Thomas Sizgorich, an associate professor of history, passed away at age 41 on Thursday, Jan. 27 from a stroke, leaving students, faculty and family shocked and saddened.
A memorial was held for Sizgorich at Pacific View Memorial Park and Mortuary in Corona del Mar where over 100 people circulated in and out to preserve the memory of the professor and pay their respects.
Sizgorich primarily studied and did research on late antiquity and early Islam. He completed his PhD at UC Santa Barbara in 2005 and wrote the book “Violence and Belief in Late Antiquity: Militant Devotion in Christianity and Islam” in 2008.
Reza Yeganeh, a PhD student who took two seminars with Sizgorich and knew him well, said that his sudden death was a total shock for all those who knew him.
“In all his classes he was so friendly and humble and people feel so comfortable to communicate with him,” Yeganeh said. “Any works that mention him … let me learn from him in the future and still remain his student. He was a great scholar but his knowledge and the works he has created will be always among us and I will remember him as a humble, kind and intelligent person whose short life helped people and produced brilliant knowledge.”
Sizgorich is survived by his wife Nancy McLoughlin, an assistant professor of history at UCI.
According to UC Santa Barbara’s ancient mediterranean studies website, the UCI professor’s family, friends and colleagues have established a fund called the Tom Sizgorich Memorial Incoming Graduate Student Award.
The award will go to economically disadvantaged or non-traditional incoming graduate students at UCSB for study in ancient history, late antiquity or early Islamic history.