In Memoriam: Michael Ego, Former Stamford Campus Director

Michael Ego on May 30, 2018.

Michael Ego on May 30, 2018. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)

Professor of Human Development and Family Studies Michael Ego passed away on Jan. 28, 2019. Ego was the former Director of the UConn Stamford Campus and was known for his work on sports reminiscence as a therapy for patients with dementia.

Ego received his bachelor’s degree from California State University Dominguez Hills in Physical Education in 1974, his master’s degree from California State University, Los Angeles in Recreation Administration in 1976, and his Ph.D. from the University of Oregon in Leisure Studies and Services in 1980.

Ego held a number of different positions before coming to UConn, including time on the faculty at California State University, Northridge, and his roles as Professor and Dean of the College of Applied Sciences and Arts at San Jose State University.

He joined University of Connecticut in 2005 as Professor of Human Development and Family Studies in Stamford, as well as serving as the Associate Vice Provost for the Stamford campus from 2005-2010.

Recently, Ego focused his research on sports reminiscence therapy for individuals with dementia. Department Head of Human Development and Family Studies Eva Lefkowitz says that Ego had a true passion for this research, not only for the pursuit of new knowledge, but also for the lives this work touched.

Lefkowitz says that Ego was always quick to volunteer to overenroll his classes or to teach an extra course if it would help students. He often donated funds earned from teaching extra courses to support graduate students’ research.

“He had a contagious energy about his program of research and was delightful to discuss research with,” says current Director of the Stamford Campus Terrence Cheng.

Through frequent opinion articles in local and national newspapers, Ego also shared his breadth of knowledge on a range of topics including perceptions of aging in the United States, the history of Asian Americans, and the role of baseball in American society.

Kenneth Best, writer in the Office of University Communications, worked with Ego to help promote his baseball reminiscence program at the River House Adult Care Center in Greenwich. He recalls when Ego was featured on NBC Sports in 2018 for his reminiscence program. Ego proudly wore his UConn golf shirt to the interview, says Best, because he wanted everyone to know he was from UConn.

“He told me, ‘The thing that inspires me to do more to spread these programs all over the country is the smiles, laughter, and satisfaction these individuals get from sitting around talking about baseball with their peers,’” says Best.

A memorial service will be held Saturday, Feb. 2 from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at UConn Stamford in the main concourse. Those who knew Ego are invited to give a short testimonial or tribute of less than five minutes.

Donations may be made “In memory of Dr. Michael M. Ego” for a purpose to be designated by Mrs. Kathleen Ego specifically to and in support of the UConn Foundation, Inc.’s Stamford Campus Scholarship Fund (030713). Please make checks payable to: The UConn Foundation, Inc. and forward to: 2390 Alumni Drive Unit 3206, Storrs, Connecticut 06269.

Story by Combined Reports

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