Dr. William Salesses

Dr. William Salesses

Please remember in your prayers Dr. William Salesses, professor emeritus of education and a former dean at the University of St. Thomas. He died at age 82 Saturday, Sept. 5.

Salesses taught at St. Thomas full time for 23 years, from 1975 to 1998, and later taught as an adjunct professor.  From 1975 to 1982, he served as dean of what was called Graduate Studies in Education and Community Services, forerunner of today’s School of Education.

While dean, Salesses established continuing education programs locally and in other states to serve school teachers and administrators. He developed programs in nonpublic school administration, allied health, school business officers and public safety, and established at St. Thomas a chapter of Phi Delta Kappa, the national education honorary association.

According to a 1981 article in the St. Thomas Memorandum, “Soon after he arrived, Salesses began to broaden the base of the department in terms of the public served. Instead of concentrating solely on initial licensure programs – which continued to be strong – new emphasis was placed on professional growth or continuing education courses designed to increase the competencies of those people already practicing in the field of education.” 

When the university acquired the Christ Child School for Exceptional Children building in the mid-1970s, he had the gymnasium area of the building remodeled into two floors for faculty offices. He brought the first personal computer to the St. Thomas education program, a small Apple that could be used for word processing.

Salesses came to St. Thomas from Ohio where he was president of the Mary Manse College.  A native of Rhode Island, he received his master’s and doctorate at the Claremont Graduate School in California. 

He taught at parochial and public schools in North Dakota, Montana and California before joining the education faculty at the University of San Diego. He also served on the faculties at the University of Portland, University of California at Santa Barbara and Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Salesses founded and conducted the Mary Manse Community Orchestra in Ohio and founded the Indiana Unicom Flying Club. A member of several fraternal organizations and programs, he was especially active with Rotary and served as president of its St. Paul club in 1986.

Visitation will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 11, at the Bradshaw Funeral Home, 678 S. Snelling Ave. The Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 12, at the Holy Family Chapel at the Little Sisters of the Poor, 330 S. Exchange St.

Survivors include his wife, Dorothy, a retired adjunct education faculty member.