Loyola medical student advocate and Student Affairs dean retires after nearly 35 years

News Archive October 20, 2014

Loyola medical student advocate and Student Affairs dean retires after nearly 35 years

Mike Lambesis, the longest serving assistant dean of Student Affairs at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine

MAYWOOD, Ill. – Mike Lambesis, the longest serving assistant dean of Student Affairs at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, will retire in November after nearly 35 years of being an advocate for students and a source of joy in the medical school.

“Mike has been a wonderful advocate for our students throughout his career at Stritch.  He has a compassionate heart with deep dedication to our students.  His laughter and fun augment the experience of each student who walks through our doors,” said Linda Brubaker, MD, dean and chief diversity officer at Loyola Stritch. “His support and ability to connect with Stritch students has made such a difference. We will miss him and wish him all the best as he transitions to a well-deserved retirement.”

Also known as “Dean Fun,” Lambesis shared his joy with the Stritch community starting in 1980 when he was hired as assistant dean of students. As such he oversaw student life activities for the medical, dental, dental hygiene, graduate basic science and nursing students. During his tenure, the student organizations and intra-mural programs provided much-needed outlets for student to unwind  from the stresses of school and places such as “The Pub” provided some much-needed “downtime” where students and faculty could relax.

“There is no one on campus who loves the students more than Mike Lambesis. He sometimes doesn’t get the credit he deserves as an administrator because he makes it look so easy and always has a solution to the problem,” said James Mendez, PhD, associate dean for Student Affairs.

Proudest moments

When the new medical school building opened in 1997, Lambesis was promoted to assistant dean of Student Affairs with a focus on the medical students. He led student orientation and graduation festivities. One of his highlights was his involvement in the planning and construction of the Loyola Center for Fitness – an important recruiting tool for students. He also served as liaison to Student Health and Counseling Services and was able to support to many students during times of crisis.

“Mike is like a pit bull when it comes to advocating for students,” said Mendez. Throughout his career Lambesis made sure the emotional care and support of the students were  always on the minds of school administrators. 

“Sometimes students just needed a listening ear or place where they felt safe to break down and cry and it was an honor be able to provide that to them. They leaned on me during those times and some of my proudest moments were being able to help them get through those fears and doubts. Then to be invited to their weddings or have their parents tell me ‘thanks to you my son or daughter was able to become a doctor.’ I can’t think of anything more heartwarming,” said Lambesis.

Though much has changed since he arrived at Loyola there are a few things that have remained the same, such as faculty and staff that go above and beyond to bring care and support to each other and the students. But what he will miss most is the relationship with the students.

“When I first started I was just a few years older than the students. The funny thing is as time went on I kept getting older, but the students’ ages pretty much stayed the same. Soon I was old enough to be their father and then their grandfather. They have kept me young, made me laugh and I am enormously proud of them,” said Lambesis.

He and his wife, Mary Ruth, will stay in the community they love, Western Springs. They plan to do a lot of travel, enjoy being with family and friends and spending time together.

For media inquiries, contact Evie Polsley at epolsley@lumc.edu or call 708.216.5313.

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The Loyola University Chicago Health Sciences Division (HSD) advances interprofessional, multidisciplinary, and transformative education and research while promoting service to others through stewardship of scientific knowledge and preparation of tomorrow's leaders. The HSD is located on the Health Sciences Campus in Maywood, Illinois. It includes the Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing, the Stritch School of Medicine, the biomedical research programs of the Graduate School, and several other institutes and centers encouraging new research and interprofessional education opportunities across all of Loyola University Chicago. The faculty and staff of the HSD bring a wealth of knowledge, experience, and a strong commitment to seeing that Loyola's health sciences continue to excel and exceed the standard for academic and research excellence. For more on the HSD, visit LUC.edu/hsd.
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