“‘Team Greiner’: UB’s Champions” (By: Michele Babcock-Nice)

Me with Carol and Bill Greiner at UB Graduation, Amherst, New York, May 1993

Me with Carol and Bill Greiner at UB Graduation, Amherst, New York, May 1993

When I think of Carol and Bill Greiner, I have fond memories of my interactions with them while I was an undergraduate¬†student at the University at Buffalo (UB).¬† Studying psychology, political science, and music performance at UB for three and one-half years provided me with many opportunities for interactions with the Greiners.¬† It enriched my life to have them there, to be excellent role models, to experience their interest in and compassion for students.¬† As I walk down my nostalgic memory lane, I can accept and be happy with the interactions that I had with the Greiners at many university events, though I will always feel a sense of “unfinished business” due to the things that I was unable to bring myself to say to them.

For that, I wish I had been more mature, more open, more able to trust that I would receive a response from them that I desired.  Of all of the wonderful events and experiences that I had as a student at UB, there was one situation that occurred about which I was unable to speak with them Рbeing the victim of a crime on campus.  I still wish I could have had more time to speak with them, and be able to open up to Carol about it, in particular, but at the time, it was too recent, too painful, too embarrassing and humiliating.  It took me years to fully address and come to terms with what had occurred, and to receive the support that I needed.  And, it was years later when I was able to disclose to Carol, anonymously, about my experience, which was helpful, but still not the same as speaking about it in person.

Something in me needed Carol to know what I experienced; I had hoped the Greiners might be able to implement programs or policies that would have better-protected students such as myself who had experienced what I did.  Never having shared about what it was provided no potential for change, improvement, or support for other UB students who had the same experience.  Perhaps, one day, I will not feel that sense of regret and loss about being unable to speak with the Greiners about the traumatic and life-changing crime that I experienced in my last semester as an undergraduate student at UB.

I first met Bill Greiner when he was the University Provost and I was a freshman, just taking flight as a student at UB.  He was at an event that welcomed students who were new to UB; my parents were there too, and my mom encouraged me to speak with him, and I did.  At first, I was intimidated about speaking with him, though when I did, he made me feel comfortable and welcome; he made me feel understood, appreciated, and respected.  The highlight of the event, in fact, was personally speaking with Bill.  I still remember the confidence he instilled in me in only a few minutes of conversation that I would do well and be successful at UB; I appreciated that.

Within two years, Bill was appointed President of UB.  That semester, I saw and spoke with him again at Homecoming.  At that time, the Homecoming parade was organized at the Main Street Campus in Buffalo, and the floats were driven to the Amherst Campus.  I was a representative of the UB Irish Club for Homecoming that year, in 1991; and was pleased to see and speak with Bill there.  His presence reflected his interest in and concern for students; that was evident and obvious, and again, was something for which I was appreciative.  As time progressed, I determined that these qualities were infused in his character and personality.  He did not just go to some rare event on occasion; he was actively involved in attending and participating in UB events, many of them, jointly, with Carol.

That year and the next, I saw both Bill and Carol at the Homecoming football games; and I saw and/or spoke with Bill on at least three other occasions on the Amherst Campus during my last semester.¬† On one occasion, I saw him while he was being interviewed in the Plaza by a TV reporter; on a second, I overcame my nervousness and visited Bill at his office, taking many gladioli from my family garden; and on the third, I spoke with him as we happened to be leaving Capen Hall at the same time one evening.¬† ‘Team Greiner’ was always there, doing more than their part to make UB even more of a success.

The Greiner Family, Susan with Husband, Daniel with Wife, Bill and Carol, Stephen with Wife, Terry with Partner, September 1992

The Greiner Family on Bill’s Inauguration Day as UB President;¬†Susan with Husband, Daniel with Wife, Bill and Carol, Kevin with Wife, Terry with Partner; Sept.¬†1992

In my last semester at a senior at UB, Bill was inaugurated as President, and I saw alot more of the Greiners.¬† In fact, I saw them at so many events that I looked forward to seeing and speaking with them, and I actually expected them to be at the events that I attended.¬† It seemed that everywhere I went, ‘Team Greiner’ was there, too.¬† The supportive actions of Bill and Carol toward UB, and the students, faculty, and staff were warmly-welcomed and appreciated by so many.

In September 1992, Bill’s Inauguration Week as President of UB provided opportunities not only to speak with Bill and Carol, but also to experience the happiness and joy of those events with them.¬† There was a Roman Catholic Mass performed at St. Joseph’s Church, right next to the UB Main Street Campus in Buffalo to essentially “kick off” Inauguration Week.¬† I made every effort to attend because it had been the night before that I had experienced crime victimization at UB; I was already traumatized from it, but did not realize or deal with it.

Additionally, at St. Joseph’s Church following the mass, I was also able to meet and speak with certain other members of the Greiner Family, including his sons and their wives and/or significant partners.¬† It was wonderful to have the feeling that the qualities of both care and compassion so evident in Carol and Bill had also been transferred to their admirable offspring.¬† In speaking with their adult children, one immediately knew that they did a fine job at parenting.

Me with Greiners at UB Christmas Concert, Amherst, New York, December 1992

Me with Greiners at UB Christmas Concert, Amherst, New York, December 1992

As Bill’s Inauguration Week progressed, I attended what I recall as being a symphonic concert on campus to celebrate his achievement; it was beautiful.¬† And, I also attended¬†Bill’s Inauguration as the 13th President of UB, an event for which I remember arriving very early because I wanted my choice selection of seat, as well as to scope out the best locations to take pictures to add tangibility to my fond memories.¬† Again, I had opportunities to see and speak with members of the Greiner Family.

Following the actual Inauguration was a reception that was held in the new Student Union building, one of many major¬†projects that Bill influenced and completed at UB.¬† By this time, I really felt a connection with the Greiner’s and their family.¬† I had seen and interacted with them at several events, and believed that I could trust being more openly, emotionally vulnerable with them.¬† I had particularly wanted to share about the crime that I had experienced only a few days prior to the Inauguration.¬† I tried to do so at the reception, separately,¬†with Carol, and with Terry, one of¬†the Greiners’¬†sons, but I could not bring myself to do it.¬† I had psyched myself up for it, but talked myself out of doing it, and have always regretted it; it was just too painful and traumatic.

As someone who was active in numerous UB clubs and groups, including ethnic/language-related groups and student government, I received invitations to attend the Student Association’s Christmas parties for two consecutive years, in 1991 and 1992.¬† On both of those occasions, I saw Bill and Carol, but spoke with them only at the second such event.¬† By then, three more months had passed, and¬†I had mentally-buried and not dealt with the crime that I had experienced.¬† It was also at this event that I asked Bill if he would write a recommendation for me.¬† He asked me to see that he received my resume, said that he would write a recommendation for me, and he did.¬† I still have and cherish it.

