Dr. Vittorina (Vikki) Cecchetto
September 18, 1950 – September 3, 2020
It is with great sadness we announce the passing of our sister, Vikki Cecchetto,
Vikki will be sadly missed by her sister Gianna Madsen (Late Tony), her brother Luciano Cecchetto (Maria), her nephew Adrian Cecchetto (Stefania), her niece Laura Murer (Adam) and by her great nephews and niece (Sebastiano, Leo and Chiara Rosa).
Born in Casacorba, Italy, Vikki and her mother immigrated to Canada to join her father. Vikki’s zest for knowledge was evident at a very young age. Vikki proudly achieved her BA (1973), MA (1974) and PhD (1982) at the University of Toronto.
Vikki chose to spend her teaching career at McMaster University. Throughout her 35 year tenure, she taught, inspired and guided a multitude of students and built strong and long-lasting friendships with her colleagues and her students. She started in the Department of Romance Languages and then, in 1987, moved to Modern Languages. She was the Director of the McMaster Language Institute, long-term counsellor for linguistics and the first graduate chair of the new PhD and Master’s program in the Cognitive Science of Language.
Vikki was the author of the popular Italian language textbook Primi Passi and co-editor of three other books on language and identity in exile, the international classroom and, most recently, trauma. Vikki’s research included interviews from the families of Italian Canadians who were interned during WWII. Her research involved studying second language loss in aging bilinguals, the effects of trauma, and, most recently hate speech against refugees and minorities. Vikki sought to explore topics that were socially engaging and important, always with the goal of helping others.
Vikki retired from McMaster in 2011 as Associate Professor but continued to do research while devoting her spare time as a volunteer on the board of the Hamilton Public Library.
Vikki battled cancer with a consistent and relentless courage. It was inspiring to watch her remain positive and hopeful while always putting others first.
Vikki was also a wonderful daughter, sister, aunt and friend. We loved Vikki for her gentle presence, warmth, passion, generosity, and caring ways. She will be greatly missed by everyone.
We can never forget her unconditional love for her furry friend, Tigger the cat.