John Gilbert Watson, dean of the School of Business, dies at 67

By Tony Lee, editor in chief, @sHecKii

UPDATED – 9:00 a.m.

John Gilbert Watson, Ph.D., St. Bonaventure University’s dean of the School of Business, died Sunday evening after suffering a stroke in York, Pa., according to a university spokesman. He was 67.

Watson visited friends at a country club Sunday when he had played golf as a young man; he was taken to a York hospital, where he died at 10:15 p.m.

Most students received the news about Watson via the university Notice Board at 9:05 p.m. A message from University President Sr. Margaret Carney, O.S.F., said he was in “grave” condition., St. Bonaventure’s official athletics site, confirmed his death via Twitter.

Watson, who planned to retire in May after a 36-year career at St. Bonaventure, served as the dean for the last four years; the management sciences professor also served as dean from 1976 to 1984 before. 

Students like Nadia Babar, a senior marketing major, got to know him well in and outside of St. Bonaventure. 

Babar, an Olean native, said she saw Watson often when he attended kickboxing classes at the Olean YMCA.

She said he was quiet, but seemed to look like he had fun.

“He was usually the only male in the class, and always helped pick up the heavy punching bags,” Babar said. “He was seriously good at kickboxing to my surprise and never seemed to miss a class.”

Babar said Watson is friends with her parents and have seen him visiting the mosque she goes to in Allegany with Fr. Michael Calabria, O.F.M.

“He’s always just been a really nice person that I’ve respected and looked up to,” Babar said. 

Shannon Shepherd, who was a business major for three semesters, said she had a “bad feeling in her gut” as soon as she read the Notice Board email.

“I had to reread it a few times; I couldn’t believe it,” the junior journalism and mass communication major said. “You could tell Sr. Margaret was in shock, too.”

Shepherd, who covered basketball games for SBU-TV, said though she had not worked with Watson personally, she remembered him for doing color on 95.7 WPIG-FM.

“I just saw him all the time being in (The John J. Murphy Professional Building),” said Shepherd, who often works in the Koop Broadcasting Lab, about 20 paces away from the dean’s office. “He has such an amazing family and that is what makes it extra sad.”

His wife, Suzanne, retired last year after nine years as a lecturer in the university’s computer science department. Their son, Steve, is St. Bonaventure’s director of athletics, and their son, John James, is a marketing professor at the university.

[Image courtesy of]

ST. BONAVENTURE (March 18) — St. Bonaventure set a school-record 34-point victory with its 77-43 win against Lehigh in the Women’s National Invitation Tournament Thursday night.

Junior guard Jessica Jenkins led the Bonnies (21-11) with a game-high 20 points and five three pointers. Junior Megan Van Tatenhove, the Atlantic 10 All-Conference Second Team and All-Academic Team forward, scored 12 points and grabbed six rebounds.

The Bonnies limited the Lehigh Mountain Hawks (21-11) to 30.8 percent shooting and limited star guard Erica Posser to only 6-of-17 field goals for 16 points and forced three turnovers. 

St. Bonaventure will play Syracuse Monday at 7 p.m. in the WNIT’s next round. 

The two teams have not met played since the 2007-08 season when the Orange won, 72-57. The Bonnies are 2-6 all-time against Syracuse, and this will be the third BIG EAST opponent it has faced in its seven WNIT games.

Box score, via
The Intrepid’s photo slideshow:

What some St. Bonaventure University students, faculty and alumni tweeted about the 8.8 earthquake and its aftermath.

* @ander_beth: my prayers go out to all those affected by the earthquake and tsunami #prayforjapan #tsunami

* @clarky71990: Thoughts and prayers go out to the people of Japan. Hopefully, the west coast and the rest of the Pacific will be less impacted. #Japan

*@orourkemeaghan: #earthquake and #tsunami hit #japan, #prayforjapan

*@Mary_Bestest: RT @TIME: Japan hit by 8.9 quake; Tsunami alerts issued |

George Sylvie and Robert Buckla, two of three potential candidates to replace Dean Lee Coppola, had a meet and greet with students Feb. 23 and 24, respectively, at St. Bonaventure University. .

Coppola, current dean of Russel J. Jandoli School of Journalism and Mass Communications, plans to retire at the end of 2011 spring semester. 

Technology impacting conversations

[Cell phones, laptops and iPads have become a crucial part of many college students’ daily lives – By Tony Lee]

Students, professors differ in amount of technology usage but agree hinders face-to-face exchanges

By Maddie Gionet, guest writer

ST. BONAVENTURE (Feb. 23) – Ryan McDonald sits in Café La Verna, a coffeehouse on St. Bonaventure University’s campus, typing a text message. Thumbs a blur, they suddenly stop. Message sent.

“Funny, isn’t it?” said the junior management major. “I’m about to be interviewed about technology and I can’t put my phone down for two seconds.”

David Levine, a computer science professor, types up PowerPoint slides in his office for his courses.

“I only bring my laptop home with me when I know I have schoolwork to do,” he said. “I didn’t install high-speed Internet at home until my daughter was in middle school. I wanted to separate my home life from my work life.”

A dozen underclassmen and five professors interviewed said mobile phones, iPods and laptops hinder face-to-face conversation.

“I’m from Florida so it’s a lot easier for me to keep in touch with my friends by texting them instead of taking the time to call or send a letter,” said Katie Parker, a freshman undecided major. “Staying connected with my friends from home does keep me from making friendships here, though.”

According to a 2010 Nielsen study, 223 million Americans over age 13 own a mobile phone. The number of mobile Web users has risen from 45.6 million in 2008 to 60.7 million in 2010, a 33 percent increase. Facebook users average six hours per month on the social network that connects people worldwide.

Bona students and professors said technology dependence has to do with age.

“I remember having a black and white TV with three channels,” said Chris Stanley, a theology professor. “We had to write letters and make personal visits to stay in contact.”

Stanley said technology dependence and age have a connection.

“We knew how to survive without technology and if it all disappeared today, we’d be fine,” he said. “Students on the other hand, would have a much harder time functioning I would think.”

Others agreed age could be a factor.

“I know I should text only a few times, but I send about 150 texts a day,” said Katie Rush, a sophomore elementary and special education major. “My computer is on whenever I’m in my room. I think I use technology about 13 hours a day and mostly for Facebook.”

David Pesci, a senior biology major, said he uses his computer and cell phone less than students like Rush because of the quality of conversation.

“I use my computer and phone about six hours a day,” he said. “I miss the thoughtfulness put into a letter or the personal connection you get when having a face-to-face conversation.”

Pesci and other students said dependence on technology has changed their lives.

“We haven’t lost the ability to have a face-to-face conversation, but we’ve lost the comfortability,” he said. “Awkward conversations are easier to have through an e-mail or a text message. It takes out all the emotions.”

Denny Wilkins, a professor of journalism and mass communication, said students’ dependence on mobile phones, iPods and laptops results in a lack of communication.

Wilkins, who holds a doctorate in media studies, said he primarily communicates with students in his courses through e-mail. Many don’t stay in touch with him because they aren’t checking their e-mail at least once a day.

Sources said balance in using technology is key.

“We are by nature interactive beings, so technology definitely helps us stay connected,” said Cathi Beatty, counselor at the Counseling Center. “But I also think it’s hard for us to sit quietly with ourselves because we need that stimulation. It’s good to find a balance.”

McDonald agreed.

“I like technology,” he said. “It’s scary when Google starts trying to finish my thoughts, but overall it’s great. It makes the biggest idiot look intelligent, but it also helps us stay connected even if we’re spread out all over the world.”