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Farewell Diane Gentile, Retiring Manager of Quality Assurance

A gallon of gas was $0.91, the average cost of a new car was $10,400 and the Cold War and the Berlin Wall were on the verge of collapse. It was 1988; the year Diane Gentile started her career at WashU.

As Diane says, she did not intend or choose to have a life-long career in IT when she started at WashU; it chose her. In fact, when she started as an office manager for former University President Simon Igienlnik, she said they were just using ‘dumb terminals.’ However, something else revolutionary happened that year that had a profound impact on Diane’s career trajectory, the release of MS-DOS.

When it was released, Igielnik came to Diane with a computer loaded with DOS and a “DOS For Dummies” book instructing her to “learn this.” She did just that. In fact, that was the catalyst for Diane to shift from the role of office manager to establishing the first helpdesk at the School of Medicine. Diane went on to run that helpdesk for another 20 years.

At the helm of the Service Desk, Desktop Support and Audio-Visual Services at the Washington University School of Medicine Central IT, she led a myriad of staff and oversaw countless initiatives through two decades of technology and support evolution.

A milestone in her storied career, in 2005, Diane received the “Outstanding Performance” Award from the Becker Medical Library for her role as a partner to the library.  As a leader in Central IT, Diane was a proponent and often led the cause for university sponsored activities such the “Adopt a Family” holiday program, and the United Way campaign for the Central IT department.  

Diane also led the Medical Student IT Liaison program for many years, working closely with medical students to bring clarity and unity to IT issues. Diane spearheaded a multi-IT department venture to bring the ITIL framework and a new IT Service Management tool (ServiceNow) to the medical school, both of which are still utilized by WashU IT today.

Given this and the many other initiatives Diane was engaged in, it is easy to surmise that she had a challenging and fulfilling career at WashU. Many of the great successes we have all experienced are the result of her tireless pursuit of service excellence and exemplary leadership.

She leaves behind a legacy that won’t be forgotten as she not only established the first helpdesk at the MedSchool, but was one of the founding members of the new Shared IT organization, WashU IT. With the formation of WashU IT, Diane created the first official Quality Assurance testing division. A service that she has been leading for the past 7 years that consists of a team of staff who day in and day out validate the functionality and stability of our environment before changes are implemented.

In this next chapter of her life, Diane plans to spend her retirement brushing up on her golf game, traveling, and spending as much time as possible with her husband, three adult children and three beautiful grandchildren, who are ages 5 and 2-years-old, and a new 2-month-old. She said what she is looking forward to most in retirement is the freedom to choose what she wants to do each day, although she has doubts that will actually happen. She also hopes to be more available for her grandkids and aging parents.

If you haven’t already, please take the time to thank Diane for her years of service to WashU and say farewell. Her last day is tomorrow, Wednesday, May 3.