Abner Gibbs Elementary School and Westfield
State College Honor:
Abner E. Gibbs, 1835 - 1883, Teacher,
Principal, Community Leader
May 27, 2010
Dignitaries from left to Right: Margaret Adams, Principal;
Dan Knapik, Mayor; Don Humasen, State Rep; Shirley Alvira, Superintendent;
Joey, President Student Council, Barry Maloney, VP of Student Affairs,
WSC; Kevin Queenin, Chairman Board of Trustees, WSC; James Martin-Rehrmann,
Dean, WSC; Robert Allen, great grandson of Abner Gibbs; Gabriel, student
Quote form our Principal:
"Today, Westfield State College VP of Student Affairs
Barry Maloney bestows a posthumous Honorary Doctorate of Public Service
Degree to Mr. Abner E. Gibbs in recognition of his outstanding contributions
to the education of Westfield's children.
"Mr. Gibbs graduated from "The State Normal
School in Westfield" as Westfield State College was known then,
in 1863. He served as the Principal of Westfield Academy and Westfield
High School from 1867 until his death in 1883.
"Mr. Gibbs earned a reputation as an innovative,
compassionate educator who transformed Westfield's public schools. In
recognition of his contributions, city leaders named the 'modern' elementary
school on West Silver street in his honor in 1914.
"We are pleased to welcome Mr. Robert Allen, who
has traveled from California to Westfield to accept this honorary degree
on behalf of the Gibbs family. Mr. Allen is a great-grandson of Abner
and Francena Gibbs.
"I would like you to know that students, staff and
parents have worked together to plan this extraordinary event as part
of the school's 95th Anniversary Celebration.
"I would like to thank family members and everyone
from the Abner Gibbs School, Westfield State Collage, and the City of
Westfield who have supported our efforts to honor Abner Gibbs - 'the
man, the school, and the legacy'"