Phyllis Fornear Fredericksen, Interview with Melissa Newman, 2022


Phyllis Fornear Fredericksen (WLA, Mundelein College 1968 Class Photograph)

Interview Transcript


Phyllis Fornear Fredericksen, Interview with Melissa Newman, 2022


Dr. Phyllis Fornear Fredericksen was a History and English major and graduated from Mundelein in 1968. She talks about living in Northland Hall as a five-day resident her freshmen, junior, and senior year with Sister Thomas Joseph as the head resident. She has fond memories of Sister Joan Frances Crowley, who was in charge of Coffey Hall, as well as Sister Ann Ida, who always knew everyone’s name. Phyllis recalls the dress code and freshmen beanies and how that changed by her senior year. Phyllis also recalls participating in both of Mundelein’s candlelighting traditions: one at Christmastime and the other in the dorms for engaged women. She talks about how her perspective of the world and international events such as the Vietnam war and the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. was shaped by these experiences. Overall, Phyllis values the lasting relationships she made at Mundelein and the progressive education the nuns gave her.

Content Note: These collections may include language or descriptions of events that may be upsetting to some users.

Date Created

February 14, 2022


Dr. Phyllis Fornear Fredericksen was born in 1946 in Chicago. She lived in Park Ridge with her parents and two younger brothers, attending Catholic elementary and high schools. Phyllis remembers her father wanting her to attend the University of Illinois, but after going to relatively smaller schools, the University of Illinois was intimidatingly large. After talking to a Mundelein representative at a college fair, Phyllis applied to attend college there. Upon walking into the Skyscraper building for the first time, she felt like she was home.

As a freshman, Phyllis was a five-day resident at Northland Hall, sharing a two-bedroom apartment with three other women. Since her family lived in the Chicago suburbs, she tried commuting her sophomore year, but missed the connections and relationships one makes after classes in the evenings in the dorms and around campus, so she moved back into Northland for her final two years. Phyllis worked in the basement of the library during her freshmen year as part of a work study and socialized through mixers, formals, games of bridge in Lewis Center, food and drinks at Hamilton’s and Cindy Sue’s, and watching “All My Children” in the lounge. During Phyllis’ time at Mundelein, there was also a lot of significant national events happening in the United States such as Martin Luther King, Jr. being assassinated and the Vietnam war.

For graduation, Phyllis and a few other classmates asked for Sister Ann Ida Gannon, BVM, to present their diplomas to them instead of the Cardinal (as was tradition), and Sister Ann Ida made that happen. Phyllis felt very privileged and special for that experience. She has nothing but the highest regard for the nuns and professors at Mundelein. They always encouraged Phyllis to ask questions and form her own opinions. She credits her continued love of learning to her experiences at Mundelein.

Interviewer Biography

Melissa Newman was a graduate student at Loyola University Chicago and a graduate assistant at the Women and Leadership Archives 2020-2022.

Time Log

[0:00 - 5:00]

Introductions, family history, how she ended up at Mundelein, and the interview to get into Mundelein with Sister Ann Ida Gannon.

[5:00 - 10:00]

Interview continued, on campus living as a five-day resident, living in Rogers Park, and the snowstorm of 1967.

[10:00 - 15:00]

On campus living continued, difference between Northland and Coffey, and curfew.

[15:00 - 20:00]

Candlelighting, roommates, and commuting to campus.

[20:00 - 25:00]

Parent’s opinion on her living on campus and coming back for the weekends, dating scene at Mundelein, and fire drills at the dorm.

[25:00 - 30:00]

Winter formal and classes she took.

[30:00 - 35:00]

Freshman red beanie, being on the school newspaper, and stand out professors she had.

[35:00 - 40:00]

Professors continued: ones she remembers and her impression of them.

[40:00 - 45:00]

Sister Ann Ida Gannon, working at the library, and faculty that made an impact on her.

[45:00 - 50:00]

Places on and off campus to study, dining hall meals, breaking dress code rules, assassination of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr., and protests in the South.

[50:00 - 55:00]

Protests in Chicago after the assassination of MLK and campus reactions, on campus protests of the Vietnam War, and penpal program with Vietnam War soldiers.

[55:00 - 1:00:00]

Being a feminist and the contrast between Mundelein and the rest of the world.

[1:00:00 - 1:05:00]

Changes in Mundelein over the time she attended, Christmas candlelighting, and the sense of community at Mundelein.

[1:05:00 - 1:08:21]

Coming back to campus recently, familial connections to the campus, and interview wrap ups.


All My Children, PF 10-15

Alpha Delta, PF 20-25, PF 20-25

Cardinal Archdiocese, PF 35-40

Chicago, PF 0-5, PF 5-10, PF 20-25, PF 40-45

Chicago Tribune, PF 45-50

Christmas, PF 60-65

Cindy Sue’s, PF 5-10, PF 45-50

Coffey Hall, PF 5-10, PF 10-15, PF 15-20, PF 20-25, PF 40-45

Crowley, Sister Joan Frances, PF 40-45

Danni, PF 20-25

Democratic Convention, PF 50-55

Dr. Blanc, PF 35-40

Easter, PF 65-70

Fargo Avenue, PF 20-25

Feminist Movement, PF 50-55

Gannon, Sister Ann Ida, PF 0-5, PF 35-40, PF 40-45, PF 45-50, PF 60-65

Hamilton’s, PF 5-10

Hoffman Estates, PF 40-45

Jesuit, PF 35-40

Jesus, PF 25-30

Joseph, Sister Thomas, PF 5-10, PF 15-20, PF 35-40

Judy, PF 45-50

Kenmore Avenue, PF 20-25, PF 65-70

Kennedy, John F., PF 50-55

Kennedy, Robert [Bobby] F., PF 45-50

Lake Shore Drive, PF 5-10, PF 20-25

Lewis Center, PF 20-25, PF 45-50

Loyola University Chicago, PF 20-25, PF 35-40, PF 40-45, PF 65-70

Martin Luther King Jr., PF 45-50, PF 50-55

Michigan, PF 5-10

Mississippi, PF 45-50

Ms. Magazine, PF 55-60

Mundelein College, PF 0-5, PF 5-10, PF 20-25, PF 25-30, PF 30-35, PF 35-40, PF 40-45, PF 45-50, PF 50-55, PF 55-60, PF 60-65, PF 65-70

Northland Hall, PF 5-10, PF 10-15, PF 15-20, PF 20-25, PF 30-35

O’Dea, Paul, PF 35-40

Palatine, PF 0-5

Park Ridge, PF 0-5

Resurrection High School, PF 0-5

Rose, Sister Sharon, PF 30-35

Sanski, Father, PF 35-40

Sigma Delta, PF 20-25, PF 35-40

Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt, PF 35-40

Skyscraper (Building), PF 0-5, PF 5-10, PF 25-30, PF 30-35, PF 60-65, PF 65-70

The Skyscraper (Newspaper), PF 25-30, PF 30-35

St. Louis, Missouri, PF 0-5

State Street, PF 50-55

Steinem, Gloria, PF 55-60

Tea Room, PF 30-35

Thomas, Marlowe, PF 55-60

Thornton, Margaret, PF 30-35

University of Chicago, PF 25-30

University of Illinois, PF 0-5

Vietnam War, PF 50-55

Weekend College, PF 15-20

Wells Street, PF 20-25

Yellow House, PF 60-65


The materials contained on this portal are freely available for scholarship, or non-commercial research under the “fair use” provisions of US copyright law. Prior written permission is required for any use that exceeds “fair use” including publication, broadcast, for placing on another web site, or for any paid or commercial use. Contact

Item sets