Dr. Jennifer Sasser, human sciences chair and gerontology program director, is one of several experts who will lead Oregon Humanities' Talking About Dying Series starting in September 2015.
Sr. Joan Saalfeld, vice president for mission integration, will receive an honorary Doctorate of Laws degree in recognition of her "exceptional leadership, foresight and wisdom" as a leader of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary.
Dr. Saalfeld will also be Gonzaga's graduate school commencement speaker on May 10, 2014.
Born in Eugene, Oregon, Sister Joan and her brother attended St. Mary's and St. Francis schools. She entered the SNJM community in 1959 and graduated with a bachelor's degree from Marylhurst University in 1964. She taught at Star of the Sea High School in Astoria, Oregon and at St. Mary's Academy in Portland before earning an MA in English Literature from Portland State University and a Ph.D. in literature and creative writing from the University of Denver. Sr. Joan's academic career spanned 27 years as a professor at the University of Portland before coming to Marylhurst.
In her current role at Marylhurst University, she helps ensure that the mission and values of the university's founders, the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, are integrated into Marylhurst policies and programs. She served as a Marylhurst trustee from 1982 until her appointment as vice president in 2011.