A new season beckons

Karbowski retires as department head

May 16th, 2019

Dr. Steve Karbowski

He’s spent almost 50 years in the dental profession; 20 years of that at Texas A&M College of Dentistry. Now Dr. Steve Karbowski, restorative sciences department head, is hanging up his white coat to embark on retirement adventures. A May 13 reception celebrated the positive attributes he has brought to his work.

Drs. Steve Griffin and Steve Karbowski

“I appreciate his friendship and mentorship,” Dr. Steve Griffin, associate dean for clinical affairs, said to the large gathering of faculty, staff and students. “I can’t imagine a more fair and even-tempered person.”

Dr. Lawrence Wolinsky, dean, emphasized Karbowski’s quiet, steadfast leadership style, dedication and recognition by faculty and students for teaching excellence.

Karbowski joined the college faculty in 1998 after spending five years in the U.S. Army Dental Corps and 22 years as a private practitioner in Atlanta, Texas. He was named director of fixed prosthodontics in 2000 and director of comprehensive care in 2002, in which he oversaw the predoctoral clinical and preclinical curriculum for all restorative disciplines and revised and reorganized course syllabi.

He rewrote the college’s Comprehensive Care Manual and played a key role in the successful 2004 accreditation site visit.  He has led the Department of Restorative Sciences since 2005 as a clinical associate professor.

“You’ve been a great faculty member in all the roles you’ve played,” said Dr. Amp Miller, professor in restorative sciences. “To use a baseball analogy, if one were available for a department chair, you’d be a Triple Crown winner.”

Bible verses from Ecclesiastes, Chapter 3 guided this retirement decision, Karbowski said at the reception.

“I feel I have the energy to work another 20 years, but we pray to God for the wisdom to know the appropriate season for everything. I believe if we’re fortunate enough to have work with a high purpose, there’s not much more we can ask for.  However, what I will miss most is working with all of you. The fellowship here is something I will always treasure.”

Karbowski recognized especially the support of two people: Nita Munguia, clinic manager in restorative sciences, who has been “a full partner” in supporting the department’s success, and Barbara Karbowski, his wife of 51 years, who has been at his side through thick and thin. “She always made the thin times thicker.”

The Karbowskis are heading west to spend their newfound free time volunteering at Grand Teton National Park, a longtime family favorite vacation spot. For four months starting June 1, they will live in their 30-foot travel trailer and serve as volunteer docents in the Menor’s Ferry Historic District pioneer cabin and general store. Both will lead tours for visitors and maintain routine tasks.

Karbowski’s hands will still be busy. After his daily chores of emptying mousetraps and chopping firewood, he plans to sit on the cabin’s front porch and whittle, he says, working to complete a wooden chain his father began carving years ago out of a single block of wood. He also intends to reconnect with his lifelong love of archery, using the new compound bow he received as a retirement gift.

Steve and Barbara Karbowski

— Carolyn Cox