Name: Professor Campisi
Years at Marist: 11
Hometown: Toronto, Canada
Fun Fact: Professor Campisi loves making exotic ice cream flavors. Some of the craziest flavors include Pumpkin, Saffron, and Cactus Fruit!
Have you always wanted to be a philosophy professor?
No. When I first went to college I came in with the impression that I was going to be a lawyer. Fortunately, students who attended the University of Western Ontario were not required to declare a major right away. One day, when speaking to a cousin of mine he recommended that I start taking philosophy courses to get ready for law school. Not knowing I would be where I am now, I decided to major in philosophy. After taking a few foundations classes with great professors I ended up loving it. By the time I reached my junior year, I received a letter saying I would be a great candidate if I wanted to pursue a PhD in Philosophy, so I then went on to get my PhD. Although the thought of teaching scared me at first, I am happy to be where I am now.
If you could teach any class other than philosophy with a co-instructor who and what would it be?
I would love to teach a Italian cooking class at Marist with the actor John Turturro.
When you think of Marist what is the first word that pops into your mind?
Welcoming. From a professor’s perspective, the community here is very unique. I have worked at other schools and institutions where the faculty and students have not had the same sort of interaction as we do here at Marist. At Marist, all the Liberal Arts faculty are mixed up within the building, and therefore I am fortunate to have had the chance to form bonds with other professors from the English and History Departments, and other departments as well. I think that the students benefit from feeling supported and being in such a friendly environment. I love being able to direct students to the proper faculty to talk about certain questions, whereas I do not think I would have had that opportunity if I were at another school.
How would you describe the Red Fox family?
Now that I have been here for eleven years, I like keeping in touch with my past students and receiving updates on how they are doing. Marist is a small school where you can make those close knit bonds and connections. I also enjoy walking around campus and seeing familiar faces on my way to class!
Are you a part of any clubs or organizations on campus?
I serve on the Fellowship Committee, where we assist students in applying for certain fellowships such as the Fulbright or the Truman. I am also involved in the Marist Center for Ethics, with faculty members from a number of other departments. The Center promotes research being done on campus in the area of ethics. Last fall, we had the opportunity to host the Ethics Bowl, a one-day event where a number of colleges brought teams to debate ethical issues.
If students can’t find you in your office, where are you most likely?
If I am not in my office I am wandering the halls of Fontaine. I have so many friends in this building. The third Thursday of every month at 11:00am students can find me in the dining hall having lunch with my Florence students.
What do you like to do when you are not teaching?
I love hanging out with my kids, playing squash, and cooking.
You taught the freshman year seminar in Florence last semester. What made you want to teach abroad?
Part of it was being able to have the experience of living in a different country. I had also been teaching an ethics of food class here in Poughkeepsie and I thought it would be so neat to teach a food class there. When I teach the food classes in Poughkeepsie I am limited in some respects, whereas in Florence I could assign students to go to restaurants, etc. and write corresponding assignments. The environment was perfect for the course.
What was your favorite place in Florence?
Although I grew up in Toronto, my family emigrated from Sicily so I was constantly surrounded by the language and food. When we first arrived in Florence, we went out to this big Italian dinner. At the dinner, I spoke to another faculty member and after telling him a little bit about my background he told me about this Sicilian restaurant in Florence, Ara, run by people from Sicily. So another professor and I found the restaurant and had some great tasting Sicilian street food. My favorite is arancini, which is a deep fried rice ball, with a meat filling on the inside. Delicious! The owners and staff actually became some of my best friends in the city.
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