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We were deeply saddened to hear the news of Rocky Carzo’s passing. Rocky was a larger-than-life figure at Tufts University. As Tufts’s Athletic Director from 1978-1999, he touched the lives of thousands of student athletes and won countless awards for his coaching and leadership skills. What few people know is that Rocky was also a tireless champion of the Tufts European Center.

His history with Talloires goes back to the earliest days of the European Center, when he was asked by Tufts French professor Seymour Simches, the first European Center director, to run a physical fitness class for students in Talloires. Rocky had never been to France before, but when he arrived in Talloires and met Donald MacJannet, he found a kindred spirit, someone who also believed in building up the character of students through sports and physical activity. The rest, as they say, is history.

For many years, Rocky not only ran his Alpine Fitness class in Talloires, but he also developed activities like the MacJannet Games, his own brand of Olympic games, and the Saint Germain Pilgrimage, a community race up to the Saint Germain Church above Talloires. His goal was to encourage, develop, and celebrate both athleticism and community spirit. Each year, he organized these events so that they included not only Tufts students and staff, but also members of the local Talloires community as well. Rocky’s dedication to helping students grow, both intellectually and physically, ensured that these events were not just fun, but also transformative. They remain part of our student programs to this day.

Rocky was also responsible for bringing the United States Olympic Committee to the Priory for the 1992 Albertville Winter Olympics. When he learned that the USOC was looking for a place to set up their offices for the Winter Games, he and the Center’s director at the time, Mary Harris, made an irresistible case for the European Center. As a result, the Priory was transformed into the USOC headquarters for the winter of 1991-1992, and Rocky and the Priory staff welcomed the USOC staff – along with all of the Olympic athletes and their families – to the Tufts European Center through the course of the Winter Games. It was an extraordinary undertaking that, thanks to Rocky, brought enormous prestige to Tufts University and the Tufts European Center.

Everyone who met him has a Rocky story that they will remember forever. We laughed and cheered with him; we rolled up our sleeves and worked alongside him. We loved him for being a direct and unfiltered communicator, an indomitable spirit who cared deeply about character and community.

In the course of his years in Talloires, Rocky left an indelible mark on staff, students, and guests alike. He motivated us and inspired us to climb mountains – which we did, literally. We are grateful to have known him, and will hold his memory close to our hearts. We offer our most heartfelt condolences to his wife Terry and his children and their families, to whom he was most devoted.

If you have a memory or a photo of Rocky that you would like to share, please email it to us at

“His depth of understanding of the spiritual life, of nature, and of other people always amazed me and touched me. He was always the great exemplar of integrating body, mind, heart, and spirit, and sharing that with everyone around him.” – Reverend Scotty McClennan, former Tufts University Chaplain

“Surely, Rocky’s positive impacts will far outlive him, even if the beneficiaries are not aware of it. May we all use whatever time remains for us to follow his example of a life well lived.” – Brian Roach, Tufts in Talloires Faculty

Read more tributes to Rocky at the following sites: