Mourning alumnus Matthew Neugroschell

The University at Albany History Department mourns one of our own. Matthew Neugroschell earned his B.A. with us in the early 1990s. He then went off to Law School at the University of Maryland to prepare for a career as a civil rights advocate. Despite success in law school and the promise of legal practice, Mathew could not give up his love of the past. He came back to us to earn an M.A. and began the Doctor of Arts degree program because literature held as much interest to him as history. It is no surprise that he chose to work on Pauli Murray the African-American lawyer, activist, and poet.

I was fortunate to have taught Matthew both as an undergraduate and later as a graduate student and can say that he had true love of learning. Moreover, he had the knack of being able to take that love and share it with others, in both conversation and teaching.

He began teaching for the History department through his appointment in Project Renaissance. This was an innovative freshman experience program that covered undergraduate students’ general education requirements, had living/learning components, and community engagement. His section of Project Ren was linked with my course on Trials. There I saw how he engaged the students. In more recent years, he taught US History 100 online in the summers. His courses were rich, challenging, and always circled back to his concern for social justice. Students frequently commented on his smarts, his enthusiasm, his sense of humor, and ‘his ability to explain anything’. Mathew wore his heart on his sleeve. No one would say that his courses ever lacked passion.

Indeed, Matthew was passionate for justice, for beauty, and for a good conversation. It is hard to realize that we are not going to hear his voice in our halls. You can leave your thoughts for his friends and family:

-- Richard Hamm