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Professor Emeritus Christian P. Gruber Dies at 82

By : Ingrid Husisian

A longtime Binghamton University professor emeritus died Sunday, August 31, at age 82.

Christian P. Gruber, one of Harpur College’s earliest faculty members, died at his home in Binghamton. He suffered a stroke after a long struggle with coronary artery disease.

Known as “Pete” to his friends and colleagues, Gruber earned a bachelor’s degree in 1942 from Wooster College and a master’s degree in 1949 and a PhD in 1954 from Princeton University.

Gruber began his career at Harpur College in 1954, when the institution was only four years old. He taught its first courses in theater and directed the college’s first departmental performances. He retired in 1983 after spending the spring semester as resident director of Binghamton University’s study abroad program in London.

Gruber was widely respected by both his peers and students. “He made my project a rewarding and enlightening experience, from which I have benefited enormously,” said Kenneth Meltsner `78, who wrote his English honors thesis under Gruber’s guidance. “Professor Gruber gave me the time, patient attention and encouragement to help me produce what I feel is my best work at this university,”

In addition to teaching and research, Gruber served in several administrative capacities. He was associate dean in administration from 1960 to 1962; chair of the Division of Humanities from 1964 to 1965; and master of Hinman College from 1967 to 1973; assistant to the president from 1978 to 1980 and was appointed vice president for planning in 1978.

Gruber remained active on campus and participated in Harpur College’s General Education Mentoring Program in the mid-1990s after his retirement.

In 1995, in commemoration of the University’s 50th anniversary, Gruber and his wife, Marilynn, endowed the Gruber Family Scholarship to benefit full-time Harpur College juniors and seniors with proven academic merit, intellectual ability and artistic talent. The scholarship rotates between English and theater majors each year.

“For those of us who knew him, Pete’s passing is a real blow; he was a friend and colleague we will sorely miss,” Harpur College Dean Jean-Pierre Mileur said. “Those who never had the chance to know him can not fully understand what a debt of gratitude they owe for Pete’s many contributions to Harpur College and the University.”

Gruber is survived by his wife and two children. In lieu of flowers, his family requests contributions to the Gruber Family Scholarship at the Binghamton University Foundation or the Unitarian-Universalist Congregation Endowment Fund. Funeral arrangements are incomplete at this time.
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Last Updated: 10/14/08