Dr. Mary Civille (Sue) Wesselkamper was born in Athens, Ohio, on March 27, 1942. She grew up near the University of Dayton with brothers John and Patrick. After graduating from Julienne High School, she would go on to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Government from Edgecliff College, a Masters degree in Social Work from the University of Michigan, and a Doctorate in Social Welfare from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.
On August 28, 1970, she married Dr. Thomas (Tom) Wesselkamper who was her best friend and strongest supporter for more than 38 years. They had three beautiful children. Together they suffered the loss of their first son, Daniel, who died at age 11, and together they shared the joy of raising their daughter Suzanne and son David. Recently and again together, they experienced being grandparents with the arrival of Samson and Tomas Angel Wesselkamper.
When Sue was named president of Chaminade University in 1995, she became the first woman to preside over a university in Hawaii, the first to head a Marianist sponsored university, and at the time one of only two dozen lay women serving as presidents of Catholic colleges nationally. In spring 2008, Pacific Business News honored her as its Woman of the Year in its annual Women Who Mean Business Awards selections. In December, Chaminade University conferred upon her its degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, Honoris Causa, in recognition of her unparalleled accomplishments during her 13-year tenure as its eighth and longest serving president.
Sue, 66, died peacefully at home on January 3, with her husband at her side and surrounded by family and friends.
In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that donations be made to Chaminade University for the endowed scholarship established in Dr. Wesselkamper’s name or to the Kaiser Permanente Hawaii. If you wish to make your gift to Chaminade online, please visit https://www.chaminade.edu/forms/annualFundGifts.php, and indicate that your gift is for the Sue Wesselkamper Endowed Scholarship.
For further information, please contact the Office of the President:
Office of the President
3140 Waialae Avenue
Honolulu, HI 96816
Phone: (808) 735-4741
Please see under notices for upcoming memorial services for Dr. Wesselkamper.
I only met Sue once but I know Tom well. He was instrumental in my graduate education at Virginia Tech 30+ years ago. Tom, my thoughts are with you. Bob
Bob Fainter 6 December, 2010
I was fortunate enough to have met Sue through her husband Tom. That day I first met her is still fresh in my mind and will always forever be one of the most treasured moments in my life. I am deeply,deeply sorry. Mr & Mrs Wesselkamper Komol Tata for all the help and love you've shown me. You've always and forever still be in my prayers.
Ernest Patrick 26 March, 2010
I was thinking about Dr. Sue the other day when my young son asked me if Chaminade ever won the Maui Invitational. As I explained to him the differences in Divisional play, I then took the opportunity to remind him about the "greatest upset in college basketball" that Chaminade spearheaded over then #1 Virginia in 1982 - the precursor to the tournament's birth two years later. I also told him that whether or not Chaminade won games in the tournament (they did win several), you would never know it by the incredible support of their school and fans, led by their #1 fan for many years - Dr. Sue. She was in the stands for every game, cheering on her guys as if they were about to win the national championship. I was proud to have become her friend during my tenure with the tournament. She inspired me and the rest of our tournament team in so many ways, most of them subtle, but always meaningful. I learned from Dr. Sue that grace and dignity are essential qualities of effective leadership, something I try to emulate and teach my two sons. Thank you, Dr. Sue, for the many life lessons you shared without ever realizing the impact you were making on those around you. You will be forever in our hearts, minds and prayers.
Michael Myers 26 February, 2010
On the anniversary of your passing I remember your smiling face, positive and upbeat personality as a constant reminder of how I wish to be! Sue, thank you for all the wonderful memories that I can cherish for the rest of my life!! I love you and miss you greatly.
Janine Kurosawa 6 January, 2010
One of my memories of Sue was having my photo taken with her in her office and she was holding one of my East Meets West poetry books published by Watermark Press/Publish Today! Frankie Kam '64
Frankie Kam '64 14 September, 2009