Joseph A. Bronstad, 70, of Westport died Tuesday, March 19, 2013, at St. Anne’s Hospital in Fall River. Born in Wisconsin, he was the son of the late Sherman and Olga (Mislinski) Bronstad.
Professor Bronstad earned his BA from Lawrence University, Appleton, Wisc., his MA from the University of Wisconsin and his PhD from the University of Connecticut. Mr. Bronstad was also awarded a Fulbright Hays Travel Scholarship to Muenster, Germany.
From 1973-2007, he was employed by the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, as a professor of German Language and and Literature. During his tenure there, Professor Bronstad did much more than teach.
He was the resident director of the University of Massachusetts/Baden-Wurtenburg Exchange Program at the University of Frieburg. Beginning in 1992, Dr. Bronstad initiated the first of several foreign exchange programs between UMass Dartmouth and various Universities in Germany. Due to his leadership, these programs fostered exchange programs in many other areas throughout the UMass system. It is estimated that, due to Joe’s efforts, 3,000 students participated in these programs.
It wasn’t uncommon for Joe to invite the German students to his home for a cookout upon their arrival and again before their departure. Other faculty and their exchange students were also invited. Quite a few of the friendships formed during these cookouts have only strengthened 20 years later between the students, and Professor Bronstad and his students.
In addition to his teaching and exchange programs, Dr. Bronstad was president of the UMass Faculty Federation from 1979-1991. During his presidency, the union was vibrant and fiercely protected the rights of professional staff, librarians, professional technicians and faculty.
Dr. Bronstad was granted Professor Emeritus status upon his retirement in 2007.
Joe simply made his friends his family, both locally and worldwide. He is loved by many and remembered by thousands due to the impact he made at UMD and beyond.
He is survived by a niece, Kate Boyle of West Jordan, Utah; and a nephew, Jon L. Bronstad of St. Louis Park, Minn.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Professor Joseph Bronstad Memorial Scholarship c/o UMass Faculty Federation 1895, University of Massachusetts – Dartmouth, North Dartmouth, MA 02747-2300.
Arrangements are by the Potter Funeral Home, 81 Reed Road, Westport.
Services are private and will be at the convenience of his loved ones.
To sign the on-line guestbook, please visit potterfuneralservice.com.