Joan Elias Gore                    Inducted 2001 - Class of 1963

Woodward teacher and graduate, Michelle Jaworski Jacob, describes Joan Gore as "living proof of a North End girl who made good." "I have known Joan since we went to high school together. She is a quality person who has devoted her career to education. Her attributes include being a kind, caring and generous individual. She is a loving wife and mother, who balances a career with quality family time. Growing up on Michigan Street next to the icehouse, attending Woodward and UT, then moving out into the larger world should be an inspiration to our students. She has interesting stories to tell."

Perhaps the most interesting story is how Joan progressed through her days at WHS to an impressive career in education and international studies. Joan attended Lagrange Elementary and Junior High School. She grew up in the Michigan Street neighborhood. "This was a poor neighborhood economically, but very rich socially because it was multi-cultural with immigrant families, migrant laborer families and many other groups, all living together in one area."

Joan's best friends at Woodward were Sohame Bedra (Salouk), Michelle Jacob and Al Elias, her brother. She describes her time at Woodward as a "situation" which served as a foundation for her future. "I am a first generation American who grew up in a poor neighborhood. At Woodward, I had friends from many backgrounds - Caucasian, Black, Hispanic, Muslim, Christian, Jewish, and more. I met students and teachers from diverse socio-economic backgrounds. I learned to have an interest in and respect for people with all types of experiences and from all walks of life. This was a gift to me, which has animated my personal, political and moral philosophy, as well as my career development."

Two teachers who affected Joan's life were Marie Ersig and Richard Smith. "Mrs. Ersig was a wonderful English teacher and the newspaper (Tattler) advisor. I was on the Tattler staff for three years. Not only did I learn to write and exercise leadership, but I also learned to value my abilities. I was shy, quiet and uncertain, and Mrs. Ersig helped me feel capable and confident, for which I will always be grateful. Mr. Smith was a young teacher who taught world history. He was very well educated and passionately interested in his topic. He also had a sense of humor and real world cynicism about politics and power. His class introduced me to ideas and interests, which have motivated me in my intellectual and professional pursuits throughout my career. My profession (international education) and my education, which includes studies in European and World History and Communications(from both Mrs. Ersig and Mr. Smith) have been imbued with a passion for and an interest in international issues." Joan learned a lot from all her teachers and qualified for the National Honor Society.

Joan's favorite high school memories include "events that generated a sense of community and a sense of contributing to the social culture of the school. So I have wonderful memories of friends on the Tattler staff (Carolyn, Rhodena and others) and getting the paper out. I also have great memories of being part of the yearly Extravaganzas...the musicals. I always did props, which was my only artistic talent, and shared great adventures with Michelle (Jaworski) and others."

After leaving WHS, Joan received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History and Political Science from the University of Toledo (1967). She earned two Masters Degrees from the University of Virginia: in Modern European History (1971) and in Rhetoric and Communications Studies (1972). Joan received her Doctorate Degree in 2000, in Comparative and International Education, from the University of London, Institute of Education.

In 1967, Joan was a Political Campaign Management Analyst in Toledo, for an Ohio State Legislature candidate. She then went to the University of Virginia, where she held several positions between 1969 and 1987: Assistant Director of the Radio Television Center; Assistant Professor/Lecturer; Director of the Media Internship Program; Assistant Dean of Academic Advising; and "Study Abroad" Advisor. She has also taught Communications courses at Piedmont Community College in Charlottesville, Virginia, where she was also a Teaching Supervisor for the Neighborhood Youth Corps. In 1979, Joan began to focus more on foreign studies and became the Vice President and Director of Program Development for the American Institute for Foreign Study (AIFS). The AIFS is a for-profit organization devoted to encouraging international exchange in high school, college and graduate institutions. Joan's next career move was to the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE), where she served from 1991-1997. This is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping people gain understanding, acquire knowledge, and develop skills for living in a globally interdependent and culturally diverse world.

In 1997, Joan formed her own company, J. E. Gore International Consultants, which provides consulting services to associations and institutions of higher education on all aspects of campus and curriculum internationalization. She is also the director of Institutional Relations for Denmark's International Study Program(Copenhagen, Denmark).

Joan has authored several communiqués... articles, pamphlets, videos, book chapters and Internet websites...on international education and curriculum internationalization in publications. She had served both as a presenter, as well as a panel member, on these same topics at conferences and workshops in the United States and other countries, including Spain, Canada, Costa Rica, England, and Mexico. Joan's vast knowledge in international education has qualified her to make educational "site visits" to such locations as Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Poland, Hungary, The Czech Republic, Great Britain, Western Europe, Central America, France and Denmark.

Due to her work, Joan has traveled extensively, but she also likes to travel "for fun." "I have been privileged to travel in many parts of the world, but there area lot of places I'd still like to visit." Joan also likes to cook and enjoys working with children.

Joan is married to professor Luther Y. Gore. She has four adult stepchildren and one daughter, who is a freshman at the University of Virginia. This large, extended family has blessed Joan with six grandchildren and two great grandchildren!

Joan was disappointed that she could not be with us tonight. She is in Denmark, participating in an educational workshop for U.S. faculty. However, in absentia, Joan sends this message to WHS students: "I am honored to be a recipient of this award. I hope that, if there are students now at Woodward, who come from financially limited backgrounds, that this will help them know that it is possible nonetheless to have a fantasy life. Being a student at Woodward can help set you on a path to accomplishing whatever you want to do."

Joan Gore is certainly a shining example of unlimited possibilities. Congratulations, Joan!

©2020 Woodward Alumni Hall of Fame

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