Leon Brin, chair of Southern’s Mathematics Department, sharing thoughts and stories about Cynthia Gubitose. Buley Library Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn., March 20, 2018 (August Pelliccio).
August Pelliccio – News Writer
Southern’s mathematics chair, Leon Brin, said the recently deceased professor Cynthia Gubitose will be remembered as an inspiration to students.
Brin spoke briefly about Gubitose’s life at Southern as he has observed it during a memorial gathering March 20. Brin said Gubitose began teaching full-time at Southern in 1999.
“Her contributions to the department and the wider mathematical community were, quite rightly, focused on developmental mathematics,” said Brin. “She was hired as a specialist, and she delivered.”
He said he learned quickly that Gubitose would not simply be an integral part of the staff because of her skill as a math professor.
“Cindy Guibitose didn’t just teach algebra; she taught accountability, she taught responsibility, she taught maturity,” said Brin. “She was there for her students.”
He said this helped grow her relationships with students. Role model, support system and inspiration — these are the roles Brin said Gubitose played in the department. He said she put her heart and soul into the connections she made with her students.
According to Gubitose’s page on Legacy.com, she made these connections for a reason.
“She wanted her life to be defined,” reads her obituary, “by her love of teaching and giving knowledge.”
Brian Lank shared a short piece written by Gubitose’s sister Julie about Gubitose’s life as an educator and family member.
“Cindy’s soft-spoken personality aided in the trust she built with her students,” said Lank, “which assisted in driving them to their top performance.”
Lank commented on Gubitose’s passion for math and how she carried that frame of thought home with her each day.
“Cindy did everything with mathematical precision; an example of this is the last Christmas tree she put up in December,” said Lank. “Each bulb, strand of garland and light string was placed perfectly around the tree.”
Lank said this pattern continued with many idiosyncrasies that he observed throughout her life at home. Her dishes were always arranged in a perfect manner, he said. Each piece of her life was organized meticulously.
“She often joked,” said Lank, “and called herself a ‘math dweeb.’”
Lank said Gubitose’s family continued that dedication when they found a stack of final exams graded on her kitchen table.
“We knew those papers had to get to the school,” Lank said. “We contacted the school only days after.”
Lank said the family all agreed that delivering the grades Gubitose’s students deserved was the right thing to do and what she would have wanted.
Associate professor of mathematics Ross Gingrich shared his observations about Gubitose.
“Most of us, when we think of Cindy, we think of the developmental mathematics she would do with students,” said Gingrich, “But she had other interests too, and she will be missed.”
He explained that when Gubitose was studying for her masters at Western Connecticut State University, one of her educators stood out as a mentor and a guide to her.
“That was something that she passed on to her students,” said Gingrich.
The way he took an interest in her life, Gingrich said, is the way Gubitose said she was invested in her students: as not only a teacher, but also a mentor.
Brin said student’s condolences over the loss can be summarized by saying school is not the same without her.
“My own sentiments regarding her passing,” said Brin, “are not terribly different.”
Photo Credit: August Pelliccio