On September 4, RIT’s Public Safety lost one of its longest-employed service members, Mike Koziol, at the age of 57. After graduating RIT in 1994 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, Mike continued to be a part of the RIT community by signing up and serving as a Public Safety officer for 32 years. Daniel Woods, a fellow officer and close friend for nearly 12 years commented, “He spent his whole adult life here and he loved it. He came in as a student and stayed ever since.”

Mike often worked as a dispatch officer, helping to coordinate Public Safety in both operations and calls. Despite heavy work conditions, he always maintained a cool and calm demeanor towards both his work and coworkers. With these traits and his friendly personality, he eventually won the RIT Staff Recognition Award for Public Safety Night Shift, which celebrated his excellent service and major contributions made to the student community.

In the office Mike was known to lighten the mood of his fellow coworkers.  Daniel recalled the first time he had met Mike: “When I walked in the first day he looked up from his desk and asked me asked, ‘and you are?’ ‘Dan Woods, and you?’  We were best friends since.” Lighthearted and approachable, Mike made people feel comfortable when they needed it most.

When he wasn’t answering emergency calls or directing safety officers, Mike enjoyed working at the Lions Club Training Center, raising and training guide dogs for the blind. With his time off, when he wasn’t being service-oriented, he was traveling with this wife to Maine. There he would enjoy one of Maine’s many lobster festivals.  

After Mike was admitted to the hospital for diabetes, he battled the disease for a week. He fought valiantly until he passed away during the day, in the company of his loving wife. Mike’s passing was anticipated, but still leaves those who knew him with it a great sense of loss. When Daniel was asked if he had the opportunity to say one last thing to Mike, he replied with, “You were one of the most courageous men I had ever met.”

If you are interested in supporting Mike’s family and friends, donations can be made to the Lions Club of Chili, NY.