On Friday, April 13 the Fairfield community lost not solely a professor of classics, but a mentor, colleague and friend. Dr. Vincent J. Rosivach, Ph.D. joined the Fairfield community in 1965, earned tenure in 1970 and was promoted to professor of classics in 1976. For over 50 years, Dr. Rosivach has fostered the minds of students, inspired fellow professors and embraced what it means to teach at a Jesuit institution.
“It is impossible to measure the impact Professor Rosivach had on Fairfield University. After 53 years of service, he touched nearly every corner of student and faculty life. He was a dedicated teacher who loved his work,” said Professor of Classical Studies, Giovanni Ruffini, Ph.D. “He was also a committed mentor to other faculty, helping them in their own intellectual and pedagogical development. He was a strong advocate for the faculty as the backbone of the University, and served the faculty governance system at nearly every level, in nearly every way imaginable.”
Present for the transition of Fairfield from an all male to a co-ed University as well as the many student protests and civil rights movements, Dr. Rosivach witnessed the growth of Fairfield to what it is today. It was obvious to any student who took a class with Dr. Rosivach that he loved education and learning. Over the course of his professional career Dr. Rosivach wrote two books: “The System of Public Sacrifice in Fourth-Century Athens” and “When a Young Man Falls in Love.” In addition to these publications, Dr. Rosivach has also written over 120 articles and reviews within the field of classics.
Dr. Rosivach immersed himself into literature and education, and inspired others to do the same. He contributed to the young minds of students up until his last few days – just last week — where he was teaching regularly scheduled courses. Throughout his last year, Dr. Rosivach concentrated his research on the society and institutions of ancient Athens, in addition to slavery in the town of Fairfield. For the later project, he had a team of students working with him and contributing to his studies.
Junior Olivia McEvoy, one of the students involved with Dr. Rosivach’s research studies, shared, “Dr. Rosivach will be very missed. His passion for education and for Fairfield was very clear. Even when he got sick, he was still very concerned with the well-being of his classes or the status of our research project. Fairfield was such an important part of his life for so many years – you could tell from the way he talked about everything, and the impact that he has made on the Fairfield community can be seen in the legacy he leaves behind.”
Junior Alec Lurie, another student who was involved in Dr. Rosivach’s research, echoed McEvoy’s sentiments, “He [Dr. Rosivach] has helped us grow to become better researchers, better thinkers and better people. His work to identify and organize the lineages of slave families in Fairfield, Conn., is not only an endeavor of scholarly merit, but also affirms the dignity of the long-dead and oppressed people of our community. We … understand the incredible importance of this work, and will strive to bring the project to completion in his memory. Dr. Rosivach was a goal-oriented man with a love of learning. It is only right to honor his life by making sure his work does not go unfinished.”
Earlier this year, Dr. Rosivach suffered from a stroke and has been hospitalized many times since. He continued to fight for his health and fought valiantly while continuing to teach courses at the University. His legacy in the humanities and the College of Arts and Sciences will continue, and students are encouraged to honor his legacy by continuing to foster their education and immerse themselves into the wonders of classical history and literature.
Another member of his research team, Annie Kamradt ‘19 said, “I was privileged enough to know Dr. Rosivach in multiple capacities: he was my professor for Latin, guest speaker for classes and advisor for research. Through these exposures, I had the opportunity to begin to understand his depth and breadth of knowledge. His passion for academics inspired my own studies, as I began to pursue a classical studies minor after taking his course. While his passing has been difficult, I find solitude knowing that his legacy will not be forgotten on this community. I am happy to have crossed paths with him, and I look forward to bringing his initial research on Fairfield to fruition.”
“In the days since his passing, I have been touched by the outpouring of emotion from colleagues at all levels, ranging from those who had been his friends for decades to those who he had worked with for the first time this semester. Fairfield was his life. It won’t be the same without him,” said Ruffini.
Dr. Paul Lakeland, Ph.D., professor of catholic studies remembered Dr. Rosivach, “What a giant of a human being he was. The conscience of the faculty.”
Fairfield University staff and students are invited to continue their remembrances and reflections at Dr. Rosivach’s wake and funeral this week. A viewing will take place on Wednesday, April 18, from 4 to 7 p.m., at the Spear-Miller Funeral Home, 39 South Benson Road, Fairfield, CT. The funeral will take place on Thursday, April 19, at 11 a.m., at Calvary St. George Church, 755 Clinton Avenue, Bridgeport, CT. The burial will follow at Mountain Grove Cemetery, 2675 North Avenue, Bridgeport, CT.