Frances Steere DiPippo was among the first faculty members employed by Ohlone College in 1967. She played a significant role in the creation and development of Ohlone’s English curricula and programs, always focused on the needs of all levels of students, whether during her responsibilities as chairperson of the original English department, the supervisor of the pilot Writing Lab, or classroom instructor. Undaunted by the physical limitations on Ohlone’s original temporary campus, she forged ahead on developing a pilot Writing Lab designed to meet the individual students’ needs. She continued to apply her intelligence, skills, and enthusiasm, which she maintained during her twenty-five years of service, to helping students experience success in their English studies.
In the classroom, Frances integrated the arts into language and literature courses. Her first innovation was introducing into the Community Services evening courses her self-developed course The Novel and Film. Also, she used recorded music in poetry courses to encourage students to write compositions based on the effect the music had on them.
To deepen students’ understanding and appreciation of Shakespeare, Frances provided recordings of plays for them, and she was the first to persuade the Board of Trustees to grant special permission for her to organize a trip for students to attend the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland. Sabbatical research at the prestigious Huntington Library, during which she analyzed all the female characters in Shakespeare’s plays, enriched the content of her Shakespeare courses.
Beyond the classroom, Frances increased awareness of the needs of adjunct faculty and strongly advocated for improved status and working conditions for them, especially in Ohlone’s early years. She also authored a series of Language Arts texts designed to enhance the English skills of elementary students.
During her retirement, Frances has continued serving others through her active participation in the San Jose Auxiliary to the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford, which operates The Thrift Box, a second hand store whose proceeds benefit the Children’s Hospital.
On June 30, 1992, after twenty-five years of dedicated service, Frances retired. On July 8, 1992, the Board of Trustees passed a resolution granting Frances the title of Professor of English, Emeritus of Ohlone College, a well-deserved honor.