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Beloved professor forced to retire because of PERA

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 Professor Silvio Covi is a man with passion and dedication.

Professor Covi, who worked in and developed the Foreign Language department for over twenty years at Colorado State University-Pueblo, is retiring this year.

He leaves behind a legacy that will change the university for many years.

When Professor Covi arrived at CSU-Pueblo, the department did not exist.

Professor Eric Kartchner, the associate chair of foreign languages and the associate professor of Spanish, worked with Professor Covi for 2 ½ years. He talked about the professor’s history at the university.

“He built the French and Italian programs single-handedly, and taught both languages. He also helps to maintain the small French community in Pueblo and maintains and supports the Italian community,” Kartchner said. 

Kartchner also said that Professor Covi started the Italian Club and the Study Abroad Program.

The Italian Club created events for the local Italian community as well as communities of other nationalities to experience and hold onto the prominent Italian culture that is in Pueblo.

 “The Italian Club sets up annual events, like the Columbus Day Celebration and the Taste of Italy, where the Florence Italian Flag Throwers get to perform. The club also have monthly meetings every third Thursday,” Danielle Della Rossa, a sophomore, mass communications major, who has been a member of the Italian Club for three years said.

Professor Covi started the Study Abroad Program to give students the opportunity to travel to France and Italy.

“Professor Covi raised money for the trips that were every summer and paid for the students’ books for every trip,” Della Rossa said. He even took a class to Costa Rica one year.

Kartchner said that Foreign Language departments in schools across the country have to have a Study Abroad Program to be able to last.

Professor Covi has to retire this year because of Colorado PERA restrictions. According to Colorado PERA, an employee has to retire when their years of experience and their age combined add up to seventy five.

Faculty and students that know Professor Covi feel that the circumstances surrounding his retirement were not very appealing.

“It’s unfortunate that he has to leave because of the PERA restrictions,” Kartchner said.

“I think that it should be up to Professor Covi to retire or not. If he’s doing his job efficiently, he should stay as long as he wants,” Della Rossa added.

The department has found a replacement for Professor Covi who will start in the fall. Frank Murgel, who also teaches in the department, will teach both languages temporarily.

“The new instructor will not focus on two languages like Professor Covi did,” Kartchner said.

The department will also keep the Italian Club and the Study Abroad Program, however this change in staff will not have negative effects on these activities, Kartchner said.

He said that there is also possibility for program growth with the new professor.

There is no doubt that Professor Covi will be missed at CSU-Pueblo.

Kartchner said that he admired Professor Covi’s dedication to his students and the ability to keep two majors alive.

“Professor Covi had a certain excitement about the languages, and was passionate about the foreign languages that he taught. He was very dedicated about teaching the languages to students,” Kartchner said.

Della Rossa said that she will remember Professor Covi for the Taste of Italy.

“He helped me keep up with my heritage and the language. Without him, that would stop,” she added.

Della Rossa wishes Professor Covi the best of luck in the future.

“I hope that he will get the chance to reside back in Italy. I want him to take his retirement as a chance to do what he never got to do,” Della Rossa said.