Remembering Dean and Professor Emeritus Jim Matarazzo

April 18, 2018

Jim Matarazzo

President Helen Drinan shares her thoughts on the passing of Dean and Professor Emeritus Jim Matarazzo.

It is with a very heavy heart that we mourn the passing of our beloved colleague and friend, Dean and Professor Emeritus Jim Matarazzo. Jim passed away on Tuesday afternoon, surrounded by his family, after a long and valiant battle with cancer. 

Those of us who had the pleasure of knowing and working with Jim will remember him as one of the most positive champions for the School of Library and Information Science—and for Simmons. Over his 50-year career with us (more if you count his time as a Library Science student in the 1960s) he saw a lot of changes at Simmons—some of them challenging and controversial, some of them more positive and affirming. But through it all, Jim remained positive and supportive both to his faculty colleagues and to his students. We knew him as a reliable friend and mentor—someone who was kind, thoughtful and honest—a calming influence especially when those around him weren’t feeling particularly calm.

One look at the list of promotions, honors and awards Jim accumulated over the years shows how highly regarded he was by his students, his colleagues and the academy:

  • Simmons College Graduate School of Library and Information Science Dean and Professor Emeritus 2002 - Present
  • Priscilla McKee Award for Service to Simmons College 2001 
  • Dean and Professor 1994 - 2002 
  • Professor 1980 - 2002
  • Professor and Associate Dean 1980 - 1988 
  • Associate Professor and Associate Dean 1974 - 1980
  • Assistant Professor 1970 - 1973
  • Instructor 1969 - 1970
  • Fellow of the Special Library Association, SLA Professional Award (1983 and 1991)  
  • SLA Hall of Fame 2015; John Cotton Dana Award 2016
  • Vice President and Secretary of the H.W. Wilson Foundation, Inc.

I know our thoughts and prayers will be with Jim’s wife Alice and their family during this difficult time, and with the hundreds of SLIS faculty, students, alums that had the opportunity to call him professor, friend and mentor.