Today, January 19, 2021, marks one year since the passing of our dear friend Robert Viscusi. As I wrote last year, for those of us who knew Bob well, we knew a kind man, someone who was always respectfully inquisitive and concerned about his friends and, at the same time, always a cheerleader in championing them and their accomplishments. He was, as well, a great advocate for the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute; he made it known to many, and we will always remain grateful. Bob exhibited erudition, largesse, and beneficence in ways that very few do.
As we announced today on Twitter, we will commemorate Bob’s life and work with a special collection of essays written in his honor by some of his dearest friends. Indeed, Bob’s scholarly and creative works will live on precisely because they are so outstanding and hence greatly beneficial to all. They will serve yet future generations of scholars as they engage in their own professional development of cultural and literary studies of the Italian diaspora.
In turn, Bob the person—he who could turn a phrase and make you smile, or formulate a theoretical notion and make you go “Hmmm”—is and will remain dearly missed. As I said at the time of his passing last year, fortunately through technology we will have the opportunity to revisit with Bob: We have some recordings of him in the Italics TV archive. I will leave you with two of them here.
Un caloroso saluto a tutti,
Anthony Julian Tamburri
Dean & Distinguished Professor