Prior to finishing the last of my classes as an undergraduate student at UB in December 1992, I again saw and spoke with Carol and Bill at a Christmas Concert, held in the Ellicott Complex, my group of dormitory buildings on the Amherst Campus.  Following the Christmas Concert, Carol was very warm toward me, much as always, and spoke with me about alot in a short time.  She made me feel important, valued, and accepted; she showed to me much warmth, understanding, and compassion, like one would receive from a good mother, and much as I do with my own son.

I felt such a connection with Carol during our conversation, and remember wishing that it could last forever.  I needed the warmth and compassion of someone; and I privately thanked God for her, and for her to have treated me as kindly and lovingly as she did.  Interestingly, Bill was somewhat of a sour puss that evening and I could tell that he did not want to talk, though I did not allow that to dampen my happy holiday spirits.  I remember wondering how anyone could seem so grouchy after such a wonderful and festive holiday concert.  It was a different side of him that I had not yet experienced and had not expected, but accepted on that occasion.

The last time that I interacted with the Greiner’s was when I returned to UB for my graduation in May 1993.¬† I had completed my coursework for my two baccalaureate degrees in December, moved to and was working in Manhattan, and came back to participate in the graduation ceremonies.¬† I’m glad that I did, and I have many wonderful memories of celebrating my accomplishment with many of my student colleagues as well as my family.¬† Seeing the Greiners again at this event showed me how much I had grown in a few months of having finished my studies, though it also left me with a longing and nostalgia for maintaining a connection with them.¬† It was difficult and painful to let go.

The final time that I saw the Greiners was at SUNY Day in Albany in 1999.  SUNY Day is a day that is arranged for student delegates of State University of New York system to go Albany, New York Рthe state capitol Рto meet and speak with state government representatives, receive tours of their offices, and hear lectures.  At the time, I was taking undergraduate courses at Buffalo State College to complete my social studies teacher certification, and I was a student government representative to the event.

It was¬†at SUNY Day¬†that I met former Assembly Member Sam Hoyt from Buffalo; he invited me to intern in his Buffalo office, and I later did, having an outstanding experience.¬† It was also on this occasion that¬†I only saw Bill and Carol from a distance in a conference room¬†as I was already seating in the back with my group when they entered with several UB¬†student athletes.¬† It was good to see them again, if only from a distance, and to know that ‘Team Greiner’ was still hard at work for UB.

I lost touch with the Greiners many years ago.¬† They were people with whom I had hoped to maintain a connection, and to share about the traumatic crime that I had experienced.¬† There was one occasion more than four years after I was victimized that I got the courage to go to the Greiners’ home.¬† At the time, I worked just down the street from them at Key Bank.

This time, I had resolved that I would tell them about it, and had hoped and prayed that they would welcome me, but they were not at home.  They had the power and influence to make change at UB to help other students who were survivors of traumatic crimes that occurred on campus, as well as to help see that such crimes were prevented and students were educated about them.  I never got the chance to share my ideas with them.

Around that time, and due to being unable to speak with the Greiners about my concerns, I decided to take my concerns to their son, Terry, at his office in Buffalo.¬† I am an individual who likes to get things accomplished, and to do so personally, and therefore, my aim was to personally-share information with him about what I experienced and request that there could be some way that improvements related to it could be made for other students at UB who had the same or similar experiences.¬† It took so much courage and initiative for me to go to Terry’s office, but he turned me away, did not speak with me, and did not accept me into his office.¬†¬†I was devastated, and felt re-victimized all over again.

I do, however, fondly remember the many events and interactions that¬†I shared with Carol and Bill; and I prefer to remember those.¬† At the time of my writing of this article, it will have been nearly four years since Bill’s death.¬† When I read the news about his passing in the UB alumni magazine, it was unexpected and saddening.¬† To Carol, I mailed a sympathy card, expressing my condolences.¬† I am sure that such a great man is missed by those who knew him, especially his family, who took priority in his life, much as family should.

So, I would like to think – at this time of the holidays – that Bill is looking down over us and helping us to spread holiday cheer to each other.¬† I would like to think and remember that he would have been right¬†in the mix of all¬†that, and would not have missed it for anything.¬† Thanks, ‘Team Greiner,’ for all you have done for me, and for all of your unfathomable support to UB.¬† You are UB’s¬†unsurpassed champions! ūüôā

References:

“Bill Greiner.”¬† Wikipedia, 2013.¬† http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Greiner

DellaContrada, J. (2009).  William R. Greiner Dies.  Buffalo, NY: UB РUniversity at Buffalo: News Releases.

State University of New York at Buffalo Graduation, May 1993.  Buffalo, NY.

Special Note:

This article was also published by both the UB Alumni Association on LinkedIn (December 2013).  Mountain View, CA: LinkedIn; and by the State University of New York at Buffalo business group on LinkedIn (December 2013).  Mountain View, CA: LinkedIn.

“How Time Flies: Graduating From UB…20 Years Ago” (By: Michele Babcock-Nice)

UB President Bill Greiner and I at Commencement, May 1993, Amherst, New York

UB President Bill Greiner and I at Commencement, May 1993, Amherst, New York

Twenty years ago this month (February 2013), I graduated from the University at Buffalo (UB) in Buffalo, New York, having earned two baccaulaureate degrees in psychology and political science.  Unofficially, I also earned a specialization in music performance in voice and clarinet.  And, I completed my studies at this very rigorous university in less than 3.5 consecutive years.   I completed my studies in December 1992, my degrees were conferred in February 1993, and I participated in the Commencement Ceremony in May 1993.

It is so difficult to comprehend that 20 years have already passed since my degrees were conferred!¬† It seems like such a lifetime ago that I had graduated from my high school in Gowanda, New York, and began my adult journey in life at UB.¬† How fitting on this President’s Day, February 18, 2013 – 20 years since I completed my undergraduate studies at¬†UB – that¬†I should recall some of the good memories of my younger and more inexperienced days as a college student there.

As a college student at UB, there were so many activities in which I was involved.¬† Always very outgoing, I wanted to be involved in as much as possible, desiring to get the most and best that life had to offer.¬† At UB, the world opened up to me and I took it all in – the good, and the bad, too¬†(when I couldn’t avoid it) – like a sponge.¬† UB was my oyster, and I revelled in all that it had to offer.

