Michaela Cosgrove has been working since she was 14, the last 33 years at Keuka College.
“I’ve stayed because there are students to teach, and teaching is what I love,” said Cosgrove, who retired at the end of the 2012-13 academic year and was granted professor emerita status by the Board of Trustees. “But I wanted to retire before the job got stale and I didn’t look forward to coming to work anymore. I wanted to go when I was still happy and happy with the way things are.
“I am extremely impressed with the new faculty coming in,” she said. “They are in tune with the students, they know their stuff, and are professionals. I like that a lot. Keuka College is a unique place to be and I know it will continue to flourish.”
The College is in that position thanks in part to Cosgrove, named Professor of the Year in 2004.
“Her students consistently praise her for her deep love of literature and language studies, and her passion for her teaching. Described as an outstanding teacher and mentor by her colleagues and students, she has made a profound and lasting impact on the College,” said Anne Weed, vice president for academic affairs.
That lasting impact has been felt across campus as Cosgrove has served in a number of roles throughout her tenure.
“In her distinguished career at Keuka, which has spanned three decades, she has served as an exceptional teacher of Spanish, director of the Higher Education Opportunity Program, assistant academic dean, dean of students, registrar, and as chair of the Division of Humanities and Fine Arts,” said Weed.
And while Cosgrove enjoyed her administrative duties, teaching has her heart.
“I had the opportunity to teach in graduate school, jumped at the chance to do so, and I found that I loved it,” said Cosgrove. “I was able to continue teaching one course a semester while serving as dean of students and really enjoyed it. I learned a lot as an administrator, but teaching is my passion and was glad to do it full-time.”
She has taught Spanish language, literature and culture; Latin America; U.S.-Latino literature; Spanish for professional purposes; and introductory linguistics, among others.
Outside the classroom, Cosgrove must be credited for heightening student interest in international Field Periods.
“I remember fondly the intensity and pleasure of leading so many group Field Periods to Mexico,” said Cosgrove, who is pleased with the College’s global approach to education. “I am most happy about the international connection the students have now, and am hopeful that our state-based students will take the opportunity to travel and learn the languages and culture of others. It’s good to see students whose first language is not English come into the classroom and interact with the traditional students.”
And while Cosgrove may be leaving teaching behind, she will have many opportunities to speak Spanish.
“My daughter lives in Spain and we’ve been to visit every year,” Cosgrove said. “Last summer, we travelled throughout the country by car as our son-in-law and my husband biked. We saw many little towns I’d love to go back to and explore.”
She also plans several visits to see her son and daughter-in-law, both Keuka graduates, who now live in Arizona. Other plans include yoga, traveling during the semester, and looking for possible volunteer opportunities, such as conflict mediation, something she has done in the past.
“I will do some writing as well,” she said. “I like to write essays, but whether anyone will read them is something different. A long time ago, I was on staff of the Corning Leader covering such events as the Cohocton school board meetings. I might go back to that because I like the writing it involves. I really just want to see what happens.”