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SISTER JOSEPH MARIE ARMER, CCVI, PROFESSOR EMERITA OF BIOLOGY

Sister 02

In the late 1920’s Annie Armer, a young Baptist woman came to teach at Incarnate Word College from the University of Texas with the ink on her biology PhD still wet. In a short period of time she became a convert, entered the Congregation, became Sister Joseph Marie and taught undergraduate and graduate students non-stop until her retirement. Eventually recognized as Piper Professor of Texas for Teaching Excellence, Sister Joseph Marie had a dedication to the advancement of science teaching at all levels and established the still running Alamo Regional Science Fair for high school students.

Her lectures and labs made biology exciting for majors and non majors alike, and no one knows how many students she motivated into advanced degrees and careers in medicine and research. As the years went by her vision deteriorated but it was hard to notice. She continued on with some assistance. In fact, though nearly blind, she was invited to apply for the deanship of a medical school in California, an honor she humbly declined. With glasses as thick as soda bottles she made her way to the Science Hall daily and learned to recognize her students, and graduates, by sound if not sight.

She was also a born story teller and entertained her fellow nuns with animated and even costumed tales of Biblical stories she heard preached in the churches of her youth.

Even after retiring from full time teaching she continued to spend hours with students as an advisor in campus ministry. Well into her 90’s Sister could recognize the voice of a former student before any introduction, and amazed them with her knowledge of what they had accomplished.

This is part of our heritage. Making a difference.

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