Moses Shumow, Ph.D. ’10, a beloved University of Miami School of Communication alumnus tragically passed away on the morning of Oct. 22. He was riding his bicycle near Boston when he was struck by an MBTA Commuter Rail train. Shumow was living in Massachusetts, where he recently began working as an associate professor for journalism at Emerson College. He is survived by his wife, Rose, B.S.C. ‘98, and their three children.
“Our hearts go out to his wife Rose, also a graduate of our program, his family, and his friends,” said Dean Karin Wilkins of the School of Communication, in an email to faculty and staff announcing Shumow’s passing.
Christina Lane, department chair for Cinema and Interactive Media, first met Shumow while he was a student.
“His documentary focus led him to become my teaching assistant where he shone as a gifted teacher. He clearly believed in the power of cinema and absolutely loved the documentary form. It was a joy to witness how powerfully he connected with our students,” said Lane.
Shumow is remembered as a brilliant scholar who touched many people with his kindness and passion for journalism as a tool for change. Sallie Hughes, associate professor, directed his dissertation and fondly remembers him as “an engaged scholar and journalist deeply committed to using all of his talents to advocate for social justice.”
“He was my student, but became my teacher,” said Hughes.
While at UM, Shumow fervently worked on various projects giving a voice to underrepresented communities. After the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti in 2010, he co-founded KozeAyiti, an organization devoted to creating better communication between Haiti and the world. In a video detailing the project, Shumow expressed his motivation for co-founding the organization.
“I think we always need to focus on the voices of the voiceless. And if you think about the history of Haiti, that’s really how it’s been for a majority of that population, that they don’t have a voice, and so what we’re trying to do is to offer one outlet,” said Shumow.
Trevor Green, lecturer, worked with Shumow on the KozeAyiti project. Green was earning his M.F.A. at the time while also working at the School of Communication when he first met Shumow. Green said Shumow was a “pleasure to work with, and a really smart guy who always had a big smile on his face.” But what Green remembers most about Shumow is how unique his abilities were.
“Shumow was a shining star. Usually, in communication, professors are either researchers or they’re more into production, but he was this really talented guy who could write and could also shoot a documentary. You don’t really have people who can do both,” said Green.
Sanjeev Chatterjee, professor, mentored Shumow while he was earning his Ph.D. and said “Moses was more than special.”
[He was] an artist, scholar, and empath who was passionate about social justice. He will be missed by many around the world,” said Chatterjee.
A memorial service and reception for Shumow is scheduled for Oct. 27 at 2 p.m. at First Baptist Church, 221 Cabot Street, Beverly, MA, 01915. All are welcome to attend. A GoFundMe has also been established to benefit the Shumow family.
“I don’t think I ever saw [Moses] without a smile on his face and he was always just brimming with love. His wife, Rosie, has said that he wore his heart on his sleeve and she’s so right. Moses had a very, very big heart,” said Lane.