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Transcript of Video (dated June, 2005):

Dr. Mary Ritter and Gloria Hohisel Kraatz

I am Dr. Mary C. Ritter, graduate of the College of St. Francis, class of 1965, a Chemistry major graduated Magna Cum Laude.

I am Gloria Hohisel Kraatz, also a 1965 graduate of the College of St. Francis with a major in Chemistry.

M.R. – Today we will talk about the Chemistry department at the College of St. Francis, some 40 years ago as seen through the eyes of Sr. M. Joan Preising, a Chemistry professor in the department at that time.

As a professor of Chemistry at the College, she worked tirelessly for her students. When I started Chemistry at CSF, I noticed her intellectual ability and prompt attention she paid to every one of her students. I also noticed her serious and funny sides. In fact, one day in Inorganic Chemistry, I put some phosphorous in a beaker of water. Did she ever come fast with a stern voice, "Don’t you know you could have blown up the building?" she said. I also remember her vividly in Analytical Chemistry. She was constantly watching me with an evil eye while my nervous hands were pouring solution A into solution B.

Sr. Joan was truly a dynamic professor in the Chemistry department at the College of St. Francis and will long be remembered by her Chemistry students of St. Albert Hall. I will remember her in particular for her encouragement to attend Graduate School and then to obtain my PhD in Bio-Chemistry from the University of Minnesota.

G.H.K. – When I entered college, I declared Medical Technology as my major. But after my internship between my junior and senior years, I realized I’d prefer to major in Chemistry. That posed a problem however, because a course in Physical Chemistry was a requisite. At that time, PCHEM was offered every other year and was not scheduled for my senior year. I contacted Sr. Joan and told her of my concern. Without hesitation, she replied that one other student had made the same request. So she graciously offered to open a PCHEM course for the coming semester. As I recall, five students were in that class; five very grateful students.

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Sr. Joan is a woman of her word. There was a student who arrived consistently late at one of our Chemistry classes. Perhaps, Mary, you recall that.

M.R. – I sure do.

G.H.K. – Sr. Joan warned that such behavior would not be tolerated and that the doors would be locked promptly at the beginning of class. Sure enough, at the beginning of the next class, the student had not arrived and Sr. Joan told us to lock the doors. About ten minutes later, the student arrived. She tried one door and not being able to gain entrance, she tried the other door. She could see through the glass in the door, but Sr. Joan was lecturing to the class while totaling ignoring her attempts to gain entrance. It was not necessary to lock the classroom doors after that because the student was never late again.

Sr. Joan exhibited flexibility. I still recall the warm spring day we met for class. I’m not sure how much attention would have been paid to the material that day if it were not for Sr. Joan marching us outside to enjoy the beautiful weather and that day’s class.

Sr. Joan cared about her students. She gave each one of her graduating Chemistry majors a handkerchief trimmed with her beautiful tatting. She chose white for mine so I could carry it at my wedding which was to be the following September. I did indeed carry that handkerchief at my wedding and I still have it. (Gloria Holds up the handkerchief for all to see the lovely tatting.)

A few years after graduating, I had the privilege of returning to the Chemistry department as an instructor. It was a part time position and although I had willingly signed the contracts specifying my salary, Sr. Joan lobbied for an increase when she discovered the amount involved. My salary was increased.

I’m sure you agree Mary, that every now and then a memory of those precious college days will surface and so many of those memories include Sr. Joan. She sharpened our minds, shaped our character, and touched our hearts.

M.R. & G.H.K – Thank you Sr. Joan.