Sister Joel Read was Alverno College's sixth president and served in that capacity from 1968-2003. Prior to her presidency, Sister Joel was appointed to the Alverno faculty as a history professor in 1955. She is also an alumna of Alverno College having earned her Bachelor's degree in 1948.Sister Joel's tenure at Alverno College marked a time of tremendous progress and change for the college. Her 35 year presidency garnered state, national and international acclaim and recognition for the college. She was instrumental in moving the college curriculum into an ability based program; initiating the first weekend college program in Wisconsin; and overseeing major capital campaigns to improve the college.
She has held numerous leadership positions, including president of the American Association for Higher Education and has served on the boards of the The Foundation for Independent Higher Education, the American Council on Education, the Association of American Colleges and Universities, and the National Catholic Education Association. She also was elected a member of the Wisconsin Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1985.
Prior to becoming president of Alverno College in 1968, she taught history at Alverno and chaired the College's history department. She holds a bachelor's degree in education from Alverno and a master's degree in history from Fordham University, where she also pursued doctoral studies.