It is with great sadness that The University of Texas-Pan American announces the passing of Kathryn Dodd, a lecturer in the Biology Department in the College of Science and Engineering.
Dodd died Sunday, Feb. 14 following a brave battle with cancer for the past five months. She was 50 years old.
Dean of the College of Science and Engineering, Dr. Ed LeMaster, said Dodd had a long history of being a strong student advocate.
"Kathy pursued the best teaching practices always with the goal of making biology a path to understanding of living things in our world. She had a 10-year record of teaching excellence and will be sorely missed by both students she has taught and faculty with whom she has worked," LeMaster said.
Dodd received both her bachelor's and her master's degrees in botany from The University of Oklahoma and came to teach at UTPA in 1999. At UTPA she taught courses in general biology, honors biology, medical microbiology laboratory, biological writing and plant morphology. Dodd was awarded two separate Title II Student Retention Mini-Grants to pursue course improvement and development.
Dodd was also very active in student advisement and served as faculty advisor for the Environmental Awareness Club, a student organization at UTPA.
"She was an excellent teacher and very hardworking member of our faculty. Kathy had a great passion for student success and was an inspiration to each one of her students. She was loved and appreciated by everyone among the faculty and staff. Her departure is indeed a great loss for the Biology Department," Farooqui said.
Her colleague Dr. Zen Faulkes, associate professor of biology, described Dodd as always having a smile on her face and as the sort of person you wished more people knew.
"When I think of her, I'll think of Native dancing - she was part Native Cherokee Indian and often participated in Pow Wows; her love of chocolate - something we shared; and the phrase she always told her students - 'study 'til it hurts,'" Faulkes said.
Dodd is survived by her three sisters - Dava Bradley, Mary Henslee and Billye Polson. Bradley said Kathy traveled to many countries performing missionary work as a Native American Jingle dancer. Jingle dancers wear elaborate dresses with tin pieces in the shapes of metal cones sewn on to them, which make a jingling noise when dancing.
"She made all of her costumes. She discovered her American Indian heritage and delved deep into it," her sister said.
Bradley also said her sister was a great lover of nature and animals, bringing home many rescued animals over the years.
"She was a very gentle soul," Bradley said.
Fellow biology department lecturer, Bonnie Gunn, said when she joined the UTPA faculty last year, Dodd made her feel genuinely welcome and generously gave her time to help Gunn set up her writing class and online Blackboard.
"Kathy loved teaching here and felt that the biology department was her family. She told me that having this job was a great blessing - a blessing and honor to be here with the faculty, students and staff," Gunn said.
Gunn said Dodd cared deeply about her students and was very proud of their successes. Gunn said she called to see about how her class was doing and offered her help even while in the hospital.
"I will miss her smile and her joy. She was always positive and full of faith, even as her illness progressed. She kept reminding me that God has a perfect plan for each of us and that no matter what happens in our lives He is in control," Gunn said.
A memorial service will be held, Thursday, Feb. 18 at 7 p.m. at the Baptist Temple, 2001 Trenton Rd., McAllen.
Dodd was keeping a personal journal on the Caring Bridge Web site at www.caringbridge.org and had requested in lieu of flowers that persons make donations to Caring Bridge, the American Cancer Society or a favorite charity of their choice.
You can share your memories of Dodd or express your condolences to her family, at the Kreidler Funeral Home Web site at http://www.kreidlerfuneralhome.com/obits.html or the Legacy.com site at http://www.legacy.com/gb2/default.aspx?bookid=7679541263325.