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RIT provost emeritus Stanley McKenzie dies

Rochester Institute of Technology provost emeritus Stanley McKenzie died Tuesday in Tucson, Ariz., university officials announced.

“Stan McKenzie is an RIT icon,” said William Destler, RIT president. “As an administrator, he played a major role in the advancement of the university into the ranks of the nation’s largest and finest private universities. As an educator, he had the innate ability to impart his zest for learning to his students. He was a beloved member of the RIT family and will truly be missed.”

Mr. McKenzie served for more than four decades in a variety of roles at the university. He retired five years ago from his role of provost and vice president for academic affairs.

An on-campus memorial for Mr. McKenzie is being planned, and the RIT flag will be lowered to half-staff in his memory, officials said.

Mr. McKenzie first joined RIT in 1967 in the English department. Thirty-four years later he entered into RIT administration with roles such as that include director of judicial affairs, assistant to the provost and acting dean of the College of Liberal Arts.

Mr. McKenzie earned a bachelor’s degree in science and humanities from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He received a master’s degree in 1967 and a doctoral degree in English literature in 1971 from the University of Rochester.

Mr. McKenzie won several awards for his teaching skills, including the RIT Outstanding Young Teacher Award in 1970.

In 2013, he pledged $300,000 to the College of Liberal Arts to create the Stan McKenzie Salon Endowed Fund that allows faculty, staff and students to gather to discuss research and current events, and provides an honorarium to featured speakers, officials said. The fund also helps with event marketing and provides released time for up to one course for a faculty coordinator each academic year.

On campus there is also The Stan McKenzie Commons in Liberal Arts Hall.

 “Stan’s most endearing, enduring and enviable personal quality was authenticity. He was genuine to the bone,” said Bruce Austin, director of RIT Press and longtime friend and colleague of Mr. McKenzie.

Before his retirement in 2011, Mr. McKenzie taught literature to students, returning to his early career pursuit.

“One day that senior year in a literature course reading John Donne’s ‘Meditation XVII,’ it hit me like a thunderbolt that I primarily wanted to influence developing young minds and, since money was no object (hey, it was the ’60s), I should become an English professor,” Mr. McKenzie wrote in 1998. “Thirty-five years later, I’ve never regretted that decision. The single greatest reward for teachers, of course, is the graduation of our students, especially those whose lives we have personally touched.”

Follow Kerry Feltner on Twitter: @KerryFeltner

(c) 2016 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or e-mail rbj@rbj.net.

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