The K-State Family says goodbye to a legend as Bosco retires in July

Pat Bosco, retiring dean of students, overlooks the crowd at the KSUnite rally on the lawn of Anderson Hall on Nov. 14, 2017. (Archive Photo by Kelly Pham | Collegian Media Group)

A man with a passion for putting students at the center of his work will be greatly missed by the Kansas State community.

Pat Bosco, vice president of student life and dean of students, is a highly respected and honored leader of K-State in the Office of Student Life. He will retire this summer after 48 years of working for the university.

Although Bosco is retiring, his legacy will be long-lasting, with numerous students and faculty indicating they will not forget what he has done for K-State.

Sonia Topliff, executive administrative assistant for student life, worked alongside Bosco for the past 30 years dating back to late 1989.

“I will remember his positive attitude, his endless energy and his devotion to both his personal family and the K-State Family,” Topliff said.

Topliff said she will miss Bosco not only as a boss, but also as a coworker and friend.

“He has always been there for me to listen, to support, to advise or to offer a new perspective on whatever is happening in my family or work life,” Topliff said. “He was simply the best boss ever.”

Along with Topliff, Stephanie Bannister, assistant vice president of student life, said she will miss Bosco and his willingness to support change at K-State.

“Any time I made a case for a student need, he was the first to advocate and champion the cause,” Bannister said.

Bosco has been a supervisor for Bannister for the past three years in the Office of Student Life.

“Working with Bosco is a whirlwind,” Bannister said. “He expects you to jump right in and trusts you to provide solutions to challenges students are facing.”

Working alongside Bosco has been a pleasure for many, but he has impacted more than just his coworkers. Students all over the university indicated they will remember the impact he made on their lives individually.

Jansen Penny, student body president and junior in industrial engineering, shared his experience with Bosco at orientation and enrollment before his freshman year.

“As an out-of-state student, my parents had many feelings of anxiousness and worry sending their son far away from home,” Penny said. “But during orientation, Bosco had every parent put his cell phone number in their phone to ensure they could call him with any concerns involving their student.”

To this day, Penny said his parents still talk about how much Bosco genuinely cares for each one of his students, and sharing his personal cell phone number is just one part of that.

“Bosco is such a caring and authentic dean of students and always made himself so available to everyone,” Penny said. “He’s a blessing to not only the students but the parents of all students that attend this university.”

Besides orientation, students who visited K-State before attending said they were always welcomed by Bosco’s friendly and inviting face.

Lindsay Schaller, sophomore in marketing, said she will always remember how helpful Bosco was in helping her decide what college to attend.

“During my second visit to K-State, Bosco took the initiative to set up a one-on-one appointment with me to chat about what I was feeling, considering how indecisive I was on choosing a college,” Schaller said.

Bosco was known for sitting with students every day and talking them through how wonderful he thinks K-State is.

“After the appointment, he even let me ride in his infamous purple Lexus around campus,” Schaller said. “He was a wonderful mentor, and this campus won’t be the same without him.”

Ali Karamali, student body vice president and junior in chemical engineering, shared a memory of Bosco speaking at his fraternity’s scholarship dinner.

“Before Bosco spoke to us, our house mom introduced herself and Bosco was immediately able to remember her son that was a student at K-State over ten years ago,” Karamali said. “This meant so much to my house mom and really showed how much Bosco invests in every student and takes the time to truly know them.”

Bannister added that Bosco has helped shape the university into what it is today.

“His legacy is about keeping students at the center of all we do,” Bannister said. “The university has been and will be made better because of this work.”

There are many more stories like these describing Bosco’s character and the impact he has had on students, and he will surely be missed.