Penn GSE Remembers Betty Deane

October 28, 2021
A black and white photo of Betty Deane from 1987 is next to a translucent image of the Graduate School of Education building. Text on the image reads “Penn GSE Remembers Betty Deane.”

The Penn GSE community mourns the loss of longtime staff member Betty Deane, who passed away on August 2, 2021.

“Betty was an exemplary professional for nearly fifty-five years at Penn GSE,” says Dean Pam Grossman. “Many in our community have had rich and meaningful relationships with Betty. She was a dedicated employee, a tireless worker, and a great colleague.” 

Deane joined Penn GSE in 1966, moving into the building at 3700 Walnut Street shortly after its construction. During her extraordinary tenure of more than five decades, she held multiple positions across the School and was known for her “meticulous, exacting, and absolutely fair-minded” approach to her work, in the words of Professor Emeritus of Education Nancy Hornberger. In addition to working with faculty members Jim Larkin and Harris Sokoloff in support of teacher certification, Deane worked alongside faculty in various academic divisions, and in service to students across programs. 

Greyscaled headshot of Betty Deane
Photo by Jacey Hallock

“Betty Deane was the first person I met in 1972 when I came to begin my work at Penn GSE,” recalls Professor Emerita Susan Lytle, GR’82. “She was so important to everyone in the teacher education program and such a knowledgeable, competent, and always helpful person who, over time, became indispensable to many functions of the School. The work of Penn GSE is complex and, by necessity, collaborative, and Betty was an impressive and generous contributor.” 

In 1997, Deane received Penn GSE’s Outstanding Service Award. At the time, the School’s publication, GSE News, described her as “the mainstay of the Teacher Education Program for over thirty years” and stated, “Betty is considered one of the most professional and community-minded individuals at GSE; she is committed to education, to students, and to the faculty and staff with whom she works.” 

For the past fifteen years, Deane served as the faculty affairs coordinator, offering invaluable support with numerous faculty appointments, reappointments, and promotions. She was well known to Penn GSE students through not only her support of the School’s teacher education programs, but also her oversight of the editorial review and submission of dissertations. “Many doctoral students saw her as the final stop in a long dissertation marathon and were joyous at receiving a green-light email from her indicating that their dissertation met all requirements for final submission,” says Dean Grossman.

Members of the Penn GSE community gathered on August 26 in the courtyard of 3700 Walnut Street and shared heartfelt recollections of Deane with members of her family. “I am grateful that we can be here together—in community—at the place that Betty worked for so long, to remember her and share our memories,” said Dean Grossman at the gathering. Surviving Deane is her loving family, including her husband, Raymond D. Deane; step-son, Robert T. (Margaret) Deane; granddaughter, Sophia Deane; sister, Pamela Camarda; and nephews and nieces Robert Stiles, Christopher Camarda, Leslie Valenteen, Denise Stiles-Kaufman, and Michael Stiles.

Decades of Outstanding Service

Betty Deane’s tremendous commitment to Penn GSE is reflected in the Spring 1987 issue of the GSE Newsletter, a publication that preceded The Penn GSE Magazine. The following article commemorates Deane’s twentieth anniversary at the School, noting that Deane planned to spend another twenty years at Penn GSE. It is Penn GSE’s good fortune that she surpassed this goal by more than fourteen years.

GSE Celebrates Twenty Years with Betty Deane 

Newspaper clipping of a 1987 article with a black & white image of Betty Deane with Dr. James Larkin. The headline reads “GSE Celebrates Twenty Years with Betty Deane”]
Professor Emeritus of Education Nancy Hornberger had been working at Penn GSE for a year at the time of Deane’s twentieth anniversary, marked in this 1987 article. “I already knew her as a much-appreciated, loyal, and knowledgeable member of the Penn GSE community,” says Dr. Hornberger, who would remain a faculty member for the next thirty-four years. “Over the years, I was able to observe and experience Betty’s unfailingly expert efficiency and equitable execution in all she did.”Article courtesy of the University of Pennsylvania Archives

On October 9, faculty, staff and students gave a party for Betty Deane honoring her valuable presence at the School. Betty says that she moved into the new building, “along with the furniture,” in September 1966. Since then she has worked for four deans, a total of ten directors, associate directors, and assistant directors of the Teacher Education Program, and forty supervisors of student teachers.

Many alumni will remember Betty’s white, miniature Maltese Terrier, Rhea, given to her by Allan Glatthorn in 1975, while he was Director of the Teacher Education Program. Betty notes that Rhea came to work with her for eight years, missing only an occasional day during inclement weather.

On behalf of the School, Jim Larkin presented Betty with an University of Pennsylvania rocking chair. In her remarks following the presentation, Betty commented that she was planning another twenty years with GSE. We are grateful that she is!


This article appeared in the Fall 2021 issue of The Penn GSE Magazine.