March 3, 2021
To the Campus Community:
It is with deep sorrow that I inform you of the passing of Dr. Matilde Fava, an esteemed
member of our faculty and a popular figure on our campus, who passed away on March
1. Matilde served on the faculty for over 35 years, creating the minor program in
Italian Studies and the well-received Multicultural student club. She established hybrid and online classes long before they became widely adopted.
In recent years she chaired the Modern Language Department. She also was an adjunct
professor at Fordham University for more than 45 years.
Beyond her academic pursuits, Matilde was a beloved colleague and professor. She lectured
at conferences around the world, published two books, taught over 10,000 students,
and for over 17 years she introduced students to Italian culture through an immersive
summer study abroad program in Rome. Throughout her career she taught Italian, Spanish,
and French language, Italian Literature, Italian Culture and Civilization, and very
popular courses on international and Italian cinema.
Matilde advocated for improved treatment of Italians and Italian-Americans and advanced
women and immigrants throughout her career. She served as a role model for achieving
not just the American Dream, but the work-life balance of a successful, professional
woman as well. Her professional achievements were recognized over the years with the
New York State University Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, Chancellor’s
Award for Excellence in Service, Bene Merenti Award from Fordham, Achievement in Education
Award, and an Ambasciatori Award as an Outstanding Italian-American Leader.
Our condolences go out to her husband John, their three daughters, and their nine
grandchildren. Her energy, passion, and dedication to Farmingdale will be sorely missed.