A woman among women
Sister Sally Ann honored with second doctoral degree
By Josephine Hinderman
DE PERE – On May 14, St. Norbert College (SNC) will celebrate 70 years of co-ed classes while honoring Sister Sally Ann Brickner with her second honorary doctoral degree since in 1967.
Brickner, a nun and SNC alumnus, began her education at SNC in 1957, a year after the school started co-ed classes.
“During that period of time, it was certainly a privilege to be a part of [SNC] and a part of that road to excellence at college. When I was at the college, of course at this time it was the culmination of celebrating women starting to pursue higher education,” said Brickner. “St. Norbert admitted women before even Harvard did, and even then Harvard set up a separate school for women. So, I was there not too long after [SNC] started admitting women.”
Having received her masters degree in education from Michigan State, Brickner returned to SNC to serve on the faculty in their education department.
“When I was there, there weren’t many women on the faculty… all those times I was in administration like that, I was primarily working with men. Sometimes it was hard then because you would have an idea and it wouldn’t get a hearing or be acknowledged….It was a privilege, it was a challenge, it was a way to have ongoing learning and growing. It’s a wonderful thing to have been a part of,” she said.
“St. Norbert is the only Norbertine college in the whole world, and it’s extraordinary and amazing to see it originate as a seminary for young men preparing for priesthood and then become a place that enabled women at a time when it was a difficulty to achieve that education. It was a gift in the local area for women to pursue higher education.”
During her nearly five decade-long service at SNC as an educator, administrator and the college’s first associate academic dean, Brickner was instrumental in the development of the college’s Peace and Justice minor, something that she said was started by her and a couple of colleagues as an interdisciplinary minor focusing on topics pertaining to human rights, justice and peace while also looking at it through the lens of Catholic education.
As well as celebrating 70 years of women in education, the campus is also celebrating 50 years of Title IX, the civil law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of an individual’s gender.
“I want to commend SNC and the Norbertines as they observe this anniversary and look forward to bigger and better things that will be achieved by people here. My congratulations to the college, and to this observance of 70 years of women and 50 of Title IX,” said Brickner. “We just need to continue to be grateful and provide these opportunities those within the local community.”
The commencement will be held Sunday, May 14, at 11 a.m. with Baccalaureate Mass held Saturday, May 13, at 4 p.m. in the Mulva Family Fitness Center.
On May 14, St. Norbert College (SNC) will celebrate 70 years of co-ed classes while honoring Sister Sally Ann Brickner will serve as commencement speaker, and will also be awarded an honorary doctorate.
For more information, visit http://www.snc.edu/commencement.
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