Indeed, I am proud of all that I accomplished and all in which¬†I participated and/or had leadership opportunities with at UB.¬† With all of my classes, activities, and just living in general, there was not enough time in the day to pack everything in!¬† During my first year, I carried a heavy load of classes, while also performing in the wind ensemble (and being a soloist) and chorus, as well as participating in field events on the women’s track team (and earning a personal best in shot put at the NCAA championships), being involved in student government and yearbook, and going for tutoring on some evenings for my failure in chemistry.¬† I also immersed myself into intermediate Spanish during my first year, and was happy to be exempt from introductory English composition, however I had to take courses to catch up on my math proficiency.

As time went on, I also found the Polish, Irish, and German Clubs at UB, and was involved in each one, being both the Treasurer and Homecoming representative of two of the groups.  I will always appreciate my Polish Club Homecoming co-rep for showing up and being a gentleman during one particular year because the co-rep from the Irish Club chickened out and forced me to go solo, which I did during another year, however embarassing that was (needless to say, he never showed his face at the Club meetings again after that).

Being a member of these ethnic/language-related clubs opened my world yet further to students of Irish descent from New York City, as well as those of Polish and German descent from right around Buffalo.¬† The Irish Club, in particular, was a favorite of mine because I could always “let my hair down” and be myself with my friends in that group.¬† No matter our background or experiences, we always respected and accepted each other, and enjoyed each other’s company.¬† Additionally, it was my membership in the Polish Club that opened up opportunities to visit Poland as an exchange student to Jagiellonian University – and travel to several European countries, which I did during one summer, and had an absolutely fantastic time!¬† It was all just as it was described to me – and so much more.

In changing my major from physics to psychology in my second year at UB, I found my life becoming much less stressful.¬† No longer pursuing studies toward my goal of becoming a veterinarian, I found classes in which I truly excelled and enjoyed, those that “fit” my personality.¬† Psychology and the social sciences were right up my alley, and I took opportunities to complete independent research in political science, as well as to be a research assistant in a sensitive graduate-level psychology research project.¬† Also, the more classes that I took in political science, the more I enjoyed them, and became a double major, desiring to go to law school and become an attorney.¬† I, therefore, became a member of the Democrats Club, as well as the Political Science Club, and traveled with several members during one year to visit Yale University, a very impressive campus, indeed.¬† And, in my last¬†semester at UB, I was named to the Dean’s List – miracles never cease!

Also during my time at UB, I was involved in other activities such as the Aeronautics Club, Striders Club (and I often went running independently at night under the lights), Recyclers Club (I had responsibility for managing the recycling in my dorm), and I was a regular participant in the religious celebrations of my faith that were held on campus, where I also became a lay Eucharistic Minister.¬† I also remembered the memory of a slain fellow UB student, Linda Yalem, by attending a memorial service for her, and running in the Memorial Run in her name.¬† I also worked part-time on campus, and was involved in so many groups and activities that I have difficulty bringing them all to mind.¬† Further, I took opportunities to attend college sports games, such as volleyball and basketball, even after having attended so many¬†football games as a member of Pep Band.¬† It was in Pep Band that I met some really great, “real” people with whom I became friends, and with whom I kept in touch for a number of years as a student at UB (see photo to follow).

Me with my Friends, Karyn and Lori from Pep Band, on Graduation Day at UB, May 1993, Amherst, New York

Me with my Friends, Karyn and Lori from Pep Band, on Graduation Day at UB, May 1993, Amherst, New York

Within all of that, I attended many college events that included students, student-athletes, student government representatives, public officials (such as the mayor and governor), and college leaders (such as the president and his family, vice president and his wife, dean of students, and others).  Not only did I know many students, professors, religious leaders, and coaches, but I also met and got to know a few of the college leaders who so often worked behind the scenes to improve the university and try to make it better for everyone.  Of course, there were situations in which they did not always make things better, but I believe that the majority of them tried to the best of their ability to achieve that endeavor.

Particularly in my last year at UB, I got to know UB’s President Bill Greiner (sadly, who is now deceased) and his wife, Carol.¬† It often seemed that no matter where I was or what event I was attending, they were there, too!¬† It was great to see Bill and Carol so “involved” in student life at UB.¬† It was wonderful to observe and experience their commitment – not only to each other as great role models – but also their commitment and dedication to the students, faculty, staff, alumni, and patrons¬†at UB.¬† I always made a special effort to speak with Carol as she is so intelligent, insightful, and positive, always having something kind and encouraging to share.¬† I definitely aspired to be more like her as she is such a great female role model and inspiration.

Before leaving UB upon completing my studies in December 1992 to head to New York City for about one year, I asked President Greiner to write a recommendation on my behalf.  Being so proud of myself and all that I accomplished at UB, as well as having some bittersweet memories and having experienced a critically life-changing event in my last semester as a student at UB (and surviving through it in the years to come), I desired something more to take away with me from my UB experience Рjust some pieces of paper with words written on them about me by others familiar with me.

My First Recommendation Letter, from UB President William Greiner, December 1992

My First Recommendation Letter, from UB President William Greiner, December 1992

My recommendation from President Greiner is the very first formal, written recommendation that I ever received (see document above).  He very eloquently and concisely stated many kind things about me, which I fondly remember and review to this day.  His recommendation is also one that I sent, along with my resume, in my job search to about 100 law firms in Buffalo in 1993-1994.  The piece of paper that I received from him was one that certainly helped to open a few doors for me, and I will always appreciate that, even though I did not pursue a law degree.

In fact, I can look back on it now, and remember a conversation that Bill and I shared one day, during which he inquired about the career I intended to pursue.  When I told him that I was interested in being a lawyer, he actually discouraged me from pursuing a law degree, stating that law firms are like factories.  I believe and warmly recall that he already knew that such a profession would not fit my personality.

There is definitely alot that I miss about UB, and I have fond memories and tearful nostalgia about many of my experiences at and through UB.  UB was a place in which I became an adult, whether I like it or wanted to, or not.  I can remember so many wonderful things about my experience at UB, however one or two critically hurtful things have also colored and clouded my perspective, still, to this day.  However much I would like to remember only the good things, the harmful experiences are also a part of who I am, of who I have become, for whom I advocate, and for whom I support Рwomen (and children) who are victims and survivors of violent crime, trauma survivors.

While I believe that there are reasons for everything, I must be real in remembering my experiences at UB, both good and painful.  While there are many more good things that I experienced as a student at UB, what I experienced that was harmful РI believe Рhas shaped me into becoming a better, and more insightful, compassionate, sensitive, and understanding individual.  My experience at UB has helped me to become an advocate for and supporter of victims.  And, however painful, I have my experience at UB to recognize for that, too.

