Dr Umberto Sammarco16 June 2010
The AICC (Italian Leather Chemists Association) informs with regret that Professor Dr. Umberto Sammarco passed away on April 29, 2010, aged 64. His wife, Gilda, and son Mirko survive him. Umberto Sammarco was one of the first to graduate from the then recently formed Arzignano Leather Tanning School (ITIS Galileo Galilei) in 1964/65. After his graduation, he went to the University of Naples where he obtained a degree in chemistry.
He remembered his love and passion for leather tanning chemistry and relocated back to become a teacher at the Arzignano Leather Tanning School. Subsequently he took up managerial positions in international leather chemical companies such as Trumpler and TFL using his experience and chemical know-how. Dr Sammarco also worked in tanneries including the large Italian tanning company, Gruppo Mastrotto, where he led their research activities.
He was also Professor of the University of Padua and taught to leather chemical degree students. In recent years he worked as an international leather consultant for private companies and for the Italian Foreign Commerce Ministry.
But in all these years, he never forgot the Arzignano Leather Tanning School, which gave to him the basic know-how of the tanning chemistry. He has always strictly followed the activities and the destiny of this institute. He was convinced that the success of the Arzignano leather district is linked to the increasingly and better-qualified newer generations of the leather chemists graduating from the institute.
Sammarco was a member of AICC council and ultimately was secretary of the organisation where together with other AICC members, he presented at several meetings and seminars to students the latest technologies used in leather processing. Teachers at the leather institute also used the opportunity to update their own knowledge.
He published the important reference book ‘Tecnologia Conciaria’ (Leather Technology) in 2007. The book is regarded as a reference text for the tanning sector and teachers at the Arzignano Leather Institute immediately adopted the book as text-book for all the three years of the leather tanning specialisation course.
Sammarco was a strong advocate of eco-sustainability within the leather making process and often stated that all tanning activities cannot exist without putting the health and safety of tannery workers first. His scientific and moral attitude towards leather making will continue to be held in high regard by all students and industry people who knew him and he will be greatly missed.