Professor brought passion to class

  • Article by: NORMAN DRAPER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 25, 2010 - 8:23 PM

Frank J. Coglitore, who taught accounting at St. Thomas, "could reach any student."

Frank J. Coglitore, a University of St. Thomas accounting professor, loved to teach. He was good enough at it to be named the university's Professor of the Year for 2006. But that wasn't his only passion. There was his family. There was the New York Yankees baseball team.

"He was a lifelong Yankees fan," said his wife, Elaine Coglitore, of Lakeville. "He especially loved teasing his students about it." What that involved for his Twins-fan students was Coglitore walking into his classroom with his Yankees jacket on and wielding a broom on the not-infrequent occasion of a Yankees sweep of the Twins.

The good-natured banter was a hallmark of Coglitore's classes. So was the emphasis on ethics to go along with all the balance sheets, a respect for differences of opinion, and an ability to draw students into the accounting profession. "By the time students got through with his class they were absolutely hooked on accounting," said Georgia Fisher, assistant dean at the university's Opus College of Business. "I think it was his excitement about the profession as well as the subject. ... He could reach any student in his class and they would understand."

Coglitore, who Fisher said began teaching at St. Thomas 27 years ago, died Thursday of cancer. He was 68.

Coglitore got his MBA from the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania. He served with the U.S. Army in South Korea from 1969 to 1970. He also worked as an accountant, and taught at Minnesota State University, Mankato.

Fellow St. Thomas professor and fishing partner Bill Raffield said that, when the fish weren't biting, he was always struck at how devoted Coglitore was to the professional morality of his subject matter. "He was passionate about how to do the right things and get the right things done," Raffield said.

Elaine Coglitore said her husband placed a special emphasis on ethics in his teaching. "He found accounting to be something way more than numbers. For him, it was detective work. It was following the money. It was helping the students make ethical and moral decisions in business," she said.

Besides his wife, Coglitore is survived by a son, Paul, of Savage; a sister, Nancy Mazalatis, of Staten Island, N.Y., and two grandchildren. He was preceded in death by a son, Frank Coglitore. Services will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday at All Saints Catholic Church, 19795 Holyoke Av., Lakeville. Visitation will be 4-8 p.m. Tuesday at the White Funeral Home, 20134 Kenwood Trail (County Road 50), Lakeville, and one hour before services at the church.

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