Michael Reibel, a dedicated and beloved professor in the Department of Geography and Anthropology, died unexpectedly on Nov. 12.
Reibel began teaching at Cal Poly Pomona in 1998. He was an urban geographer and demographer who specialized in geographic trends in multicultural populations in the United States. He organized and chaired the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Council, a faculty organization that coordinates cross-disciplinary research, instruction, curriculum development and resources related to geospatial technologies across four colleges.
“Mike was a good man — a kind man who was loved by many. He was a leader, a collaborator, a mentor, a mensch,” said Iris Levine, dean of the College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences. “This is a deep loss for our community.”
Reibel contributed greatly to his department and the university. His research, which often reflected his advocacy of labor unions and social justice, appeared in more than two dozen scholarly publications. He served as a California Faculty Association representative, chaired the Department Retention, Tenure and Promotion Committee and sat on the editorial boards for the publications Population and Environment and Progress in Transplantation.
“Mike was a consummate intellectual, and so much more,” said Kristen Conway-Gómez, geography department chair and professor. “He was brilliant yet humble about his vast knowledge. He was quick to lend a hand on a committee, with a smile on his face and a pragmatic approach; and he was a sensitive man who cared deeply for each of us in the department, as well as for our students, and made sure we knew it.”
Reibel earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in sociology from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. He earned his doctorate in geography from UCLA.
Described as “affable” and a stimulating conversationalist on a wide variety of topics, Reibel was a doting husband and father. He also loved writing and reading poetry.
“Mike spoke often of his children and wife, whom he treasured, and through him we all grew to know and love, too,” Conway- Gómez said. “He leaves a huge hole in our department that I can’t imagine we will ever be able to completely fill.”
Reibel is survived by his wife, Moira Regelson; his children, Vera and Emmett; and a host of family and friends.
A virtual celebration of life is scheduled for Nov. 27 from 4 to 6 p.m. on Zoom at https://cpp.zoom.us/j/85459428222, Meeting ID: 854 5942 8222.
In lieu of food or flowers, the family suggests donations to the L.A. Regional Food Bank, which Reibel ardently supported: https://www.lafoodbank.org/.