Dorothy Drummond, author, founder of an Indiana nonprofit geography organization, affiliate faculty at Indiana State University and former adjunct faculty member at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College and a world traveler, died Friday after traveling in China.
She was 89.
In a Facebook statement on Drummond from her daughters — Kathy, Gael and Martha — posted Saturday on Facebook by Jane Conner, a friend traveling with her, the daughters wrote:
“We lost our mother on Friday, November 30, 2018. Dorothy was in China on her seventh trip since 1984, when she slipped on a slick floor in the museum at the Three Gorges Project on the Yangtze River. She sustained severe head trauma, had surgery, was airlifted to a premier hospital in Hong Kong and died peacefully with daughter Kathy and friend Jane at her side. Thank you for your prayers and comforting words,” the Facebook posting stated.
Conner wrote on Facebook about Drummond.
“Her journey on this earth is over. My dear, dear friend is beginning her newest adventure. From Australia to Asia to Africa, she touched countless lives. My grief has no words,” Conner wrote. Conner remains in Hong Kong working to return Drummond’s body to the United States.
Drummond was gathering information for an OLLI (the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute) presentation at Indiana State University, Conner said.
Born in San Diego in 1928, Drummond grew up in a California. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana in 1949, earned a master’s in geography at Northwestern University in 1951 and then moved from New York City to Terre Haute, where her husband, Robert, was an ISU geography professor. She taught at The Woods and at ISU.
Drummond and her husband spent 1957 in Burma as Fulbright Scholars. Her husband died in 1982.
She began her professional career as assistant to the editor of the Geographical Review, published by the American Geographical Society, in New York City. She has authored or co-authored four world cultures textbooks. Additionally, Drummond has written articles for professional journals and scores of encyclopedia articles.
Kathleen Lamb Kozenski, executive director of Geography Educators’ Network of Indiana, said Drummond was a founding member of the nonprofit GENI, formed in 1983, and was a long-time board member.
‘An amazing role model’
“It is terrible news. Yet she was doing what she loved,” Kozenski said. “She loved traveling and always learning, which is something every person could learn from Dorothy. She had a love of learning and understanding the earth, the physical and human aspects of the earth.
“I would say she was almost obsessive about learning more. She never felt like she knew enough,” Kozenski said. “She herself considered herself always a student, learning and evolving and maybe modifying some of her perspectives. She was an amazing role model.”
In a 2005 issue of GENI Indiana newsletter, Drummond said she traveled “because I am curious. I simply want to see places for myself. And I enjoy traveling with teachers and others who share my enthusiasm. I’ve always felt that teachers should travel while they are still in the classroom, so they can share their experiences with their students.”
Drummond in the newsletter stated that she has been to most of China and Australia and New Zealand, along with Turkey, Peru and the Galapagos Islands. She also widely traveled in Europe, the Mediterranean, the Middle East and somewhat in Central and South America.
“She was personally and professionally a dynamic female role model for many of us,” Kozenski said. “Nationally, and in our state, she was an icon in geography and geography education.”
Drummond was also a longtime board member of the United Campus Ministries. In 2015, Drummond helped start the Terre Haute chapter of Bread for the World, which seeks to address hunger issues and meets in the United Campus Ministries building, said Betsy Hine, chair of the board of directors of United Campus Ministries and an associate dean and librarian emerita at Indiana State University.
“Dorothy was a force of nature,” Hine said. “I admired her so much. She was going to turn 90 on Dec. 19 and to be that age, a lot of people just sit back. She was not a sitter. She was a doer as well as a planner. She was a thinker, so smart,” Hine said.
“She was an amazing person and I am still not processing that I will not see her again,” Hine said. “She leaves a big hole at United Campus Ministries,” Hine said.
Hine said Drummond “was the impetus for so many ambitious and creative endeavors and celebrations such as [United Campus Ministries] 70th Anniversary celebration, that 150 Anniversary with ISU, the multitude of student pictures that she lovingly took and posted in our gathering space, the push to get the new kitchen and upstairs accomplished, some through her own contributions and family foundation grant, and most lately the new HVAC system.”
Hine said she enjoyed learning of Drummond’s travels.
“I traveled vicariously through her,” Hine said. “Dorothy would go on these trips and not take easy trips, like go and sit on the French Riviera for two weeks, instead she went to Mongolia and slept in a yurt. She went to Vietnam and many other places,” Hine said. “She walked purposefully through life.”
Lisa Spence, associate vice president for academic affairs and chief information officer at ISU, and a member of Citizens for Better Government in Vigo County, said Drummond was a member of the citizens group.
“She was such a great lady and one of those people that I consider to be the heart and sole of Terre Haute,” Spence said. “The only person I can compare her to is Max Miller, who was an iconic figure for me for the good things that he did for Terre Haute and I think Dorothy was the same kind of person,” Spence said.
“Dorothy was a member of Citizens for Better Government, which is where I met her. Dorothy was a person who wanted good things to happen for other people and good things for the community, and she was willing to give all her energy and ideas to make those things happen. I was privileged to know her and consider her a friend.
“The Facebook photo I saw of Dorothy was her striding across a meadow, with a beautiful view and the sun shining. She was going off on an adventure. That is how I will remember her,” Spence said.