I also have that experience in being aware that not all offenders of violent crimes are apprehended, charged, or prosecuted, as well.  Further, such experience taught me that survivors of violent crimes may be revictimized by police and prosecutors.  I would not be who I am today without recognizing and being aware of all of my experiences, and I am now thankful (in a very sad way) for having such an experience because it has helped me to relate more personally with other victims and survivors of similar experiences, including those who are close to me.  While we cannot remove from our consciousness those painful experiences, we can try our best to make them better for ourselves and others.  I, therefore, remember that when I left UB, I intended to change the world, however it has been the world that has changed me.

So, on this President’s Day 2013 – and 20 years to the month that my baccaulaureate degrees were conferred to me – I remember and recall many of my experiences as a college student at the State University of New York at Buffalo (UB).¬† I had many wonderful experiences there, met many wonderful people there, and have many fond memories of my time there.¬† However much I would prefer not to remember the painful experiences that I had there, I would deny myself and not be who I am today.

And so, I must also be strong in mind, body, and spirit and integrate all of my UB experiences into my life, God willing.  Hopefully in doing so, I will have also assisted and supported others who have had similar good and/or painful experiences in their lives.  Therefore, I must recognize UB, for giving me the wings to soar into my life Рin all experiences.

References:

DellaContrada, J. (2009).  William R. Greiner Dies.  Buffalo, NY: UB РUniversity at Buffalo: News Releases.

Scrivani, Maria (1999).¬† Bill and Carol Greiner: UB’s Perfect Pair.¬† Retrieved on February 17, 2013 from http://www.livingprimetime.com/AllCovers/jul1999/workjul1999/bill_and_carol_greiner.htm

State University of New York at Buffalo Graduation, May 1993.  Buffalo, NY.

Special Note:

This article was also published by both the University at Buffalo Alumni and RAINN on LinkedIn (February 2013).  Mountain View, CA: LinkedIn.

“People in Authority who don’t Listen aren’t Leaders” (By: Michele Babcock-Nice)

People in positions of authority who don’t listen to or consider others aren’t leaders.¬† It’s as simple as that.¬† It seems that there are so many more people in our world who don’t listen to or consider others than there are those who do.¬† What is extremely discouraging, disappointing, and disturbing is when an individual of common, everyday status approaches and/or comunicates with someone in authority about a serious issue or concern that can be changed or improved, and that person does not listen, does not care, and/or does not even consider what the other person has to say.¬† We, therefore, must be very thankful for those people who do listen – whether or not they are in positions of authority and whether or not they are in a position to change a situation for the better.¬† Those people seem to be getting fewer and fewer these days.

In my own experience and throughout my life, I have met, encountered, interacted with, and/or communicated with many people in positions of authority who, by their refusal to listen to, consider, and/or understand certain issues and concerns, are not true leaders.  Leaders are those people who take charge and lead all others in a positive direction of beneficial development. 

Sometimes, however, people in authority and in positions of leadership are unwilling and/or unable to listen to and consider the needs, issues, and concerns of others.  Therefore, in my definition, they are not true leaders because they are unable to be open to truly hearing, considering, analyzing, and understanding issues that may bring about positive change that may and can be good and beneficial for everyone.  People in positions of authority who are closed to others and who shut others out, by this definition, are not leaders.

It seems that there are sometimes too many people in our lives who are unwilling or unable to hear what we have to say.¬† Perhaps our information is too uncomfortable for them to hear, or they are threatened by it in some way, or they are unable to cope with it.¬† That is unfortunate for everyone because they are missing out on an opportunity to do something good for others.¬† They, therefore, don’t even realize that they have missed a chance to improve something, to help another, and to potentially assist many others.¬† They believe that they know the only right and correct way; they have closed themselves off from others, and believe they are protecting themselves from others.¬†

In my life and experience, I have met, interacted with, and communicated with several people who, through their own discomforts, feelings of being threatened in some way, inability to cope, and/or simple refusal to listen caused them to shut me out, turning away from me.¬† These people have included certain authority figures in higher education, churches, schools, businesses, family and friends, and even former intimate partners.¬† When people are unable or unwilling to listen to information they don’t want to hear and/or with which they are unable to cope, they may shut you out, turn you away, deny you, discredit you, and/or even demonize you, simply for being direct, honest, truthful, and assertive.

It is, therefore, extremely important to be thankful and grateful for those who ethically and morally consider and listen to others, particularly when their information has, not only the potential to influence and assist that person in a positive way, but the potential to benefit many others, as well.¬† There are some individuals out there who can and do listen.¬† There are some folks who take positive and beneficial actions to help and protect others when they are informed about it.¬† There are certain people – within the same and other groups that I mentioned above – who do act to help and benefit others, who seriously consider and analyze others’ actions and information, and who do not demonize and condemn the individuals who are providing truthful and honest information, even though it may be information that they don’t want to hear.

It is these people for whom we must be grateful.  For these people, we must recognize and be aware of their personal and internal gifts and talents of truly being leaders.  True leaders are strong in the face of persecution, even though others may have condemned and demonized them simply for stating or doing something with which others disagree or with which they are unable to cope.  We must recognize, therefore, that the majority may not always be right or correct, ethical or moral, honest or truthful.  What we must recognize is that even one or a few people can be correct over the majority, that perhaps even one or a few people who stand up for what is right even in the face of abuse, injustice, and persecution may have only the best interests of everyone in mind, not just that for themselves. 

If you are a leader of a group, organization, business, or institution, how do you behave and what do you say to others in order to include, consider, and hear the concerns and issues of others?  How do you examine, analyze, and research the information that has been given to you?  Do you simply believe what others have to say about another person, simply because they may be in a potentially powerful position of authority over the other person?  People in positions of authority are not always right and correct. 

I identify Pope Benedict XVI as a good example of a person in authority who does not always do what is right and correct, in hiding and covering up the abuses of clergy throughout the world.  I identify college or university presidents who do not listen to students who have concerns or issues about crimes committed against them by other students, or other college officials who will not consider other serious issues brought to their attention. 

I identify school principals who bully teachers and students because they do not wish to draw attention to particular issues.¬† I identify clergy who shut others out simply because they are unwilling or unable to cope with what others have to say.¬† I identify governmental and political figures who won’t consider a different and perhaps better or more fair way of doing things in consideration of others.¬† I even identify family members or relatives who are unable to hear or consider truthful and honest information, particularly when such information may potentially be to their benefit.¬†

It is, therefore, very important to cultivate and maintain relationships with others who do consider, hear, listen to, and understand you.¬† When you are completely honest and truthful with yourself, others who are also honest and truthful will recognize and appreciate your truth.¬† It’s like the old sayings go, “Birds of a feather flock together,” and “they are like peas in a pod.”¬† People who are similar understand, appreciate, and respect each other.¬† People who stand up for what is right and correct find, understand, and appreciate each other, as well.¬†

Thank you to all those who are able to hear, understand, listen to, and consider the truth, and what is right and good, even if it’s something that you don’t want to hear.¬† For those of you who are unable to do so, I pray for you that your eyes, ears, and mind will be open to what others have to say.

