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Dominican bids fond farewell to Sister Melissa--our shining star

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Dominican University will suffer a great loss when our beloved Sister Melissa retires on May 14 and moves to the Mound, the Sinsinawa Dominican Sisters' motherhouse in Sinsinawa, Wisconsin. Mary Schmich, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter for the Chicago Tribune, wrote a column about Sister Melissa and her impact on the university.

Sister Melissa has been with the university since 1980, starting as an English professor and transitioning to an academic advisor. Through 38 years, she has served as a resource for students, as well as for faculty and staff--indeed, she has become a pilgrimage site for Dominican community members in need. Alumni return to campus to tell her about their lives and show her photos of spouses and children. Because of her genuine compassion and innate optimism, she is a great sounding board and always leaves people feeling better than before they visited her office.

Consistently ranked in student surveys as one of the very best things about Dominican, Sister Melissa is a steady, constant presence on campus, attending sports events, theatrical productions, concerts, student awards programs, art exhibits, student fashion shows--always without calling attention to herself.

Sister Melissa was celebrated at a going away party, at the university's Candle and Rose ceremony and at commencement, where she was surprised with the presentation of the Golden Rose of Charity, during which she received two long standing ovations.

Her retirement will be a huge loss for Dominican--but her legacy will be with the university for generations to come.