Thomas Gibbons grew up in a Niagara University family. His father graduated in 1934 and was an active alumnus, and his sister Rosemary (Gibbons) Shah graduated from the College of Nursing (Class of ’70). Tom’s parents also encouraged him to continue his Catholic education at Niagara; he earned a history degree in 1972 and a master’s in education in 1975 and went on to a 40-year career in human services. Now, he and his wife, Linda Siple, are adding to the family legacy by giving a percentage of their estate to the Thomas J., ’34, and Madeline M. Gibbons Memorial Scholarship—established by Rochester Niagarans to honor Tom and Madeline’s work with alumni.
“This gift is in honor of my father and mother for being loving, generous parents and producing four successful children,” Tom says. “Making a planned gift to Niagara is a meaningful way to honor someone important in your life. NU was a good place to receive a good education that led to a successful career path.”
Tom’s career path took him into the nonprofit sector. He worked for several agencies, including as president of Rochester Hearing and Speech, retiring in 2015. Linda continues to work as a certified interpreter for the deaf and educator of sign language interpreters. The couple has been married for 35 years and lives in Rochester.
Tom attends alumni activities in the Rochester area and has visited the Niagara campus several times. One reason he is giving back is that he received help while in graduate school with a position as dormitory director. He received tuition assistance and room and board while earning credit and a stipend.
“There is such a sense of family at Niagara: we knew everyone in our class by name; and the teachers, counselors, even food service personnel were friendly and considerate,” Tom says. “The Niagara faculty and staff have always had the best interests of students at heart.”