Dr. Phillip Santa Maria: A Tribute By: Michele Babcock-Nice

Personal Tribute to Dr. Phillip Santa Maria,*

Former Associate Vice President for Student Affairs

and Dean of Students

at the State University of New York College at Buffalo

(March 10, 1943 – June 29, 2005)

By: Michele Babcock-Nice

 

Dr. Santa Maria
Dr. Santa Maria and I in 2000 at Buffalo State College
 

Having recently learned of the death of a wonderful college administrator, colleague, professor, leader, musician, Christian, mentor, and friend, Dr. Phillip Santa Maria, I have been moved to write this tribute to him.  Sadly, not having previously known of his passing shows how out-of-touch I have been about people and activities at the State University of New York College at Buffalo, my alma mater.  I recently sought to reconnect with Dr. Santa Maria through LinkedIn, and was informed by another administrator at the college of his passing. 

Dr. Santa Maria was Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students at the State University of New York College at Buffalo –¬†or Buffalo State College – in Buffalo, New York.¬† I had the privilege of meeting and knowing Dr. Santa Maria through my studies in the Master’s Degree Program in College Student Personnel Administration, offered at the college.¬† Attending the college and earning my degree in 1997, I again returned there in 1999-2000 to earn my secondary social studies teaching certificate.¬†

Throughout both periods of my attendance at Buffalo State College, I met and got to know Dr. Santa Maria on a professional level.  During the time that I was studying for my graduate degree, I was interested in completing an internship with Dr. Santa Maria, though he already had one or two interns working with him at the time.  

Returning to the college, later, to earn my teaching certification, I was determined to make myself known to Dr. Santa Maria.¬† His wonderful secretary, colleague, and friend, Nancy Terreri, initially arranged a time in which he and I could meet.¬† He and I, then,¬†mutually decided upon a way in which we could work together – through collaborating on the “Issues of Interest” Series, a collection of articles that I wrote through interviews with¬†him for the college newspaper, The Record.¬†¬†

As I sit here and type this, I cannot help but cry in remembering Dr. Santa Maria.¬† In everything that he did, “Dr. Phil,” as some of us jokingly called him, exemplified the utmost and highest possible professionalism.¬† Dr. Santa Maria was that rare and unique person¬†whom one meets and knows in his or her life who makes a positive difference in everything that he does.¬† He was a man of the greatest humility, ethics, and morals;¬†highest intelligence, competence, and standards; and most outstanding dignity, integrity, and respect.¬†¬†

Dr. Santa Maria led by example.  He was a man, leader, and role model who was open to people of all backgrounds, religions, races, ethnicities, and religions.  Dr. Santa Maria was the professional of all professionals.  Anyone whom Dr. Santa Maria met and with whom he interacted, he touched their lives in profound and wonderful ways.  The talents and skills of Dr. Santa Maria went beyond his office and boundaries of the college. 

Dr. Santa Maria was a well-known Russian historian, had visited Russia, and led educational tours of Russia.  He was a professor in the College Student Personnel Program, and taught classes in the program when called upon.  He was a guitarist in his band that played classical guitar music throughout Western New York and in Canada.  I was privileged to hear him play guitar with his band on two occasions, and brought my family to hear him play, as well.  

Dr. Santa Maria was always interested in the progress of the college and activities of the students.  I was a senator in the United Students Government at the college, and Dr. Santa Maria and I would sit and discuss some of the contemplations, plans, and activities of the group. 

Beginning as a writer and columnist for the college newspaper, The Record, Dr. Santa Maria provided me with many hours of his time over the course of one year, in interviews about issues that were of interest to students and others at the college.¬† I, then, fashioned those interviews into articles for the newspaper, calling them the “Issues of Interest” Series, a title mutually¬†decided upon by both of us.¬†As Dr. Santa Maria and I collaborated for the “Issues of Interest” Series, we got to know and trust each other more.¬†

When something came up and I had a couple of questions about sensitive issues at the newspaper office, I called him for his advice and guidance.  Dr. Santa Maria also placed much trust and confidence in me, as well, in inviting me to sit on the Student Judicial Appeal Board and hear cases of fellow students.  

This wonderful college leader further elevated me by inviting me to participate in the Faculty and Staff Committee on Alcohol and Other Substance Abuse as a student representative.  In regard to this Committee, Dr. Santa Maria was the Chairperson, and desired to spread awareness about the seriousness of alcohol and drug misuse and abuse on college campuses throughout the country. 

I can still hear Dr. Santa Maria now with his 1999 statement to me, “Students have certain freedoms, but with those freedoms come responsibilities.”¬† Dr. Santa Maria always desired for students to be good and intelligent citizens who were responsible for their actions.¬†

Yet again, Dr. Santa Maria continued his trust and confidence in me by inviting me to the annual dinner of the Buffalo Council on World Affairs, as one of a few student representatives of the college.  There, my horizons were expanded more still by hearing the speaker address the audience about important world social issues, as well as those affecting our local area. 

As a member of the student government, I was also one of a few college student¬†representatives to attend SUNY Day in Albany – an opportunity for college student leaders to visit the state’s capital and speak with state government representatives.¬† It was there that I met several state government leaders, including the Hon. Sam Hoyt, New York State Assembly Member for Buffalo, and was invited by him to intern in his office.¬† I believe that it may have been due to the professional reputation that Dr. Santa Maria had provided me in developing that led to yet another wonderful experience in interning with Assembly Member Hoyt.¬†

On one occasion while meeting with Dr. Santa Maria in his office for an interview, he was conducting a conference call with University Police Lieutenant Sam Lunetta, giving me the privilege of introducing me to him and listening to their conversation about campus safety.  Dr. Santa Maria and Lieutenant Lunetta regularly communicated with each other about happenings on campus related to public safety. 

Lieutenant Lunetta performed his work remarkably, which I shared with Dr. Santa Maria.  Dr. Santa Maria asked me if there was anything that I thought could be improved regarding campus safety.  As I was unable to think of anything, I responded to him that I believed they had all the bases covered.  In encouraging everyone on campus to be safe, using the Blue Light system, having parking lot bussing to the main part of campus, and a visible presence of public safety officers on campus, Dr. Santa Maria and Lieutenant Lunetta did their best to make sure that everyone on campus was safe at all times.  

