Remembering Professor Rosanna Cappellato
Publication Date: 11/26/2012
It is with great sadness that the college announces the passing of Professor Rosanna Cappellato. Dr. Cappellato died peacefully Thursday morning at 9:00 AM with her mother and a close friend and colleague present after a brief yet rapidly progressive illness. Dr. Cappellato was interred at 1:00 PM Central Time on Monday, November 26, in a private conservation burial at Honey Creek Woodlands, a forested area on the grounds of the Trappist Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers, Georgia. In accordance with her request, there will be no memorial service in association with the burial. Members of the Rhodes community gathered at the Rose Garden in Frazier-Jelke in tribute to Dr. Cappellato. Those wishing to honor her life may choose, in her own words, to contribute to “causes that further the preservation of wildlife and the natural world.”
Dr. Cappellato earned her Bachelor of Science degree in her native Italy in 1977, a Doctorandus degree in Biology from the University of Amsterdam in 1981, and a Ph.D. in Biology from Emory University in 1991. She taught at Emory, Alfred University, and Allegheny College before joining the Rhodes faculty in 2004.
At Rhodes, Dr. Cappellato established courses in Environmental Science and Conservation Biology. Each year she led students on a Maymester program in Namibia to study Environmental Issues in Southern Africa. Dr. Cappellato’s passion for the environment and environmentalism was reflected in a number of ways on campus and beyond. She provided guidance throughout the development of the Environmental Studies and Sciences Program and was instrumental in the recent re-certification of the Rhodes campus as a Level IV Arboretum. She also served on Rhodes’ Environmental Planning Committee and the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Memphis Zoo. She was involved in a number of environmental issues in the community, including the Shelby County Brownfield Council and conservation efforts in the old growth forest of Overton Park.
Dr. Cappellato was a passionate and compassionate scientist, teacher, colleague, and friend. In many ways a true “citizen of the world,” she was fluent in several languages and worked in many parts of the world on environmental issues. We will all miss her and her exuberant commitment to Rhodes and to the natural environment.