Popular French professor dies at 68

The Geneseo community has suffered the loss of longtime French professor Dr. Gérard Gouvernet, who passed away on July 18.

Gouvernet, who had taught at Geneseo since 1983, was widely considered a positive influence on both colleagues and students; he will be greatly missed.

With a specialization in 17th century French Literature, Gouvernet taught intermediate French, French composition, and French Civilization. He also took advantage of an opportunity to teach in North Africa.

Outside of the classroom, Gouvernet was an active and enthusiastic faculty advisor to the French Club and very involved in the Geneseo chapter of Phi Sigma Iota, an international foreign language honor society. During his tenure, he initiated a very successful exchange program with the University of Montpellier in southern France that continues to provide an invaluable learning experience to students of French.

In addition to being a talented professor, Gouvernet will be remembered for the way he personally inspired his students.

"He was an incredibly nice man who really made class enjoyable," said sophomore Collen Grodatze.

Sophomore Mike Casamassima described him as "really funny, and always in high spirits. Dr. Gouvernet was always ready and willing to give anyone a helping hand."

Students and colleagues alike have been sharing their memories of Gouvernet on a guestbook hosted by Rochester's Democrat and Chronicle newspaper. A link to the guestbook has been provided on the Geneseo foreign language department website. Those who have already written tributes recall that his sense of humor, modesty, and helpfulness made their interactions with him unforgettable.

Foreign Languages professor Dr. Beverly Evans said that teaching was a very large part of Gouvernet's life, and that his passion was reflected by the close relationships he had with both students and colleagues. According to Evans, Dr. Gouvernet was an irreplaceable role model for all who were fortunate enough to know him.