Through Dr. Santa Maria’s introduction to me of Lieutenant Lunetta, I also interviewed him for a newspaper article on student drinking and thoughts about potential parental notification regarding it.¬† Dr. Santa Maria also encouraged me to meet and interview many other administrators, leaders, professors, and students at the college for the “Issues of Interest” Series, as well as to report on the “Great Decisions” Lecture Series on campus, which I did.¬†

Working with Dr. Santa Maria on this basis expanded my horizons and provided me with a broader knowledge of issues affecting college campuses. As a person of high expectations, ethics, morals, standards, and values, Dr. Santa Maria brought out the best in everyone.  This was no different with me Рhe brought out the best in me.  The more I interacted with him, the more I had the desire to excel and succeed, and to please him, professionally. 

The professionalism, integrity, and energy with which Dr. Santa Maria continually worked and led his life were a huge inspiration for me. Dr. Santa Maria had that gentle, caring, sensitive, and soft-spoken way about him that reached my heart and my soul.  It was as if he reached in and provided comfort and peace to my heart.  Talking with him, seeking his advice, and receiving his professional and personal guidance brought me a profound sense of calmness and trust in him.  We always conducted ourselves professionally and respectfully toward each other, and this provided the foundation for our trust and confidence in each other. 

On occasion, Dr. Santa Maria and I discussed personal issues that presented concerns to us.  I remember asking him what his thoughts were about whether or not I should move out-of-state to accept employment in teaching.  I shared with him that I was afraid to do so; he told me not to be afraid.  And, in telling me that, he had a way of comforting me that convinced me that everything would be okay.  

At one time, Dr. Santa Maria shared with me that he had considered taking work in a warmer part of the country, namely Florida, because he had just been there for a professional conference.  I stated to him that everyone at the college needed him, and I asked him what everyone would do without him.  He accepted that, though I am not sure that is the answer he was looking for.  

Dr. Santa Maria silently managed his career stresses every day, working extremely long hours, arriving very early and sometimes, going without lunch and dinner in order to complete his work.  He handled his professional stress with so much humility and acceptance.  He was a man who loved what he did, professionally, and was the best at it. 

He was also a man, who, in my observations, was deserving of more credit and respect for his work from his superiors, though he would never breathe a word about it.  I once accompanied Dr. Santa Maria to a board meeting of higher level administrators, and observed him sit quietly while others spoke.  It was then that I noticed that his work and accomplishments should have been more appropriately recognized by his superiors. 

Dr. Santa Maria was an excellent listener, as well as an outstanding communicator.  I personally wished that he was able to serve in a position of even higher leadership at the college as his professionalism and sensitivity would have reached even further than it already has. It was at this particular board meeting that Dr. Santa Maria introduced me to several college leaders, some of whom I had already met and others whom I had not.  There, he introduced me to Vice President for Student Affairs Hal Payne and International Student Affairs Director Jean-Francois Gounard, and some others.  I was also re-introduced to President Muriel Moore, whom I had previously known as a student at the University of Buffalo.  

Yet, again, Dr. Santa Maria provided me with another opportunity to network, and build and develop my professional experiences and reputation.¬† Dr. Santa Maria’s introduction of me to Dr. Gounard provided another professional friendship that developed while I was a student at Buffalo State College.¬† Dr. Gounard invited me to his offices, gave me a tour of them, and explained what services were provided there.¬†¬†

I shared with Dr. Gounard that I had studied abroad in Krakow, Poland through the University at Buffalo, and had independently traveled throughout Eastern and Western Europe, the British Isles, and Canada.  Dr. Gounard invited me to write an article for the International Student Affairs newsletter about my travels, which I did, while also providing an accompanying photograph.  Dr. Gounard further invited me to attend a professional luncheon that welcomed to Buffalo a fellow Frenchman, Phillip Jenkinson, who spoke there and who was very successful in business.  Thus, Dr. Santa Maria provided me with an experience of developing a positive relationship with another of his trusted colleagues. 

Dr. Santa Maria, being a person who was open to meeting, and networking and communicating with everyone, also allowed me to introduce him to a successful business leader and entrepreneur whom I knew from my hometown.  This business leader Рnow semi-retired Рwas the head of a successful sand, gravel, and asphalt company that has nine large business enterprises throughout Western New York and Eastern Pennsylvania.  Providing leading professionals with an opportunity to connect was important to me, as well as to Dr. Santa Maria, since one of my main interests in college administration is in career development. 

On another note, Dr. Santa Maria was an avid walker, and would walk late in the evenings after returning home from work, as he shared with me.  I was always happy that he was able to relieve some of his work stresses through exercise and other activities that he enjoyed, such as playing his guitar.  He and I had something in common in relation to these activities since I also enjoy walking and jogging, as well as having played piano and clarinet.  It is important for people to have recreational and creative outlets. 

I could reflect upon some of Dr. Santa Maria’s life, though I only became aware of so much more of what he did in his life following¬†his death.¬† Dr. Santa Maria was a person who was so focused on his work and the current events occurring in his life that the past was not something that we often discussed.¬†¬†Dr. Santa Maria once shared with me that he worked the night shift at the Bethlehem Steel Plant in Lackawanna, New York while he was attending college.¬† He was proud that he worked his way through college with¬†employment in the steel industry.¬† He and I also spoke of our families, and he shared with me about his daughter and son, as well as their studies and hopes for the future.¬†

The best way to remember Dr. Santa Maria in tribute is to recall and reflect upon the person whom he was.¬† Dr. Santa Maria is the epitome of a man –¬†a professional, a leader, a fellow Catholic and Christian, and a true gentleman.¬† He is the type of man that all men should aspire to be.¬† He was a true reflection of a¬†man¬†among men.¬†As the tear stains have now dried upon my face, though my eyes are welling up again, I remember Dr. Santa Maria and the man whom he was.¬†

Dr. Santa Maria was and is a man whose spirit touched the lives of so many people in such wonderful ways.  My tribute and description here pale in comparison to the person whom he was.  I am so honored, privileged, and blessed to have known Dr. Phillip Santa Maria, to have him as a colleague, friend, and mentor.  One would be truly blessed to have met Dr. Santa Maria or even one like him throughout their entire lives.  He continues to serve as a role model and inspiration to me, professionally and spiritually.  

Dr. Santa Maria, as a professional, I hold you in the very highest regard.¬† As a friend, I will always love, honor, and respect you, in the most moral, ethical, and appropriate ways.¬† Thank you for the time that you spent with me, guiding me and shaping me through your wisdom, intelligence, and leadership.¬† Thank you for sharing your life and experiences with me.¬† Thank you for your friendship, trust, and confidence.¬† I am so sad that I was not aware of, nor informed of your illness or passing until now, though I will always remember you and honor your spirit.¬† Let us remember better times.¬† Until we meet again…¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†

_____________________  

Please consider making a financial contribution to the Dr. Phillip Santa Maria Memorial Fund through the Buffalo State College Foundation.  Monies contributed in this fund are awarded as scholarships to outstanding students at Buffalo State College.

