Remembering Sister Joel Read
Wisconsin Campus Compact is celebrating the life of Sister Joel Read, the longtime leader of Alverno College, who passed away peacefully surrounded by family and sisters on May 25, 2017. She was 91. For nearly 35 years, Sister Joel led her alma mater on Milwaukee’s south side but her influence reached far beyond campus. She was involved in local and national academic issues, ranging from education to women’s rights; she was one of the founders of the National Organization for Women in 1966. Read has been recognized internationally for education reform. She served as president of the American Association for Higher Education and on the boards of the Foundation for Independent Higher Education, the American Council on Education, the Association of American Colleges and Universities, and the National Catholic Education Association.
Alverno President Andrea Lee wrote to the Alverno family stating “So this evening as she leaves us in body — but never in spirit — to encounter the God she served through her incredible life work, we all stand to honor and further her legacy of developing strong, independent, educated women. Women ready to to take risks and to impact our world for the better. Women who will make us and her forever proud. Alverno women.”
Under her leadership, Alverno launched one of the first internship programs in the country and initiated Weekend College targeted at working women. In 2013, WiCC recognized the achievements of Sister Joel with the “The Sister Joel Read Civic Engagement Practitioners Award” recognizing outstanding faculty or staff members who have made significant contributions to civic engagement on their campus, building successful campus-community partnerships to both support student learning and development and the civic mission of the institution.
“Take risks,” Sister Joel once told Alverno graduates. “Don’t ever think that something can’t be done. It can. Opportunity is everywhere.”
Learn more about the Sister Joel Read Civic Engagement Practitioners Award
Read Sister Joel Read’s Obituary