Monday November 17, 2014

Remembering Linda Majka

Linda Majka, professor of sociology, died Nov. 17, in Dayton. She was 67.

In more than 30 years on the UD faculty, she authored three books and more than 20 scholarly contributions on human rights, economic policies, farm labor movements and immigration.

"Linda was always more eager to listen than to speak. But when she spoke, she spoke with deep conviction and absolute sincerity, said Mark Ensalaco, associate professor and director of human rights research.

"Linda represented what is best about higher education. She had a fierce devotion to freedom of inquiry and education," said Ensalaco, co-author with her of Children’s Human Rights in 2005. "She was committed to the pursuit of the truth, and she devoted her marvelous talents as a sociologist to the cause of justice." 

Linda and Theo, her husband, came to the University of Dayton in 1981 from Portland State University where they both taught. She earned tenure, was promoted to associate professor in 1984 and professor in 2002. Illness forced her retirement in January 2014.

She played an active role in various programs at the University, especially CORE, human rights studies, and women and gender studies, serving as director of the Women’s Studies Program from 1995-99. 

The Majkas, who were married for 44 years, were joint recipients of the College of Arts & Sciences 2011-12 Award for Outstanding Service for their service to the Dayton community and the University, particularly around the issues of immigration and social justice. 

They have been leaders in Dayton’s Ethnic and Cultural Diversity Caucus, a program initiative of the National Conference for Community and Justice of Greater Dayton, organized forums on immigration at UD in 2008, 2009 and 2012, and helped create the Welcome Dayton: Immigrant Friendly City initiative.

"I knew of Linda's work on immigration long before I joined the department through one of my Marianist Sisters who worked with Linda and Theo on local migrant communities," said Sister Laura Leming, F.M.I., former department chair.  

"Linda was a welcoming and supportive presence when I became a sociologist, and her engagement in Women's Studies and in writing for justice helped encourage me to forge my own path as a scholar engaged in local and global communities."

Plans for a memorial service will be announced later.

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