Words never can never fully mitigate the pain many are feeling after the loss of Dr. David Rebovich, associate professor of political science and managing director for the Institute for New Jersey Politics. But words can remind us of reasons the Rider community adored Rebovich so much and help as we grieve.
Rebovich, better known as “Reb” or “the Reb man,” meant so many things to so many of us. It is hard to capture the essence of a man who wore so many hats — astute scholar, tireless educator and highly respected political commentator. As busy as Rebovich was with teaching and writing a weekly column for PoliticsNJ.com, he always made the time for his passion — the students.
Many of us knew Rebovich as the fun-loving professor who was always telling a joke in the midst of complex political topics. At one moment he could be talking about different political theories for governing, and in another, have the class in a fit of laughter with one of his famous stories that are better left for private recollection.
Rebovich was also the genuine and caring adviser who served as a compass for thousands of former and current students, guiding them on a path beyond the walls of Rider. To the media and politicians, Rebovich was a wealth of knowledge to turn to for in-depth analysis on important state issues.
Rebovich’s commitment to higher education was synonymous with Rider’s vision for excellence. In 2002, he received the Frank N. Elliott Award for his service to Rider. This award recognized his 28 years of dedication to teaching and advising that made him the heart and soul of Rider. Like many of us, Rebovich bled cranberry as he proudly represented the University at his numerous speech engagements and interactions with the media.
The suddenness of passing makes the loss especially devastating. What we can find comforting is the fact that what Rebovich taught us inside and outside the classroom will live on in our hearts. He prepared generations of college students to go out into the world as confident leaders unafraid to express their opinions; to have intellectual, nonpartisan dialogue about the important issues of our time; and, most of all, to become involved in the political process.
Although Rebovich left us much too soon and is irreplaceable, the wisdom he imparted and the indelible legacy he forged will give us the courage to go forward in his honor.
It is only fitting we offer the parting words Rebovich would give us, “We love you like a brother, Dr. Reb!”
Written By Opinion Editor, Jamie Papapetros