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Department of


Sister Sally Furay

Professor Emerita, English
Adjunct Professor Emerita, Law

Sister Furay entered the Society of the Sacred Heart in 1944 after graduating from Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart in Omaha the previous year. She made her first vows in 1947 and her final profession in 1952 in Rome. Her first assignment was at her alma mater, Duchesne Academy, while she earned her bachelor’s degree, in English, at Duchesne College, Omaha in 1949. This was followed by a Master’s Degree, also in English, from San Francisco College for Women (now a part of the University of San Francisco, then owned by the Society of the Sacred Heart). She earned her doctorate in English and American Literature from Stanford University in 1955.

Sister Furay’s long tenure at the University of San Diego began in 1954. She served as Academic Vice President and Provost for 25 years. She also taught courses in English and in law, held administrative roles as Dean of Arts and Sciences and department chair. Beginning in 1968, while Dean, she attended the University of San Diego School of Law in the evenings, earning her J.D. degree in 1972.


B.A., Duchesne College; M.A., San Francisco College for Women; Ph.D., Stanford University; J.D., University of San Diego

Scholarly and Creative Work

An ardent activist for equal rights, especially for women, she helped to implement into the law school curriculum courses in sex-based discrimination, including a course titled “Sexual Harassment and the Law,” which she taught from 1974 to 1992. In 1994, she established USD’s Trans-Border Institute (TBI), whose mission is to bring greater attention to issues related to the U.S.-Mexico border. To honor her work, TBI initiated the Sister Sally Furay Lecture to bring leading scholars to campus to discuss the ever-evolving complexities concerning the border.

Sister Furay may have retired from the University of San Diego in 1996 but that did not end her involvement with education. She participated on many boards and committees of regional, national and international organizations. She was the first woman president of the Western College Association, Board Chair of the national Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, Vice President of the San Diego County Bar Association, President of the Board of Directors of the Old Globe Theatre, President of the Board of Governors of the San Diego Foundation, Chair of Senator Barbara Boxer’s Judicial Appointments Advisory Committee for the Southern District of California, and twelve years of service on higher education accrediting commissions. In addition to these professional, civic, legal and community roles, she also consulted extensively in helping to re-establish, beginning in 2002, the University of St. Thomas School of Law, located in downtown Minneapolis. In 2009 Sister Furay received an honorary degree from St. Thomas in honor of her many years of service both as a member of the Board of Trustees and acting associate dean of the law school.

Sister Furay’s academic service, while significant, is not the full extent of her impact. She also shared her time generously in a wide array of activities for the benefit of her community. For example, she helped to implement the University of San Diego-Old Globe master of fine arts theatre program, and she assisted in the creation of the Neighborhood National Bank, which provides banking services to San Diego’s under-served and economically challenged communities; she was still serving as director and secretary of the bank at the time of her death.

She served on numerous other boards, most especially the Legal Services Review Panel for the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, the California Student Aid Commission and the Sacramento-based EdFund, a national student loan agency.

From 1971 to 1975, she was a member of the provincial team for the former California Province of the Society of the Sacred Heart. More recently, she acted as consultant to the United States-Canada Province, the Network of Sacred Heart Schools through her service as a member of boards of trustees, and her international service to the Society of the Sacred Heart.

Sister Sally Furay’s honors and awards are too numerous to list, but include San Diego Woman of Achievement (1976), Governor of California’s Award of Merit for Achievement in Education and Women’s Rights (1979) and the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities Theodore M. Hesburgh, CSC, Award (1989). In addition to the honorary degree awarded by St. Thomas University, she received honorary degrees from the University of Portland, University of San Diego, and the College of Santa Fe

Teacher, administrator, lawyer, colleague, friend – Sister Furay harmonized all of these roles in the service of her calling. As the citation for the Theodore M. Hesburgh, CSC, Award from the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities reads: “She is decisive without being judgmental, compassionate without being soft, gentle without lacking firmness. Her peers are impressed by her clear analytical legal mind and just as conscious of her ability to synthesize and harmonize.”

Religious of the Sacred Heart Sally Furay died on January 10, 2015, following a stroke. Known for her tireless work in the area of higher education, Sister Furay served at the University of San Diego for more than forty years.

Sally Marguerite Furay was born in Omaha, June 12, 1926, one of eight children of Guy Vincent and Marguerite Whyte Furay. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her brother Guy Vincent (Bud) Furay, Jr. who was killed in action during World War II, her sister Alice Furay, two brothers who died as infants, Conal Furay, and Mary Furay Lindsay. She is survived by her sister, Betsy Furay Winters and her husband Howard Seiselmeyer of San Diego, Jean Purcell Furay of Webster Groves, Missouri, and twenty-four nieces and nephews. She will be missed by her many colleagues and friends and her sisters in the Society of the Sacred Heart.