Sky Cone and Sally Marinellie

Assistant Professor of Retail Merchandising Sky Cone, left, helped establish the Lee Cibrowski Faculty Advising and Mentorship Award; Sally Marinellie, associate director of communication sciences and disorders, received the award in 2011.

Photographer: Ben Siegel

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CHSP faculty honor retired colleague by creating annual faculty award

Behind many a successful student is a mentor dedicated to his or her education and progress. Throughout the landscape of higher education, these faculty mentors tend to stand out, even among their peers.

According to her colleagues, Lee Cibrowski, former associate dean of the College of Health Sciences and Professions (CHSP), is one of these standout faculty mentors. When Cibrowski decided to retire in 2008, after nearly 20 years of service to Ohio University, CHSP faculty came together and created an annual faculty award in her honor.

First awarded in 2010, the Lee Cibrowski Faculty Advising and Mentorship Award acknowledges the “faculty adviser with the highest levels of commitment and mentorship to the students” – a quality that Cibrowski’s peers recognized in her.

The annual award is chosen by faculty – for faculty – and comes with a plaque and monetary prize. Though being recognized for mentorship is itself rewarding, the award’s most recent recipients have noted that the connection to Cibrowski makes it even more meaningful.

2012 recipient Doug Bolon, associate professor and interim chair in CHSP’s Department of Social and Public Health, worked with Cibrowski throughout her career and spoke of her strong mentoring skills during the early years of his career.

“I’ve been in this College for about 20 years, so I was in a position to actually know Lee,” said Bolon. “I always felt comfortable during my ‘newbie’ years going to her. If I ever had a question and I wasn’t sure how to resolve it or where to go, she’d generally always know what to do.”

Sally Marinellie, 2011 recipient and associate director of communication sciences and disorders, echoed Bolon’s sentiments.

“Of all the honors and recognitions that I received at Ohio University, this award means the most to me,” she said. “Working with Lee, I learned a great deal about curriculum standards and the importance of maintaining high quality with respect to curriculum.”

Beginning in her first year at OHIO in 1979, Cibrowski dedicated her time to mentoring and advising students. She worked regularly with students who had difficulties declaring a major, students in the former home economics education program, and even faculty and staff members. Cibrowski’s willingness to help, combined with her vast institutional knowledge of OHIO, inspired her colleagues to establish the award.

“While [Cibrowski] was my adviser, she also became my dear friend,” said Patton College Assistant Professor of Retail Merchandising Sky Cone, who provided the initial support for the award. “(Lee) was a true mentor to me and continues to serve in that function,” said Cone. “Lee I think is happiest when she’s helping people and happiest when she’s advising and being a mentor.”

For Cone, giving back to the College in the name of her friend was a “no brainer.”

“I was glad to give because someone was going to benefit. That’s the bottom line,” Cone said.

When asked about her reaction to the award, Cibrowski said she was very surprised and appreciative.

“I had had no clue about it until they did the announcement at my retirement reception,” Cibrowski said. ”I am very appreciative of having the award go to faculty.”

Since its establishment, there have been 91 donors to the fund, most of whom are former and current faculty members in CHSP and the Patton College.

“It was a pleasure to work with her [Cibrowski] because she acknowledged, respected and heard every team member,” said Deborah Murray, assistant professor of food and nutrition sciences in CHSP and donor to the fund. “She provided clear leadership, so if we needed to go in a certain direction, she would certainly take us there.”

In 2010, Cibrowski came out of retirement to lend help to the University once again. She works part-time in the Registrar’s Office on projects like academic restructuring and the quarters-to-semesters transition.

“It’s been an interesting and engaging experience working with a wide number of programs and faculty across the University,” Cibrowski said. “I never get bored.”

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