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Dr. C. Dennis Ignasias – 1939-2010

  • Wednesday, July 21, 2010

    Ignasias_DennisPRINCESS ANNE, MD - (July 19, 2010) The University of Maryland Eastern Shore campus community is in mourning for C. Dennis Ignasias, a long-time administrator who died this past weekend. He was 70.

    Ignasias was UMES' associate vice president of academic affairs, one of several leadership posts he held during 37 years at the historically black land-grant school. He served under five university presidents, including Thelma B. Thompson.

    "I will miss Dr. Ignasias," Dr. Thompson said. "He was very helpful and supportive of me for eight long years. He never let me down. He's done everything from serving as (campus) historian to serving people (at social functions) … when we were short of help. He was a good man."

    Ignasias began his higher education career teaching history and political science at colleges in Ohio and Wisconsin. He earned two doctorates; one in history from Michigan State University and the second in educational administration from the University of Wisconsin.

    He arrived at UMES in 1973 to be director of research and grants and its 1890 Agricultural Research Program. In 1983, he moved on to oversight of international studies and then graduate studies, where he eventually served as dean.

    Dr. Ronnie Holden, vice president for administrative affairs, and Ignasias were colleagues for more than three decades. "He worked tirelessly in his efforts to assist UMES in achieving the academic programs and quality that currently exists.  He truly loved the University, its students, faculty, staff and all of his colleagues."

    "The University of Maryland Eastern Shore is a better place because of the presence and work done by Dr. Ignasias.  We are better people for having had an opportunity to have known him," Dr. Holden said.

    Other colleagues characterized him as quiet, hard-working and immensely proud of his five children.

    "He had no pretense about him. He was the type of person you liked to call your friend," said Ernest R. Satchell, who retired this spring after 39 years teaching art at his alma mater. "Everything he did was measured, but always for the good of the university. He was almost like an alumnus."

    "Dependability and trustworthiness," Dr. Carolyn B. Brooks said, "were two of his strongest traits, making him a joy to have as an administrative peer."

    Dr. Brooks, Executive Director of the Association of Research Directors of 1890 Land Grant Universities, said Ignasias "reserved his sense of humor for private times and what a warm and bubbly talker he could be……especially as he talked about himself as a father and some of the situations he found himself in as an administrator."

    Dr. Karen A. Verbeke, chair of UMES' Education Department called him "a kind, gentle spirit. And he had a wonderful sense of humor. He was always generous with his time and energy. He had many dimensions."

    Over the past four years he served as associate vice president for academic affairs, Dr. Verbeke said Ignasias deserves credit for bolstering graduate studies, with the number of programs and enrollment doubling, and a corresponding increase in financial support.


    Candice Evans, UMES Office of Public Relations, (410) 651-6669, 

    Gail Stephens, assistant director, UMES Office of Public Relations, (410) 651-7580,