In Memoriam: Bren Adair Ortega-Murphy, 1949-2021

Bren Adair Ortega-Murphy, a retired professor of women’s and gender studies at Loyola University in Chicago, died late last month after a fall. She was 71 years old.

A native of Beaumont, Texas, Dr. Ortega-Murphy grew up in Houston. she held bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees, all from Northwestern Univerity in Evanston, Illinois.

After teaching at Niles College Seminary, from 1978-1983, Dr. Ortega-Murphy worked at Loyola University for 36 years in both the School of Communication and the women’s and gender studies program. She served as chair of the communication department, associate dean for the College of Arts and Sciences, chair of the Faculty Council, and director of women’s studies.

With a focus on rhetoric and ethics, Dr. Ortega-Murphy championed children’s literature and women who served as nuns in the Catholic Church. In 2011, she directed A Question of Habit, a documentary film narrated by Susan Sarandon. The film explored popular culture’s fascination with all things “nun” and illuminated the history of religious women in the United States, from their life as battlefield medics in the Civil War, to their persistence as political activists fighting against capital punishment.

Dr. Ortega-Murphy retired in 2020.

Filed Under: In Memoriam


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