Faculty, staff honor School of Pharmacy dean

Gary Haberle passed away on Jan. 30, 2016. | Photo Courtesy of Patricia Kroboth, dean of the School of Pharmacy.

Gary Haberle spent his career managing money for the School of Pharmacy — but he spent his life sharing his own wealth with those around him.

Haberle, assistant dean for business and finance for Pitt’s School of Pharmacy, passed away on Saturday, Jan. 30. He was 77. Haberle continued working until Friday, Jan. 23, when he was hospitalized for an acute illness.

“If I could sum it up, he was probably the kindest, most giving person I have ever come across,” Kellie Mitchell, director of finance and administration for Pitt’s pharmacy school, said. “He constantly gave … [he] was an advocate for the staff, a role model and mentor and would always go above and beyond.”

Before becoming a dean at Pitt, Haberle was a student. He graduated in 1966 with a degree in business administration. He worked in the Research Accounting Office before moving to the School of Pharmacy.

According to Mitchell, in his 50 years at Pitt, Haberle loaned students his own money to help cover tuition or living expenses. For the staff, Haberle never forgot provide holiday dinners and birthday presents.

About 10 years ago, Haberle started the Haberle Staff Appreciation Award to help children of staff with tuition. Years earlier, the School of Pharmacy established the Gary Haberle Endowment Fund, to which Haberle regularly contributed to help “deserving students,” according to a release.

Patricia Kroboth, dean of the School of Pharmacy, said Haberle’s generosity extended to staff, faculty and students. In his position, Haberle divided his time among managing finances, mending issues with the payroll and assisting students with scholarships.

Kroboth said Haberle would meet potential pharmacy students in the Litchfield Towers lobby, accompanying them to their interviews and calming their nerves as they walked.

“A lot of these things are private interactions, the way he would encourage students to do well,” Kroboth said. “When alums come back and they say, ‘I’ve got to see Gary because he changed my life,’ that’s pretty powerful.”

The School of Pharmacy, which Kroboth said is still coping with the loss, has not began to search for Haberle’s successor.

“As the dean, it takes a team [to run this program], and he was the captain of a terrific team of staff,” Kroboth said. “He helped to create the culture that was very congenial and collaborative.”

To promote the Gary Haberle Endowment Fund, the family is requesting those who wish to give gifts instead donate to the scholarship.

The family will welcome friends today at the Lanigan Funeral Home from 2 to 8 p.m. According to a release, the family will hold a Catholic Funeral Mass at Heinz Chapel on Thursday, Feb. 4, at 10 a.m.

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