Leonard Garigliano fondly remembers the professor that first sparked his interest in biology while attending Adelphi University.

Professor Warren Eickelberg (circa 1950-1960)

Professor Warren Eickelberg (circa 1950-1960)

Leonard J. Garigliano ’57, Ed.D., taught science, including biology and general science, for more than 30 years and has one person to thank for helping him realize his calling— former Adelphi Professor of Biology Warren Eickelberg. Dr. Garigliano said of Eickelberg, who passed away in 1999, “Of all the teachers I’ve had…he was absolutely the best.”

Dr. Garigliano still recalls the page in his 1953 Bedford Hills (New York) high school yearbook where predictions were made about where the graduates would end up in the future. “They said, ‘Lee still hasn’t made up his mind what he wants to do,’” Dr. Garigliano said, laughing.

His experiences in biology classes at Adelphi, especially the ones taught by Eickelberg, changed that. At the time, the department was small, and Dr. Garigliano recalled that each professor taught a range of courses. He had at least four or five with Eickelberg and came to know and admire his style. “It was amazing how he was so knowledgeable and so well prepared for the variety of courses he had to teach,” Dr. Garigliano recalled.

Eickelberg livened up his teaching with relevant anecdotes, such as his experiences flying in B29 bombers in the Air Force—learning to gulp air in order to combat sudden changes in pressure. He practiced hands-on learning long before it came into vogue and encouraged experimentation. Dr. Garigliano remembered he even designed an experiment that involved getting an artificial heart to beat in a solution—cutting-edge science at the time. “When he did a lab, he was there by your side, helping, instructing and teaching,” Dr. Garigliano said.

Later, when he taught at the middle school level and then at Salisbury University, Dr. Garigliano found he emulated Eickelberg. “I was much more relaxed and much more involved, and that’s the way Warren was,” Dr. Garigliano said.

Dr. Garigliano taught at Salisbury University for more than two decades before retiring in 1997. Curiosity and a willingness to get involved—two qualities he honed at Adelphi—contributed to his rising through the ranks to become a full professor. “The love of learning is what Adelphi instilled in me and, I know, in many, many others,” he said.

When Dr. Garigliano learned that a scholarship had been established in memory of his favorite professor, he immediately pledged his support. In addition to his continued funding of the Warren Eickelberg Scholarship, he established his own scholarship to support Adelphi biology students and became a member of the Ruth S. Harley Society for planned giving.

Dr. Garigliano said of his ongoing monthly support, “Obviously, I believe in it because I do it. It’s something that can be done fairly easily. If you’re not rich, you do a little bit at a time…It amasses very quickly, and that’s good, and painless.”

In sum, he said he gives “because I can, because I want to and because of all the good it does.”

This article was featured in AU VU Magazine, Fall 2015 issue.

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