Center for Excellence Honoree: Peter SumbyPeter Sumby describes himself as the luckiest man in the world. He loves his job, adores his family and, as a cancer survivor of eight years, he cherishes each new day.
As associate director of the Ed McMahon Mass Communications Center, Sumby runs the center's HDTV studio and helps students with everything from technical to creative endeavors. He is also a part-time professor and teaches Fundamentals of Media Production, and Projects in Studio Production. Both courses provide students with hands-on experience in techniques of audio and video production, as well as directing in a multicamera, high-definition studio environment. In the summer, Sumby also teaches Media Images and Sound Design.
Sumby has worked at Quinnipiac for 10 years. He says the time has flown. "No two days are ever the same. I can't wait to get to work." He feels that even though Quinnipiac has become a University, it still maintains that small-college atmosphere.
"Peter Sumby is the reason why I am so happy at Quinnipiac," said student Michelle Lohr '08, who was one of the individuals who nominated Sumby. "He is my boss, professor, mentor and friend. He has given me career opportunities...and done anything in his power to help me succeed both here and in the professional world."
Sumby earned an undergraduate degree in communications from the University of Connecticut, and then started his career in broadcast WVIT-TV, Channel 30, the NBC affiliate in Hartford in 1983. After seven years directing news and sports, he accepted a job at Connecticut Mutual Life as producer/director for the corporate communications office. He missed the excitement of the newsroom and in 1997 he applied for the Quinnipiac job.
Journalism professor Karin Schwanbeck describes Sumby as firm but gentle when a student makes an error. "He wants students to have ownership of projects so they can use what they have learned and gain confidence. He trusts students who show initiative and in return, they perform."
Sumby's outlook on life has changed since having cancer. "You look at life and realize that every day is a gift," he said. "You're more sensitive to things. You notice the fresh air, and you appreciate the rain. Being stuck in traffic doesn't bother me any more. Well, not as much as it used to."
In his spare time, Sumby is pursuing a master's degree. He and his wife, Ellen, live in Old Saybrook with their children--Nick, 12, Luke, 9, and Hannah, 4. He enjoys carpentry and boating with his family. A former college soccer player, Sumby now referees youth soccer games on the Connecticut shoreline.