New scholarship established in honor of beloved alumna who lived a life of meaning and service
The Dr. Deri Joy Ronis Scholarship in Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution has been established at Union Institute & University to support the work of emerging doctoral scholar-practitioners who are working toward creating a better world.
Dr. Ronis earned her Ph.D. from Union in Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution in 1987. Throughout her career, she lived her life in tandem with Union’s mission to engage, enlighten, and empower. Union professor, Dr. Diane Allerdyce, one of Dr. Ronis’ dearest friends, proposed the scholarship to the Ronis family in order to leave a lasting legacy.
“Deri passed away suddenly in 2020 and is deeply missed by her family, friends, and students all over the world,” Dr. Allerdyce said. “She cherished her time at Union and her role as an alumna. I think she would be honored to know her ideals will carry on through students who are working for social justice.
“I had the privilege of working with Deri on many occasions throughout our friendship of more than thirty years. Deri was a founding board member of the Toussaint L’Ouverture High School for Arts & Social Justice in Palm Beach County, Florida, a charter school that I co-founded in 2001. She taught there for several years and served as the school counselor. She was beloved by students and faculty for her deep knowledge and kind ways. In 2010, following the devastating earthquake in Haiti, she traveled with us to offer counseling services to children at the Espwa Orphanage & School in Les Cayes, Haiti.”
Deri’s brother, Dr. Steve Ronis, eagerly agreed that a doctoral scholarship bearing his sister’s name would be a fitting tribute to a woman who lived a life of meaning and service.
“Deri was a remarkable person and lived a remarkable life. She made friends wherever she went. After touring the world in her youth, she worked on a kibbutz in Israel, ran a children’s daycare in Mykonos, taught children in the Bahamas, and held various other jobs throughout Europe.”
The scholarship will be funded on a continuing basis by Dr. Steven Ronis and his wife, Dr. Diane Ronis, who is also a Union graduate, as well as their two daughters, Shira Barkoe and Michele Ronis, and Dr. Diane Allerdyce.
In addition to teaching, Dr. Ronis was a successful Florida State-Certified Mediator and pastoral counselor for many years, guiding others along the path to transformational change through life-altering attitudes. She was a Certified Hypnologist and created practical tools for peace of mind, including mediation and conflict resolution with individuals, families and corporations through a variety of Conflict Resolution Training programs through the organization she founded, The Conflict Resolution Center.
Dr. Steve Ronis reflects on his sister’s life this way:
“Those of you who had the privilege of knowing Deri, know that we have lost a Gutte Neshumah (good soul in Yiddish). Deri was an easy book to read. What you saw is what you got. One of her most endearing qualities was her guileless naïveté. She believed in the basic goodness of humanity, and gave of her time freely and effortlessly, as evidenced by her long-term commitment to a battered woman’s shelter. Deri was a gentle soul who possessed the quality of making friends wherever she went, as evidenced by condolences coming from all parts of our country and abroad.” Dr. Steve Ronis expands on the impact of the scholarship.
“It is with great appreciation for everything Deri stood for and lived by that the Dr. Deri Joy Ronis Scholarship in Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution has been established by family and friends to support the work of emerging doctoral scholar-practitioners at Union who are working toward creating a better world,” Dr. Steve Ronis said.
More about Dr. Deri Joy Ronis
Dr. Ronis had an exceptional career. She was an author, scholar-practitioner, teacher, and innovator. Her books included Bridging the Gap to Peace: From a New Way of Thinking into Action; Soulful Love: The Search for the Self; and How to Handle Conflict: A Practical Approach. In 2008, Dr. Ronis was named International Scholar by the Rotary Club of Sarasota and spent a semester teaching at Galen University in Belize. She introduced Anti-Bullying, Conflict Resolution, and Mediation at New College under the Sarasota World Affairs Council program, and served as Lead Trainer for the program in high schools throughout Sarasota. Following the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti, she traveled with TLHS co-founders to offer counseling services to children at the Espwa Orphanage & School in Les Cayes, Haiti. She was later granted a Fulbright Specialist Grant to be served at Uppsala University Rotary International Peace Center in Sweden, an assignment postponed in 2020 because of the pandemic. Until her death in November 2020, she was a beloved teacher at Sarasota Technical College, where she taught higher levels of English to speakers of other languages from all over the world, helping them develop the ability to engage in dialogue and master English in order to pursue meaningful lives and careers in the United States.
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