In Memoriam: Therese Stratton, Former Assistant Dean of Faculty Support and Campus Services

October 4, 2021

Therese Stratton, a longtime Georgetown Law employee who retired in 2015, died on September 27.

Stratton, who held B.S. and M.S. degrees from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State
University, first joined the Law Center staff in 1985 as an assistant registrar after working in human resources on Georgetown’s main campus, and over the three decades that followed was a trusted and beloved member of the Georgetown Law community. She also served as Director of Administration before being named Assistant Dean of Faculty Support and Campus Services.

Stratton’s work at the Law Center included overseeing the expansion of the Early Learning Center, managing numerous construction and renovation projects, introducing online evaluations and course materials and promoting environmental sustainability.

But above all, her colleagues and friends valued her caring, patient and humble nature. At her retirement celebration, Professor Julie O’Sullivan said, “Her contributions—in spirit and in bricks and mortar—are permanent and will never be forgotten.”

In a message to the community, Dean William M. Treanor wrote, “Therese embodied the best of the values we hold at the Law Center and was a true servant leader. Georgetown Law is a better place because of Therese.”

In an oral history recorded in 2017, Stratton said that her career at Georgetown had been one of “opportunity, community and relationships.”

“It was quite a privilege to be part of so many people’s lives and to have them in mine,” she said. “I felt very fortunate.”

Watch a video of a remembrance gathering organized by Georgetown Law:

In Remembrance

Therese was proof that you can get a lot of things done with quiet competence and kindness. When I was a faculty assistant assisting a very full slate of professors, and Therese was no longer as involved in overseeing Faculty Support, I remember her stopping by my desk to see how I was doing. We spoke for only a minute or two, but in that time, she made it clear that she knew I had a full plate and that I was doing good work. That one little exchange conveyed so much: she was on top of the details, she cared, and she appreciated what I was doing. How was she able to say so much in such a short conversation? I don't know, but I think it can be explained by the sort of person she was: very kind, decent, and genuine. Georgetown Law was lucky to have her in our corner.

— Betsy Kuhn, Faculty Manuscript Editor

Therese held the Law School together during her tenure at Georgetown Law, and not just physically.

I have often shared a story from Therese. This is how she dealt with the stress and frustration of commuting. Often, during the commute, drivers cut in front of her or made other aggressive moves. She always waved them ahead with a friendly gesture. She arrived a couple of minutes later but always felt good.

— Michael Goldman

I knew Therese best in her role as Assistant Dean of All Logistics. She was everywhere, and she imbued everyday management with a strong sense of environmental values, aesthetic judgment, and kindness. When Dean Alex decided that the Policy Clinic needed to move its office, he assigned Therese to make sure that after the move, we built back better. The result was strong architectural advice, computer modeling, bold colors, furniture fit for purpose, and open spaces. Therese was a pro and a great colleague. I miss her still.

— Robert Stumberg

Therese was ever patient and sensibly flexible in dealing with anxious or overwrought faculty members. Her calm centeredness and sense of purpose allowed her to accomplish much at Georgetown. At the same time, she helped a huge school to feel more like a family than a bureaucracy. I am grateful to have worked with her.

— Peter Byrne, Georgetown Law Professor

Therese was salt of the earth… fun, kind, a wonderful human being. One of many fond memories of her is how helpful she was to me and my wife moving my office to a new part of the building. I didn’t want to part with any of my overwhelming amount of books or papers. I wanted to move the whole lot, a ginormous task. In her usual engaging manner she conspired with my wife and the two cajoled me into entrusting them to her care for storage on the promise she would retrieve them whenever I might need them. That was many many years ago. I have never needed any of them. I very recently noticed next to where I parked my car in the the McDonough garage, there is a door marked “Therese’s closet.” I imagine my stuff is still there. I will think wistfully about wonderful Therese every time I park now. And a whole lot of other times as well.

— Paul Rothstein, Georgetown Law Professor

I want to send my condolences with the deepest sympathy as you remember Therese. Sending healing prayers and comforting hugs. Therese was a beautiful caring person inside and out.

— Dancia Broadie , IST/GOCard Program Coordinator

Therese, Your contributions to Georgetown Law Center were not only incredibly significant, but as a result of all of your contributions, you have made a lasting impact on the Law Center. It was very difficult to see you leave, Therese. I came to you so often for advice, suggestions and ideas. You truly left a lasting impact.
May you rest in peace, my friend.

