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In appreciation: Joan P. Cerstvik – special report: health sciences – includes excerpt from Wisdom and Hindsight: Render Brown’s Goals ‘Incomplete’ – Obituary

Many of you who have been in contact with us since we began publishing Black Issues In Higher Education in 1984 have had the god fortune of speaking and working with Joan Cerstvik, our longtime Operations Manager and our first retiree.


Your comments to us about her have always been along the lines of how well she responded to your questions and how well you were treated. Likewise, the grammatical excellence of Black Issues has served as a source of pride for all of us. Joan, a former English grammar teacher, came very much out of the old school. She could tell you more about a dangling participle than anyone we have ever encountered.


When we hosted her retirement celebration in 1995, the cheer that permeated the event was tempered by the knowledge that they just don’t make English teachers like Joan Cerstvik anymore and that she would be very sorely missed. With her typical wit, she said that she’d be more than happy to find time between traveling with her beloved husband, Ted, and enjoying her children and grandchildren to check for split infinitives.


Always first among the staff to arrive and last to leave, Joan was the kind of person supervisors dream of having in their organizations. She set a standard that all of her colleagues have tried to emulate. In typical teacher fashion, Joan made sure that her pride in the magazine and her own personal work ethic were instilled in every employee.

And like a favorite teacher, the entire staff loved and respected her. In a business and era in which turnover is the norm, for more than twelve years Joan was a stable force for our organization. And just when we thought we knew everything about her, she surprised us by writing a wonderful first-person account about going to school in Topeka, Kansas, during the landmark Brown litigation. An excerpt from that account is printed on this page.


Joan was what we call “good people.” If she were still with us, Joan would probably say, “Okay, enough of this reminiscing and feeling sorry for me. Are we on schedule for our deadline?”


Yes, Joan, we’re on deadline, and the pages have been proofed, and every “i” dotted and every “i” crossed–your influence abides.


COPYRIGHT 1996 Cox, Matthews & Associates

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