*Note: This article has been posted twice since online searches for it were providing error results.

Personal Tribute to Dr. Phillip Santa Maria (By: Michele Babcock-Nice)

Personal Tribute to Dr. Phillip Santa Maria,

Former Associate Vice President for Student Affairs

and Dean of Students

at the State University of New York College at Buffalo

(March 10, 1943 – June 29, 2005)

By: Michele Babcock-Nice

 

Dr. Santa Maria

Dr. Santa Maria and I in 2000 at Buffalo State College

Having recently learned of the death of a wonderful college administrator, colleague, professor, leader, musician, Christian, mentor, and friend, Dr. Phillip Santa Maria, I have been moved to write this tribute to him.  Sadly, not having previously known of his passing shows how out-of-touch I have been about people and activities at the State University of New York College at Buffalo, my alma mater.  I recently sought to reconnect with Dr. Santa Maria through LinkedIn, and was informed by another administrator at the college of his passing. 

Dr. Santa Maria was Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students at the State University of New York College at Buffalo –¬†or Buffalo State College – in Buffalo, New York.¬† I had the privilege of meeting and knowing Dr. Santa Maria through my studies in the Master’s Degree Program in College Student Personnel Administration, offered at the college.¬† Attending the college and earning my degree in 1997, I again returned there in 1999-2000 to earn my secondary social studies teaching certificate.¬†

Throughout both periods of my attendance at Buffalo State College, I met and got to know Dr. Santa Maria on a professional level.  During the time that I was studying for my graduate degree, I was interested in completing an internship with Dr. Santa Maria, though he already had one or two interns working with him at the time.  

Returning to the college, later, to earn my teaching certification, I was determined to make myself known to Dr. Santa Maria.¬† His wonderful secretary, colleague, and friend, Nancy Terreri, initially arranged a time in which he and I could meet.¬† He and I, then,¬†mutually decided upon a way in which we could work together – through collaborating on the “Issues of Interest” Series, a collection of articles that I wrote through interviews with¬†him for the college newspaper, The Record.¬†¬†

As I sit here and type this, I cannot help but cry in remembering Dr. Santa Maria.¬† In everything that he did, “Dr. Phil,” as some of us jokingly called him, exemplified the utmost and highest possible professionalism.¬† Dr. Santa Maria was that rare and unique person¬†whom one meets and knows in his or her life who makes a positive difference in everything that he does.¬† He was a man of the greatest humility, ethics, and morals;¬†highest intelligence, competence, and standards; and most outstanding dignity, integrity, and respect.¬†¬†

Dr. Santa Maria led by example.  He was a man, leader, and role model who was open to people of all backgrounds, religions, races, ethnicities, and religions.  Dr. Santa Maria was the professional of all professionals.  Anyone whom Dr. Santa Maria met and with whom he interacted, he touched their lives in profound and wonderful ways.  The talents and skills of Dr. Santa Maria went beyond his office and boundaries of the college. 

Dr. Santa Maria was a well-known Russian historian, had visited Russia, and led educational tours of Russia.  He was a professor in the College Student Personnel Program, and taught classes in the program when called upon.  He was a guitarist in his band that played classical guitar music throughout Western New York and in Canada.  I was privileged to hear him play guitar with his band on two occasions, and brought my family to hear him play, as well.  

Dr. Santa Maria was always interested in the progress of the college and activities of the students.  I was a senator in the United Students Government at the college, and Dr. Santa Maria and I would sit and discuss some of the contemplations, plans, and activities of the group. 

Beginning as a writer and columnist for the college newspaper, The Record, Dr. Santa Maria provided me with many hours of his time over the course of one year, in interviews about issues that were of interest to students and others at the college.¬† I, then, fashioned those interviews into articles for the newspaper, calling them the “Issues of Interest” Series, a title mutually¬†decided upon by both of us.¬†As Dr. Santa Maria and I collaborated for the “Issues of Interest” Series, we got to know and trust each other more.¬†

When something came up and I had a couple of questions about sensitive issues at the newspaper office, I called him for his advice and guidance.  Dr. Santa Maria also placed much trust and confidence in me, as well, in inviting me to sit on the Student Judicial Appeal Board and hear cases of fellow students.  

This wonderful college leader further elevated me by inviting me to participate in the Faculty and Staff Committee on Alcohol and Other Substance Abuse as a student representative.  In regard to this Committee, Dr. Santa Maria was the Chairperson, and desired to spread awareness about the seriousness of alcohol and drug misuse and abuse on college campuses throughout the country. 

I can still hear Dr. Santa Maria now with his 1999 statement to me, “Students have certain freedoms, but with those freedoms come responsibilities.”¬† Dr. Santa Maria always desired for students to be good and intelligent citizens who were responsible for their actions.¬†

Yet again, Dr. Santa Maria continued his trust and confidence in me by inviting me to the annual dinner of the Buffalo Council on World Affairs, as one of a few student representatives of the college.  There, my horizons were expanded more still by hearing the speaker address the audience about important world social issues, as well as those affecting our local area. 

As a member of the student government, I was also one of a few college student¬†representatives to attend SUNY Day in Albany – an opportunity for college student leaders to visit the state’s capital and speak with state government representatives.¬† It was there that I met several state government leaders, including the Hon. Sam Hoyt, New York State Assembly Member for Buffalo, and was invited by him to intern in his office.¬† I believe that it may have been due to the professional reputation that Dr. Santa Maria had provided me in developing that led to yet another wonderful experience in interning with Assembly Member Hoyt.¬†

On one occasion while meeting with Dr. Santa Maria in his office for an interview, he was conducting a conference call with University Police Lieutenant Sam Lunetta, giving me the privilege of introducing me to him and listening to their conversation about campus safety.  Dr. Santa Maria and Lieutenant Lunetta regularly communicated with each other about happenings on campus related to public safety. 

Lieutenant Lunetta performed his work remarkably, which I shared with Dr. Santa Maria.  Dr. Santa Maria asked me if there was anything that I thought could be improved regarding campus safety.  As I was unable to think of anything, I responded to him that I believed they had all the bases covered.  In encouraging everyone on campus to be safe, using the Blue Light system, having parking lot bussing to the main part of campus, and a visible presence of public safety officers on campus, Dr. Santa Maria and Lieutenant Lunetta did their best to make sure that everyone on campus was safe at all times.  

