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Quinnipiac mourns James Marshall
Loved by both faculty and students, 37-year-old Professor James Marshall passed away in the early morning of April 9, following a sudden illness. Marshall was an assistant professor of Health Management in the School of Business, but students say he was more than just a teacher.
“He made such an impact on this school… on everyone he met,” said Mike O’Neill, vice president of Public Relations for SGA.
O’Neill interviewed Marshall several times, and they became friends.
“We were supposed to go hiking next weekend,” said O’Neill. “Now every time I look up at that mountain I’ll think of him.”
Faculty and administrators say Marshall was an asset to the School of Business, and that he had something special.
“His presence always lightened up a room,” said David DeAngelis, assistant director of Student Center and Leadership Development, who worked closely with Marshall on the Black History Month Committee.
Marshall was very involved in the Quinnipiac community. One of his roles was to be an adviser for the Black Student Union. Sophomore Misty Oaks, events coordinator for the Black Student Union, said Marshall always had a smile on his face.
“His death was so unexpected and so sudden,” she said. “It’s really hard. He was just the nicest guy and he will be missed.”
Associate dean of the School of Business, Mark Thompson, said Marshall was a great asset to the school.
“He loved his students and he loved interacting with his students,” Thompson said. “I saw him as an example to other faculty, in the way he interacted with students and with his colleagues.”
In September, the New Haven Business Times presented Marshall with a “40 under 40 Award,” which recognizes individuals who excel in professional achievement and community involvement.
“The ’40 under 40 Award’ was well deserved,” said Oaks. “He excelled in his field and with everything he did. He accomplished so many things. He was just an overall great guy.”
Perhaps one of Marshall’s strongest passions was his involvement with planning the Black History Month at Quinnipiac.
“He had so many talents,” said Scott McLean, associate professor of Political Science, who worked with Marshall on the Black History Month Committee.
Marshall usually shared his vocal talents during Black History Month by performing an annual concert. In February of this year, Marshall and friends gave a gospel performance in Alumni Hall. During Black History Month last year, Marshall gave a Nat King Cole style jazz performance in Buckman Theater.
“He had a power to move people whenever he sang,” said McLean. “He had an impact on me through his voice.”
Sophomore Moses Beckett used to sing with Marshall in the concerts he put on.
“He was always concerned with how I was doing, and he was a very caring individual,” Beckett said.
Marshall was also involved with the Community Clusters Program, and this past fall, Marshall was the faculty speaker at the Freshman Induction Ceremony. When he found out he was to hold the speech, Marshall said he was honored, yet humbled, by the tremendous opportunity to deliver an enduring message to the new students.
“Outside the classroom he was interested in teaching the students about diversity and cultural awareness on campus,” said DeAngelis. “In addition, he served as a role model to all students on campus, especially those of color.”
Since his arrival at Quinnipiac in 1998, Marshall tried to raise awareness about diversity. When talking to Chronicle-reporter Andy Zides last year, Marshall said the best thing for a white person to do to improve race relations is to grab on to a cause. He also mentioned the two people he was looking up to as the greatest voices for civil rights at the time: Nelson Mandela and Vaclave Havel.
“I think what I will always remember about James is how shy he was,” said Sean Duffy, assistant professor of Political Science, who worked with Marshall on the Black History Month Committee.
“You never knew what he was thinking. But what I learned from him is that even though he didn’t say what he thought right away, he cared about you and what you were saying. For someone who was so shy, he had a large impact on the school.”
Marshall was born in Atlanta, GA and raised in Syracuse, N.Y. He joined the Quinnipiac faculty in 1998. His funeral took place in Syracuse on April 13. A memorial service was held on campus on April 17. Anyone who wishes to write to Marshall’s family can contact the Garland Brother’s Funeral Home in Syracuse, N.Y.
Information for this article was provided by Marina McGowan, Kellie Gleeson, and Kristen Daley.