In Memory: Father Robert Haberman 1949-2021

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Father Robert Haberman, a beloved member of the Dominican University of California community for more than 30 years, passed away peacefully early on Sunday morning, January 24. He was 71.

Fr. Bob came to Dominican 32 years ago from his home state of Colorado — and he often joked that he was on “temporary assignment” from his diocese in Pueblo. In his tenure at Dominican, Fr. Bob served the campus in several different capacities including faculty member, chair of the Religion department, Director of Campus Ministry, Residence Hall coordinator, and University chaplain.

Dominican President Mary B. Marcy recalls that Fr. Bob’s insight into Dominican’s history was invaluable when she arrived to serve as President of Dominican in 2011.

“We quickly bonded over our shared experiences growing up in rural middle America. He was astutely able to find such connections with nearly everyone, and his gentle presence and playful sense of humor will be greatly missed,” President Marcy said.

Fr. Bob is remembered for his love of all things Star Wars (so much so that he based a course on analyzing the religious underpinnings of Darth Vader’s empire and Luke Skywalker’s rebellion) and also for his love of the Dominican community; most especially the students he so deeply cared for and served.

His commitment and service to the University is rivaled only by the many relationships and connections he built with alumni and friends of Dominican over the years. His benediction at the close of every commencement, followed by his donning of the famous ‘pizza hat’ and saying “time to party!” captured both Fr. Bob’s pastoral touch, and his mischievous sense of fun.

Fr. Bob was often called upon to officiate the weddings of former students, to baptize the children of alumni, and to celebrate the lives of the recently deceased. “We provide all the services,” Fr. Bob once quipped, “hatch, match, and dispatch.” His sense of humor and his gift to be a calming and reassuring presence will most certainly be missed by the entire Dominican community; students, faculty, staff, alumni, and the many friends of the University.

Fr. Bob received his DMin from the San Francisco Theological Seminary, his MDiv from St. Mary’s University, and his BA from Loras College. He also completed additional studies at the University of Jerusalem, Dartmouth University, University of Notre Dame, and the University of San Francisco.

Fr. Bob. had battled leukemia for a long time, and recently he required hospitalization due to additional complications. While hospitalized, his condition worsened and he was unable to recover.

The University is working with the Dominican Sisters of San Rafael and Fr. Bob’s family in Colorado to explore options for a celebration of his life, while remaining mindful of public health restrictions. Dominican will update the community when more information is available.

Gifts in Fr. Bob's memory can be made to Campus Ministry.

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