In Memoriam: Deborah Clarke Rifenbary, 1950-2021

Deborah Rifenbary, a longtime faculty member and former interim dean of the College of Education and Human Sciences at the Univerity of New Mexico, died unexpectedly on December 22, 2021. She was 71 years old.

A native of Kingston, New York, Dr. Rifenbary earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Rosemont College in Pennsylvania. She held a master’s degree in teaching English from Fairleigh-Dickinson University in Teaneck, New Jersey, a master’s degree in counseling and human development from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, and an educational doctorate in counseling from the University of Virginia.

Early in her career, Dr. Rifenbary taught at the John F. Kennedy German American School in Berlin, Germany. Dr. Rifenbary joined the faculty at the University of New Mexico in 1990 as an assistant professor of counselor education. In addition to serving as interim dean, she served as chair of the department of individual, family, and community education. She also served as the coordinator of the Student Teachers in Austria Reach Success (STARS) program, a student-teacher exchange between the University of New Mexico and the Teachers College at the University of Vienna.

Dr. Rifenbary was a former president of the Rocky Mountain Association for Counselor Education and Supervision. She retired from teaching in 2020.

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