Terry O’Connor, professor of educational administration and secondary education, and Gloria Harper Dickinson, associate professor of African-American studies, are remembered for their endearing legacy to TCNJ, their profession, and their passions.
The College community was saddened by the deaths of two faculty members, both of whom lost battles with cancer this past academic year
Terry O’Connor, professor of educational administration and secondary education, passed away on September 4, 2008. O’Connor arrived at TCNJ in 2002, originally serving as dean of the School of Education. In that position he helped guide the school through the process of “academic transformation” during the early part of this decade, and contributed an article on the process to the spring 2004 issue of this magazine. In 2005, O’Connor returned to the classroom, where he taught the courses School and Communities, Social and Historical Contexts of Education, Social Problems in Education, and Cultural Foundations of Education.
O’Connor began his career at Indiana State University in 1986. He earned his BA from the University of Notre Dame, and his MEd and PhD from the University of Virginia. A father of four, O’Connor enjoyed building small boats, storytelling, and traveling.
Gloria Harper Dickinson, associate professor of African-American studies, passed away on January 18. Dickinson arrived at the College in 1971, teaching in the English department before joining the faculty in African-American studies, a department that she chaired at various times throughout her tenure.
Dickinson’s spheres of academic expertise included Africana literature and religion; black popular culture; women writers of the African Diaspora; and new media and Africana studies. Her analyses of the popular culture and cuisines of Diaspora people; the literature, history, and contemporary activities of women of African descent; and the Africana presence on the Internet were enriched through her extensive travels throughout Africa, Europe, the Caribbean, Asia, and the Americas.
In addition to her teaching, Dickinson was past president of the Association of the Study of African American Life and History, past national secretary and international regional director for Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, and an active volunteer with the Susan G. Komen Foundation. She was a life member of the Association of Black Women Historians, and had served as the group’s national Parliamentarian, national vice director, Web master, and discussion-list moderator. Dickinson was also a board member of the National Council for Black Studies and held membership in the African Studies Association and the Rancocas Valley Chapter of The Links, Inc. In 2002, she was appointed to the Advisory Board of the American Studies Association Crossroads Project.
Dickinson was the author or co-author of numerous texts and book chapters, and at the time of her death was co-editing an anthology of African Diaspora portraits and prayers. She received her BA in history from the City College of New York, and her MA and PhD in African Studies from Howard University.
Posted on May 29, 2009