Dr. Spencer Gibbins, a faculty member in the School Psychology program at 91福利导航 from 1980 to 2001, died on August 22. He was 82 years old. 

Dr. Gibbins was diagnosed with leukemia in April and died unexpectedly from complications resulting from chemotherapy. 

Spencer Gibbins was born on April 16, 1941, in Alton, Illinois, to Pauline Spencer and Harold Gibbins. He studied to be a special education teacher at Illinois State University in Normal. Illinois. After earning his bachelor鈥檚 degree, he moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan to earn a master鈥檚 degree in special education and a doctorate in psychology at the University of Michigan. His first post as a professor was in the Department of Psychology at Rutgers University in New Jersey. He also taught at Syracuse University in New York. He came to Gallaudet in 1980. 

Dr. Gibbins taught at Gallaudet for 21 years, and directed the School Psychology Program from 1997 through 2001. He served on numerous graduate school committees. In addition, he supervised both school psychology and clinical psychology students in internships and practicums throughout his tenure.  

Man wearing black glasses, light blonde goatee, bald, is looking at the camera with a black top.

According to Dr. Tania Thomas-Presswood, director of the university鈥檚 Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) School Psychology program, 鈥淒r. Gibbins鈥 courses were always well-enrolled. Not only was he popular, but he was considered the person to ask when a professional question arose. For the school psychology program, he taught consultation and legal and ethical courses, and supervised internships among other courses. Provost Rashid remembers being in his Child Psychology course.鈥 

Dr. Robert L. 鈥淪kip鈥 Williams, another retired psychology professor, wrote that 鈥淸Dr. Gibbins] was a terrific colleague and friend. Dedicated, upbeat, and caring. One of the cool things he did was to edit an annual newsletter that included stories and bits sent to him by our former school psychology students from all over the world. It was always fun to read and formed a great community.鈥 

Dr. Gibbins was an active member of the National Association of School Psychologists, the Eastern Psychological Association, and the American Psychological Association. He presented papers, authored articles, and participated in a variety of discussions related to his field at all three organizations. 

He was skilled in both American Sign Language and Braille. 

The following is taken from Dr. Gibbins鈥 Dignity Memorial obituary: 

Dr. Gibbins was a dedicated volunteer throughout his time in Washington. Starting in the 1980s, he volunteered at the Whitman-Walker Clinic, a community health center specializing in healthcare for people living with HIV and AIDS. He volunteered for almost 40 years with both the 7-2-9 Program, which focuses on community-integration activities for people experiencing mental health disabilities, and the Radcliffe Room at New York Avenue Presbyterian Church, a clothing closet and food kitchen for people experiencing homelessness. 

Growing up gay in a society and era where homosexuality was heavily stigmatized, Dr. Gibbins did not experience significant romantic partnerships until he met Cleveland Mosby, his one great love, at the age of 57 on April 19, 1998, in Washington, D.C. Dr. Gibbins and Mr. Mosby traveled the world together, visiting over 30 countries across five continents. When not traveling, they split their time between homes in Washington, D.C., and Chesapeake Beach, Maryland. Due to the laws at the time, they were unmarried for most of their relationship, but they finally married in 2015, just months after the Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, which recognized a constitutional right to same-sex marriage. 

Besides his husband, Cleveland Mosby, Dr. Gibbins is survived by his brother and sister-in-law, Stephen and Charlotte Gibbins; two nieces, four grand-nieces, friends Alice Faulkner, Dr. Carolyn Baldwin, and Dr. Susan Anthony-Tolbert, and many other loved ones. 

Dr. Gibbins鈥 funeral will be held on Sunday, October 1 at 12:30 p.m. at the , 1313 New York Avenue NW, Washington, D.C. In lieu of flowers, donations in Spencer鈥檚 memory can be designated to The Radcliffe Room. Clothing donations to the Radcliffe Room can be made as well. 

A number of Dr. Gibbins’ colleagues and students have submitted tributes, as follows.

Dr. Tania Thomas-Presswood
Professor, Psychology Program
I remember听when I interviewed at Gallaudet for the school psychology faculty position that I now hold. At the end of the long day, Spence kindly offered to drive me to the hotel where I was staying. We were talking in听the听car, and I shared that I felt the interview went well and I hoped I would be selected for the position. He turned, and without saying a word, gave me the most reassuring look I have ever received. It warmed my heart! He was a wonderful mentor to me, and when I moved to Chesapeake Beach, he was the best neighbor!

Dr. Margery S. Miller
Retired Professor, Psychology Program

Dr. Spence Gibbins was a wonderful School Psychology professor, colleague, family member, and friend. He was kind, supportive, and respectful with everyone.听 When I first came to the Psychology Department, he was one of my mentors,听 and gave me great advice. He had a wonderful and loving relationship with his partner, and then husband, Mr. Cleveland Mosby. Dr. Gibbins will be greatly missed.

Dr. Robert L. Williams
Retired Professor, Psychology Program

[Spence] was a terrific colleague and friend.听听Dedicated, upbeat, and caring. One of the cool things he did was to edit an annual newsletter that included stories and bits sent to him by our former school psychology students from all over the world. It was always fun to read and formed a great community.

Dr. Susan Anthony-Tolbert
Retired Professor, Psychology Program
Spence had a wonderful sense of humor. For the past 22 years of his retirement, he and I talked every Friday at 10-ish. We had many a laugh over silly things. I loved him dearly as a friend, and will miss him so very, very much.

Dr. Lynne Blennerhasset
Retired Professor, Psychology Program
[As others have said,] Spence had a wonderful sense of humor. At one time, he was in charge of the department computer laboratory. He created a set of rules for the lab — no eating or drinking, always log off your computer when you are done, etc. One day, a small child wandered into the lab and urinated on the floor. Spencer laughed it off, cleaned up, and added to the Computer Lab Rules: “No urinating on the lab floor.”

L. Aaron Rosenthal, G-’84
Retired School Psychologist
Colorado Springs, Colorado

I was a graduate student in the School Psychology program at GU (actually Gallaudet College at the time) from September 1982 to May 1984, and I remember Spence very fondly.听 He was a creative and effective professor, focused听on imparting knowledge and skills on all his students. He infused his wonderful sense of humor into his teachings.

Two of my favorite memories of Spence had nothing to do with Gallaudet per se. He had bought a townhouse and asked me and another school psych student to help him move. We gladly accepted and had a fun day getting to know a different side of Spence.

When I drove from Gallaudet to Colorado Springs, Colorado for my school psychology internship, he set me up to stay with his parents Harold and Pauline in Alton, Illinois. Meeting his wonderful parents and hearing boyhood memories of Spence also helped me understand why he was such a stellar human being. It was no surprise to me that his volunteer and philanthropic undertakings were extensive, as those areas fit in beautifully with the giving nature of his personality.

A final memory to share was when he traveled to my internship site as my Gallaudet supervisor. I recall him making a positive impression on every person he met in my internship circle. He was very supportive of me during some of the challenges I was experiencing, and actively worked with my supervisors to make my internship a more profound experience.

I consider myself most fortunate to have had Spence come into my life not only as a professor, but also as a mentor and friend.

Hi5 thanks Dr. Tania Thomas-Presswood of the Psychology program in the School of Human Services and Sciences for her assistance in gathering information about and tributes to Dr. Gibbins.

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