By Ehlayna Napolitano NEWS EDITOR
Former Dean of Students Peter Libman passed away Saturday, Sept. 27 after a 16-month battle with pancreatic cancer, according to a news release published by the University on Monday. He was 51. Libman was dean of students for over seven years and left the University last summer to focus on his health, according to the news release. The passing of Libman has left many in the Hofstra community feeling the loss personally. Dean Libman possessed a true talent for making the people he interacted with feel cared for on a personal level. Emily Miethner, a 2010 Hofstra alumna who majored in fine arts, took to social media on Saturday night to write a blog post about the former dean of students, who had greatly influenced her. In the blog, she wrote about her experiences working and collaborating with Dean Libman, and more so about the way he always made her feel as though she was heard. “[He was] a great balance of a friend and someone you could go to with any concerns,” Miethner said. Miethner worked with Libman on many projects and events during her time at Hofstra. She said that speaking with him was always a helpful and meaningful experience. He always took time out for students, she said, because he truly cared about them. “Every single email I sent him got a response,” Miethner said. “I don’t know if you can say that about any other… Hofstra administrator.” In her blog post, Miethner describes him as “a man of the people.” His colleagues, perhaps, would describe him the same way. “[He was] an amazing man who was truly larger than life,” said Pat Montagano, senior assistant dean of students and director of recreation and intramural sports. Montagano knew Libman well and had become personal friends with him over their years working together. “[He] loved, loved, loved working with students… [and] always had their backs,” Montagano said. One of her first interactions with Libman, then Montagano’s boss, was during a bus ride on the way to a first year student trip. “I knew all about him by the end of the bus trip,” Montagano said. “That was Pete.” Miethner echoed this, saying that she knew she was not alone in feeling that she had affective and special experiences with him. “He did so much for so many on an individual level,” Miethner said. “…I know all this stuff is not unique to me.” Donna Tudda, director of Hofstra’s Diane Lindner-Goldberg Child Care Institute, described Libman as “one of the warmest parents” to connect with the staff and children. Libman’s children were enrolled in the Child Care Institute and he often interacted with the staff when dropping them off. “My fondest memory of him… [is] he would come in every morning… and he would just be excited to share with everyone some funny video or dance or picture,” Tudda said. Tudda also echoed sentiments that Libman would be missed in the community. “I think he will be sorely missed by anyone who knew him,” she said. Libman worked at the University for nearly seven years, after working in student affairs positions at Columbia University, Barnard College and Clemson University – a school from which he earned his master’s degree in education, according to the news release. He was one of the school’s most prominent and involved administrators, having attended many student events. “He knew how important it was to the student body,” Miethner said, speaking about Libman’s commitment to V-Day, the annual production of the Vagina Monologues, and other student traditions and events. Tudda similarly felt that Libman’s role in the community was important to the students. “It was a perfect vocation for him… he was always there for students. He was a great dean of students,” Tudda said. The Hofstra community at large has taken to mourning the former administrator. According to the news release, flags on campus were lowered on Monday and will not be raised until Thursday morning. A campus celebration of his life is also planned for Nov. 1.