Enduring Legacy of Dr. Englert


Dr. Hilary Englert, who taught in NJCU’s English department for 19 years, recently passed away. NJCU will be holding a memorial service to celebrate her life and share memories on Thursday, May 12 at 3 pm in the Gothic Lounge (Hepburn Hall Room 202).

Julie Marie Frances DeVoe, Copy Editor

Professor Hilary Englert who taught in the English Department at NJCU for 19 years, passed away on April 25, leaving the university community devastated. Students and colleagues remembered her as kind, generous and tough, but caring.

English Professor Alina Gharabegian said, “We are all broken up – deeply aggrieved – by this immense loss. I think not just about this moment of immeasurable loss, but about all future encounters in which she will not participate, where her absence will be profoundly felt. She was such an integral part of the department’s spirit, vibrancy, presence in the university community, that the department is, for me, unimaginable without her.”

She was described by Tatiana Reyes, assistant to the Dean of the College of Education as “tough but fair, with high expectations of students, kind and warm.” Reyes, who studied with Englert as an undergraduate at NJCU, is also an adjunct professor of Literacy Education and Multicultural Education, and the interim assistant director for New Pathways to Teaching in NJ. It is because of Englert, she said, that she is now in a doctoral program.

Reyes’ statement of Englert having high expectations was echoed by fellow colleagues, English professors Audrey Fisch and Ann Wallace.

Wallace said that Englert’s office was always a “welcoming environment” and the “atmosphere diffused stress.” At monthly department chair meetings, Englert would bake homemade chocolate chip cookies and present them in a tin.

Fisch said that both she and Englert came from the same private college and that she was someone “who taught classes that were demanding but supportive.” Fisch said, “[Englert wanted] everyone to succeed and modeled what students were capable of.” Englert studied English and Women’s and Gender Studies at Amherst College and earned her Ph.D. in English Literature at Johns Hopkins University.

I had the opportunity to have Dr. Englert for The Short Novel class in Spring 2021. I remember that I had overlooked an assignment due for class and so I stayed up until three in the morning reading the book, sitting on the edge with anticipation despite knowing that I had class at 9:10 am, but I could not put that book down. Englert challenged her students to be the best they could be because she knew that they had potential.

This year, I considered changing my major from English–Creative Writing to English–Literature for personal reasons. I was elated to hear that Englert was teaching the Capstone course for Literature. However, I continued to stay with my major and reached out to her about a month ago. I sent her a photo of my cap and gown. She replied to my email with, “Congratulations, Julie. You worked hard for it!” I had been undecided about walking for graduation, but as of Tuesday, I decided that I would walk in honor of Englert.

Dr. Englert leaves a legacy behind and has touched the lives of everyone she knew. Her warmth, compassion, determination, and passion for her students will remain within us for the rest of our lives. For anyone who wishes to pay their respects, there will be a memorial for Dr. Englert on May 12 at 3 pm, in the Gothic Lounge (Hepburn Hall Room 202). For those who cannot make it in person, there will be a Zoom option.

Information for Memorial

Dr. Hilary Englert, whom we loved as colleague, teacher, and friend, passed away on April 25th, 2022. Please join us on May 12th at 3 pm, on campus in the Gothic Lounge or on Zoom, to share memories, celebrate her life, and console one another. Students, former students, staff, and faculty are all encouraged to speak. Refreshments will be served.
Please RSVP here: https://forms.gle/rs6ihvjHGo3oquAk6
Join on Zoom at this link: https://NJCU.zoom.us/j/98773144436…