Sister Alfreda Alexander (1912-2004).
Born 20 June 1912 on a farm in rural Shelby County, OH, Alfreda Alexander was the youngest child of August and Justine (Cordonnier) Alexander. She attended St. Remy School, Russia, OH, and later the Russia Rural School through the tenth grade. She completed her secondary education at Piqua Catholic High School. Following a religious calling in 1931, she joined the Sisters of Charity at Mount St. Joseph. She took the name Sister Mary Alfreda. Subsequent to the reforms of Vatican II in 1968, she resumed her baptismal name Sister Alfreda Alexander. Pursuing studies in chemistry, Sister Alfreda earned the A.B. (1939) from the College of Mount St. Joseph and the M.S. (1946) from the University of Notre Dame. Her thesis concerned the "Preparation and Properties of 1, 1, 3-Trimethoxybutane." She continued postgraduate studies at Fordham University (1949) and Notre Dame (summers 1959-1960). As a participant in the Summer Institute for College Teachers of Chemistry, sponsored by the National Science Foundation, she advanced her knowledge of chemistry, attending classes at Oregon State University (1966) and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1969). Her early professional experiences in teaching were at St. Lawrence Elementary School, Price Hill (a suburb of Cincinnati) (1933-1934); Catholic Central, Springfield, OH (1934-1935); and Holy Name High School, Cleveland (1935-1937).
In 1939, Sister Alfreda commenced a career in the Department of Chemistry at the College of Mount St. Joseph, where she joined the faculty and also served as chairperson from 1962 to 1977. A dedicated and dynamic teacher, Sister Alfreda cared deeply about her students. Sister Angela Marie Chiado, one of her close friends, noted that Sister Alfreda "used every means at her disposal to better her students." As an aid in laboratory instruction, she wrote a manual, "Experiments in General Chemistry" (College of Mount St. Joseph, 1959, revised 1964; 2nd edition, 1970). Under her direction, she prepared numerous women scientists, who became researchers, physicians, nurses, medical technologists, and teachers. In recognition of her excellence in teaching and her contributions to students, the Alumni of the college presented Sister Alfreda with the Faculty Appreciation Award in 1989. In research, she collaborated with Dr. Clara Deasy on studies on ester cross linkages in collagen and catalyzed hydrolysis of peptides. The results of their investigations were published in several archived chemical journals.
After retiring from academia in 1981, Sister Alfreda actively served in the region of Cincinnati as a volunteer, assisting at Clovernook Home for the Blind and St. Xavier Society for the Blind. She also participated in the Retired Senior Volunteers Program in which she assisted at the information desk at City Hall, once a week. For over 15 years, she served on the Sisters of Charity Corporate Responsibility Committee.
In professional organizations, Sister Alfreda held memberships in the Albertus Magnus Guild (a national association of Catholic chemists), the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Association of University Professors, the American Chemical Society, the National Science Teachers Association, and the Society for Applied Spectroscopy. She was elected into Iota Sigma Pi, an honor society for women chemists, in which she served as secretary of the Radium Chapter (1965-1967).
Surviving Sister Alfreda Alexander are nieces and nephews and grandnieces and grandnephews. She was predeceased by her immediate family members: four sisters, Delphine Schmidt, Laura Alexander, Anna Lalamand, Sister Remy Alexander, SC; and three brothers, Alfred, Leonard, and Hubert Alexander. Visiting hours were held in the Immaculate Conception Chapel at Mount St. Joseph Motherhouse, Cincinnati, on 26 February 2004, followed by the Mass of Christian Burial. Memorial contributions may be made to the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati Retirement Fund, 5900 Delhi Road, Mount St. Joseph, OH 45051.
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|Author:||Burk, William R.|
|Publication:||The Ohio Journal of Science|
|Date:||Dec 1, 2004|
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