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Sister J. Dolores Brunner passes away

Date Released: September 19 2012

Sister J. Dolores Brunner, School Sisters of St. Francis (SSSF), passed away Monday morning at the Sacred Heart Convent in Milwaukee. She was 92 years old.

For over 55 years, Brunner worked at Alverno College serving in a number of different roles. More than twenty-five of those years were spent in Admissions and Academic Services, where she worked diligently to recruit Hispanic students. Her philosophy was, “It isn’t enough to get students to Alverno; they must graduate.” Brunner often reached out to students, giving them the extra push they needed to succeed.

 In 1999, Brunner was honored as one of the U.S. Postal Service’s “Women Who Put Their Stamp on Milwaukee,” which recognizes women who have helped improve the quality of life for all citizens of Milwaukee. In 2006, she was honored by Latino Arts Inc. and the United Community Center for her work offering educational opportunities to Latina women.

“Sister Dolores Brunner was a pioneer who fought tirelessly to help Hispanic women get a college education, and she was extremely successful in this calling,” said Ricardo Diaz, Executive Director, United Community Center, Inc. “She was way ahead of her time, and while her earliest forums about opening up the possibility of college education to Hispanic women could have been held in a phone booth, it was standing-room-only audiences by the end of her career.”  

In a message to faculty and staff at Alverno College, President Mary J. Meehan, Ph.D., said, “Education was her life -- it was for her a means of touching the hearts of all whom she encountered. Whether encouraging Hmong women in supermarkets to go to college, or teaching newly-arrived immigrants from Mexico how to read, she gently, yet persuasively suggested a road to a better life for us all.”