More than 60 family and friends of the late University of Nevada, Reno human development and family studies professor Judy Calder gathered Oct. 9 in the Sarah Fleischmann Building's Sandra Neese Room to celebrate the life of their fallen colleague.
"This is our way of saying goodbye to Judy," friend and University colleague Jeanne Hilton said. "For those of us who could not make it to her service at Arlington National Cemetery, this is our opportunity to remember the woman Judy was and express our feelings."
Calder, a longtime faculty member, died Aug. 18. Police, who found her body in Elko County, are investigating her death as a homicide. She was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
The College of Health and Human Sciences has been strongly impacted by Calder's death.
"Because we have faculty members in more than 10 buildings across campus, it has been difficult to bring everyone together, at one time, to remember Judy," said Charlie Bullock, dean of the college. "It was devastating when we learned of Judy's tragic death. She was a friend to all of us and we miss her dearly."
Several special guests will be present at tonight's Celebration of Life, including her husband, Jim Calder; their daughter Kim Calder; and Judy's sister, Carolyn Conger. Bullock will also announce the establishment of the Judy Calder Memorial Scholarship.
The annual scholarship will be awarded to an undergraduate or graduate student who best exemplifies Calder's vibrant and enduring spirit of scholarship, research and commitment to the "Building a Healthy Nevada" framework she helped establish in the College of Health and Human Sciences.
"Jim Calder was extremely supportive of establishing this scholarship," Bullock said. "Judy was so supportive of the ‘Building a Healthy Nevada' initiative in the college. We wanted to honor her and keep her spirit alive."
The initiative is a faculty-driven concept to improve the quality of life for people around the globe by addressing some of Nevada's most pressing social and health needs. Faculty, staff and students work as a team with community partners and others on campus to discover and implement ideas that will make a difference for individuals and communities. The college is addressing several key areas within that concept, including physical health, social well-being, behavioral health, public safety and resourceful communities.
Calder was born Nov. 1, 1942, and had been a faculty member at the University since 1992. Her employment at the University in recent years included as associate professor in the human development and family studies department. Calder had also directed survey research for the former Alan Bible Center for Applied Research.
Calder's lifetime contributions and accomplishments are many. Noteworthy are her 15 years working with the Centers for Disease Control's Behavioral Risk Factors Surveillance Study in Nevada and her research on family and domestic violence. Additionally, Calder forged relationships with the State Department of Health and Human Services. She was a strong advocate for students, using innovative teaching methods to enhance the classroom experience. She was highly respected among her students and peers for her intelligence, willingness to stand up for what she believed in and for caring passionately about people.
Calder received all of her higher education degrees from the University of California, Los Angeles. She earned her bachelor's degree in English in 1967, a master of arts degree in 1970 and her doctor of education degree with an emphasis in research methodology in 1977.
"Judy's death has pulled us together in a number of ways," Bullock said. "We are still saying goodbye and grieving."