IVCC scholarship established to honor Peru teacher

Dorothy M. Soeder ‘was such a special person’

Dorothy M. Soeder, of Peru

An Illinois Valley Community College Foundation scholarship has been established to honor the memory of Dorothy M. Soeder of Peru.

Soeder, who taught kindergarten through second grade in Peru, died Oct. 15 at age 68.

“She was such a special person,” said Dorothy’s sister Elizabeth of Peru. “Teaching meant everything to her. She believed so much in education — it was her heart and soul.”

Elizabeth Soeder established the $1,200 “Dorothy M. Soeder Scholarship” to reward “students who want to learn” and to “make a meaningful difference in the lives of future teachers.”

Dorothy attended IVCC and graduated from the former Maycrest College in Davenport before earning two master’s degrees from the University of Illinois.

Diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at 29, she became a patient of University of Chicago neurologist Dr. Barry Arnason and participated in a study that helped develop the breakthrough MS drug Betaseron.

Despite being severely disabled by MS, she was the longest surviving member of the study.

“She became wheelchair bound but continued to fight until the end,” Elizabeth said.

“Dr. Arnason called her ‘Little Miss Indestructible.’ Dorothy was a living saint who had a smile for everyone.”