June 2011—Heidi Magoon Connor, a Walden University PhD in Education student, died May 6. The Colorado Springs, Colo., resident was 50 years old. “Heidi was honored as a ‘Ray of Hope’ recipient for education at former President Bill Clinton's inauguration and attended the inaugural ball,” says Pamela Mendes Johnson, a friend and former high school classmate. “It is very meaningful for her family that President Bill Clinton will be addressing the student body at commencement in July.”
She was the founder and president of the Alpha Epsilon Xi Chapter of Kappa Delta Pi , the international honor society in education at Walden, which recognizes the outstanding scholarly contributions and scholastic achievements of its members and encourages volunteerism.
“Involvement in Kappa Delta Pi has helped me take risks and expand my horizons as a leader in education while acting as a mentor to students who will be tomorrow’s teachers,” Connor said on the Kappa Delta Pi Web site in 2010. “I want to continue to show teachers that learning is a lifelong adventure where growth happens on a daily basis.”
Connor was an English and research writing instructor who taught online courses for Aims Community College in Greeley, Colo., and had previously taught as a faculty member at Pikes Peak Community College and Colorado Technical University. She earned her MS in Education with a specialization in special education in 1992 at Bridgewater State University in Massachusetts.
She had also started the Council for Exceptional Children Chapter at Bridgewater State University to support teachers who work with individuals with disabilities, and provide professional development through a quarterly journal and a monthly newsletter.
Connor’s goals were to complete her PhD research and develop programs that supported faculty members in technologically enhanced course delivery to undergraduate and graduate students. She also aspired to develop an online source of faculty support that encouraged lifelong learning.
“From the first time I met Heidi at a residency in Denver, I was impressed by her ‘always on’ can-do energy,” says Dr. Daniel W. Salter, Connor’s first mentor at Walden and now the director of strategic research initiatives at the Center for Research Support at The Richard W. Riley College of Education and Leadership. “Only later did I begin to see her tenaciousness and fortitude, too. She genuinely cared about her students and sought to grow as a scholar to support their learning process. Education has lost a bright star, but her legacy will live on in the gift of Kappa Delta Pi at Walden.”
“Any time you spoke with Heidi, you could tell she possessed a dedication to making a difference that blazed for all to see and which only a few could doubt would result in positive change in higher education,” says Paula Dawidowicz, research coordinator in the PhD in Education program at The Riley College of Education and Leadership. “Her flame will be kept alive at Walden.”
Connor is survived by husband Michael Connor of the 302nd Airlift Wing at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs; mother Mary Lou Magoon of Taunton, Mass.; sisters Bonnie Magoon Kothari of Nashua, N.H., and Colleen Markow of Carver, Mass.; and brother Shawn Magoon of Easton, Mass. She was buried at Fort Logan National Cemetery in Denver on May 18. Share your memories of Connor on Walden’s Facebook page.