By Nicholas Ballasy
When visiting Rider as a prospective student while classes were in session, Dr. Rebovich figured out my whole life story in just one meeting and then told me, “Nicky, come to Rider; it’s a good fit for you.” I’m glad I did for many reasons, but working with him was a true honor.
When I googled his name after our meeting, I discovered all of his commentary in the media that made him the most quoted political analyst in the state of New Jersey. Every major politician in the state knew him by name. His objective way of giving critical insight into an issue but still retaining faith in our political system was unique and rare. Dr. Rebovich had so much to brag about, but he never talked about his accomplishments. For him, conversations were always about other people like his students and their stories and what he could do for them. Dr. Rebovich was selfless.
He also had a knack for adding humor into the classroom to help us stay focused on his overall lesson. Like when he was teaching about the state Department of Homeland Security and the Patriot Act, he said to me in front of the class, “Hey Nicky, we should go to Afghanistan, kill some terrorists and find Bin Laden. That would be tremendous!” I miss our hours of chats when I would be in his office and he’d say, “Now Nicky, let’s talk man-to-man about this” and when I’d start to leave he’d say, “Nicky, I love you like a brother” to give me reassurance that he cared.
I worked closely with him outside of the classroom, and came to consider him not only as an educator but also as a mentor and confidant and mostly, a friend. He taught me to be an analytical and progressive thinker.
His parents raised a child who grew up to inspire others, put smiles on people’s faces each day with his humor, instill knowledge in the minds of his students and teach them how to apply that knowledge in real life. Dr. David Rebovich was a scholar and a true gentleman who cannot be replaced.
His family, friends and the Rider community should find comfort in knowing his legacy will live on with his students. We will forever carry with us the lessons he taught us, not just about political science but also about life, as we begin our lives outside of Rider.