By Cait Kemp
On Sept. 25, the Division of Academic Affairs sent out an email to the campus informing that adjunct professor of Spanish, Javier Venturi, had recently died. He began teaching classes last spring in the Humanities and Social Sciences Department.
Although he was only at Springfield College for a short period of time, he was still an impactful member of the community and showed a lot of passion for what he did.
Professor Venturi was born in Peru, grew up in Italy and lived the latter 20 years of his life in the United States. He adopted this country as his own and served in its National Guard for seven years, according to his obituary in the Daily Hampshire Gazette.
He was an adjunct professor at American International College and Springfield College, and previously taught at Elms College in Chicopee, MA.
He made an impact on everyone he crossed paths with. The people he came across while working as a professor only had positive and memorable things to say about him after hearing of his passing.
“I myself was one of the lucky ones to be placed in his class after the administration decided to welcome him to the Spanish department. Memories from Spring 2020 beam throughout my mind as this major loss sinks in,” student Oksana Kagan said.
“This man cared for everyone’s well-being, giving out life advice, sometimes we grinned at, but today I reflect on every word he said,” Kagan added.
Several of his past students and coworkers commented on the online obituary post, all with kind words to share. One coworker said, “Javier was a pure gentleman, a man who had a special charisma which was appreciated by all lovers of learning. Rest in peace.”
Another student, Audrye Alejandro wrote, “I will never forget you Professor Venturi. Fuiste un excelente profesor al cual aprecio mucho. Gracias por tu dedicación y por todas las enseñanzas que me brindastes. Descansa en Paz Profesor Venturi.”
In English, that translates to: “You were an excellent professor that I appreciate a lot. Thank you for your dedication and all of your teachings that you offered me. Rest in peace, Professor Venturi.”
Venturi was a lover of art, music, and film. He used his short time here at Springfield to help share cultural experiences with students.
“Javier Venturi was only at the college for a short time, so many people don’t know about his background in cinema or his involvement in Film Studies internationally. To give a quick example, he served as the 2018 President of the International Jury for the 69th Montecatini International Short Film Festival in Italy,” Professor Joseph Brockway said.
“Now, as I think about my first interactions with Javier, during his interview last fall, it was then when he first expressed an interest in organizing activities on campus to spotlight Spanish language and culture through film. You could hear the excitement in his voice when he talked about those subjects. That was the passion for Spanish and film that Professor Venturi brought to his classes and to the college,” Brockway said.
Kagan recognized his love for the arts as well, and appreciated how he took the time to introduce it in class.
“Javi loved the arts, someone could mention any film and he would spit back an entire review, it was his passion. His way of starting class with Spanish music videos livened the classroom and made that 50-minute time frame feel like five,” she said.
“In fact, because of his enthusiasm and initiative, last semester we organized our first Spanish-language movie night and had plans to make it a monthly event,” Brockway said. “Of course, we had to put a temporary pause on our endeavor because of the pandemic. Sadly, we could have never imagined that Professor Venturi’s first Springfield College Movie Night would be his only one. His absence is felt throughout campus, and he will be missed greatly.”
Kagan shared her final words about Professor Venturi’s impact on her life and what that means to her. “For those of you who were unable to meet Javi, I would like to leave two video clips that Javi shared with me in our final messages: The Never Ending Story- ‘Atreyu Faces G’Mork’ and the Blade Runner’s final scene.
“These meaningful clips are something he had embraced in his heart for the last 30 years and something I will remember in his honor. Unlike Blade Runner, my memories of Javi will not be lost in time like tears in rain. Javi is now in paradise enjoying his favorite mojitos. Farewell to not only a great professor, but a friend,” Kagan said.
Professor Javier Venturi was a light on the Springfield College campus, and his passing is an immense loss within the community. May he rest in peace and his family and friends find comfort in this difficult time.
Photo Courtesy of Elms College