Conversation Changer

June Dobbs Butts

June Dobbs Butts

(Photo: Courtesy of Spelman College)

June Dobbs Butts (Ed.D. ’69), a pioneering black sex therapist and researcher, died in May at age 90. n In the 1970s, Butts became the first African American to study and practice with William Masters and Virginia Johnson. She spearheaded more liberated sex education and therapy for African Americans, advocating for more open and honest discussion about sexuality and sex practices, including those long considered taboo. n Butts earned her TC doctorate in family life education and taught at New York University, Fordham University, the Howard University College of Medicine and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

She also contributed to Jet and Ebony magazines, and wrote the “Our Sexual Health” column for Essence.


Quiet Crusader

Thelma Shafran

Thelma Shafran

(Photo: Courtesy of 5th Avenue Digital)

Thelma Shafran (M.A. ’54), a passionate supporter of students, passed away in September at age 89.

Shafran taught English in Spain for many years and, as a member of TC’s Grace Dodge Society, contributed yearly to the College’s Annual Fund. Through outright and planned gifts,

she gave more than $2 million to Teachers College — including, upon her death, her New York City apartment (see the Development Report on page 50).


Unofficial Mayor

Maureen Horgan

Maureen Horgan

(Photo: TC Archives)

Maureen Horgan, who retired in 2012 from TC as Associate Director of Administrative Services after a 45-year career with the College’s library, passed away in June 2018.

At that time, she was TC’s longest-term professional staff member. 

“Maureen was like the mayor of TC — she knew everyone and knew how to get things done,” said Christine Jacknick (Ed.D. ’09), Associate Professor of Academic Literacy and Linguistics at Borough of Manhattan Community College. 

A story on TC’s website in 2007 compared Horgan to legendary New York Yankees first baseman Lou Gehrig, whose record of consecutive games played endured from 1939 to 1995.

Horgan participated in multiple upgrades of the library, declaring after the 2003 creation of the College’s Gottesman Libraries, “Each one’s better, and this one’s been the best.”


Born to Teach

Jonas F. Soltis, 88, helped educational philosophy become an applied discipline that guides classroom practice

Jonas Soltis and Wife

(Photo: Courtesy the Soltis Family)

As a boy, Jonas Soltis constantly “played school,” once leading friends in “military exercises” that included jumping off a chicken coop. The resulting injuries convinced him that “teachers don’t always succeed.”

Soltis, who died in August, became TC’s William Heard Kilpatrick Professor of Philosophy & Education and internationally recognized for reorienting his sometimes arcane field toward guiding classroom teachers. Where Kilpatrick was the “million-dollar professor” (the public paid to attend his lectures), “Jonas was known as the ‘million-book professor,’” says current TC education philosopher David Hansen. “His writings touched tens of thousands of teachers.”

In the mid-1980s, Teachers College Press published Soltis’s five-book Thinking About Education series. Soltis (at left, with his late wife, Nancy) subsequently served the Press in numerous capacities, including in retirement. “We could never afford to lose him because he was so helpful, smart and thoughtful, and he knew the field so well,” says the Press’s former director, Carole Saltz.

Visit to contribute to The Jonas F. Soltis Fellowship, created by Soltis’s will to annually support a TC Philosophy & Education student.