Dr. Nick DiGrino is a father, professor, grandfather, and nature enthusiast. From a young age, he had a passion for sports and dreamed of being a physical education teacher and coach. That all changed when he began studying at Kent State University and learned about the recreation major. This became his career path, receiving a bachelor’s degree from Kent State in 1971, master’s degree from Indiana University in 1972, and his doctorate from Texas A&M University in 1977.

In 1976, DiGrino, having gained experience in leisure services at Iowa State University and as director of parks and recreation for Eastlake, Ohio, applied for a position at WIU. He was one year from completing his doctorate but was encouraged to apply by a former WIU faculty member with whom he was studying. He received an offer for the position by Dr. Rick Bunch who allow him to start several months after the official start date in order to complete his degree.

From 1976 to 2004 DiGrino served as professor and chair for the RPTA Department at WIU. After serving as a chair for 18 years, he became the Associate Dean for Administration for the College of Education and Human Services (COEHS), later becoming Dean.

Dr. DiGrino and his wife had four children. In honor of their late son, they established the Nicholas Joseph DiGrino Memorial Scholarship for Special Education Majors. It is administered by the Development Officer for the College of Education and Human Services and Nicholas’ surviving twin brother, Alexander (Zander).