Beyond Vassar

Vassar Graduate Dies in Iraq

By Micah Buis '02

The Vassar community was saddened to learn that Robb Rolfing ’00 died in Baghdad on June 30. A staff sergeant and special forces engineer with Bravo Company, 2nd Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) out of Fort Carson, Colorado, he succumbed to enemy small-arms fire while his unit searched a home in the southern Baghdad neighborhood of al-Dora. This was his second deployment to Iraq.

A physics and astronomy major and a star on the men’s soccer team at Vassar, Rolfing went on to coach soccer at Rollins College in Florida and Curry College in Massachusetts before enlisting in the military in January 2002, pursuing a childhood dream of becoming a member of the Special Forces. He was a native of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, where his parents, Rex and Margie Rolfing, and his brother T. J. and sister Tiffany still live.

Professor of Physics and Astronomy Debra Elmegreen remembers, “Robb was so lively and such a nice person. He always came to class with exciting soccer stories. It was impressive that he could be a star athlete and also carry such a difficult major.” Adds Professor Fred Chromey, “Robb discovered that a career in astronomy was not a good match for his talents. Nevertheless, he enthusiastically completed the major out of love for the material, always with a positive approach and a smile for me and his classmates.”

Rolfing’s family is directing donations to a fund that supports the education of the children of slain members of the Special Forces. And Rolfing’s classmates and friends have established the Robb Rolfing Memorial Fund. The goal of this fund is to create a perpetual scholarship at Vassar in Rolfing’s name, as well as to contribute to the Vassar athletic community in an effort to instill his dedication and work ethic in future generations of Vassar student athletes. Donations may be sent to:

Robb Rolfing Memorial Fund
East Bay Community Foundation
De Domenico Building
200 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza
Oakland, CA 94612

Any inquiries about the fund or suggestions on how best to continue Rolfing’s legacy at Vassar should be directed to Diego Acevedo ’99 at 415.954.4400, Brendan Belair ’01 at 703.801.8160, or Joel Barras ’00 at 215.241.7990.

Vassar’s Department of Athletics and Physical Education will dedicate the October 20 soccer game (2 p.m. versus Union College) in Rolfing’s memory.