In Memoriam: Sally Lee Graetz Wu

Sally Wu retirement photo

Colleagues remember founder of Marymount’s Peace Center as deeply passionate about bridging cultures and promoting intercultural understanding

RANCHO PALOS VERDES, CA, USA, January 22, 2021 / -- Sally Lee Graetz Wu, a beloved Marymount California University professor of psychology for more than 30 years, died on January 8. She was 70.
Wu, who earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at California State University, Long Beach, joined the Marymount community in 1981 as the first director of the Learning Center. She taught courses in child development, child psychology and culture, and served as chair of the Behavioral Sciences Department and English instructor before becoming a psychology professor.

“Sally was one of the ‘Moms of Marymount’ and embodied the RSHM (Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary) spirit of dedicated service to her students,” said Behavioral Sciences Chair and Psychology Professor David Draper.
She founded the Marymount PEACE Center whose mission was to educate students on issues related to national and international peace with a focus on intercultural programs.

“Her absolute passion and interest was to support our international students and to develop intercultural understanding,” said Professor Virginia Wade. “She was always working to bring understanding between cultures.”

Wu was a passionate believer in international education and taught in China, Taiwan and England.
“She spoke near fluent Mandarin and was especially adored by our Mandarin-speaking students, who would commonly come to her for a little bit of home at Marymount,” said Draper.

In her role as an academic advisor, Wu often worked with international students because of her understanding of their unique needs. She also worked closely with students who were interested in becoming teachers, said Wade. “Her advisor student reviews were always very high because she was deeply interested in their goals,” she said.
In the aftermath of the 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami, Wu led a PEACE Center project involving students, faculty and staff to create 1000 origami small paper cranes and then mail them to Japan.

“That was the typical type of activity that Sally would undertake to promote understanding between cultures and to support our Japanese students who were impacted by the tragedy,” said Wade.

Her honors included Faculty Educator of the Year, chosen by her fellow faculty members, and Student Teacher of the Year, chosen by her pupils.
Wu ended her 36-year Marymount career in 2018.

She leaves her husband Ray, daughter Katharine, and hundreds of former students, faculty and staff whose lives she touched.
Details of services have not been announced at this time.

Mike Mena
Marymount California University
+1 310-913-0625
email us here

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