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Educator bids farewell as leader of state system
Norwich Bulletin
Article published January 7, 2006

-- Rand Cooper first met Connecticut State University System Chancellor William Cibes in the 1980s. Then a professor at Connecticut College, Cibes visited Cooper's house in New London while campaigning door-to-door in the state legislative elections.

Cooper, a college student then and a freelance writer now, recalled wanting to engage the candidate in a lengthy, doorstep discussion about the issues -- and Cibes was more than eager to comply.

"We spent 20 minutes talking," Cooper said Friday. "What he was doing was taking ideas from the classroom, from the Ivory tower, and bringing them to the streets. It's a defining description about the man."

Cooper was among nearly 90 people who turned out Friday night at the Litchfield Inn to honor Cibes, who is retiring, after 12 years as chancellor of the state's college system.

Cibes' career spans more than 35 years. From 1969 to 1990, he taught government at Conn. College. From 1984 to 1991, he was the state representative from New London, a seat he left in an unsuccessful bid for the Democratic nomination for governor in 1990.

Gov. Lowell Weicker chose him to serve as Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management, where Cibes became the architect for the state income tax.

In 1994, he accepted the position of chancellor for the state's university system, a position he will leave next month.

"When I first came to Connecticut, I found the state's college campuses under whelming," said Diane Smith, PBS Television anchor and author. "Under Bill's leadership, the campuses now reflect the excellence of the education provided in the system."

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