University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown

Campus Community Mourns Passing of ‘Passionate Intellectual’ Professor Fornoff

Fred Fornoff, a well-liked Spanish professor at Pitt-Johnstown, passed away on April 23, 2019.

Dr. Fornoff was hired in 1972 as an Assistant Professor of Humanities and Spanish. He was tenured in 1976 and became a full professor in 1983. He retired with Emeritus status in 2011.

Álvaro A. Bernal, Associate Professor of Spanish and Latin American Literature, said faculty will remember him as an intellectual, interested in literature, art, music, and social justice – most importantly he was friendly, honest, and fair.

Dr. Fornoff taught the popular class “Don Quixote and the Novel” for three decades.

He was invited to visit the country by the President of Costa Rica because of his translations into English of poetry by Laureano Albán, a famous Costa Rican poet.

He was a translator of the poetry, books, and essays of Guillermo Carnero, Cristina Peri Rossi, Pedro Salinas, Mariano Azuela, Julio Cortázar, and others. He was asked by the Swedish Academy to submit a candidate for the Nobel Prize in Literature. He was an expert on Julio Cortázar, a great Argentine writer and was respected in his field in the United States, Spain and in Latin American countries.

Dr. Fornoff served on various board positions with the American Literacy Translator Association, serving both as the President and Vice President.

Dr. Bernal said: “Fred Fornoff was a great friend at UPJ and we shared many moments. Fred’s dry humor was a quality difficult to forget. Even during his worst health crisis after retirement, Fred had an intelligent comment and an interesting reflection.”

Dr. Jem Spectar, President of Pitt-Johnstown, recalls Dr. Fornoff as a passionate intellectual. “I remember fondly of my conversations with Dr. Fornoff about Miguel de Cervantes, author of ‘Don Quixote’. He impressed upon me and increased my appreciation of the relevance of Cervantes to our understanding of ideas such as liberty, individuality and humanity.  What an amazing mind!  We express our deepest condolences to the Fornoff family.”