Robert Niedbala, Professor, Three Rivers Community College, and Norwich resident, was dismayed to discover that historical items and valuable college memorabilia were being thrown away during the college’s renovation and reconstruction. A 35-year employee of State Technical College system, Robert knew first-hand the significance and richness of the college’s history, which spans four decades. “It’s important for us to know our roots and where we came from,” Robert said.
Armed with his findings, Robert approached Grace S. Jones, President, Three Rivers Community College, about creating a position whose mission is to collect, preserve and present information, artifacts, evidence and other relevant material that represent the college. Grace agreed and named Robert – a self-proclaimed history buff and Chair of the Three Rivers Physics department – to the position of College Historian.
“Professor Niedbala’s longtime commitment to education and his dedication to Three Rivers make him an ideal candidate for the position,” Grace said. “This is the first time in the college’s history that such a position has existed. Robert is highly respected on campus; he’s up to the task.”
In addition to his role as documentarian, Robert will also be asked to gather other interested persons to explore the history and historic significance of the college, though one would be hard pressed to find anyone as knowledgeable as he. He recently authored a book, “The History of the Technical Colleges in CT.” And he is at work on a second book for which he will interview the living presidents of Thames Valley State Technical College, Mohegan College and Three Rivers Community College, as well as other retirees.
In Robert’s estimation, now that the college is located on one campus, it’s more important than ever to remember the college’s past as staff, faculty and students look forward. “The college has a rich and varied history, and I love history,” Robert said.