Robin C. Tomasso, who dedicated 39 years of service to Cal Poly Pomona’s Academic Senate, died quietly and surrounded by family on Dec. 22 after a battle with cancer. She was 67.
Tomasso, who earned staff emeritus status in 2016, began working at the university in 1976. She rose through the ranks in the Academic Senate from assistant to coordinator to analyst.
She was the “face” of the Academic Senate office and was instrumental in coordinating and administering day-to-day operations, maintaining the senate archives, and supporting the senate chair, vice chair, senators and faculty. Over the years, she supported the activities of 28 senate chairs, 33 senate vice chairs, hundreds of senators, five presidents and a plethora of administrators.
Political Science Professor Emeritus David Speak, who was a past senate chair, said he always felt that Tomasso’s position required her to take on extensive duties and cultivate relationships across campus.
He praised Tomasso for being proactive, friendly, competent and masterfully able to support the senate through constant change as new chairs, vice chairs and senators were elected.
“She did that with such equanimity and such good grace,” Speak said. “We were incredibly fortunate to have Robin on our staff for as long as we did. She was a great person, a great asset to the campus and not as widely recognized in her position and skills as she should have been.”
Barbara Brunson, who was an administrative coordinator in the Academic Senate and knew Tomasso for more than 20 years, said that Tomasso was not only a great colleague, but a loyal and loving friend as well. The pair spoke on the phone three or four times a week, and Brunson recalled that once when she had surgery, Tomasso came over and cleaned her house for while she recovered.
“She was a wonderful woman and so generous,” Brunson said. “She was always there for you no matter what. You could talk to her about anything, and there was no judgement, no criticism.”
Tomasso’s family described her as dedicated, selfless and compassionate.
She is survived by her husband, Richard; son, Eric; daughter, Jennifer; and five grandchildren. A private memorial service is planned for family and close friends.