Dr. Sylvia Charp


It is with a great deal of sadness that I am writing this month to honor Dr. Sylvia Charp, who was editor-in-chief of T.H.E. Journal for the last 30 years. As many of you know by now, Sylvia passed away on Aug. 24 due to serious injuries she suffered in a car accident.

Anyone who has ever met Sylvia knows that she was truly a remarkable woman. Graduating from high school at 14, she began teaching English, science and mathematics four years later at a technical high school in North Philadelphia. Sylvia then went on to earn a bachelor's degree from Temple University and a master's and doctorate in education from the University of Pennsylvania in 1966. She became director of technology for the School District of Philadelphia that same year - and the rest is history.

I first met Sylvia in 1972 when she would come to my family's home in Massachusetts to conceptualize a new magazine focused on educational technology, which would become T.H.E. Journal, with my father, the late Ed Warnshuis. Sitting there listening to these two brilliant minds discuss the future of technology in our schools and universities was something I have never lost sight of. Sylvia and Ed were true pioneers of their day - sharing a vision and having the drive to see it through. It was always intriguing listening to the many lively debates they had in our living room on Maynard Farm Road. As anyone who ever met Sylvia knows, she had her own definition of a "friendly discussion" when you said something she did not agree with.

During my last 18 years at T.H.E. Journal, I have shared many laughs and a few tears along my journey with Sylvia. She was an important part of our T.H.E. family and a well-respected icon in the education technology community for most of her life. Sylvia also mentored many brilliant contributors over the years. For all of us who had the pleasure of knowing her, I think we have all taken something away from our acquaintance with Sylvia. She will be deeply missed.

It is often said that the mark of success in a person's life is the number of people one has touched throughout his or her lifetime. In Sylvia's case, it is obvious that with each passing day, through all the wonderful letters and calls that we have received, she has set a standard for success that each of us would do well to follow. One of the things I will always keep with me, which Sylvia taught me through the years, is that it d'esn't matter what you choose to do in life, as long as you do it well.

Thank you for all of your continued thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. We promise to keep the mission of advancing technology in education alive and, above all, to continue to do it well.

In loving memory,
Wendy La Duke

This article originally appeared in the 10/01/2003 issue of THE Journal.