Rest in Peace Bro. Romard Barthel, SEU and NSCI Icon

It is with great sadness that I pass along the news that Bro. Romard Barthel (CSC ’47), of the Order of the Holy Cross, passed away on Wed., 7 December at the age of 92.  Bro. Romard taught physics and life at St. Edward’s University for generations of students.

I arrived at St. Edward’s as Dean of Natural Sciences in July 2014.  It did not take long for the stories of Bro. Romard to begin making their way to me.  I quickly began meeting some of the numerous alumni and current faculty members whose lives were forever changed by Bro. Romard’s kindness, dedication, attention, and inspirational model.

Bro. Romard significantly impacted the trajectory of the School of Natural Sciences and St. Edward’s University. In the history of an institution, there are but a precious few who truly earn the distinction of being recognized as a cultural icon, and they usually do so with the greatest modesty imaginable.  I can assure you that in the case of Bro. Romard, that recognition as an icon of the Natural Sciences at St. Edward’s University is richly deserved..

His legacy will live on in the lives of those he touched, both directly and indirectly. (You can find a nice example in the Winter 2015 issue of the St. Edward’s Magazine.)

Of significance to today’s students, who did not have the honor of meeting him in person or being directly inspired by him, the Bro. Romard Barthel Scholarship and Research Fund was established by alumni in his honor to support summer research opportunities and scholarships for today’s Natural Sciences students.  Through these students and the paths they forge on their own journeys in life, his impact will continue to be felt and honored.

Please remember Bro. Romard in your prayers.  May his model and inspiration live on in those of us who benefit today from his years of servant leadership and dedication to the place he cherished, St. Edward’s University.


Please share your stories below.

2 thoughts on “Rest in Peace Bro. Romard Barthel, SEU and NSCI Icon

  1. When I began my sophomore year at St. Edward’s in the Fall of 1997 I signed up for Brother Romard’s Calculus II course. I was an undeclared student, but following Dr. McKemie’s suggestion I took Calculus II as and elective. I found myself vising his office several times at the start of the semester for homework assistance. In one of my visits he told me that I should major in mathematics. I responded stating that I didn’t think it was a good idea since I kept needing to come by and ask for help with the assignments. He told me something that I continually tell my students today; he said, “Getting help is how you learn.” He went on to tell me I may be the only one visiting his office hours, but I was also the only one with an A in the course at the time.
    What struck me right away about Brother Romard was how much he genuinely loved teaching and talking to students. Later when I was in his Physics course another student and I were asking about a science article that he had put on the bulletin board. His face lit up like a child’s and he started explaining the physics in the article. Then he ran to the physics lab to get a piece of equipment in order to illustrate the concept. I had never seen him so excited before a lecture before. His dedication and enthusiastic attitudes for his students is something I have tried to emulate with varying degrees of success in my career. He is certainly one of the select people that I have modeled my teaching after.

  2. I am sorry to know that Bro. Romard is no longer with us. His dynamic lectures in physics and mathematics and his personal attention to me as a student at St. Ed’s (1961-1965) nurtured my interest in science to the point that my interest in science developed into a passion, which is vital to one’s success in a particular field. I always remained indebted to Bro. Romard for the way in which he provided encouragement and helped me move forward in my career and love of science. He was blessed with a long life of devotion to teaching and to assisting his students. I am certain there are thousands of St. Ed’s Alumni who remember Bro. Romard with deep affection and gratitude. We can now rejoice that he is now in a better place.
    Michael F. L’Annunziata, PhD.

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