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Former CGS Dean Brendan Gilbane, 71, Dead of Cancer

A memorial service will be held at Marsh Chapel on Wednesday for former College of General Studies Dean Brendan Gilbane, who died of cancer Dec. 12. He was 71.

Gilbane was dean of CGS from 1974-2000, and a professor of social science at CGS for the 22 years prior.

“[He] was absolutely committed to CGS; he was on campus for over 50 years,” current CGS Dean Linda Wells said. “He believed in a strong liberal arts education, and that’s what our curriculum is.”

According to the Boston University Bridge, Gilbane was born in Providence, R.I., in 1930. He graduated from BU’s Division of General Education in 1950 and received a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the College of Communication in 1952. He began teaching history at BU’s Junior Division of the General College, which would later become CGS, that same year.

“He was always a teacher first, and an administrator second,” remembered Meghan Fay, an Alumni Relations officer and 1999 CGS graduate. “He was the heart and soul of CGS.”

Although Gilbane was always helpful, he preferred not to be recognized for his assistance, Fay said.

“When I was working in the Student Union, eight of the nine people on our slate were from CGS,” recalled Fay, a 1999 COM graduate. “We were preparing for our first meeting with the deans and we were all nervous. Dean Gilbane quietly snuck in the back door, pulled us aside, and gave us this great pep talk. He made our whole day, and then he just quietly left.”

“There were just thousands of silent ways he helped students out,” Fay said. “I feel honored to have been one of his CGS kids.”

Gilbane is survived by his wife Virginia, his daughter Deryl, and his sons Stephen and Barry. The memorial at Marsh Chapel will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday.

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