Education was a primary focal point of Sister JD’s extraordinary life. Not only did she embrace her own self-improvement through education, but she also used learning to touch the lives of everyone she encountered. Whether encouraging Hmong women in supermarkets to attend college, or teaching newly arrived immigrants from Mexico how to read, she gently persuaded the road to a better life for all of us.
Sister JD began her educational journey at Alverno College, graduating in 1942 with a degree in Education, and spent the first six years of her career, teaching elementary education. She continued to pursue higher learning, first by earning a master’s degree from Marquette University, followed by a Ph.D. from St. Louis University.
Dedicated to Alverno, Sister JD returned to the College where she served in many roles. She was a cooperating teacher for six years, taught college courses for 17 years and led Academic Affairs as both assistant dean and dean for a collective 13 years. From 1980 to 2006 she worked in Admissions and Academic Services, recruiting and counseling students and working as an instructor in the division of Education, Information and Computer Studies.
But Sister JD made her mark far beyond the campus of Alverno. She served as editor of Education Bulletin from 1950-1968; frequently addressed Parent Teacher Associations; represented the American Sisterhoods at the World Conference for Christian Education Conference in Nairobi, Africa in 1967; and served on the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education Review Team (NCATE). She was also an active member and participant in numerous associations including: National Catholic Education Association (NCEA) serving as secretary/treasurer, vice chair and chairperson from 1967-1970; Wisconsin Education Association; Association of American Colleges; American Council of Education and Wisconsin Association of Independent Colleges and Universities.
In 2006, Sister JD retired from Alverno and was honored for her 50 years of dedicated service. While we mourn the tremendous loss of Sister JD, we also realize that her presence on campus will be felt forever.