Farewell, Robert Marcello

4/21/2020

By: Daniel B. Wallace

On February 15, Robert Marcello’s twelve-year tenure with CSNTM came to an end after he accepted a position with another company. We are truly going to miss Rob! Over the past dozen years, he has made incomparable contributions to our team as a digitizer, manager, and friend. For myself, Rob was not simply an employee, but was and is a close friend. 

Robert played an integral role at the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts, influencing the direction of the organization in nearly every area. Beginning as an exceptional graduate student intern, he grew as a scholar, manager, and leader—assuming new responsibilities over time. These last few years, he served as Assistant Executive Director.

Digitization and Research

The initial focus of Rob’s work was at the heart of CSNTM’s mission: digitization and research. During his time at the Center, we made significant improvements in our digitization protocols and technology—incorporating the Graz Conservation Copy Stand and multispectral imaging into our workflow, and following best practices and international standards for the growing field of digital humanities. He demonstrated superb skill in digitizing manuscripts and in supervising digitization projects. 

The Center’s most significant digitization projects were completed under his guidance, including the Chester Beatty Library and University of Michigan (2013–2014), the National Library of Greece in Athens (2015–2016), and the National Centre of Manuscripts in Tbilisi, Georgia (2018).

Rob also oversaw and contributed to academic initiatives at CSNTM. While he was at CSNTM, dozens of graduate student interns received training in textual criticism and digitizing manuscripts. Rob also contributed to building our presence in academic circles: attending conferences and meetings including the annual meetings of the Society of Biblical Literature and the Evangelical Theological Society; a workshop on the Pinakes database in Paris, France; and the Society of New Testament Studies in Athens, Greece (2018). In 2015, he announced the initial launch of a new version of CSNTM’s digital library and manuscript viewer at the Society of Biblical Literature—a project he spearheaded. And earlier this year he co-authored a profile of CSNTM with Stratton L. Ladewig in the journal Open Theology titled, “Presentation of the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts: Bridging the Gap between Ancient Manuscripts and Modern Technology.” Rob, Stratton, and Dan—along with just about every intern and staff member who worked at CSNTM in the last half dozen years—logged thousands of hours on a major project that should be published in coming months. But we cannot say anything more about it at this time—but stay tuned!

Organization Improvement

Rob also left a large footprint on the shape of CSNTM. As the Director of Operations and Research and then the Assistant Executive Director, Rob initiated many improvements for our internal operations. Though much of this work occurred behind the scenes, it was his initiative and leadership that made the Center a better place to work for his colleagues. In particular, we appreciated his concern for efficiency and streamlining processes to ensure that a small team could make a big impact.

Personal Engagement

Finally, Rob was not just a co-worker or supervisor to our staff. He intentionally developed personal relationships with his teammates. The staff would smile gratefully when he brought bagels or breakfast tacos to the office for all to share. And his concern for teambuilding was evident on expeditions where he strove to foster a productive and enjoyable environment. 

As for me, Rob was my sage counselor, friend, and energetic colleague. He tempered my ideas and offered many of his own. CSNTM is what it is today because of Rob Marcello. His fingerprints are on every aspect of our little institute.

These past twelve years with Robert Marcello were some of the best years in our history, and he played a vital role in those successful moments. We will deeply miss his presence and influence in our ongoing work to preserve manuscripts. And we wish him much success in his new work and many blessings for his family.