I am feeling really bad. Why? I don't have an original picture of you - a mentor - and I had to go online to take a profile from your University page. Dr. Vincent J. Rosivach, Professor of Classical Studies.
Actually, I have photographs, Vin, when you received the 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Faculty Welfare Community (the second time you received this recognition in 50+ years of work on campus). I was in the front row with you and felt your emotion when you were being acknowledged once again. Truth be told, our work on the Faculty Salary Committee introduced me to you later than I wish a friendship occurred. You stepped up to play a part for another who was on sabbatical. It was then I learned of your academic achievements, but more importantly the brilliance you brought to your students and colleagues. I was drawn to your wisdom and would stop by your office to discuss politics, history, and personal readings of Victor Davis Hanson, another classical scholar who was introduced to me in Kentucky. You always said, "Dr. Hanson's smart, but his politics and writings are skewed by his own short-sightedness and drive to fight for the farmer."
I was never smart enough to understand what that meant (& don't claim expertise on the Classics, either), but I know I enjoyed every visit I made to your office, often coupled with a nip of Scotch from your drawer and your sincere interest in my work with refugee youth, teachers, and the Connecticut Writing Project. In fact, you saw us from your office window and wanted to know more. "Tell me about those kids I see (you had a perfect view of them dancing in the courtyard). What is their story? Tell me about how you've come to work with them."
Charlie. Gobstopper. "So shines a good deed in a weary world." Dr. Rosivach - an extremely good man. I can only imagine how many lives you have influenced through your incredible, respectable career.
In a year, I saw all that was amazing about you, Dr. Vincent J. Rosivach, an individual who published over a 100 articles since 1965, your first year at Fairfield and 7 years before I was even born. Your interests were Greek classics, but lately you liked talking to me about his work on slave histories in southern Connecticut. You were a teacher of tragedy, of Latin, of myths, and ideologies - subjects that always piqued my interest, and I was drawn to your fondness for Greek tragedies and my own curiosity about the roots of modern day stories.
Euripides said, "Death is a debit we all must pay,"
On Saturday, during the Race Matters faculty discussion on campus, our colleague Dr. Jocelyn Boryzcka silently told me that you passed Friday afternoon. It took the wind out of me and she walked me outside so I could collect myself. It hit me hard. You were someone I admired and I didn't foresee a day when you wouldn't be in your office for me to stop by.
I hate that you are gone (and am still processing it). In the last year you became a friend - a man I looked up to and one, not for 'honeyed words,' but for what is good, just, and fair. You had a shrewd eye for seeing through 'evil' guised through 'a veil' of piety.
And so I was punched over the weekend, because your loss wasn't expected (and because, well, Dr. Rosivach, you became a saint to the kids of Ubuntu Academy).
Last night, before heading off to sleep I began processing my thoughts and I still don't know where to begin. I'm not Sophocles, Aeschylus or Euripides, nor I do not have many Homeric hymns. Still, I wanted to write you a poem.
For the Win, Vin – The Great Whatever Shoots & Scores
V erba docent exempla trahunt, an
I llustrator of wise actions -
n anons gigantum humeris insidentes, and a
c randall attempt to write a dwarfish
existence on the shoulder of you, a giant.
n emo nisi per amicitiam cognoscitur…
t he friendship, so learned in such a short time.
J ust when I was getting wiser, exitum, disappearance, another rhyme &
R eality check.
o ra pro nobis. Ordo ab chaos. another prayer, (what the heck?)
s ong sung for chaos, sips of scotch, curiosity, kindness shown
i n an office, man to man, a patience for a new-found friend - my mind, blown...
v eritas omnia vincit.
a truth. The kindness conquers all. Always another virtue to learn.
c aritate. Empathy. The human condition. Scholarship (an investment I must earn)
h istoria vitae magistrae. Thank you for teaching me a life. Sage.