable to a team than a highly talented athlete, who may not be totally committed to the disciplines and demands of being a team player."
Many Blessings ~ For a number of years during this early period, Robert X. Modica worked during the summer months as a Lifeguard, a Swimming Coach, and a Night Patrolman for the Long Beach Police Department, and received a Commendation for rescuing a drowning man while on patrol. In the Seventies, while teaching and coaching actors, he felt the need to perform more physical work. Robert worked as an excavation laborer in the construction of the World Trade Center. Hard and sometimes dangerous work, he would look upon this experience - and the men he worked with-with great fondness.