Brock University is in mourning for one of its professors, Zopito Marini, who died suddenly in October while travelling overseas in his hometown of Montebello di Bertona, Italy.
A Tuesday release from Brock said Marini was a “prolific researcher who was so popular with students that The Student's Guide to Canadian Universities listed him as one of Brock’s favourite professors.”
The release said Marini won numerous awards for teaching excellence during his career and that he was an internationally recognized expert in socio-cognitive development, having written and lectured on issues such as family and school conflicts, bullying and victimization.
Brock said Marini’s colleagues took the news hard.
“Zopito exemplified the kind of person we can only strive to be. This is an irreplaceable loss for us at Brock and the wider community,” said Ingrid Makus, dean of the faculty of social sciences.
She said Marini was not only a renowned international scholar, an award winning teacher, but also an engaged citizen of the community and the world, as well as a warm and generous spirit.
Drew Dane, associate professor of psychology, described Marini as a friend “who was there to listen.” “He was a wonderful mentor and role model, who guided me through my early days as a professor, and helped me to make tough decisions and get through difficult situations,” said Dane.
“He never allowed the pressure or stress of the day’s events to detract from the joy that he took in sharing each moment with family, friends and colleagues, and in this respect, he has given us all a great example of how a life can be well lived.”
Marini was a developmental psychologist. He received his PhD from the University of Toronto in 1984 and started at Brock the following year as an assistant professor in Child Studies.
He helped co-found Brock’s renowned Department of Child and Youth Studies in 1993, serving as its inaugural chairman.
In 2010, Marini was awarded the 3M National Teaching Fellowship, an award to recognize post-secondary teaching excellence, presented by the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education.
His other honours have included the Brock University Award for Distinguished Teaching, the Faculty of Social Sciences Award for Excellence in Teaching and the Ontario Confederation of Faculty Associations Teaching Award, the release said.
A year ago, the Canadian Association for Educational Psychology also presented him with the Robbie Case Memorial Award, recognizing excellence of work as evidenced by publication, exemplary practice and considerable influence on the profession.
Marini is survived by his wife Helen, his two sons Michael and Matthew and his sister Anna Sablone.
A funeral mass will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 11 at St. Julia’s Church in St. Catharines.
In lieu of flowers, donations are being accepted to the Zopito Marini Scholarship Fund.