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‘A tremendous teacher:’ Florida Tech professor dies from COVID-19 complications

Alan Rosiene was a professor of English and languages at FIT

MELBOURNE, Fla. – An esteemed professor at the Florida Institute of Technology has died due to complications related to COVID-19, reports News 6 partner Florida Today.

Alan Rosiene, professor of English and languages and associate head of Florida Tech’s School of Arts and Communications, died Saturday after being hospitalized for COVID-19-related symptoms, according to a note sent to the campus on Tuesday, spokesman Adam Lowenstein said.

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The school did not provide his age and FLORIDA TODAY was not able to immediately reach family members.

Rosiene was well-regarded by students, colleagues and school administration during his 28-year career with Florida Tech. He received multiple in-house teaching awards, and was a three-time consecutive recipient of the school’s President’s Award for University Excellence between 2013 and 2015.

Former students responded to a post announcing his death on the Florida Tech Alumni Association’s Facebook page with memories of Rosiene and condolences to his family.

“One of my favorites. A tremendous teacher,” Facebook user Barry K. Horne Jr. wrote.

It is with sadness we report the passing of Dr. Alan M. Rosiene, an assistant professor of English and languages and...

Posted by Florida Institute of Technology Alumni Association on Wednesday, January 20, 2021

“The year after having his class, out of happenstance, I sat at a table with him for lunch one time and that turned into a weekly lunch for a semester,” wrote commenter Kirstin DeGeer. “Sometimes we would chat and sometimes we would both read in silence. My sympathies to his family, friends, and colleagues.”

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Throughout his tenure, Rosiene served as director for the English as a Second Language program and chair of English and languages. In 2012, he was named associate head of the School of Arts and Communication.

“I smile when I think of moments when I would come on Alan in his office with his Latin dictionary in hand as he pondered a translation in a book that he was reading,” colleague and fellow professor Gordon Patterson said in statement included with the campus note.

“He’d smile and gently offer an insight that made the passage come alive,” Patterson said. “That was Alan’s talent: He lived the life of the mind and shared it with others. I mourn his loss.”

He described Rosiene as a “special, special man.”

“I think every student, and certainly every faculty member at our university, came away from a conversation with Alan saying, ‘This is a Renaissance man, this is a fellow who not only plays the keyboard, not only teaches but he lives a life which is enriching others.’”

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Lisa Steelman, dean of the College of Psychology and Liberal Arts, which is home to the School of Arts and Communication, said the university has been rattled by the sudden loss.

“Personally, I will remember Dr. Rosiene for his intellect, his integrity, and his humility. He was a kind person who put a great deal of thought into everything he did. His loss leaves a big hole in our hearts and on our campus. I will miss him very much,” Steelman said in a statement.

She said he helped countless students.

“Dr. Rosiene managed English as a second language instruction and interacted with all the international students who needed this program. He also ran all of our foreign language courses and all of our introductory writing courses. He was so effective at what he did that it was easy to forget how much work and effort was required to pull it all off,” she said.

In a statement, university President T. Dwayne McCay called Rosiene’s death a “painful loss for the entire Florida Tech family.”

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“His legacy as an outstanding educator, colleague and friend lives on,” McCay said.

McCay himself was released from the hospital on Friday after a brief stay due to symptoms related to COVID-19. A campus spokesman said Monday that McCay was “doing well.”

“Yesterday I was not feeling well, I got tested and received a positive test result,” McCay said last Thursday in an email to students. “My doctor advised me to spend some time in the hospital as the quickest route to recovery and I am following his counsel.”

According to the university’s online COVID-19 dashboard, as of Jan. 8 — the most recent date for which data was available — 13 students and 12 employees have tested positive for the virus since the start of the spring semester.

Contact Rogers at 321-242-3717 or esrogers@floridatoday.com. Follow him on Twitter @EricRogersFT.