Teresa P. "Tere" Pica
September 26, 1945 - November 15, 2011
Saturday, December 03, 2011 9:05 PM
Tere was one of the finest advisors I have had during my academic career. A brilliant, gentle, and thoughtful person, she was a unique and special mentor who truly connected with her students by imparting her knowledge through encouragement and kindness. I deeply cherish her unwavering support during my time in the Intercultural Communication Program at GSE and the instrumental role she played in encouraging me to pursue my doctorate following my studies at Penn. Tere will continue to serve as an inspiration and as an example for me; for all that she was and all that she did, may she be always, and fondly, remembered by every one of us whose lives she touched.
Dahlia Setiyawan (Los Angeles, CA)
Saturday, December 03, 2011 11:23 AM
I can still remember the day I met Tere Pica in September 1999. She was the first person I met at GSE, and she welcomed me with a friendly smile, listening intenly to all my questions and concerns. I want to thank her for being such a strong and inspiring teacher.
Aisha Gamble-Brodte (Augsburg Germany)
Friday, December 02, 2011 5:01 PM
I was Dr. Tere Pica's student 23 years ago. She was most helpful and kind hearted professor. At the end of her semester during my final paper submission my mother had passed away. I called her up for my in class presentation and she was very kind and considerate to me. I will always remember her in my life. May Lord rest her soul in eternal peace.
Diana Darius Dadachanji (Philadelphia, PA)
Wednesday, November 30, 2011 2:33 PM
It was a pleasure to get to know Tere and collaborate with her and Greg Barnes on a text for teaching assistants. Her knowledge of effective teaching strategies and her understanding of the needs of international students were enormous. On a personal note, I have great admiration for her ability to maintain her professionalism and devotion to her students despite hardship and sadness in her own life. She set the bar very high for all of us. She will be deeply missed.
Alexis Gerard Finger
Alexis Finger (Bala Cynwyd, PA)
Tuesday, November 29, 2011 2:48 PM
What can I say about Tere? I remember the first time we met at an open house for accepted students in 2004. She remembered details from reading my CV and asked me all about other aspects of my life. It was that tone of caring about each other and not just about academics that made Penn GSE such a comfortable place to study, and I think Tere helped set the tone for the whole department in that regard. Her love of students and love of teaching were the true source of her joie de vivre, at least in her later years. As I saw when I visited her in the hospital this year, there was nothing else she wanted to do more, and she was always willing to work incredibly hard, through physical pain, to get back into the classroom. Her single-minded, unwavering determination is what will inspire me for the rest of my life. She encouraged me not so much with words as with the example she set. If she could read and respond to one of my chapters in hours, surely I could, and must, revise it in a reasonable amount of time. But her deep respect for each individual and their life choices was also an inspiration. Although she lived her life a certain way, she did not demand that others do the same.
Tere’s careful way of really reading for understanding has also stuck with me. As I saw in our seminar and in her reading of my own writing, she would not go on from a sentence until she fully understood the exact meaning and implication of each term. Her level of commitment to details and to logical inquiry showed me how to be a careful, thoughtful scholar, wary of assumptions and miscommunications in our academic speech community. She was an honest researcher, always open to whatever the results may be, willing to be surprised and to change her mind. I’m still not sure if I have read all of her publications, as they are too numerous, so I am sure I and the world will continue to learn from her for decades to come.
Julia Deak (Seattle, WA)
Saturday, November 26, 2011 12:02 AM
The moment we first met Tere at the beginning of our PhD program at Penn GSE in 1991, my wife and I knew that we were presented with a great person who would make a permanent impact on our lives. We found Tere to be truly inspirational. Being a young couple (we were in our late twenties living in West Philly with 3 children), we needed such an inspirational figure. Through her exemplary role during teaching, supervision, and ongoing interaction, we found the genuine and humane side of academic life: a solace we later managed to emulate amidst academic and life challenges. Her humility, understanding, and wisdom had since redefined how we look at teaching, learning, and the learners. When we met Tere again in Kuala Lumpur in 2008, another golden moment presented to us, she continued to inspire us, specifically with her stories about endurance and perseverance. Tere’s legacy lives on, making impacts on both of us (even now that we are no longer young) and on our students who have directly benefitted from her legacy.
