Ohio Today Online Spring 2002
For Alumni and Friends of Ohio University


Faculty members make for great memories

Ronald Socciarelli, Harold Robison, James Stewart

They made the difference

Thanks for the opportunity to tell you about three OU professors who made an incredible difference in my life and career. I feel fortunate to say there were many professors who made a meaningful contribution to my development, but these three stand out among them.

I began my studies at OU in 1973, declaring music education as my major. I was not the most talented student around the School of Music. I'm sure I represented a challenge to my professors, as most students do.

Ronald P. Socciarelli, (professor emeritus of music), was the director of the OU marching band. His first year at OU was also my first year. I was a member of the marching band for four years and was constantly given the opportunity to learn, contribute and mature. One of the many things Mr. Socciarelli taught me was to be a caring individual. He was an extremely busy man but always found the time to sit down with students and simply talk. His example has been a real inspiration to my career.

Dr. Harold Robison, (professor emeritus of music), was a professor of bassoon in the School of Music during the time I was there. I credit him with making a musician out of me. He took a student who could play a little bit of clarinet and molded me into someone who truly understands the art of music. Dr. Robison helped me look past the notes on the page. He showed me how to make magic out of the sounds. I will be forever grateful to him for this.

Dr. James Stewart, (associate professor emeritus of music), was a music theory professor at the time I was at OU. Not only did Dr. Stewart do an outstanding job of teaching me music theory, but he gave me a true life lesson that I have never forgotten. I was going through a phase of thinking I was "wonderful." Dr. Stewart let me know several things after a small but very effective conversation: One, that he has forgotten more information than I would probably ever learn; and two, I needed to adjust my attitude before I got into real trouble. That lesson he gave me that day is as vivid to me now as it was when it happened. I was humbled, and I thank God for it. Dr. Stewart helped me become a man.

So, here I am in 2002. I have been in the teaching profession for more than 20 years as a high school band director. I can honestly say that the things I do with my students are directly influenced by the things these three professors did for me. I find myself imitating what they did for me.

It's interesting to me that I will have former students speak with me and thank me for the lessons I provided. What they don't know is I learned the same lessons (both in music and in life) way back in the '70s at OU with three wonderful professors and gentlemen. In a way, I feel my teaching career serves as a tribute to their legacies. I know I'll never measure up to them, but as long as I'm teaching, I'll continue to try.

Mendell R. Hibbard, BMUS '78
Columbus, Ohio