ABERDEEN, S.D. – In 1966, just 15 years after Presentation College opened its doors in Aberdeen, S.D., a sister who had just completed her graduate studies arrived at the newly established institution to teach, develop, and prepare young women for life.
Nearly five decades have passed since Sister Frances Mary Dunn first arrived on the quiet isolated campus in northern Aberdeen. Throughout the years PC has seen numerous evolutions. From transitioning from a junior college to a four-year school to opening outreach campuses, adding many new academic programs, and even competing in sports, PC has changed. As faculty, staff, and students have come and gone, seasons have changed and the years have passed, there has been one constant—Sister Frances Mary.
For her dedication and lifetime of devotion and service Sister Frances Mary was awarded emerita status in a celebration here November 12, 2012.
“I feel honored to receive the title of Professor Emerita,” Sister Frances Mary said. “I am grateful for the privilege of having been a member of the Presentation College community for so many years.”
Her passion for helping people is well known throughout the campus, her friendly smile and soft voice leave a lasting impression on everyone she encounters, and according to her it’s the people that have kept her here all these years.
“It’s the students whom we teach and advise, it’s the administrators, faculty, staff, secretaries, housekeeping and maintenance personnel, who perform their duties so conscientiously,” she said. “It’s the Board of Trustee members, who give generously of their time and expertise for the benefit of the college, it’s the Presentation Sisters, who have so faithfully supported the college, it’s all the friends and benefactors who have contributed to the growth of the college, and it’s all the wonderful people whom I have been privileged to know and remember gratefully that have made this place so special to me.”
Professor emerita refers to a professor who retires in good standing. More specifically a professor emerita has had a distinguished career. It is the highest honor a college can bestow on a professor.
For Sister Frances Mary the prestigious honor is the result of performing years of service that she will always cherish.
“Serving for so many years at Presentation College has been a privilege, an opportunity to learn and grow, and an inspiring experience in collegiality, for which I shall always be grateful,” she said. “I have many grateful memories.”
* Story by Tim Beckham, Photo by Mark Zoellner