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Students Before Self: Jane Lunin Perel ’15Hon.

Photo of Professor Perel with students in the 1970s.
Professor Perel with students in the 1970s

By Morton L. Perel, D.D.S, M.Sc.D.

The retirement of Professor Emerita Jane Lunin Perel ’15Hon. from her full-time professorship at Providence College after 43 years of teaching did not end with a disconnect from the College. She was a quintessential teacher who embraced her responsibilities to the greater PC community. For Jane it was always “students before self.”

It is no wonder that her devotion to her students was intense enough over the years that many still contact her. Regardless of what professions they have since chosen, they share fond memories and e-mails to say “thank you” for expanding their minds. To receive a “thank you” after 30, 20, or 10 years—or even after one year—is both heartwarming and a demonstration of Jane’s effectiveness as a Providence College professor.

Although having retired in 2014, Jane is still very much a part of the College. She is involved in the centennial year celebration—yes, you got it, WITH former students. Jane may have retired from teaching, but she did not terminate her “doing” for and with the College.

Photo of Jane Lunin Perel ’15Hon. with husband, Morton L. Perel, D.D.S., M.Sc.D., and Rev. Brian J. Shanley, O.P. ’80.
Jane Lunin Perel ’15Hon. with husband, Morton L. Perel, D.D.S., M.Sc.D., and Rev. Brian J. Shanley, O.P. ’80

I wanted to have Jane remembered at PC in a special and unique way. As such, I approached Provost Dr. Hugh Lena, who knows Jane very well. We shared thoughts and memories, of course. He directed me to the next step, which was to the Office of Institutional Advancement and Liz Manchester. We shared more thoughts. Through it all an epiphany struck me: Why not initiate an endowment in Jane’s name so that there will be, in perpetuity, a connection of Jane’s name with the Department of English and its poetry and fiction series. Thus was born the annual Jane Lunin Perel Poetry and Fiction Series. Presenters are selected by the department, and the greater PC community is invited to partake and even to participate once a year, in perpetuity. The inaugural event was held November 10, 2016.

A brief personal background may be of interest: Jane and I came to Rhode Island in 1971, the year the College became coed. My association with PC began that year because our first date was at the Rathskeller, where Jane invited and dared me to see and listen to her perform a poetry reading. I was a practicing prosthodontist (now retired after 47 years, I am a full-time professional editor). Since then, my affinity for Jane had drawn me into an affinity of a different kind … Providence College.

What better way to honor my devoted and gifted Jane—for whom this gift was a total surprise—and the College, of which I am not a graduate but for which I have developed a lasting attachment.


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