Mohamad-Hassan Zakaria and Fara WanMansor
Mohamad-Hassan Zakaria (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)
Friday, November 25, 2011 11:01 AM
Where do I begin to list the many ways Tere has made a difference in my life? As a masters' student and her graduate assistant, Tere encouraged me and appreciated my work, so my confidence increased. She brought out the best in me and made me feel special, so I looked forward to seeing her at GSE.
After I graduated, Tere helped me get my present job at Drexel University by recommending that I apply and by being my reference. This fall is my twenty year anniversary at Drexel; Tere knew me well enough to recommend the right job for me. In the twenty years since I graduated from GSE, I kept in touch with Tere by attending GSE events and by writing to her every Christmas. When I found out about her illness, I stopped by to see her at the rehab center on a hot afternoon in July. I had intended it to be a short visit, but I ended up staying for close to two hours. We talked about her illness and her plans to return to work, and she asked me about my mother, whom she had met at my graduation twenty years ago. She looked frail sitting in a wheelchair, but her mind was as sharp and her determination as strong as ever. Next month, when I receive my twenty year award from Drexel and when I send out one less Christmas card, I'll think of Tere and the huge difference she has made in my life. I will keep her memory alive by striving to make a positive difference in my students' lives.
Donna McVey (Philadelphia, PA)
Thursday, November 24, 2011 6:29 PM
I cannot forget the first time she talked with me, encouraging, loving, and showing great care for one of the countless international students. I felt deeply touched and I started to build my sincere admiration towards her from that moment on. She was way more than just a professor, an educator, she was a mom who can cheer you on and push you move forward since she has already set up an extraordinary example for us.
I am proudly to say to mom Tere " I will always try my best to make you proud!"
Mei lu (philadelphia, PA)
Tuesday, November 22, 2011 3:56 PM
Dr. Pica always truly believed in her students. She once said in class "You need to have a happy teacher to have happy students." I constantly remind myself not to forget to be a happy teacher when I am bombarded with many demands. I'm one of many MA students she once taught, but had stayed in close contact with her in the past decade. When I heard from my classmate, Dr. Junko Hondo, that there are some photos of my family in Tere's office, tears couldn't stop flowing.
Tere and I shared another special thing together. We were both born on Sept. 26. Tere discovered this when she was helping me to fill out an item on a Ph.D. application form yeas back. I almost screamed on the other side of the planet when she told me this fact through an email! How cool it is to be born on the same date as your favorite teacher! Since then, I tried to remember to send her a specially-picked birthday card every year..until recently, when I am just too busy. I still tried to remember to write her an email to say happy birthday. This year, I totally forgot about sending her anything...THEN..On the morning of Sept. 26, she sent me a birthday message. I was so touched. She told me to meet her in Taiwan next March, where she is scheduled to be a keynote speaker in a local conference. I kept asking her if she could do long-distance traveling again, and she said no worries. She told me just to meet here there.
I will forever cherish the many cards Tere sent me. To this date, I still often take out my MA assignments to read. There are Tere's carefully typed comments and handwriting. I will always remember her love.
Cheryl Chen (Hsinchu)
Tuesday, November 22, 2011 12:20 PM
What an impact Tere had on me!.....As a Penn GSE student in two of her classes, I was blessed with a mentor who was extremely knowledgeable, fair-minded, kind-hearted, and unwaveringly supportive of my research efforts.....In fact, I have Tere to thank for encouraging me to "put myself out there" and present my research at academic conferences...
May her spirit and memory live on at Penn GSE and beyond!
Timothy Fahey (Philadelphia, PA)