Professor Leaves Class, Kills Himself Public suicide takes place at Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia By Sarah Whitmire, Newser Staff Posted Aug 5, 2011 1:03 PM CDT 32 comments Comments File photo. (Shutterstock) (Newser) – Rough story from a Philadelphia college: A math professor walked out of his class and dove headfirst over a second-floor balcony to his death, falling as far as 30 feet to the marble floor of a hall at Chestnut Hill College, reports the Philadelphia Daily News. "He had a history of depression," a police spokesman said of 71-year-old Rudolf Zaffino. "He had been having suicidal thoughts and mentioned harming himself in the past." Zaffino's wife, also an adjunct professor, was in the building at the time.