John Cabot University Sends Condolences to Family of Roberto Wirth, Great Friend of JCU

President Franco Pavoncello and the entire JCU Community send their deepest condolences to the family of Roberto Wirth, who recently passed away.

Born in Rome in 1950, Roberto E. Wirth was President and General Manager of the renowned Hotel Hassler in Rome, overlooking the Spanish Steps. He was the only known deaf person in the world to head a world-famous five-star hotel.

From left,. Roberto Wirth and President Pavoncello

From left, Roberto Wirth and President Franco Pavoncello

Wirth was the founder and president of the non-profit organization CABSS, Centro Assistenza per Bambini Sordi e Sordociechi Onlus (Assistance Center for Deaf and Deafblind Children). The association focuses on supporting deaf and deafblind children from birth to age six and finances projects that promote cognitive, emotional, and communicative development, in order to allow children to fully express their personality. Moreover, in collaboration with the Italian Fulbright Commission, CABSS provides scholarships to deaf students to attend Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C.

Although his family had been in the luxury hospitality business for almost two centuries, Wirth had to earn the right to manage the family business. Guided by his tenacity and his motto “Never give up,” he managed to make the Hassler an icon of the global hotel industry. He tells his extraordinary story in the autobiography ll silenzio è stato il mio primo compagno di giochi (Silence Was My First Playmate), published in 2015 by Newton Compton.

John Cabot University conferred the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters honoris causa upon Wirth at the 2016 Commencement Ceremony in recognition of his exceptional entrepreneurial achievements and philanthropic dedication.

“Roberto Wirth was an extraordinary man and a great friend of John Cabot University. We are sure that his children Veruschka and Roberto Jr. will carry on his legacy with pride,” said JCU President Franco Pavoncello.