Math Professor Kathy Godshalk Succumbs to 17-Month Cancer Battle
Kathy Godshalk in a 2007 photograph with her Outstanding Faculty Award just prior to the college's commencement ceremony.
We learned sad news today that Kathy Godshalk, Cypress College's 2007 Outstanding Faculty Award recipient, passed away yesterday afternoon as her family and pastor prayed. A member of the Math Department faculty for the past 15 years, Kathy was diagnosed with cancer in 2011.
"It overwhelms me to know that a single person just going about her day to day life could have such a profound effect on so many people," Kathy's husband Ron wrote. "Overwhelming but not surprising to anyone who knows her. It was an honor to share so much of her too short life with her."
Cypress College President Bob Simpson shared these thoughts:
We have lost one of our dearest family members, one who embodied in every way the spirit of Cypress College. It was my privilege to have known Kathy for over 20 years. During that time, I never heard a cross or disparaging word from her. Her smile brightened every event. She lived her life in accord with the highest personal and professional standards, a true role model for us all. Kathy's commitment to the College and to her students was surpassed only by her commitment to her family and to her faith.
Our heartfelt condolences go out to her family, and to her dear friends in the SEM Division.
Richard Fee, Kathy's dean in the Science, Engineering and Mathematics Division, described her as "the sweetest person I had ever met." He continued:
A "no" from her was kinder and gentler than most people's "yeses." Students who did not pass her class were more upset about letting her down that about failing the class. Kathy was the embodiment of grace and compassion.
Kathy and I would talk about our families. Whatever stage I was going through with my children, Kathy would remind me to treasure it, because time is so short and every moment is precious. That is a lesson I will carry with me for the rest of my life.
Our hearts are broken at her passing.
Kathy came to Cypress College after having worked as a software engineer for Hughes Aircraft (where she met Ron). She then took a sabbatical to raise their two children, before embarking on a teaching career.
At Cypress College, she served on the Honors Committee, was a member of the Academic Senate, worked on curriculum development, and was a regular contributor to the Cypress College Foundation's "Pull for Cypress" campaign. For the college's First Women's Recognition Month Luncheon, in March 2011, she was a nominee in five award categories: "Most Supportive," "Most Supportive of Student Success," "Most Influential," "Outstanding Women Who Goes Above and Beyond," and "Woman Athlete of the Year."
Kathy earned her bachelor's of arts degree in mathematics from California State University, Long Beach. She holds two master's degrees, one in computer engineering from University of Southern California, and the other in mathematics form California State University, Long Beach.
When interviewed on the occasion of earning tenure in 2001, Kathy noted her active involvement with church, community and her family's favorite activities. She included among her favorite activities traveling, reading and eating.
You can share your thoughts and memories of Kathy on the Cypress College Facebook Page
Posted by Marc S. Posner