By Ashley Ferrence, Staff Writer

Professor Susan Anzivino with Students Shannah Cotton and Kate Marchesi (Photo courtesy of Shannah Cotton)

Professor Susan Anzivino with Students Shannah Cotton and Kate Marchesi (Photo courtesy of Shannah Cotton)

After 33 years at the University of Maine at Farmington (UMF), Susan Anzivino, the Chairperson of the Division of Psychology and Human Development, is getting ready to wrap up her last semester.

    Anzivino will be officially retiring August 31st, 2014. Over the years, Anzivino has helped many students reach their goals in the psychology field. “Seeing students come back with success stories is the biggest part of teaching that I will miss. Especially if they felt like they wouldn’t’ ever be successful, and now they are,” said Anzivino.

    UMF senior Maria Leathers has been one of Anzivino’s work-study students for almost three years. “I have never seen a professor help her students as much as she has.  She literally goes above and beyond for many of them,” said Leathers. “Susan is a special person that dedicated herself to the people of this school, and now it’s time for her to be dedicated to herself.”

    After earning her master’s degree and PhD in psychology at Ohio State, Anzivino’s plan was not to teach, but to work clinically in the mental health field, as she was the Director of Training in a large mental health institute where she trained graduate students. After this, she decided to delve into the teaching world, first teaching at a graduate school for four years. Coming from a large university, Anzivino didn’t think she would like UMF when the job came up.

    “I didn’t think I would like a small town, but I fell in love with UMF, Maine and the community. I came into this job on a week’s notice. I wasn’t even looking for a job, then I planned to only stay at UMF for two years,” Anzivino said. Clearly, two turned into 33 memorable years.

    Anzivino is starting a whole new chapter in her life and has many plans her retirement, though she wants to continue teaching courses here and there. “I got engaged! That’s one thing I’ll be doing,” Anzivino said with a smile. “I want to travel. We are planning to go to Italy; we have already been to France. I want to walk the beach, relax, chill.”

    Anzivino will miss the department she has been chair of for a total of ten years. “We are a family; sometimes functional, sometimes dysfunctional, but we are supportive. We support each other and our students,” said Anzivino.

    Dr. Steven Quackenbush has been at UMF since 2003 and has worked with Anzivino since he arrived. “I wouldn’t even say it’s a career for her, it’s a priestly vocation. She is invested in this line of work just as a pastor is invested in his or her church,” said Quackenbush. “Susan has never asked what UMF could do for her, she has always asked what she could do for UMF. That level of devotion is something that we should all strive to realize.”

    Another colleague, Dr. Karol Maybury, has known Anzivino for five years, and quickly learned about her upon arriving at UMF. “During those first few months of watching Susan, I realized she regularly achieved the impossible. Her standards and devotion were singular and astonishing and brought a 24/7 commitment to her position that left me humbled as a new faculty member,” said Maybury.

    It will be different for Anzivino to not be working at this university that is so dear to her. “Dr. Jacobs and I used to talk a lot, we were very close, we used to talk about how teaching is more of a calling than it is really a career,” said Anzivino. “We both felt like this is what we were supposed to do in life. I just felt like I was always supposed to be here, here at UMF.”

    Anzivino has many feelings about the retirement. “Since I have been 14 years old, I have never not worked. What do I do now?” Anzivino laughed. “It’s kind of a mixed thing, but I’m so excited to start a new chapter in my life.”