For over two decades, Dr. Maria Roglieri has shared her passion for lifelong learning with St. Thomas Aquinas College students and alumni, bringing cultures, literatures, and languages to life as she teaches in the classroom and beyond. She has designed and taught more than 25 courses during her 26 years on campus, including “The Latinx Experience: Life Between Two Worlds,” “Masterpieces of Global Literature,” and “‘Mafia Worlds’: Movies & Lit.”
“I’ve had the pleasure of having Dr. Roglieri for six classes over my time at STAC,” says Kiera Egan ’22. “Her love for teaching and learning is obvious to anyone who takes her courses. She’s always creating unexpected but interesting classes and leading thought-provoking lectures and discussions.”
Dr. Roglieri has also taught students and alumni through “study beyond” on trips to Europe. She has led students on several trips to Italy to experience firsthand what they studied in class, from the legacy of the Italian Renaissance to the art and business of Italian cuisine. As co-founder and president of STAC’s Alumni Travel Club, she has taken alumni of all ages to Italy, France, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Ireland, and Greece. Destinations for an upcoming trip include Austria, the Czech Republic, and Hungary.
“Some of my favorite travel memories have been with STAC students and alumni,” she says. “I’ll never forget the excitement in my students’ faces when they saw the Duomo in Florence and St. Peter’s Cathedral in Rome for the first time after studying them in my class. And I’ll always treasure the memory of some alums attending a Mozart concert for the first time—a concert performed on original period instruments in Salzburg, and riding through the Alps in a glass train to view the beautiful glacier lakes in Switzerland.”
While her specialty is in literature, Dr. Roglieri also blends her knowledge and skills as a musician into her scholarly pursuits. Since childhood, she has played the violin in orchestras and chamber groups and later studied Italian opera and Italian literature at the Sapienza Università di Roma in Italy. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Italian Studies from Columbia University, she received her master of arts and doctorate in Romance Languages and Literature from Harvard University.
As a graduate student, Dr. Roglieri played in the Harvard Orchestra and spent a lot of time in the music library where she began her research on the musical adaptations of Dante’s Divine Comedy. In 2001, she published the book Dante and Music: Musical Interpretations of the Commedia from the 16th Century to the Present. Her scholarly articles on Dante are featured in publications such as the Journal of Dante Studies, Bibliotheca Dantesca, and Italica, and are a frequent topic of her presentations at universities across the United States and Canada.
Dr. Roglieri aims to create an engaging classroom experience for her students that ties what she’s teaching back to real life. She brings her research on the Divine Comedy and rap music into her course on Dante, connecting this classical text to modern pop culture. She also brings her food research on world cuisines, nutrition, food equity, and food ethics into her “Global Food Culture” class.
Also passionate about gluten-free living, Dr. Roglieri is committed to raising awareness of celiac disease, helping celiacs manage the condition through gluten-free diets, and raising funds for research. She speaks regularly on the topic and has written five books, including four gluten-free travel guides and a guide to healthy eating. She says that a cookbook is also “in the works.”
“I am a professional teacher and the experience of developing and teaching so many different kinds of courses has been a highlight of my career,” she says. “At the same time, I’m also an active academic researcher who loves to explore all aspects of world cultures. Joining my love of teaching with my love of researching and writing at STAC has been tremendously fulfilling.”
In 2021, Dr. Roglieri was honored with STAC’s 25-year Service Award, but it was not the first time she’s been recognized for her service and excellence in teaching. She is also the recipient of the Lily Foundation Grant and was twice presented with the Trustees’ Award for Excellence.
At home, she enjoys paddle tennis, spending time with her husband and three children, and hosting gatherings for family and friends.