University of Rochester

Rochester Review
May-June 2009
Vol. 71, No. 5

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In Memoriam

Tribute John Roberts ’90 (MA): Scholar and Serviceman

I came to know John Roberts in the late 1980s and early 90s. In each course his literary, historical, and theoretical learning were driven by a thirst for knowledge that seemed never to let up, and he was always on to a next project (or two) even as he finished up what he had in hand. One of the most striking instances of this was John’s sailing through his exams in medieval literature, and soon after announcing that he intended to write a dissertation on 18th-century British literature—which, everyone felt sure, he would do with great distinction.

While a graduate student, John remained active in the Army reserves, and served in Haiti, which launched him into the study of creoles and other linguistic hybrids. He was an outstanding and energetic officer, and at the same time an activist true to the causes dear to his heart.

A Buffalo-area native, he was working in India as a vice president at the consulting firm Deloitte and was returning home to visit family at the time of the crash.

Though John would no doubt have had an outstanding career within the confines of academia, in typical fashion he pursued a variety of his other interests, which took him to ever-new destinations.

—Tom Hahn

Tom Hahn, a professor of English, was Roberts’s principal advisor at Rochester.