Breaking News: Longest serving active faculty member dies due to cancer complications


Late professor Robert Towers received this plaque in Fall 2014 for fifty years of active teaching at American River College. Next to the plaque are postcards of places that Towers traveled to throughout his life.

Update, May 5, 3:42 p.m.: This story has been updated to include an interview with Greg Warzecka, ARC’s athletic director, and more information about Towers’ education and career.

The longest serving active faculty member at American River College died late Friday due to complications from cancer.

Kinesiology professor Robert Towers was honored in Fall 2014 for his 50 years at ARC.

ARC president Thomas Greene sent out an email to faculty and staff this morning notifying everyone of Towers passing.

“Per Bob’s wishes, there will be no formal services at this time. Should any memorial activities be planned, we will keep you informed,” Greene said in the email.

Jeanette Powless, the head coach for the women’s cross country and track programs, spoke about her time knowing Towers.

“The thing I respected about him most was how he always pushed his students to try harder,” Powless said.

Powless also commented on her relationship with Towers.

“We had a nice bond. He would refer students from his walk and jog class to cross country and track.”

“He did a tremendous amount of fitness classes, “ said athletic trainer Tim Finney.

“We extend our sincere condolences to Bob’s family and friends at this time. We also honor Bob’s extensive service to ARC. He received his 50-year award for service in Fall 2014,” said Greene in the email.

Towers attended four colleges including Mesa college, Colorado State College, the University of Connecticut and Syracuse College where he received his master’s degree in science.

Not only did he attend several colleges, but Towers also coached and taught at several different schools.

Towers was an assistant football, baseball and wrestling coach at Wray High School in Wray Colorado, an assistant football coach and science teacher at El Camino High School in Sacramento and a wrestling coach at Sacramento City College and American River College.

“He was an instructor for circuit training, boot camp, circuit weight training, body fitness, badminton, and golf,” said ARC athletic director Greg Warzecka. “Those are just few of the many classes he taught.”

Towers held high standards for his students.

“Students who wanted a high level of fitness would take his classes,” said Warzecka.

Among the many pictures and articles showcasing his accomplishments Towers has a map in his office with pins on all of the places he has traveled to.

During his time at ARC, Towers was known to plan trips for faculty members.

“He was like the travel agent,” said physical education professor Kathleen Sullivan-Torrez.

The Current will update this story as more information becomes available.