Dr. Eugene F. Thibadeau

May 18, 1933 ~ March 25, 2021 (age 87)


Dr. Eugene F. Thibadeau, 87, Professor Emeritus at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, passed away on Thursday, March 25, 2021, at Embassy of Hillsdale Park, Hillsdale, PA.  Dr. Thibadeau, who served as Department Head of Foundations of Education, taught at IUP for 40 years.  Dr. Thibadeau was originally from New York City, a son of Lillian and Eugene S. Thibadeau.  His father was a Deputy Chief Inspector with the New York Police Department, Emergency Service  Division.  One of Gene’s childhood memories was of his father being given a Deputy Chief’s funeral with New York’s finest lined up two deep along the funeral route.  Unable to attend college full-time, a determined Eugene worked several jobs, including junior civil engineer for the NY Department of Water, while attending night classes at City College School of Technology, and New York University.  He participated in ROTC at City College.  He earned his first degree in 1959, a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics and Philosophy.  With that, he procured a position with Autonetics, a military arms manufacturer, in Downey, California.  He served as an instructor on the N7A Military Guidance System, deemed vital to the Vietnam war effort.  Following that experience, Eugene returned to NYU to pursue a masters degree.  Seeking employment during the post-Russian Sputnik era, he found that our country was desperate for mathematics teachers.  Consequently, although he hadn’t yet earned a teaching degree, he was granted a five year emergency certificate.  Over the next eleven years, while taking night classes, he taught several levels of mathematics to grades seven through twelve, for two school districts on Long Island.  During that time, he earned two master’s degrees, one in Philosophy, and a second in Mathematics Education.  Seeking to further his career in academics, in 1970 he accepted a teaching position at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, as an Associate Professor of Philosophy in the Foundations of Education Department.  He attained full professorship in 1975.  While teaching at IUP, Eugene continued classes at NYU, earning his Ph.D. in Philosophy in 1973.  He completed post-doctoral seminars at the University of Pittsburgh, West Virginia  University, and Duquesne University.  Eugene held four professional certifications:  Permanent Secondary Mathematics Teacher, Permanent Secondary Supervisor, Permanent Instructional Supervisor, and Permanent Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction.  Dr. Thibadeau published 29 articles in professional journals, was editor of ‘Focus on Learning’, a journal examining educational movements, and published 3 textbooks, including ‘Opening Education in Theory and Practice’.  Throughout his teaching career, Eugene conducted 131 presentations at local, regional, state, national, and international conferences.  His classes at IUP grew to such proportions that he found it necessary to deliver lectures in the university auditorium.  During his tenure at IUP, Dr. Thibadeau combined his love of intellectual pursuit with his love of travel by teaching and lecturing at other universities.  In 1978-79, he was a Fulbright Senior Lecturer at Tomas Polytechnic in Pecs, Hungry.  During summers from 1974-84, he was a visiting professor of education in the Department of Administration and Policy Studies at Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY, as well as New York University.  As part of IUP’s search for a consortium institution with an international university, Eugene volunteered to live and teach in China in 1988.  Over the course of a year, he taught at Shanghai Teachers University, as well as lecturing at Jeao Tong University, and Shanghai International Studies University.  He returned in the fall of 2000 to teach for a semester at Fudan University in Shanghai.  China was his favorite international teaching experience.  Eugene also taught for a year in Pecs, Hungary at Janus Pannonius University as a Fulbright Senior Scholar in 1990.  He spent a few months living in Denmark and Germany.  He loved meeting new people, and always made friends wherever he went.  In 2009, Eugene was awarded Professor Emeritus status by the IUP Senate Academic Committee.  Eugene also produced and directed 127 television shows for WIUP-TV from 1983-1988.  He would conduct live interviews, without rehearsals, with people from the Indiana area concerning their expertise and concerns on various social issues.  There were two series of shows.  The first was ‘Indiana Today’, and the second series was ‘In Our Neighborhood’.  In his “spare time”, Eugene was asked to join the Indiana Players theatre group, sponsored by IUP’s School of Fine Arts.  In 1985, Gene made his acting debut in Neil Simon’s ‘Barefoot in the Park’.  Following that success, he joined the cast of actors  in a second Neil Simon play, ‘Plaza Suite’.  Teaching various aspects of philosophy, and mentoring college students, developed into the most rewarding of careers for Dr. Thibadeau.  “Tibby’s” sense of humor served him well, in and out of the classroom.  Those whose lives he touched will remember this unique man.   In addition to his parents, Eugene was preceded in death by two sisters, Muriel and Virginia.  He is survived by a sister, Carol, of Bridgewater, NJ, and an adopted daughter, Christine, of Creekside, PA  All funeral arrangements are private.


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