Ice bucket Challenge in Honor of Barbara Johns, IHM: Volunteers and Other Participants Needed!

ice bucket challengeIn honor of Barbara Johns, IHM, former chair of Marygrove’s English & Modern Languages department, Dr. Darcy Brandel and Dr. Frank Rashid will take on the ice bucket challenge this Friday at 12:30 p.m. in the Keenan Courtyard.

Sister Johns, who has been living with ALS for 12 years, was a member at Marygrove faculty for eighteen years before moving into administration in 1998 and retiring in 2006.

You can show your support for Sister Johns by helping our junior colleagues in the English Department pour ice water—or you can join Dr. Brandel and Dr. Rashid and take on the ice bucket challenge with them!

Should you choose to take part in the challenge, please contact Dr. Rashid ( so that we can make the necessary preparations.  If you can’t make it on Friday but want to support ALS research, here is a link:

Dr. Barbara Johns, IHM, Professor Emerita of English was a member at Marygrove faculty for eighteen years before moving into administration in 1998 and retiring in 2006. She was a stalwart member of our faculty, and she had a major impact on her students, the English and Modern Languages Department, and the entire college. Barbara was a demanding teacher who expected discipline and seriousness of purpose, but she also had a wonderful sense of humor and took great pleasure in watching students blossom over time. Barbara brought her strong sense of academic rigor and her deep knowledge of the college and its sponsor to her work as chairperson, first of the Letters Division and later of the English Department. Under her leadership, the department added faculty, revised the writing program, strengthened the major, and enjoyed a period of pedagogical and technological innovation. She also oversaw the department’s move from Liberal Arts to Madame Cadillac.

A fine scholarly writer, Barbara published articles on Sarah Orne Jewett and other New England women writers, and her essay, “In Their Own Image: Shaping Women’s Education and Detroit’s Immaculata High School” in Building Sisterhood: A Feminist History of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary reveals that her scholarly skills went beyond literary criticism. Barbara loved academic writing and research. However, she sacrificed her career as a scholar to do the work that she felt the college needed her to do. She became the longtime editor of both Contact and Marygrove Matters. Her polished writing and rigorous editing brought substance and distinction to both publications. As a writer, she served the College in other ways. Even before becoming Special Assistant to the President in 2000, she wrote most of the honorary degree citations—as well as other award citations—given by the college during her long tenure on the campus. She was also the primary writer of almost every major grant proposal submitted by Marygrove College over a ten-year period. She was a demanding editor and critic, but she was hardest on her own work and uncompromising in her service to the college that she loved. For this reason, her colleagues chose her as the first recipient of Marygrove’s Presidential Award for Service.

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