Carolyn Fazzolari, P.E., F.SWE

SWE pioneer member and professor, led outreach efforts in the Greater New York area

Word recently reached SWE that Carolyn Vivona Fazzolari, P.E., F.SWE, died Oct. 1, 2022. Growing up in Brooklyn, New York, she became an accomplished pianist at the age of 5. She turned down a full scholarship to attend The Julliard School of Music and chose instead to study engineering at Pratt Institute. She graduated with a B.S. in mechanical engineering (cum laude) in 1963, joined the Society of Women Engineers that same year, and became involved in preparations for the first International Conference of Women Engineers and Scientists (ICWES). SWE hosted the event in 1964, bringing together women engineers and scientists from 35 countries.

While a student, Fazzolari participated in a joint program between Pratt and the United States Navy, which included a co-op at the New York Navy Yard in Brooklyn. She was hired there upon completing her degree and spent the next three years working full time while taking graduate courses at Columbia University. She earned a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Columbia in 1966, and her P.E. license in 1970.

Switching from industry to academia, Fazzolari began her teaching career in 1967 as an instructor at Pratt, then moved to the mechanical engineering department at the College of Staten Island, part of the City University of New York (CUNY) system, in 1969. She successfully led the department in achieving TAC/ABET accreditation and was named department chair in 1980. She also led many innovative programs and received significant grants to establish and expand what has become the Office of Information Technology Services.

Fazzolari became a full professor in 1988. At that time, she was also named a SWE Fellow and was one of only two women engineers teaching in the CUNY system. She later served as acting dean of administration.

In keeping with her dedication to both technical education and SWE’s mission, Fazzolari led many of the SWE New York Section’s outreach efforts. She served on the scholarship committee, was active in the speakers bureau, and administered the citywide certificate of merit program to high school students in the New York metropolitan area. She is credited with personally presenting more than 500 certificates. On the Society level, Fazzolari served as publications committee chair; section representative to the Council of Section Representatives (predecessor to today’s senate); and treasurer/finance chair for the SWE national convention, as they were called at the time, held in Hartford, Connecticut, among others.

Fazzolari was a member of both the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the National Society of Professional Engineers; the Richmond County chapter of New York Woman Inc., serving as newsletter editor; and an engaged member of Woodrow United Methodist Church in Staten Island, where she also volunteered as newsletter editor. Fazzolari enjoyed traveling with family and friends, especially her daughter, and following the New York Mets baseball team.

Retiring in 2000, Fazzolari moved to Florida. Her husband, Bob, died in 2004. Among survivors are her daughter, Theresa; two sisters; and many nieces, nephews, and other relatives. Services were held Oct. 7 at Woodrow United Methodist Church. Memorial donations may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital or Shriners Hospitals for Children.

— Anne Perusek, SWE Director of Editorial and Publications
Sources: SWE archives, U.S. Woman Engineer, September/October 1988; Matthew Funeral Home,