Long-time CJ Assistant Teaching Professor, Robert (Bob) Szejner passed away on Saturday, June 17th after a courageous battle with cancer. Several faculty and staff, including me, spoke to him during the last several weeks and, despite his health issues, Professor Szejner was his usual upbeat, warm, and optimistic self, always thinking positively and thinking of others. So, we were very shocked and devastated to learn that he passed away so soon after.
Professor Szejner had been a vital member of the criminal justice program since 2006. During that time, thousands of students took his classes including Intro to CJ, Police, and Serial Crimes. He was also very proud of the fact that he acted “as the course facilitator for over 60 independent research courses, and 5 Honors Thesis courses.” Perhaps one of the most distinctive and important roles that Professor Szejner played and hopefully one from which some of you have benefitted was faculty advisor. Over the years, Professor Szejner advised countless students who were interested in criminal justice careers, especially in law enforcement. Having worked for nearly 30 years as a police officer in Trenton (1974 to 2003, retiring as Lieutenant), Professor Szejner was well-positioned to give tips and assistance with launching and advancing policing careers. Although I was never privy to his conversations with students, I can imagine based on my personal experience that they frequently included a funny anecdote or story from his career, a kernel of wisdom, a reassuring and disarming smile, and a sense that you were the only person that mattered to him at that moment.
Professor Szejner was a devoted teacher and mentor, a team player, and a genuinely kind and decent man. Although he is gone and leaves a hole in our Program that cannot be filled, his impact on our faculty, staff, and students will endure. And if we pass along some of Professor Szejner’s sage advice or emulate his kindness, his impact can endure forever. Here is a link to his obituary.
Director, Program in Criminal Justice