Erika Marie Rohrbach
Erika Marie Rohrbach, 52, beloved wife and daughter, and friend and colleague to many, died peacefully on Sunday, January 31.
Born in Stamford, CT, Erika grew up in Bethlehem, PA, studying English at Ursinus College before moving to New York City to obtain her master's degree in English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University.
In 2001 she became International Student Advisor at the Fashion Institute of Technology, rising to Director of International Student Services in 2016. Her numerous achievements at FIT include the 2017-18 SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Professional Service, in which she was lauded for her deep dedication to FIT students and her tireless drive to tailor whatever assistance each might need, with one student from Nepal observing, "she truly cares for each and every one…"
As a member of NAFSA: Association of International Educators since 1997, Erika received further honors, including the Leadership Award, Bureau of Consular Affairs, U.S. Department of State, Office of Visa Services, for "unflagging enthusiasm in creating and directing a series of 'close encounters' with consular officers and immigration officials, and dedication to student and scholar advocacy," and the James O'Driscoll Distinguished Service Award, for "outstanding service & leadership to NAFSA Region X," both in 2009. She also became Region X Chair in 2010, and Diversity Adviser of the Membership Engagement Committee from 2012.
In 2012, Erika was a Fulbright Scholar to Japan, one of five U.S. administrators selected to participate in the 2012 International Education Administrators Seminar, held in Tokyo, Kyoto, and Hiroshima, and designed to provide a comprehensive introduction to Japanese higher education and culture.
And a member of One to World since 2001, Erika served on the Higher Education Advisory Committee from 2014.
Erika's extracurricular interests were characteristically varied and prestigious—one of her abiding passions was The Dessoff Choirs, where over the last 24 years she joyfully sang soprano, was program editor of three or more concert programs annually, and served on the board since 2016. She was also a board member of the New York Choral Consortium since 2011. And since 2002, she was a freelance writer and reviewer for Kirkus Reviews, where she served as a proud judge of the 2020 Kirkus Prize for Nonfiction.
Erika—or simply "E"—was a loyal and generous friend, a clever and mischievous wit, a magnificent cook, a sparkling hostess of legendary Christmas parties at her home in Hawthorne, an enthusiastic sports fan, a voracious reader, an enthusiastic dancer, and an intrepid world traveler—truly a Renaissance woman, who enjoyed any adventure that life had to offer.
She is survived by her wife Maryellen Hauslaib, and her mother, Mary Rohrbach; she is predeceased by her father, Linwood Rohrbach.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to The Dessoff Choirs; donations in Erika's name can be made on The Dessoff Choirs website at: http://www.dessoff.org/contribute
or by check, payable to The Dessoff Choirs, Inc., mailed to: The Dessoff Choirs, P.O. Box 1337, New York, NY 10028. www.browningforshay.com