Former Alverno College President Sister Joel Read dies at 91

Posted at 10:20 PM, May 26, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-26 23:20:34-04

The Milwaukee area has lost a shining light.

Former Alverno College President Sister Joel Read is dead at the age of 91. She was one of the longest serving college presidents in the nation.

Friends, family and colleagues mourned the death of Read on Friday.

"Sister Joel Reed was a magnificent person and in many ways larger than life," said Mayor Tom Barrett in a statement.

We found those words true when Sister Joel was interviewed for Positively Milwaukee back in 2003. She was retiring after almost 35 years.

"What holds adults back is educational deficits, not intellectual deficits but educational deficits," she said then.

Sister Joel grew Alverno into an internationally recognized institution. She encouraged women to aim high.

"Women don’t get good criticism. We get told how nice we look, always superficial kinds of things. Or they'll tell us we think like a man. Well I don't want to think like a man I want to think like who I am," she said.

Those who knew Sister Joel remember an energetic, smart and passionate leader who embraced innovation.

"Getting people engaged in their own minds. That's where the frontier is for every single human being," Read said.

As a member of the School Sisters of St. Francis, Sister Joel was a trailblazer who captivated people all over the world. They know her light will never dim as Mayor Barrett asserts, "I believe that her legacy will live on at Alverno College and in Milwaukee because her fingerprints were so strong."