In Memoriam: Academic counselor Dennis Montelibano remembered by peers
Published: Thursday, December 5, 2013
Updated: Friday, December 6, 2013 15:12
Dennis Montelibano, academic counselor at the Academic Resource Center, passed away at 38 years of age on Thursday, Oct. 31 of cancer.
According to friends and colleagues, Montelibano had a passion for knowing the ins and outs of restaurants and every hole-in-the-wall place to eat, in and outside of New Orleans. His palate was versatile, as was his relationship with people.
Derek Bridges, assistant director at the Academic Resource Center, said Montelibano’s passion was a parallel to his personality as it “demonstrated his ability to move among any group of people.”
Kacey McNally, special needs counselor at the Academic Resource Center, said, “he was the spirit of Loyola.”
Montelibano was a helpful, positive and kindhearted individual with a great outlook on life, McNally said.
His upbeat spirit spread through the Academic Resource Center, touching fellow employees and students he met during his six years working at Loyola.
Donna Lenoir, the Academic Resource Center office manager, said she became fast friends with Dennis after only working a year with him.
“He was so friendly and easy to talk to. He had a very engaging personality and he made everyone feel like they were his good friend,” she said.
Bridges said he learned at Montelibano’s funeral that his friends nicknamed him ‘Switzerland’ because of his sense of natural neutrality among people.
“It was just who he was, and so it made a really wide range of people feel comfortable around him, liked him a lot and respected him,” Bridges said.
James Crawford, academic counselor at the Academic Resource Center, said Montelibano would not have chosen any specific way to be remembered as he was such a selfless person.
“Even when he knew he was running out of energy, and everything was being taken out of him, he still kept trucking into work,” Crawford said.
His dedication to his work, fellow employees and students will be forever remembered through a new award for students established by the Academic Resource Center.
His presence in the office led to the creation of the Dennis Montelibano Memorial Award, which will be awarded each semester to one student who works in the Academic Resource Center and is an example for what Montelibano represented, McNally said.
“The way he lives on in the hearts of his friends, family and people who met him is more substantial, but this is a small nod to recognize him,” Bridges said.
Among the current undergraduate population, there are currently over one hundred students who have met with Montelibano through the Academic Resource Center, Crawford said.
His family also held a very important role in Montelibano’s life. He is survived by his mother, brother, sister in-law and two nieces.
“I think really what touched me the most is one day he told me, ‘I am still full of hope. I am hopeful. I am praying for a miracle and I am hopeful.’ And that is how he was,” McNally said.
Lauren Cutuli can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org