Department of Leadership Studies in Education and Organizations

Spring 2017

Fund renamed in memory of Dr. Joanne Risacher

The College of Education and Human Services lost a dear colleague and friend this May. Dr. Joanne Risacher, senior lecturer and former program director of the Student Affairs in Higher Education (SAHE) program, passed away after a short illness on May 9.  As a loyal donor to Wright State and the SAHE program, Joanne created the SAHE Initiatives Fund with her friend and colleague Dr. Carol Patitu.  To honor Joanne and her commitment to students, the fund will be re-named the Joanne Risacher Student Affairs in Higher Education Initiatives fund

Her obituary is below. Joanne will be deeply missed by all of us here in the college, as well as students, alumni, and Wright State friends who had the pleasure of knowing and working with her.

Joanne Risacher, 75, of Yellow Springs, Ohio, formerly of Loogootee, passed away at 8:56 a.m. Tuesday, May 09, 2017 at Hospice of Dayton.

She was born January 29, 1942 in Loogootee, Indiana to the late Joseph C. and Marcella (Michaels) Risacher.

Joanne was a graduate of St. John High School in 1960. She then received her Bachelors in English from St. Mary of the Woods College, Masters in Counseling from Indiana University and her PhD in Higher Education Administration from Ohio University.

Some of Joanne’s many accomplishments include Head Resident of University of Wisconsin – OshKosh August 1966-1968, Resident Advisor at Northern Illinois University 1968-1971 and Faculty Member at Ohio University. In 1971 she began her career as a Faculty Member at Wright State University and worked until her illness. At Wright State she held several capacities including, Assistant Dean of Students, Director of Student Development, Assistant Vice President of Student Life, Senior Student Affairs Officer, Assessment Project Director and Director of the Student Affairs in Higher Education Master Program. She also taught many courses in Student Affairs in the Higher Education Graduate Program and held a Faculty Member position in Leadership Studies Department.

Joanne also served on many academic committees, published in many academic publication and was affiliated with several professional associations.

She received many awards in her career including ACPA Diamond Honoree, OCPA Phillip A. Tripp Distinguished Service Award, ACPA Outstanding State Division Leader and Wright State University Administrator of the Year Award four different times.

Joanne was preceded in death by her parents, Joseph C. and Marcella (Michaels) Risacher and brother, Donald (Doris) Risacher.

She is survived by her niece, Donna (Royden) Graber of Loogootee; great niece, Amber (Phillip) Smith of Loogootee; great nephew, Adam (Allison) Graber of Loogootee; great-great nieces and nephews, Jaxon and Emersyn Smith and Elliot and Fallyn Graber.

In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to Student Affairs Initiative Fund, Carrie Mueller, University Development, Wright State University 3rd Floor, 3640 Colonel Glenn Highway, Dayton, OH 45435 or online at

Condolences may be made online at