It is with great sadness that we share with you the passing of Rudy Bell, a distinguished professor emeritus of history, past president of our union, and chairperson of the Rutgers AAUP-AFT Retiree Assembly.
Rudy was a faculty member at Rutgers for 52 years—all of them as a union member and many as a union leader—before retiring in 2020 and becoming chairperson of the Retiree Assembly. He ushered in our affiliation with the American Federation of Teachers that has led the way to a more actively engaged membership. He also rewrote the union’s bylaws to give grad members an equal voice. These two contributions alone have made us much stronger.
Rudy’s last official act with the union was to endorse our One Faculty campaign as a past president. Rudy knew that to divide is to conquer, and he always stood with our PTL colleagues. He fought for greater job security for our faculty (the Faculty Development Fund in 2007 to expand tenure track positions) and dignity for our retirees (our upcoming proposal for continued health benefits for surviving spouses).
Rudy always knew the right words, but he often had the right plan as well. The union is stronger because of him, and we are better for having known him. His legacy is the work we continue to do together.
Our solidarity and support is with Laura, his children and grandchildren, and all of you who knew him.
Thank you Rudy!
Becky, Todd, and Patrick
Rebecca Givan, President, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
Todd Wolfson, General Vice President, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
Patrick Nowlan, Executive Director, Rutgers AAUP-AFT