Rattlers bid farewell

Students, faculty and staff came out Monday to celebrate the life of a University professor who died of cancer late last semester.

Emma Rose Fenceroy, 59, a math professor since 1978, died in November of bone cancer. Colleagues gathered in Lee Hall to reminisce on her life and her many accomplishments while at the University.

“We are here today to pay tribute to one who gave; not to mourn, but to commemorate a life well-lived,” said Osiefield Anderson, professor emeritus of mathematics and organizer of the memorial.

“What we feel for Dr. Fenceroy transcends words,” Anderson said.

During her 25 years at the University, Fenceroy served on the Faculty Senate, University Tenure and Promotions committee and the College of Arts and Sciences Chairs Council. She is noted for spearheading programs that assisted students in passing the College Level Academic Skills Test.

Anderson said the University is still here today because of Fenceroy’s efforts.

“When the CLAST came out, the University was not on the scale of competency. No one seemed to be able to pass that test,” he said. “She developed strong programs that helped the students here with the CLAST.”

Former deans of the College of Arts and Sciences Aubrey M. Perry and Arthur Washington were present, along with current Dean Larry E. Rivers and Eva C. Wanton, retired associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

They all shared a memory that had those in attendance either in tears or holding their stomachs with laughter.

Attendees described her as a strong spirit, one who would argue her point until “all hell freezes over.”

Perry said he recalled a time when Fenceroy, or “Fence” as he affectionately called her, argued with him on a program she wanted implemented within the department. At the end of their debate, he said Fence called him ” a real man.”

“She really cared about each student as if he or she was her own child,” Perry said. “Any success of students here in the math department could be attributed to Fence.”

Besides reflections from some of Fenceroy’s colleagues, some students took time to reflect on their beloved professor.

“She was a strong-minded person. She was a complete sweetheart with students, but she had the faculty scared,” said Frederic Douglas, 23, a senior actuary math student from Lake City. “Her bark was much louder than her bite, but all she really wanted was to help students.”

Douglas said the memorial was needed for the campus to say goodbye.

Wanton said Fenceroy is leaving a legacy that will never be forgotten.

“She was truly a blessing to the university,” Wanton said.

“She will definitely be missed, but she will always have a place in our hearts forever.”

Contact Deanna L Carpenter at deannalynette@hotmail.com.