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June 26, 2008

Obituary: Joanne M. Rosol

Joanne M. Rosol, long-time staff member and a former president of the Staff Association Council (SAC), died June 18, 2008. She was 58 and had been in declining health.

Friends and co-workers praised Rosol for her dedication to the faculty and students of the University in her position as testing supervisor at the Center for Instructional Development and Distance Education (CIDDE). Colleagues also praised her efforts on behalf of staff members through long-time service on SAC.

Initially, Rosol was hired as a regular part-time senior clerk in the College of General Studies (then School of General Studies) in 1979. Her position was made full time in 1980, and she was promoted to senior secretary in 1981 and named administrative aide in 1990.

In 1991, Rosol transferred from the CGS front office to the University external studies program (UESP) and was promoted to testing assistant.

In 1995, UESP, a program geared to distance learning, became part of CIDDE, and Rosol continued to be responsible for administering the program’s academic testing. She was promoted to testing supervisor of CIDDE testing services in 2003.

Due to health problems, Rosol took a leave of absence from Pitt in January 2007 and a long-term disability leave last August.

Joanne M. Nicoll, associate director of CIDDE, worked with Rosol for more than 15 years. “Pitt should be very proud of having Jo as part of its staff as she was a gentle, caring person,” Nicoll said. “Jo loved Pitt and was happiest providing service to both students and faculty. She was held in great esteem by all those who came to the testing area. If they were first-time students, nervous about taking a test, Jo would encourage them and make them feel comfortable. I received praise about Jo’s work on many occasions from faculty and students because she would go beyond expectations to help others.”

CIDDE’s Rosemarie Lyons, Rosol’s supervisor for the past five years, also noted her dedication. “Jo was totally dedicated to her job and to the students and faculty to whom she provided service in her role as testing administrator,” Lyons said. “She had a thorough knowledge and understanding of testing procedures and conducted the daily activities of our testing services in the most efficient and effective manner.”

Lyons added that Rosol took special care with students who took tests through CIDDE. “Jo especially loved the students and got to know those who came in to take tests. Her caring, kindness and patience were so helpful to them at what was for many an anxious and stressful time. Jo was pleasant, had a wonderful sense of humor and was always a pleasure to be around. Her optimism, even as her health declined, was indeed an inspiration to those of us who worked with her.”

Rosol also was active in staff concerns, first elected to SAC in 1984. In 1985, she became recording secretary and later was elected vice president of steering. She served as SAC president from 1988 to 1992.

Jeffrey Liebmann, assistant to the provost and a former member of SAC, said, “Jo was a consummate professional as a member and especially as president of the Staff Association Council. She was very much responsible for changing the attitude of the administration toward SAC from one of antagonism and even hostility to one of collegiality and respect.”

Liebmann added: “She fought hard for staff and never compromised her integrity or her commitment to the quality of life of every staff member of the University. What most impressed me was her humility and leadership at a time when the University faced many crises.”

Rosol also served on several University committees, including the University-wide safety and security committee and the chancellor’s search committee, both in 1995.

She was a member of the Church of the Resurrection in Brookline.

Rosol is survived by her husband, John R. Rosol; her children, Jennifer and Damon Rosol; her sisters, Shirley Berlin, Tina Ross, Denise Kulback and Sharon Mydlowski, and her brothers, Richard Mydlowski and William Mydlowski Jr. She was preceded in death by her parents, William and Theresa Mydlowski.

Rosol was related by marriage to five current Pitt staff members. Michael R. Rosol of Bulk Mail Services is John Rosol’s brother; Michael is married to Joanne M. Rosol of the College of General Studies. They have two sons who are Pitt staffers, Derek J. Rosol of the University Book Center and Jason M. Rosol of the School of Medicine.

In addition, Bobbi Jo Rosol of Computing Services and Systems Development is married to Michael Rosol’s cousin.

Memorial donations in Rosol’s name may be made to the American Lung Association, Wexford Professional Building II, Suite 2104, 11676 Perry Highway, Wexford 15090.

—Peter Hart

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