Dr. Alison Piepmeier
Alison Piepmeier passed away past Friday, August 12th, 2016 after battling brain cancer for six years. She is survived by her young daughter, Maybelle Biffle-McGee, and her husband, Brian McGee, a CofC Communications Professor and the current Provost of the College. Alison is also survived by both her parents, two brothers, their partners, and a niece.
Alison was only 43 at the time of her death, but had built a distinguished professional career and rich personal life in a span of too few years among us. Although a modest sustained Women’s Studies presence has existed at the College since the mid-1980s, Alison was the first full-time Women’s Studies hire at the College, hired specifically to serve as Director of the emerging Women’s Studies Program in 2005 (later Women’s and Gender Studies). It was Alison who was responsible for transforming a modest minor in that field into a very successful undergraduate major and minor, developing a fundraising arm where none existed, and an active and committed WGS Advisory Board. She served in that capacity for the next decade, stepping down from that position only last summer, when it became apparent to her that she could no longer sustain such an active leadership role.
Alison was also an active scholar, publishing two books, an edited anthology, and numerous articles in the areas of Women’s Studies and Disability Studies. She wrote, too, as a local public intellectual. For a number of years she wrote a regular opinion column entitled "Feminism Y’all" for the Charleston City Paper, including a moving final essay, shortly before she lost her ability to communicate in early August.
Finally, Alison served as a past president of SEWSA, shortly after her arrival at the College. And she served subsequently as an officer of the NWSA, before her initial cancer diagnosis necessitated her conserving her professional resources. She will be greatly missed here at the College of Charleston and in the larger Charleston community.
Alison requested that any gifts in her name be made either by means of donations online or by mail:
CofC Women’s & Gender Studies Program
66 George Street
Charleston, SC 29424
In either case, such gifts will be used to establish a scholarship in Alison’s name.
Expressions of sympathy may be viewed or submitted online at alisonpiepmeier.blogspot.com.