ELLENSBURG, Wash. - The Central Washington University (CWU) community is mourning the loss of one of its own.
58-year-old Maria Roditeleva-Wibe, a longtime scholar and music educator, passed away after battling COVID-19 on Oct. 2. Roditeleva-Wibe worked at the university for more than 20 years, making an everlasting impact on thousands of students.
"She was very passionate about pushing her students to really learn and grow as much as they could," CWU student Austin Clark, who was taking two classes from Roditeleva-Wibe this fall, said. "She showed other professors in the department that it's okay to put your students through rigor and that you can unlock a lot of people's potential by doing so. She inspired all of us in that way."
From very early on in her life, she loved music, even attending a school for musically-gifted children. According to her obituary, after graduating from a regional conservatory in Bashkivia, an autonomous division in South-Central Russia, she went on to earn a doctorate in world music in Saint Petersburg, specializing in Russian folk music.
According to her obituary, in 1999 she became an exchange professor at CWU, where she started teaching music theory, music history, class piano and word music. In 2006, CWU awarded Roditeleva-Wibe the "Outstanding Non-Tenure Track Teaching Award." In 2013, she received the "Distinguished Teaching Award" to honor her outstanding contribution to CWU's academic life.
“If I were to tell you what I remember Dr. Wibe the most for, it would be her strict teaching style. She always pushed her students to do better, and it took me a while to realize that she was only doing this because of how much she cared for all of her students; she wanted us to succeed," Jordan Wesley, a student enrolled in one of Roditeleva-Wibe's classes this fall, said. "I know that I, as well as everyone else here at CWU music will do just that in her honor, using the guidance and knowledge that she showed us.”
KHQ has reached out to the university who declined to provide a statement.