Adjunct Professor Dies

Joseph Comunale, an adjunct physics professor, passed away on April 10 at the age of 60.

The cause of death has not been released at this time. A memorial service will be held April 28 at 11 a.m. at St. Thomas More Church.

Comunale began teaching at the University in January 2001. He helped start the Physics Club and served as the moderator for the campus chapter of Society of Physics Students.

Comunale taught recitation and labs, and was recently offered a full time position, according to Mustafa Sadoqi, chairman of the Physics Department. Sadoqi said that Comunale “was loved by our students.” Sadoqi said the remainder of Comunale’s classes will be taken over by an adjunct professor.

Sadoqi said Comunale graduated from Perdue University with a Bachelor’s of Science degree. From there he received a Master’s degree from the University of California-Northridge.

Comunale, Sadoqi said, also had a love of technology that he tried to implement in the classrooms.

Comunale was involved in the University’s Title 3 program, which seeks to train faculty in using new technology in the classroom. Gina Marandino, an educational technology specialist with the program, said Comunale completed his training in 2007, during its second year.  

“He was really interested in making learning interactive and motivating for students,” she said.

Maradino said Comunale always made himself available to both his students and his colleagues. She said he would run workshops for other professors to learn how to use webcams and edit videos for online classes.  

Maradino also spoke of Comunale’s various interests outside of physics and technology. “Joe loved learning new things,” she said. “He studied Japanese and took anthropology courses.”

Mary Ann Frohnhoefer, secretary to Sadoqi, said Comunale pushed to increase Distance Learning. In February, he held a class from his home using skype and students were able to log in on their laptops.

“Joe had hopes that St. John’s would develop these technologies for more online teaching and learning,” she said.

Frohnhoefer said Comunale was not only an active professor, but a devoutly religious man. “He read the Bible and tried to live his life with love and respect for others, for everyone,” she said.

“Joe was a good man and will be missed by many. May he rest in peace in God’s love.”