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Facing the Impossible

The email, from Communication Professor Rex Crawley, was addressed to “My guys”, a cheery enough greeting that stood in contrast to the message that followed. Rex was letting a handful of the people who work closely with him at Robert Morris University know that he has been sidelined with treatments for non-Hodgkins lymphoma, the second time that he has battled cancer.

I’m not much of a praying man these days but I’ll certainly spare one for Rex, his wife Daria – also a Robert Morris professor – and their young son Xavier, who Rex lovingly calls “X” and who is a fixture with his parents at RMU sporting events and other university activities. Rex is a man who takes to heart RMU’s mission to change lives. One of his passions is mentoring young African American men, and he’s devoted considerable time to the Black Male Leadership Development Institute, a project with the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh to provide education, leadership, and service opportunities to black teenage boys. He also advises African American male students at RMU, and that includes a healthy dose of tough love when he thinks they need it. Rex pays these young men the ultimate compliment—high expectations.

Rex has spearheaded RMU’s efforts to be a more diverse and inclusive campus, chairing the university’s Council on Institutional Equity. In short, he’s a role model, not only for students at RMU but for faculty and staff as well.

Rex is optimistic that he can beat cancer a second time, but he’s also unsparing in discussing the long road ahead of him. You can read his first-hand account of his treatment at his blog,

Keep fighting Rex. You’ve got plenty of people in your corner.

— Jonathan Potts

One Comment Post a comment
  1. Pryaers for you.

    November 1, 2011

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