The best leaders extend a hand and help others up.
BY DONNA BOEN ’83, MTSC ’96, MIAMIAN EDITOR
Minutes after Tyler Bradshaw ’09, MS ’14 was told his dad had passed away, a victim of suicide at age 50, the two people outside of his immediate family that Tyler wanted with him at that moment were his pastor and Dr. Bob.
Asking for his pastor made sense, but Dr. Bob? Bob Rusbosin was the longtime dean of students at Miami University Hamilton. Tyler knew Bob would drop everything and come right away. And he did.
Tyler and Dr. Bob bonded early in Tyler’s college career. A first-generation undergraduate, Tyler was terrified that he didn’t belong. Yet, while walking down a stairwell in Mosler Hall, something made him stop when he saw an application to join the Student Government Association. It said to call Dr. Bob Rusbosin for more information.
Tyler had never participated in student government in high school, so why now when he thought he might last only a semester before someone found out he was a fraud?
Who knows, but that 45-minute phone call evolved into an hour and a half meeting the next day in Bob’s office. Both greatly boosted Tyler’s confidence.
“Bob is a person who, regardless how big the job got or how many responsibilities he had, if you were in front of him, you were the only person who mattered,” said Tyler, who earlier this summer became the first executive director of the Nuxhall Foundation. “He made you feel so loved, so appreciated, so valued, and that, to me, is why this award exists.”
The award Tyler is referring to is the Dr. Robert H. Rusbosin Student Leadership Award. Bob sees this award as providing opportunities for Miami Regionals students to accomplish the extraordinary, or, as he puts it, “To perform in some capacity that they may have never considered possible.”
During his own undergraduate days, Bob wanted to do well, and he also wanted to stay under the radar with the intention of quietly earning a degree and becoming an anthropologist. That all changed when one of his professors saw through his shyness to his leadership potential, even if he didn’t. He spent his career seeking to find and call out the same potential in others.
“In any role that I took, I basically saw myself as sort of instilling in each of them the attitude of reaching their potential, the maximum potential that they could possibly attain,” he said.
Bob and his wife, Sharon, a longtime Miami Hamilton instructor and supporter as well, moved to Venice, Florida, after Bob retired in 2016 as the Regional senior associate dean of students after 26 years at Miami.
Even in retirement, he’s cultivating leaders as a volunteer coach for the Sarasota County Special Olympics basketball team. A talented basketball player in his own right — anybody who played against him during his weekly Wednesday pick-up games can confirm that — Bob tells his team that he’s looking for leadership from each and every one of them.
As for Tyler, he not only stayed in college and became president of the Student Government Association, he earned both a bachelor’s and master’s. He owes a lot to Dr. Bob, his “Miami dad.”
“Looking back, I know that I was close with Bob and that we have a really, really special friendship, but I know there are hundreds, if not thousands, of other students who probably feel the same exact way about Bob because he was there for them, too.”
As part of #MoveInMiami, the university’s annual day of giving held each year during move-in day, Miami Regionals are seeking funds for the Dr. Robert H. Rusbosin Student Leadership Award. Contributions can be made at any time or as part of #MoveInMiami.