The late Jack Grasso, who was a part-time lecturer at SC&I for more than 21 years, died on June 15, 2019. He was deeply beloved and is greatly missed as a teacher, mentor, colleague, and friend by SC&I’s faculty, staff, and countless Rutgers students. Below, read our interview with Grasso, posted to the SC&I website on September 11, 2018.
SC&I Part-Time Lecturer Jack Grasso remembers Sept. 11, 2001, vividly. In fact, Grasso was with former United States President George W. Bush when Bush was told the second tower had been hit by a plane.
Living in Sarasota at the time, Grasso worked as a communications director for Bush’s campaign during the election. The White House had extended an invitation to Grasso and his wife to attend a Leadership Forum on Sept. 11, 2001 at Emma E. Booker Elementary School.
Grasso graciously accepted, unaware of the events that would transpire that morning.
Standing in the same room as President Bush, Grasso watched as the president made his first remarks acknowledging the attack. Shortly after, said Grasso, the president and his staff hurried to board Air Force One to return to Washington, D.C.
At the same time Grasso was in Sarasota, his son was working at the World Trade Center in New York City.
Witnessing both planes crash into the towers above him, Grasso’s son managed to flee with his coworker before the buildings collapsed. Although neither of them were injured, the experience left a permanent effect on Grasso and his family.
SC&I is proud of its faculty members such as Grasso, who offer a personal and unique perspective on current events. Grasso hopes to teach his students how to adapt to their environment under extraordinary circumstances.