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By JessicaBautista



hough many were shocked to learn that popular Widener University professor and Chester Rotary Club Past President Alonzo “Cav” Cavin, Ph.D., passed away at age 71 last Sunday from complications from an undisclosed illness, what’s not surprising, others say, is the amount of people Dr. Cavin seems to have touched over the years.

“I just remember him as someone who was a very positive person,” said Doreen Storey, president of the United Way of Southeast Delaware County (UWSDC). “I never heard anyone (say) anything negative about him at all.”

Storey said she knew Dr. Cavin through the Rotary; he sponsored her as a Rotarian. She also worked with him through the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service. “He loved Chester and he was truly a humanitarian.”

Dr. Cavin actually served twice as Rotary Club president. He last term was for the 2009-2010 year and his first term was 1984-1985.

In a Spirit interview after his last installation, Dr. Cavin said, “As president for the second time I intend to continue supporting the programs we already have and want to add three more ideas,” he said. “I would like to get greater publicity (for the club’s activities), make use of the city’s cable (TV) access and start EarlyAct (a Rotary Club elementary education initiative). With greater publicity, I don’t intend to show off what we’re doing to receive accolades, but to (expose our club to) young people (who) ask what this (club) is all about.”

Dr. Cavin was also on the Chester Upland Committee on Public Education since 2004 and on the Council to Equalize Funding for Public Education since 2003.

His resume was diverse and nothing to scoff at, but his time as an educator was more predominant. He attended Cheyney, West Chester and Temple universities for various degrees before starting his teaching career as an English teacher in 1965 at the Byard Middle School in Wilmington. Soon after, he began teaching undergraduate and graduate courses at Widener University, where he taught for almost 40 years, and even continued teaching as an adjunct professor after he retired in 2002.

At Widener, he was also director of the Widener University State and Federal Programs for Academically and Financially Disadvantaged Students from 1971 to 2004. Dr. Cavin was accountable for thousands of financially disadvantaged students earning college degrees.

Joy Jones, executive director of the Chester-Wallingford Chapter of the American Red Cross, described him as a legend. “With his insight, hard work and dedication to the community, he provided thousands of people the opportunity for higher education who, otherwise, wouldn’t have gotten it,” she said.

For 20 years – from 1988 to 2008 – Dr. Cavin was chapter chairman but Jones has known him since her college days. “If you went to Widener, you knew Dr. Cavin,” she said. “He touched people all over, not just in this community, but throughout the state. He lived a good life, and he will never die because his memories will always live on.”

Dr. Cavin’s dedication to education will live on. His memorial service instructions read, in lieu of flowers, send contributions to Widener University’s African American Scholarship Fund.

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