Vincent DiNino, a retired UT band director, died Tuesday night at age 95.
He was with his family members at his home in Bay City after being transferred from St. Luke's Medical Center in Houston.
DiNino was hired as the first full time UT band director in 1955 and served in the position for 30 years. After retirement he remained involved with the program throughout his life. Director of Bands Jerry Junkin said DiNino was generous with the department both financially and as a mentor.
“All of our current students knew him, who he was, and loved him," Junkin said. "They adored as much as the students who were in the band when he was a director.”
Junkin said DiNino had an incredible memory and a “flare” about him that came naturally and made people feel like his best friend.
“He could remember and could recall, I’m sure to his dying days, the names of virtually every student he ever taught,” Junkin said. “But not only that, where they were from, their their parents names were, what they did for a living, the names of their children and all of that.”
According to Robert Carnochan, the current director of the Longhorn Band, when DiNino was first hired the band had only white male members. DiNino allowed women to march in the band beginning in 1956 and later integrated the band.
“His moral compass was so right and so true that he knew the right thing to do before it became a mandate of what the rest of the country was eventually forced to do,” Carnochan said.
DiNino also started the tradition of orange and white western-style band uniforms, said Carnochan.
‘The uniforms that we currently wear are a design that we’ve modified somewhat since his time, creating this very iconic Texas cowboy look that other people have tried to copy throughout the country,” Carnochan said.
Carnochan said DiNino is an iconic members of the UT community,
“We always talk about the people that ‘bleed burnt orange’ in the Longhorn nation,” Carnochan, said. “If there were going to be a president of that organization, he would be at the top of that list. He truly, truly loved The University of Texas and the Longhorn band.”
DiNino is survived by his wife Timothy Ann Hardy Sloan.