Portrait unveiling of Rex Crawley


Photo credit: Samantha Sektnan

Samantha Sektnan

With the passing of beloved professor Rex Crawley only two short years ago after complications from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Robert Morris University honored his memory with the unveiling of a portrait on Friday, Nov. 20 in the first level of the Wheatley Center. The unveiling included a portrait of Crawley, as well as a biography of his life’s work.

The program began with Interim President David Jamison introducing the event.

“The reason why we are dedicating this painting of Rex, is because for fifteen years, he contributed to RMU” said Jamison. “This portrait will be here as a reminder of where he spent his life.”

Jamison handed the microphone over to Chester Thompson, whom was a close friend and colleague of Crawley’s.

“For me, Dr. Crawley embodied the visionary behind all the work that we started. He laid the foundation that he made here mentoring black male students and athletes,” said Thompson. “So many young men need that guidance. I am humbled to be in front of our colleagues and carry on what he started.”

Crawley’s wife, Daria, concluded the program by speaking about her late husband and his dedication to education.

“You have not forgotten him both by the portrait and the words that you will see in a few minutes. But you have not forgotten him in terms of the work that he wanted to continue,” said Daria Crawley.

Jamison and Thompson partook in the unveiling with the removal of the sheet covering the portrait. The reveal was met with a large round of applause from the students, faculty members, family, friends and his fellow fraternity members of Kappa Alpha Psi, whom were brought together through their shared connection to Crawley.

Stanford E. White, a member of the Board of Directors of Kappa Alpha Psi, expressed his thoughts of the occasion.

“Dr. Crawley was one of our most esteemed members of Kappa Alpha Psi. His enthusiasm, dedication, and spirit will be truly missed,” said White. “The members of Kappa Alpha Psi are honored to be here this evening and we thank the university for this tribute.”

To the left of the portrait of Crawley was a biography of Crawley’s life work, some of which is included below.

After the unveiling, those in attendance were able to discuss with one another the impact that Crawley has had on them, as well as many others.

Dr. Heather Pinson, department head of Communication, said, “Dr. Crawley was instrumental in my hiring process at RMU. He has helped so many in his short life, and I know his legacy will continue for generations to come.”

Although the event was met with sadness over the loss of Crawley two years ago, those in attendance also kept in mind all the accomplishments that Crawley has completed and how he will continue to live on through those that will continue his life’s work.

Dr. Barbara Levine, associate professor of Communication and former dean of the School of Communications and Information Systems, said, “Dr. Rex Crawley dedicated his life to our students and the community. Continuing the important work he started is no less urgent today than it was two years ago.”