In the life of any institution, one can identify a handful of individuals whose contributions have shaped and defined the nature of that institution and whose presence has left an indelible mark upon it. Such a person is Joe Ann Shearer Lever, who retired from Converse in 2002 following 40 years of service.
Joe Ann’s passing on Wednesday, Nov. 23 is a great loss to Converse College and the broader community; but more importantly, it is an important opportunity to celebrate a life well-lived. The family will receive friends Saturday, Nov. 26, 2011, from 3:00 – 5:00 PM at Floyd’s Greenlawn Chapel in Spartanburg.
Funeral services will be held at Trinity United Methodist Church on Sunday, Nov. 27 at 2:00 PM with Pastor Steve Holler of Trinity United Methodist Church and Jason Loscuito, Chaplain of Converse College, officiating. Burial will follow in Greenlawn Memorial Gardens. I
n lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Joe Ann Shearer Lever Memorial Academic Fund at Converse College, 580 East Main Street, Spartanburg, SC 29302 or to the endowment at Trinity United Methodist Church, 626 Norwood Street, Spartanburg, SC 29302.
During her tenure at Converse College, Joe Ann Lever made the kinds of contributions that made a difference in what the College is and how it sees itself in the panoply of academic institutions. Her contributions were built on a record of day-by-day and year-by-year subtle but significant actions and decisions that had a remarkable cumulative effect on the character of Converse College.
What makes Joe Ann Lever’s contributions especially noteworthy is that she was – by inclination and experience – a faculty member at heart. This daughter of Mississippi came to Converse College in 1962 as an instructor in the Biology Department. She advanced to the rank of associate professor of biology and made her mark on hundreds of students who have gone on to successful careers in biology, medicine, and the health professions. She never lost her love of biology in the classroom, and it was this love of teaching and learning that marked her as the exemplary academic administrator she became.
Along the way to her position as Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, she served the College in a meritorious fashion as president of the Faculty Senate, chairwoman of the Tenure and Promotions Committee, adviser to pre-medical and pre-dental students, chairwoman of academic advisers, director of the Office of Career Services, and associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. In each and every role, she proved herself an effective leader, a tireless worker, a congenial colleague, and a defender of both liberal education and the absolute right of capable women to step to the front of the line.
Those who had the privilege of working with Joe Ann know of her boundless energy, can-do attitude, and unwavering dedication to Converse College and the students Converse serves. The Converse community is profoundly grateful for what she meant to this institution as a colleague, administrator and friend. Joe Ann Lever left her indelible mark on each of us. Read the full obituary online.