Elaine Rigolosi is remembered as a tough, but inspirational academic who upon her death last month left a lasting imprint on nursing education at TC and beyond.
A TC fixture since arriving on campus in 1976, Elaine LaMonica Rigolosi died in late February. She was 77.
“Elaine fostered excellence in the program and was a primary contributor in the national ranking in one of the best [programs] in nursing administration,” said Keville Frederickson, an adjunct professor in the Executive Program for Nurses headed by Rigolosi since 1996.
“She was very dedicated to the program and to the students. She was a proponent of tough love; she had very specific standards—if you didn’t come on time to class, she would stop the class. She was old-school.”
The list of posts held by Rigolosi during her TC tenure include Director of the Institute of Research and Service in Nursing Education, Chair of the Department of Nursing Education, and Chair of the Department of Organization and Leadership.
Under her leadership, the Executive Program for Nurses achieved and maintained consistently high national rankings in nursing education.
“She developed a rigorous program that included courses in ethics, philosophies of education, policy and fiscal management,” said TC President Thomas Bailey. “Elaine held her students to the highest of standards—but never higher than those she held for herself, the program, and her faculty.”
To Nursing Executive Program Manager Katie Davis, the “highly capable” program alumni now populating higher education and executive suites testify to the Rigolosi’s impact on nurse education and the healthcare industry.
Her students, said Davis, were devoted to her as a teacher and “for what she brought to the field.”
The recipient of two Outstanding Teacher Awards (2003, 2006), Rigolosi taught until shortly before her death.
Rigolosi in addition to the leadership of the Nurse Executive Program worked as a practicing attorney with a focus on healthcare.
Her authored books included Management and Leadership in Nursing and Health Care: An Experiential Approach and The Nursing Process: A Humanistic Approach.
Rigolosi is survived by a sister, Diane, three nephews Peter, Lawrence and Brian, and her niece Andrea. Her husband, Dr. Robert S. Rigolosi, died in 2020, almost two years to the day, February 26, that Elaine Rigolosi herself passed away.
“He was the love of her life,” said Frederickson. “I didn’t see the same Elaine after Robert died.”
There was no service at Rigolosi’s request.
Contributions in her honor can be made to Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, Ridgewood, New Jersey.
“We are grateful for her tremendous contributions to our community and know that her influence in the field of nursing will resonate for years to come,” said Bailey.
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