— Marilyn Tucker, Director, Alumni Career Services

Therese was the absolute best. She stayed sane when dealing with insanity, and maintained a sense of humor in the face of all odds. She was just implacably good natured. She looked over all of us with care, attention and love. But her first love was definitely the day care center. My daughter, Sarah, who is now 22 but is an alum of the day care center, remarked upon learning of Therese's passing, "Wasn't she the dean of the day care center?" That she was. And of so much more. We will miss you, Therese.

— David Cole, Georgetown Law Professor

I remember Therese as patient and kind and as a thoughtful problem solver. Since her retirement in 2015, I have found myself thinking about her as I made sure to use the "recycling" and "landfill" bins wisely. I hope that her family and friends take some comfort in the memories shared by the Georgetown Law community.

— Sarah Hulsey, Assistant Dean, Academic Affairs

Being a long time staff support person, I had many good department heads. On the first day Therese took over as director of Faculty Support we had a serious personnel issue which she dove into and handled with professionalism and empathy. I remained grateful. Condolences to all.

— Mary Ann Peretin DeRosa, Faculty Support

Therese was always there when it came to logistical puzzles and concerns, and after speaking with her I always felt that she "got it" and wanted to try to find a solution. She was such a kind soul, so greatly missed and appreciated.

— Marylin Raisch, Retired Law Librarian/Current Graduate Student, Georgetown

Therese was a star. She was creative, effective, thoughtful, and fun. She handled her big portfolio of projects with her trademark warmth and patience. She was so supportive of her staff and was the first one to point out their hard work and successes. I admired her as a colleague and, also, witnessed her devotion to the Day Care Center when my own kids were in the program in the early 2000s. Each June, she was always there, joining in the tears and laughter, as our littlest graduates proudly marched into G12 wearing their blue gowns and mortarboards, courtesy of Therese’s ingenuity in securing miniature graduation garb.

— Sally McCarthy, Assistant Dean, OAA

Therese has been missed since she retired and our hearts are even more saddened to learn of her passing. She was such a positive, kind, creative force whose legacy will endure. It was a joy and an honor to have known her; thank you, Therese!

— Julie Ross, Georgetown Law Professor

I worked with Therese at the Law Center from 1992-1999. When I first started working there, Therese and I discovered that we had attended the same Catholic elementary and high schools; Therese was in my brother's class. From then on, she treated me like we'd known each other for years. Actually, I think Therese treated everyone that way. Therese was so real, so genuine, not a fake bone in her body. She would diplomatically handle a situation with a difficult person, and then when they'd leave, she would just roll her eyes and laugh! Therese had that smile that took over her entire face and made her eyes crinkle. I loved her laugh. She saw the humor in every situation. Therese was amazing at her job, handling complicated projects that almost certainly would not please everyone, with thoughtful care and with her signature sense of calm. She was such a people person, always finding time to ask about the family or to share a funny story. I am glad to have known Therese, and I know that she will be sorely missed by many.

— Regina O'Brien Thomas, former GULC staffer and L'99

Therese worked tirelessly and effectively in her many roles at GU Law. She worked graciously with all those who crossed her path, whether in the Registrar's office or a faculty meeting. As a quiet, highly effective problem solver, she listened carefully to an array of demands from students, faculty, and administrators, always with a smile and a practical solution. We are all better for working with Therese, whose strong influence and kind example will be felt for many years to come. My deepest sympathy to her family and dear friends.

— Jill Ramsfield, Professor of Law and Director of Legal Research and Writing, 1986-2005

Therese was an amazing supervisor, mentor, and friend. She led the way for the development of the Early Learning Center as well as many other projects on the campus. Nearly every space at the Law Center reflects her input in some way.

Therese firmly believed that it was good to have children on campus and support families from the community. My capability to lead the center grew because of Therese's wisdom and guidance. Her strength was in her leadership and her ability to make everything seem possible. There was always a way to get things done. Therese made time to listen and support me when I was facing a challenge. She would often say, "If you're having a rough time, just go spend some time with the kids. They will remind you of why you are there." She was right!

I missed Therese immensely when she retired and I had to carry on without her, but I always knew we could connect. Therese will always be in my heart and I feel the connection will never be lost. Love you and miss you, Therese.

— Donna Dickerson, Former Early Learning Center Director