It wasn’t hard for Sister Margaret Earley ’52, professor emerita of Religious Studies, to answer a question about what she admires most about Alverno College. Without hesitation she shared, “The sense of community.” After 40 years of service, Earley retired from Alverno after the spring 2012 semester.

Earley’s influence is evident in praise from fellow Alverno faculty. Daniel Leister, current chair of the Religious Studies department explained, “The best way to understand her legacy is to look around. We wouldn’t be here without her and the founding Sisters of this curriculum in the 1970s. No one would be here without that kind of creativity and insight to create a place that really serves students’ needs.”

Her former students were also quick to share the impact Earley had on them. “I look at things very symbolically now … Margaret unearthed that for me,” said Mandi Bottomley ’12.

Lori Szarzynski ’06 recounted her own memories, “Her wisdom, humor and intellect made for a dynamic and interesting classroom experience. Her feedback showed a depth of understanding and sensitivity that’s unparalleled.”

Despite retirement, Earley fully intends to continue to be a lifelong learner. “I have to see what emerges in terms of looking at ways of service … wherever there is a need.”

A legacy Earley hopes to leave is “for students to develop their own ‘inner life’ from her religious studies classes and that they are happy with who they are.”

From 1993, Sister Margaret Earley teaches a class on “Control of Life and Death.”