Retiree Connection

GVSU Mourns the passing of Dr. Frances Kelleher

Date: April 30, 2014

Frances Kelleher, professor of History, passed away April 21 after a long illness.
Kelleher received a doctorate degree in European history from New York University. Emeritus colleague Dennis Devlin remembers that when she joined the Grand Valley faculty in 1988, "she was quickly asked to serve in leadership positions: as assistant dean of Arts & Humanities from 1989-1992, as acting dean in 1990, and then as chair of the Department of History from 1992-2001." Colleague James Smither notes that,  as Chair of History, "she left an indelible mark on the department with her vision for and devotion to combining high standards and humane practices. She also drafted the initial plan for the Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies, was instrumental in creating the Honors College, and it was her research that led to the first salary equity study at Grand Valley."
"Her devotion to providing students with teaching excellence was a hallmark of her career," remembers colleague Carolyn Shapiro Shapin.  "As Kelleher moved from administrative work, she quickly adapted to the digital age in her pedagogy, and was the first member of the History Department to master the challenges of online courses and was teaching until the final weeks of her life. She was devoted to what was good for students, the department, the college, the university, and the broader community."
A memorial will be held May 10  on Cape Cod in Massachusetts.
Kelleher is survived by her spouse Sue Swartzlander, professor of English and Honors, her siblings and their spouses, as well as many nieces and nephews.
People wishing to send donations in Kelleher’s memory are asked to consider two possibilities:
A memorial will be held May 10th  on Cape Cod in Massachusetts.
Also see the GV Now news article.

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