Cassarino, Sebastian (1928-2012)

Cassarino, Sebastian (1928-2012)

Date Updated



Foreign Languages

Academic Rank


Year Retired from SJSU


Educational Background

University of California, Berkeley, 1966 PhD

C.C.N.Y., 1953 BA

Teaching Experience

San Jose State University, 1962-1992

West Valley College, 1985-Present

Gavilan College (eve, session), 1974-1985

University of Santa Clara (part‑time), 1964-1974

Stanford University, 1960-1962

Administrative and Professional Experience

Interpreter, Translator

Selected Publications

A short book about Tricarico, Italy.

Personal Commentary

I spent 17 years in Italy, from the age of 2 to the age of 19, when I returned to the United States. In June 1948, at the time of my arrival, I knew 10 words of English. Now I know at least 20. I attended the City College of New York from 1948 to 1953, when "they" gave me a BA in French and Italian. My English vocabulary had increased tenfold by the time of graduation so "they" made me a Phi Beta Kappa member. "They" also said I graduated "magna cum laude." It is all Greek (or Latin) to me! I also received two medals: one for "greatest proficiency in a specified subject" (it seems a very pretentious phrase, to say the least): FRENCH; and the other one for Excellence in ITALIAN (how could that be?). I didn't receive any medals in English.

I obtained the BA in 1953 and "they" decided I was ready to be drafted; so I spent the next 2 years in the US Army, where I achieved the superb distinction of being a ... "corporal." In September 1955, I joined the elite corps of Teaching Assistants at UC Berkeley and 4 years later "they" gave me $5,000 to go to Italy and try to acquire a "continental" accent.

I was in Italy, reading, writing and playing (or playing, reading and writing) from August 1959 to August 1960, when "they" asked me to join the Stanford faculty as an instructor. I was at Stanford until August 1962, when I decided to "transfer" to SJSU, because "they" made me an offer I couldn't refuse: $100 more per month and no publishing required. I fell for it and I was happy at SJSU forever and a day. I enjoyed teaching a lot. The students endured me and suffered patiently, especially when I told them that I'd never heard of the Mafia until I came to the US. I also immersed myself in committee work. During the noon hour I played badminton with my esteemed colleagues and we had lots of fun. I was also the Coordinator of International Programs at SJSU from 1965 to 1985.

In 1979 "they" asked me to be the Academic Escort for a Travel‑Study Program to Italy under the auspices of Continuing Education and I accepted. I am still traveling to Italy every summer with a small group of eager companions and they seem to enjoy it. I take many photographs ... too many "they" say. I enjoy my grandchildren and my children. I am still teaching at West Valley College (once a week, on Monday evenings). I also "meet" a group of people who have been enjoying studying Italian with me since 1989 (at least so "they" say). I have lots of friends and I enjoy seeing them as often as possible

That’s the end of my O B I T U A R Y!

Date Completed: 9/96

Adapted from: Biographies of Retired Faculty San Jose State University 1997: A Project of the Emeritus Faculty Association of San Jose State University. San Jose, CA: The University, 1997.


Cassarino, Sebastian (1928-2012)