The College community was saddened by the deaths of Marvin Kurland, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, and Jonathan Trabilcy ’02, a support specialist in the Division of Information Technology’s User Support Services area, both of whom passed away in March.
Kurland, who joined the College community in 1988, was part of a faculty-student team that created a wheelchair for the severely disabled which could be operated by the user’s fingertips. In 1996, the group received a patent for its invention, which was the first to be awarded to the College.
Kurland was also the adviser/coach of TCNJ’s Micromouse Team. A micromouse is a miniature, self-propelled robot that can find its way through a complex maze. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) holds every year contests in which awards are given for the fastest and best-performing micromouse. Kurland’s teams regularly won first place and had the best record of any university/college that competed in these contests. In recognition of Kurland’s contributions to the computer hobby resulting from his interest in computers and robotics, his dedication to his students, and the development of a superior micromouse, he was selected for the 2010 Computer Hobbyist of the Year Award by the Amateur Computer Group of New Jersey (ACGNJ). This award has been presented at the Trenton Computer Festival Banquet for over 30 years. Its past winners include many notables in the world of personal computing.
Kurland was the recipient of a kidney transplant 10 years ago, after suffering kidney damage from a strep infection he suffered as a child. Later in life he volunteered for the NJ Sharing Network, a non-profit, federally certified, state-approved organ procurement organization,
Trabilcy grew up in Brick, NJ, and graduated from Brick Memorial High School before attending TCNJ, where he earned degrees in business information systems management, international business, and economics. After working in the industry for two years, Jon returned to his Alma Mater and began working as a help desk analyst.
“I was fortunate enough to work with Jon in several capacities, including his role as a student employee, full-time Help Desk analyst, and as a support specialist, said Jeff Philburn, associate director of user support services. “[Jon] added a level of humor to most situations that is greatly missed. He was passionate in his involvement with coworkers, whether it be working on a difficult project or attempting to finish off an order of spicy Buffalo wings. He was quick to befriend and enjoyable do be around. Jon was outspoken about his love for his family and was an inspiration to many of us with the way he coped with challenges.”
Trabilcy is survived by his wife of six years, Jennifer MacIver Trabilcy, his daughter, Sofia Marie; a sister, Janette; his parents, Eugene and Lorraine Serio Trabilcy; and his in-laws, John and Fran MacIver of Flemington.