On April 6, Webster University notified faculty, staff and students Assistant Professor George Slusarz had died.
Details of his death were not provided.
Slusarz was a faculty member at Webster since 2008. An accounting professor, Slusarz taught two classes during the spring 2012 semester. Benjamin Akande, dean of the George Herbert Walker School of Business and Technology, said he visited one of Slusarz’s accounting classes to give his condolences to the students.
“It was a really emotional situation (for me), as well as it was for the students,” Akande said. “I told them that the real legacy to George’s life is that they continue to do well and to do good. If we focus on that, then we’re doing the right thing.”
Akande said when he heard about Slusarz’s death, he was speechless.
“I (then) realized I had to be strong for my colleagues and also for our students,” he said. “I’ve been in higher education for almost (25 years). These past few days have been the hardest.”
Ryan Fassler, a 2011 alumnus who majored in accounting, said he was close to Slusarz.
“I was really sad; honestly, he was my favorite teacher I’ve ever had,” Fassler said. “He made accounting a lot of fun, which is tough to do.”
Fassler said he would often walk into Slusarz’s office to talk about graduate schools or study abroad opportunites. He helped Fassler decide which campus would help him gain more perspective on accounting.
“Whatever it was, he was always available to talk about stuff outside of class,” Fassler said.
Richard Dippel, an assistant professor at Webster’s School of Business and Technology, first met Slusarz at a conference in Anaheim, Calif. Since then, he worked with Slusarz for the next four years.
“He’s a great guy,” Dippel said. “When he created the Accounting Club, he gave them an identity.”
Dippel said Slusarz gave the Accounting Club the idea to use Greek letters in the club’s name to distinguish them from other clubs on campus. Slusarz graduated from the University of Memphis with a B.A. in Business Management and a master’s in Accounting with a concentration in taxation. He later went to the University of Oklahoma and received his juris doctorate for Law.
Joseph Stimpfl, chair and associate professor for the religious studies department, wrote a speech for Slusarz when he was nominated for the Kemper award, which recognizes excellence in teaching. Stimpfl noticed Slusarz’s passion for accounting.
“As George once said, ‘Accounting is a necessary evil, but it can be fun,’ ” Stimpfl said.
Akande said he remembers Slusarz’s upbeat personality.
“You can hear his booming voice echoing through the hallways, whether it was early in the morning for an eight o’clock class or in the evening when he was leaving for the day,” he said.
Akande said professors will teach Slusarz’s classes until the end of the semester.
“George is non-replaceable. Never will be,” Akande said.
Slusarz was an advocate for Chinese students and helped sponsor their education. He also worked on income tax effects on gay marriages with Psihountas.
“He believed in the universality of freedom and I have to tell you, it’s an enviable position and we celebrate that,” Akande said. “He treated all of us as equals. This was something that was his remarkable legacy. (Students) loved him and he loved them. I grieve for my friend George. I hope that we can keep his legacy alive even though he’s not with us physically. We’ll do that.”