Kean professor remembered for contributions to Graphic Communications program

By Justin George

When Dr. Cyril Nwako suddenly passed away while visiting relatives in Nigeria on December 29, 2013, to say that several people were impacted by his death would be an understatement. Apart from the five children and wife that he leaves behind, several of his close friends and associates had nothing but good things to say about him.

Many people note his integral contributions towards building the school’s Graphic Communications programs, including instituting a Master’s program about a decade ago.

His funeral mass and wake, on Feb. 22, attracted a wide range of several hundred people, including not only his family members and friends, but several former students and staff members from Kean University were also there to pay respect to their former professor and co-worker. In addition, members of the Knights of Columbus, and members of the local Nigerian community were present. The support from the community goes to show how endearing Nwako was to both people in his life, and to those who appreciate his contributions to the Kean community.

“The profound effect that he had on the lives of the students he worked with during his 24 years at Kean University is his legacy,” said Associate Professor Dr. Greg D’Amico about his close associate and friend of over 30 years.

“We were both completing our graduate degrees at New York University, and we worked together on our doctoral dissertations,” said D’Amico. He respected Nwako’s academic contributions, but valued him just as much, if not more, as a friend.

“I came to realize that his warm smile and gentle persuasive nature were simply a reflection of so much more that was in his heart and soul,” D’Amico said. “He was not only the brightest individual I have ever worked with, but also the kindest.”

“What struck me when I first met Cyril was his warm, glowing smile and his charming, gentle nature,” said D’Amico. “Then, as our friendship grew, I realized that his mind was very powerful. He had a very strong, almost photographic, memory for everything, facts, figures and events, and a tremendous talent for absorbing new information and processing knowledge. He was also gifted respect to strategy, strategy in the attainment of his goals. And these were not goals for self gain, but goals to help those he cared for, his family, colleagues and students.”

Nwako’s contributions to not just the Graphic Communications programs, but to Kean University as a whole, are sure to leave a lasting impression on both those who knew him, and those who didn’t, for years to come.

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