Written by: Jeanne Phoenix Laurel, Ph.D.

A True Niagaran

Dorothy Gould, M.S.Ed.’66, longtime chair of the English department at Niagara University, passed away on Nov. 16, 2012, at the age of 83.

Dorothy loved life. We will miss her, her chats about her children and grandchildren, her energy and enthusiasm, and the twinkle in her eye — always the perfect lady, and always fully immersed and engaged in everything she did.

Dr. Laurence Boxer, professor of computer and information sciences, recalls that Dorothy was the first woman to be president of Temple Beth Israel, following in the steps of her father, Gene Lunken, and her brother, Paul Lunken. At Temple events, she was often in the center of an extended family, with her husband, Lester, and her own children, Laurie Cohen Blinder, ’76, Jeffrey Cohen, ’81, Keith Cohen, and Wendy Kohlenberg. She was very proud of the link between the Jewish community and NU, exemplified by Marcus Brown’s generous gift in 1882, which is honored by a plaque in Gallagher Center. Indeed, to know Dorothy was to be part of her family, for she inquired of everyone’s welfare, encouraged everyone’s success, and believed the best of each person with whom she came into contact.

With warmth, style, and an insistence on good public speaking skills, Dorothy served as everything from president, to board member, to “go-to person” for the Highland Avenue Redevelopment Plan, Occidental Chemical Corp. (OxyChem), the Hebrew Benevolent Loan Association, the Bay Beach Home Owners Association, Beth Israel’s Sisterhood, and the Niagara Falls Chapter of Hadassah. She gave generously of her advice and skills, always promoting reading, the life of the mind, and the ability of each person to find his or her God-given gifts.

Dr. William Martin, associate professor of English, recalls that both he and Dorothy were morning people, arriving on campus well before 8 a.m. They would often stop to chat about Dorothy’s children and grandchildren, and their many accomplishments and new ventures, or about Niagara’s latest theatre production or basketball game. Dorothy was one of the Purple Eagles’ most avid fans, a season-ticket holder who rarely missed a home game, and who was sought out by some of NU’s most illustrious players, like Calvin Murphy, ’70, and Marshall Wingate, ’72, both on the courts and in the classroom. When she retired from Niagara after 37 years, the basketball team retired number 37 from their lineup of jerseys and gave Dorothy her very own jersey.

Dorothy’s love of sports was matched by her passion for the theatre. On campus, she performed in a number of University Players productions, including Cocktail Party, a faculty-one-act play; Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (Martha); The Diary of Anne Frank (Mrs. VanDoam); and The Chalk Garden (Ativia). Off campus, Dorothy was well-known in thespian circles as well, and played the leading role in the Niagara Falls Little Theatre production of The Taming of the Shrew.

Dr. Martin also notes that “we meet remarkably few people whose example makes us better human beings. Dorothy Gould was one of those persons. I recall one of our morning conversations when she told me, ‘If you want to do good for someone and more than two people know about it, you are doing it for the wrong reason.’ I have never forgotten her words, and I can only imagine the number of persons Dorothy might have helped over the course of her lifetime.” However, if Dorothy was one of the two people who knew about your good deeds, others were sure to hear of them shortly — good news traveled fast when Dorothy got hold of it.

Dr. Rita Pollard, adjunct professor of English, Dr. Nancy McGlen, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and others observed the breadth of Dorothy Gould’s interests and activities: bowling, tennis, quilting, knitting, crocheting, baking, spending summers at her lake home in Canada, cruising, dancing at various university galas and fundraisers, and hosting inductions for Sigma Tau Delta, the English honor society. Dr. Pollard writes that Dorothy “loved her students. I recall how thrilled she was when the Sigma Tau Delta students presented her with a purple and white quilt on the occasion of her retirement. She admired the design and stitching and promised to hang it in her home in Niagara Falls. I also recall the wonderful kugel she baked for one of the honor society’s brunches. I have that kugel recipe now, in Dorothy's handwriting, tucked between the pages of my favorite cookbook. Dorothy was simply full of life.”

The Rev. Joseph L. Levesque, Niagara’s president, said of his good friend, “Dorothy Gould was a Niagara person through and through. Even though she frequently wore purple, she more importantly gave her heart over to Niagara University.

“Dorothy was a wonderful member of the faculty and family of Niagara University, and she taught us much about how to live one’s life well,” he continued. “Thank you, Dorothy, and thanks to your wonderful family, who so generously shared you with us for so many years.”

Dorothy retired in 2003. In 2009, the English department instituted a new award, named for two of the faculty most active in service: the Gould-Pollard Award for Service to the Department. The award is not offered every year; rather, it is bestowed upon students whose collegiality, service and academic achievement are extraordinary.

Dorothy Gould will be remembered for many years as someone who made Niagara University what it is today.