Through Dr. Santa Maria’s introduction to me of Lieutenant Lunetta, I also interviewed him for a newspaper article on student drinking and thoughts about potential parental notification regarding it.¬† Dr. Santa Maria also encouraged me to meet and interview many other administrators, leaders, professors, and students at the college for the “Issues of Interest” Series, as well as to report on the “Great Decisions” Lecture Series on campus, which I did.¬†

Working with Dr. Santa Maria on this basis expanded my horizons and provided me with a broader knowledge of issues affecting college campuses. As a person of high expectations, ethics, morals, standards, and values, Dr. Santa Maria brought out the best in everyone.  This was no different with me Рhe brought out the best in me.  The more I interacted with him, the more I had the desire to excel and succeed, and to please him, professionally. 

The professionalism, integrity, and energy with which Dr. Santa Maria continually worked and led his life were a huge inspiration for me. Dr. Santa Maria had that gentle, caring, sensitive, and soft-spoken way about him that reached my heart and my soul.  It was as if he reached in and provided comfort and peace to my heart.  Talking with him, seeking his advice, and receiving his professional and personal guidance brought me a profound sense of calmness and trust in him.  We always conducted ourselves professionally and respectfully toward each other, and this provided the foundation for our trust and confidence in each other. 

On occasion, Dr. Santa Maria and I discussed personal issues that presented concerns to us.  I remember asking him what his thoughts were about whether or not I should move out-of-state to accept employment in teaching.  I shared with him that I was afraid to do so; he told me not to be afraid.  And, in telling me that, he had a way of comforting me that convinced me that everything would be okay.  

At one time, Dr. Santa Maria shared with me that he had considered taking work in a warmer part of the country, namely Florida, because he had just been there for a professional conference.  I stated to him that everyone at the college needed him, and I asked him what everyone would do without him.  He accepted that, though I am not sure that is the answer he was looking for.  

Dr. Santa Maria silently managed his career stresses every day, working extremely long hours, arriving very early and sometimes, going without lunch and dinner in order to complete his work.  He handled his professional stress with so much humility and acceptance.  He was a man who loved what he did, professionally, and was the best at it. 

He was also a man, who, in my observations, was deserving of more credit and respect for his work from his superiors, though he would never breathe a word about it.  I once accompanied Dr. Santa Maria to a board meeting of higher level administrators, and observed him sit quietly while others spoke.  It was then that I noticed that his work and accomplishments should have been more appropriately recognized by his superiors. 

Dr. Santa Maria was an excellent listener, as well as an outstanding communicator.  I personally wished that he was able to serve in a position of even higher leadership at the college as his professionalism and sensitivity would have reached even further than it already has. It was at this particular board meeting that Dr. Santa Maria introduced me to several college leaders, some of whom I had already met and others whom I had not.  There, he introduced me to Vice President for Student Affairs Hal Payne and International Student Affairs Director Jean-Francois Gounard, and some others.  I was also re-introduced to President Muriel Moore, whom I had previously known as a student at the University of Buffalo.  

Yet, again, Dr. Santa Maria provided me with another opportunity to network, and build and develop my professional experiences and reputation.¬† Dr. Santa Maria’s introduction of me to Dr. Gounard provided another professional friendship that developed while I was a student at Buffalo State College.¬† Dr. Gounard invited me to his offices, gave me a tour of them, and explained what services were provided there.¬†¬†

I shared with Dr. Gounard that I had studied abroad in Krakow, Poland through the University at Buffalo, and had independently traveled throughout Eastern and Western Europe, the British Isles, and Canada.  Dr. Gounard invited me to write an article for the International Student Affairs newsletter about my travels, which I did, while also providing an accompanying photograph.  Dr. Gounard further invited me to attend a professional luncheon that welcomed to Buffalo a fellow Frenchman, Phillip Jenkinson, who spoke there and who was very successful in business.  Thus, Dr. Santa Maria provided me with an experience of developing a positive relationship with another of his trusted colleagues. 

Dr. Santa Maria, being a person who was open to meeting, and networking and communicating with everyone, also allowed me to introduce him to a successful business leader and entrepreneur whom I knew from my hometown.  This business leader Рnow semi-retired Рwas the head of a successful sand, gravel, and asphalt company that has nine large business enterprises throughout Western New York and Eastern Pennsylvania.  Providing leading professionals with an opportunity to connect was important to me, as well as to Dr. Santa Maria, since one of my main interests in college administration is in career development. 

On another note, Dr. Santa Maria was an avid walker, and would walk late in the evenings after returning home from work, as he shared with me.  I was always happy that he was able to relieve some of his work stresses through exercise and other activities that he enjoyed, such as playing his guitar.  He and I had something in common in relation to these activities since I also enjoy walking and jogging, as well as having played piano and clarinet.  It is important for people to have recreational and creative outlets. 

I could reflect upon some of Dr. Santa Maria’s life, though I only became aware of so much more of what he did in his life following¬†his death.¬† Dr. Santa Maria was a person who was so focused on his work and the current events occurring in his life that the past was not something that we often discussed.¬†¬†Dr. Santa Maria once shared with me that he worked the night shift at the Bethlehem Steel Plant in Lackawanna, New York while he was attending college.¬† He was proud that he worked his way through college with¬†employment in the steel industry.¬† He and I also spoke of our families, and he shared with me about his daughter and son, as well as their studies and hopes for the future.¬†

The best way to remember Dr. Santa Maria in tribute is to recall and reflect upon the person whom he was.¬† Dr. Santa Maria is the epitome of a man –¬†a professional, a leader, a fellow Catholic and Christian, and a true gentleman.¬† He is the type of man that all men should aspire to be.¬† He was a true reflection of a¬†man¬†among men.¬†As the tear stains have now dried upon my face, though my eyes are welling up again, I remember Dr. Santa Maria and the man whom he was.¬†

Dr. Santa Maria was and is a man whose spirit touched the lives of so many people in such wonderful ways.  My tribute and description here pale in comparison to the person whom he was.  I am so honored, privileged, and blessed to have known Dr. Phillip Santa Maria, to have him as a colleague, friend, and mentor.  One would be truly blessed to have met Dr. Santa Maria or even one like him throughout their entire lives.  He continues to serve as a role model and inspiration to me, professionally and spiritually.  

Dr. Santa Maria, as a professional, I hold you in the very highest regard.¬† As a friend, I will always love, honor, and respect you, in the most moral, ethical, and appropriate ways.¬† Thank you for the time that you spent with me, guiding me and shaping me through your wisdom, intelligence, and leadership.¬† Thank you for sharing your life and experiences with me.¬† Thank you for your friendship, trust, and confidence.¬† I am so sad that I was not aware of, nor informed of your illness or passing until now, though I will always remember you and honor your spirit.¬† Let us remember better times.¬† Until we meet again…¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†

_____________________  

 

Please consider making a financial contribution to the Dr. Phillip Santa Maria Memorial Fund through the Buffalo State College Foundation.  Monies contributed in this fund are awarded as scholarships to outstanding students at Buffalo State College.