In Memoriam: Karen Bradley

Karen Bradley, who began teaching at Western in 1992 and was the longtime chair of the university's Sociology Department as well as one of its first tenured female Sociology professors, passed away on July 29.

Bradley began her academic career as an undergraduate at Providence College, where she earned a bachelor's degree in English. After working for the state of Massachusetts and for seven years s a program specialist, Bradley went back to school to get first her master's degree in higher education administration from Boston College and finally her doctorate in sociology from Stanford, and shortly thereafter arrived at WWU to begin her teaching career.

Bradley's colleague, current Sociology chair and Professor of Sociology Kristin Anderson, said Bradley made her own entry into Western easier and less stressful thanks to her diligent and caring mentorship.

"Karen was my mentor when I came to WWU in 2001. She was so caring and generous of her time, offering gentle advice and always leaving her door open," said Anderson. "Her research on why more wealthy countries have worse outcomes than less wealthy nations in response to efforts to include all genders into STEM fields was groundbreaking and received many honors.  I was blessed to have her as my mentor and friend."

A Celebration of Life in honor of Bradley will be held on Thursday, Sept. 22 at 3 p.m. at the Squalicum Boathouse at Zuanich Point Park in Bellingham. In lieu of flowers, Bradley's family asks for donations to the Alzheimer's Association.

Click here to see a full obituary on