Dr. Jean Laliberte was proud of Troy University. One could see it in her smile and in her eyes. One could hear her enthusiasm for the University in her voice. She was proud to be a Trojan and it showed.
Dr. Laliberte passed away unexpectedly on Saturday, June 27, at the age of 69, and she is being remembered as a trusted colleague, someone who never met a stranger and a “true Trojan.”
“She was a trusted colleague, and there was no one more enthusiastic about TROY than Jean,” said Dr. Jack Hawkins, Jr., TROY’s Chancellor. “As a faculty member within our Sorrell College of Business for many years, Jean was committed to serving, encouraging and preparing our students for future success. Later, as Associate Vice Chancellor for Development, Jean’s dedication to and pride in the University was evident to all with whom she came in contact. Even in retirement, Jean remained devoted to serving the community and engaging with her Troy University family. We offer our thoughts and prayers to her family during this difficult time.”
A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m., Wednesday, July 1, in the sanctuary of Park Memorial United Methodist Church with Rev. Danny Arnold officiating, special remarks by Chancellor Jack Hawkins and TROY Distinguished Lecturer of Marketing Steve Garrott, with Green Hills Funeral Home directing. She will be laid to rest in Notre Dame Cemetery in South Hadley, Massachusetts.
Dr. Laliberte joined the TROY family in 1991, serving as a professor of marketing, a position she would hold until 2005. In 2000, she was named Associate Vice Chancellor for Development and served in that position until her retirement in 2017.
Under the leadership of Dr. John Schmidt, who then served as the University’s Senior Vice Chancellor for Advancement and External Relations, Dr. Laliberte spearheaded the University’s Building Beyond Boundaries capital campaign, which well surpassed its goal by raising $258.3 million. She was also responsible for founding the TROY Shield Society, which recognizes donors who make planned legacy gifts to the University.
“Jean took great pleasure in seeing other people happy. She had that joyful attitude about herself and, in turn, tried to impart that to others,” said Dr. Schmidt, who now serves as the Senior Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Administration. “She never met a stranger. She just had those people skills that you can’t teach, and she was loved by so many. Jean brought joy to work and she worked with joy.”
Dr. Schmidt said Laliberte would also be remembered for her work in the classroom.
“I was talking to my two sons over the weekend about her, and she taught both of them while they were here at TROY,” he said. “They said she was an excellent marketing teacher.”
Dr. Laliberte was a lifetime member of the Troy University Alumni Association and an avid supporter of Troy University athletics.
“Jean Laliberte taught us the meaning of loyalty and passion in the service of this university,” said Maj. Gen. Walter Givhan, who serves as the University’s Senior Vice Chancellor for Advancement and Economic Development. “No one was more fierce in her dedication to TROY, whether she was raising funds, raising friends, or raising a loud voice at an athletic event. I was honored to work with her and learn from her what it means to be a Trojan.”
Dr. Laliberte was also dedicated in her service to the community, including serving as the local chapter and state treasure of Alpha Delta Kappa Sorority; as a member of Troy Rotary; DAR; secretary of the Troy Arts Council; Troy Arts Auxiliary; Republican Women; Mortar Board; the New Century Club; the Female Factor; the Troy Regional Medical Foundation; the Troy University Legacy Council; and Park Memorial United Methodist Church’s Circle of Benevolence.
Prior to joining the TROY family, Dr. Laliberte served as an associate professor of marketing and finance at Elms College from 1987 to 1991, an associate professor of marketing at Western New England College from 1981 to 1987, and an instructor of marketing at Clemson University from 1974 to 1981.
Dr. Laliberte is survived by her husband of 36 years, David Laliberte; daughter, Jennifer “Jeni” Laliberte-Gruber (Nick) of Lincoln, NE; grandchildren, John Harrison and Hawkins Gruber; mother, Jean Tulli of Clemson, SC; sisters, Jennifer Barbour of Clemson, SC and Anne Jordan of Statesville, NC; nieces and nephews, Faith Barbour of Greenwood, SC, Cameron Jordan McKinzie (Brian) of Chapel Hill, NC, Graham Jordan of Statesville, NC, and Braylon Barbour of Greenwood, SC; and brother-in-law, Paul Laliberte of Troy. She was preceded in death by her father, Alton Woodruff; and father and mother-in-law, John and Lois Laliberte.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made out to the Troy University Foundation for the Dr. Jean Laliberte Scholarship (301 Adams Administration Building, Troy, AL 36082 or 334-670-3608) or to the Park Memorial United Methodist Church, (P.O. Box 1291, Troy, AL 36081). A live stream of her service will be available for viewing on the Park Memorial UMC Facebook page.