Retired media study professor Roy Roussel dies


Royal Roussel, a retired professor in the media study department, died Saturday, Feb. 24 after a long battle with cancer.

Roussel came to UB in 1967 as a professor in the English department before switching to media study in 1996. He served as chair of the department from 2000-2013 before stepping down. He continued teaching until he retired in June.

Tanya Shilina-Conte, an assistant professor in media study, said she knew Roussel for roughly 10 years and remembers his dedication to teaching.

“Roy was on one of DMS’s doctoral student committees, along with Professor Carine Mardorossian and me. In May 2017, having already been diagnosed with a terminal illness and undergoing a series of treatments, Roy found it in himself to still Skype into the qualifying exam meeting for this student,” Shilina-Conte said in an email. “He was working until the moment he had to turn and fight for his own life. He nurtured and inspired generations of students and they will all remember him fondly.”

Barbara Bono, an English professor, met Roussel when she joined the UB English department in 1984. She remembers Roussel as a “smart and shrewd administrator,” who held together an “understaffed and battered” media study department. She said he was “a sometimes curt, and even cynical man” but cared about his classes and students.

“I know because I frequently taught just before or after him in the CFA Screening Room and saw him welcoming his students in and sat near him when he cried at a student award ceremony,” Bono said in an email.

Roussel’s wife, Leslie, asked their friend and assistant DMS professor Paige Sarlin

to share the news of Roussel’s death with colleagues, which she did in an email sent out last Monday, according to Bono. Sarlin did not respond to requests for comment for this article.

David is the managing editor and can be reached at and on Twitter at @davidUBspectrum.