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AUBG Community Creates a Scholarship in Memory of Professor Cosmina Tanasoiu

September 13, 2016

The AUBG community has gathered together to establish a scholarship in honor of beloved professor Cosmina Tanasoiu. Professor Tanasoiu passed away on Aug. 5 after a long illness.

“Given Cosmina’s unwavering dedication to her students and classes, I think nothing would be more appropriate than creating a scholarship in her honor,” said Mihaela Racovita (‘07), a former student and friend of Professor Tanasoiu and one of the initiators of the scholarship. “And also, I think it would have made Cosmina proud.”

The Professor Cosmina Tanasoiu Memorial Scholarship is a joint effort of Racovita, AUBG Provost Emilia Zankina, “and of the many students, former students and colleagues who have expressed similar hopes via the social media,” Racovita said.

The goal of the fundraiser is to raise 20,000 USD – the amount required to create an Endowed Scholarship– by Professor Tanasoiu’s birthday, Dec. 21.

“Each and every donation will take us one step closer to our goal,” Racovita said. “So I thank everyone for their contributions, and for helping us spread the word on this initiative.”

The first contribution towards the scholarship is already a fact. AUBG alumna Adelina Gotseva (‘12) recently got married and she and her husband asked the guests at their wedding to donate to a cause instead of buying bouquets.

“Initially we announced this cause as an academic scholarship for Bulgarian students,” Gotseva said. “During our wedding preparation, the sad news about Cosmina’s passing away arrived unexpectedly. The first thing that crossed my mind was contributing the collected amount to AUBG and particularly, to a scholarship in her memory.”

Gotseva and her husband matched one-to-one the amount collected at the wedding and the company where Gotseva currently works also matched the amount as part of their corporate donation program.

Racovita and Gotseva, as well as so many other members of the AUBG community, feel a deep sense of gratitude and affection towards Professor Tanasoiu.

Racovita, who now lives and works in Geneva, first met Professor Tanasoiu when she took a class with her in 2004.  

“I braved taking her famous Intro to EU Studies class, a baptism by fire, as some would call it,” she said. “And I was hooked. She had this unnerving manner of remembering your name, even after a brief meeting, and a knack for motivating you to give your absolute best, in class, and outside it.”

Over the years, Professor Tanasoiu became Racovita’s mentor and friend.

“After AUBG the connection only grew stronger,” Racovita said. “So, when she got sick and was trying to decide where to go for treatment, I asked her to come to Geneva. The city became, over the years, her fighting ground.”

A dedicated professional and extraordinary person, Professor Tanasoiu has been an inspiration for generations of AUBG students.  

“Cosmina was...a force of nature,” Racovita said. “Each of her students and colleagues will no doubt have their own memories to share, of her intellectual prowess, and of her generous heart... which is an achievement in itself. For me, she was always my moral compass - compassionate, but fair. She had a talent for writing and mentoring, and a deep love of her occupation: teaching.”

Gotseva also holds fond memories of Professor Tanasoiu.

“Professor Tanasoiu, whom we all referred to as Cosmina, was and will remain my favorite professor from among all the professors I’ve met at the American University in Bulgaria, the American University in Washington D.C. where I spent my junior year, as well as the Central European University where I had my Master’s degree,” she said.  “I vividly remember the very first course I took with her – Introduction to EU Integration. During the first lecture, I could easily say I was scared – of the depth of her knowledge, her quick mind, demanding methods and challenging style. (…) With time I realized this was only doing me a favor as I was learning quickly and catching up with the juniors and seniors in the class. I took about five more courses with Cosmina.”

Gotseva said a scholarship in memory of Professor Tanasoiu is “the least she deserves for all her input into the AUBG academic and social life.”

Professor Tanasoiu, who joined AUBG in 2002 and taught politics, established AUBG’s program in European Studies, empowered students to create the European Society Club and the Model EU and advised Honors-track students working on senior theses. 

Donations to the scholarship can be made through the Youcaring platform, a site which specializes in compassionate crowdfunding as well as directly to the AUBG account.

By Dimana Doneva

We are Social