Beloved professor “made Mount Mary a better place”

Services set for Shawnee Daniels-Sykes

A wake will be held from 3 to 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 11, at St. Martin De Porres Catholic Church; 3144 N. Second St., Milwaukee. A prayer service at this location will follow from 7 to 8 p.m.

The funeral will be held from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 12 at All Saints Catholic Church, 4051 N. 25th St., Milwaukee. A viewing will precede the funeral from 8 to 9:45 a.m.

A repast will be held from 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 12, in the Alumnae Dining Room of Mount Mary University, 2900 N. Menomonee River Parkway, Milwaukee. The Alumnae Dining Room is located in Bergstrom Hall.

2017_shawnee_daniels_sykes_002.jpgTheology Professor Shawnee Daniels-Sykes, Ph.D., passed away peacefully on October 31, 2022, after a heroic battle with cancer.

A noted expert on ethics, morality and Black Catholic studies, Daniels-Sykes was recognized with the 2019 Black Excellence Award from The Milwaukee Times. Recently, she was awarded the Outstanding Educator Chapter Award for her sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc

At an employee recognition event in 2021, theology professor and colleague Don Rappé described her as “our moral compass, the voice of conscience informed by reason and faith.”

“Shawnee was a fierce champion for our students and their creative endeavors,” said Karen Friedlen, vice president for student affairs. “Her passion for ethics, human rights and the desire to share it with generations of students made her an adored teacher, sought-after mentor and valued friend and colleague.

As a Catholic theological ethicist and writer, her research interests were in the beginning, middle and end-of-life issues, especially as these relate to institutionalized race, class and gender oppressions.

kathy_shaunee_web.jpgDaniels-Sykes was also an adjunct professor for the Institute for Black Catholic Studies at Xavier University of Louisiana, where she taught the graduate course, “Moral Questions in the Black Community.” A registered nurse by trade, she was the only Black Catholic female healthcare ethicist in the United States.

Driven by a passion for excellence, social justice and the development of the whole person, Shawnee wove these themes into her curriculum to inspire personal transformation in her students.

Through intellectual, theological and moral discussions, Shawnee sought to foster an awareness in her students that lies beyond their personal experiences to promote inclusion and create change.

She was committed to the mission of Mount Mary University and the School Sisters of Notre Dame. Shawnee loved Mount Mary. And Mount Mary loved Shawnee. The grief we feel today is a testament to her immense presence in this community. Mount Mary is without doubt a better place because of Shawnee.

“The grief we feel today is a testament to her immense presence in this community,” Friedlen said. “Mount Mary is without doubt a better place because of Shawnee.”

Read the 2021 employee tribute to Shawnee

In her words

About Shawnee