Remembering Rafferty

Economics professor passes away

By on October 23, 2014
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Professor Matthew Rafferty sucumbed to cancer on Saturday, Oct. 11 at the age of 44.

Rafferty originally joined Quinnipiac University in 2000 and eventually became an economics chair. He was also a researcher and co-authored a textbook that was used in his classes.

Rafferty was recognized as being a good educator.

“If you talk to alumni from economics and finance, they would point back to classes they had with Matt Rafferty,” Dean of the School of Business Matthew O’Connor said.

William Craven, who graduated last year, agreed with O’Connor.

“He would cram decades worth of knowledge into hour long time slots,” Craven said. “At the end of every class I felt as if I had gained profound knowledge.”

Other staff, like Assistant Professor of Economics Eric Johnson, admired Rafferty’s teaching ability.

“[Rafferty] had this ability to actually have students enjoy a class without telling anecdotes or stories or joke,”Johnson said “He was just very on point and students appreciated that about him.”

However, there was more to Rafferty than how he was in the classroom.

His peers recognized him as being a serious person worthy of respect. Senior Joe Almeida said that even people who didn’t like the topics in the professor’s classes liked Rafferty as a person, saying he was one of the nicest guys they have ever met.

He was a very honest and friendly person who could talk to you about any subject from sports to music, O’Connor said. He said he had an open door policy for students and was willing to help them out at any time.

Staff and students alike had stories to tell about Rafferty.

“He went into class and he took off his sportcoat and he rolled up his sleeves and he was going to work.” Johnson said, remembering Rafferty’s tenure evaluation.

Craven reflected on Rafferty’s enthusiastic teaching style.

“I remember Dr. Rafferty either running or riding his bike to work and the heat in the classroom was broken, running nonstop,” he said. “He was soaked in sweat and still managed to run around enthusiastically for over an hour teaching economics at a frantic pace.”

When people learned of Rafferty’s diagnosis, they were shocked. Craven said at first he found it hard to believe.

“I didn’t think it was possible that anything could stop him.” Craven said.

Despite Rafferty’s condition, it did not stop him from being involved at Quinnipiac.

“In the last year of his life, he always did his best to come to school,” O’Connor said. “He didn’t let the fact that he was sick get in the way of his wanting to be there to work with students or teach his classes. And I think that all of us who observed that found that very admirable and a reflection of who Matt was as a person.”

Those interested can make a donation in his memory to the Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven or the Connecticut Hospice.

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About Matt Grahn

Staff Writer, Journalism Major, Political Science Minor