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The California Aggie Online
Dr. Scari's retirement in 2001 marked the celebration of an unmatched professional career.Today, as most of his last students are rapidly approaching graduation, evidence of Scari's legacy may seem to be waning.But 35-plus years of a colorful dedication to his department have truly proved otherwise.Scari's a refreshingly simple, friendly, humble man who offers his golden character well before the worth of any of his numerous academic achievements.And since his arrival in Davis, such a character has translated into a colorful, landmark contribution to the Spanish department.In 1965, Scari was one of the first assistant professors hired in the newly born department of Spanish and classics.He never left, and in doing so helped promote an academic excellence that would "take steps towards putting the department on national and international terms," Spanish department co-chair Sam Armistead said.Scari is truly "one of the founding fathers of the department," Armistead said."[Dr. Scari] was totally dedicated to his students.It's obvious that although Scari has balanced a hat trick of professorial duties, he has never given his students the short end of the stick."His devotion was utterly apparent.When he held office hours, a line would flow down the hallway," said Miller.Nevertheless, Scari would amazingly meet with each student, regardless of time constraints."At a research university, you just don't have this type of full-time dedication," Miller continued.Breivik, who worked with Scari on an administrative level for about 14 years, noted that this enthusiasm was not just projected toward current students on campus, but to perspective students and their families as well."During Preview Day in October, Dr. Scari was always ready to go," Breivik said.The legend of Robert Scari and the ‘freaks at home'Like a camp counselor reading a story around a campfire, Dr. Scari narrates his personal history with wide eyes and enthusiasm.One can't help but want to listen and be entertained by his life's adventures, undoubtedly sprinkled with his trademark sense of humor.Truly an international child, Scari was the son of an Argentine consul, which explains why he was born in Genoa, Italy and grew up in Wales, Dallas and San Francisco before landing as a philosophy major at Stanford University.Scari grew up speaking English and Spanish and comically explained his selective use of the latter."Spanish was a strange dialect that I used to communicate with those two freaks at home," Scari remarked with a smile.Little did he know that this freakish tongue would turn into means for a career.After making several trips to Buenos Aires in college, his family's native home, he decided to complete a master's degree in Spanish at Stanford, which eventually led to obtaining a Ph.D. at nearby University of California, Berkeley.At Rutgers in the late 1950s, Scari utilized his ever-famous booming voice while doubling as a radio announcer in neighboring New York City.A member of the Screen Actor's Guild, he performed in "industrial narrations" for WCBS.He contributed to station identifications, public service announcements, and even played the part of a chocolate-coated M&M's candy.After a polite request, Scari is still known to make the M&M's character re-emerge even today.When Scari assumed his position at UCD, he was newly married with a five-year-old son, Bob.Like his proud father, Bob too completed a master's at Stanford, and then continued his education with the United States Air Force.Bob completed several tours of duty in Operation Desert Storm in the early 1990s, and today is a captain for American Airlines.In 1980, Scari met his second wife, Donna, a student and secretary in the Spanish department office.They married in 1981 and today are parents of a four-year-old daughter, Delia.With all of these achievements and milestones behind him, however, Scari is his own biggest critic.Giacalone has taken two courses from Scari, including Spanish 110, a class designed to improve undergraduate writing in Spanish.With a natural love for his undergraduate students, Scari eagerly taught this course for years.As assuring as it is to know that Davis has been a good fit for Dr. Scari, it's equally important to affirm that Davis was lucky to get Dr. Scari in the first place.E-mail this article Send a letter to the editor