Its with great sadness that I learned this week that my former professor and mentor Michael Bobkoff has passed away. In addition to being an English professor, he was Chairman of the Liberal Arts and Humanities curriculum at SUNY Westchester Community College, where he taught for the previous 37 years. Professor Bobkoff taught courses in Writing, American Literature, Mark Twain, and Holocaust Literature. To further his study of the Holocaust, the Westchester Holocaust Commission awarded Professor Bobkoff two fellowships: One in 1997 for a trip to Poland involving visits to the concentration camps Treblinka, Majdanek, and Auschwitz-Birkenau. Another for a trip to Germany in 1999 for meetings with German educators and students to discuss how the German educational system deals with the Holocaust.
Professor Bobkoff is also the recipient of the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching from the State University of New York and the Westchester Community College Foundation Award for Excellence in Service and the Westchester Community College Foundation Award for Excellence in Teaching.
I first met Professor Bobkoff in 1995 when I was a student at Westchester Community College. I was interested in studying the holocaust, and professor Bobkoff was teaching an honors class that he had developed called Holocaust Studies. I also had the privilege of being in another literature class of his. Since that time, professor Bobkoff and I had always remained in contact via email. I had always had him in my thoughts and never forgot him. His teachings have made a tremendous impact on my life and I am sure the countless lives of others. I always remember his passion and flair for the Humanities. I have never had an experience like this in a classroom before, not in college and not in grad school.
Michael Bobkoff always encouraged me to continue my education, even at a latter age. He has written letters of recommendation for me when I applied to graduate school. In fact, if it weren’t for his guidance and encouragement I would have gone on to graduate school to pursue my MFA.
A scholarship fund is being established in Michael Bobkoff’s name. Donations may be made by check to “WCC/FSA #85” and mailed to: The Michael Bobkoff Memorial Fund, FSA-Bookstore/Westchester Community College / 75 Grasslands Road / Valhalla, NY 10595