Family, faculty and friends remember Jan Schall’s life with tears and laughter at her memorial
By Misty Severi
Riverside City College celebrated the life of Professor Emeritus Janice (Jan) Schall, who died July 2, at the age of 75 by holding a memorial service on Oct. 15, .
Schall, is survived by her daughter Laura Schall and her younger brother Ron O’Dell.
Schall accomplished many things in her life, but the one contribution she was most proud of, and the one people are least likely to forget, is the Study Abroad program that she founded and directed for over 25 years for the Riverside Community College District.
“She did all the research necessary so that all of the students would be safe wherever they went,” said Schall’s former roommate Marsha Morgan. “And that was because she cared so much about the students and what they did.”
Schall’s daughter Laura directed and planned the memorial for her mother.
“She was allowed to do what she did best: that was be a part of the discipline of sociology, be a fine member of the community and provide international education,” said Schall.
Janice Schall was born in the small town of Lexington, Missouri in 1940 before coming to join the RCC community as a student in 1958.
Schall enjoyed reaching out to diverse members of the community. In 1958, the school was 76 percent male, there was only one African American woman, two African American men and a half dozen Hispanic members in the student body.
“She also enjoyed the experience of running the Study Abroad program,” Schall continued. “And having the chance to take students who came from diverse backgrounds, and often were first generation college students.”
Despite creating the program, Janice Schall never stepped onto a plane until she was 38 years old, and her daughter echoed that she never stepped onto a plane either until she was in her early 30’s.
Aside from the Study Abroad program, Schall wrote and taught the first women’s studies course in the early 70s, called “Women in American Society” a course that is still offered at the college today and is taught by close family friend Jamie Brown.
“When she taught it, there would be headlines in the Press Enterprise,” Brown said. “I was really honored when she handed that torch over to me, and told me to keep fighting the good fight, that women’s rights had a long way to go.”
Schall retired in 2011, although she continued to contribute to the program up until her death earlier this year.
Close friend and RCC faculty member Cindy Gobatie gave a passionate tribute to Schall.
“Jan was my person,” Gobatie said. “She was the one you call when the car won’t start, when you locked yourself out of the house and when you need someone to feed the cats when you’re going away.
“She was my companion, my co-conspirator, she was my ride. She took on any task and always showed commitment, she showed me loyalty … I probably wouldn’t have gone anywhere if it hadn’t been for her and the program.”
Schall served on many committees on the Faculty Senate for 12 years.
Schall made a lasting impression on many people in her life, from friends and family to RCC students and faculty.
RCC faculty member and close friend of Schall’s, Ray Maghroori mentioned the impact Schall left on RCC and its community.
“If you asked a group of Riverside historians to name the 100 most significant RCCD individuals, you will get a different list from each of them,” Maghroori said. “But I am confident that Janice Schall’s name would be on every single list.”