Death and grief are subjects of Feb. 16 presentation

Feb. 6, 2012
Contact: Office of Communications

Maryville College’s 2011-2012 Community Conversations series continues this month with a presentation titled “Don’t Say ‘Dying:’ Facing our Fears about Death and Grief” led by Dr. Jason Troyer, Maryville College’s associate professor of psychology, and Sarah Schaefer Wimmer '90, support services program coordinator for Blount Memorial Hospice.

The presentation, which is free and open to the public, is scheduled for 7 p.m., Thurs., Feb. 16 in the Clayton Center for the Arts’ Harold and Jean Lambert Recital Hall.

The theme of this year’s series is “People on the Move” and explores human movement in geographic, spiritual, biological and cultural terms.

“Death is one movement that all people will face and often, one that we know the least about,” said Dr. Angelia Gibson, associate professor of chemistry at Maryville College and member of the Community Conversations committee. “Dr. Troyer and Ms. Wimmer both are very experienced in grief and bereavement research and in counseling those who are grappling with difficult end-of-life transitions. Their presentation will address our fears and questions about this painful movement.”

Troyer teaches specialty courses at Maryville College on death and dying and has conducted much research on the grief and bereavement experience. His research focus is on the widower, including his doctoral dissertation, “Post-Bereavement Experiences of Older Widowers: A Qualitative Investigation.”

An alumna of Maryville College and the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, Wimmer works as a member of the hospital’s Palliative Care Department and currently oversees the bereavement program.

Troyer and Wimmer will discuss a variety of topics related to dying and grief in their presentation, including the emotional consequences for the individual and loved ones, changes in relationships with others, and the variety of resources available for those dealing with grief and death.

Being intentional about facing one’s own death and dealing with the loss of a loved one will be the focus of the presentation, Troyer said.

“Positive potential for change exists when we courageously face our own death, whether sudden or anticipated due to diagnosis,” he added. “Grief is often lessened for those left behind when the person who has died has prepared their loved ones for that time.”

The Community Conversation series is an annual lecture series conducted to facilitate conversations and discussions between members of the entire Maryville College community, citizens of Blount County and surrounding areas, College alumni and prospective students.

Three more presenters are scheduled for the spring.

For more information about the spring Community Conversations series, please contact Kelly Battles, committee chairperson and assistant professor of English, at or 865.273.8877.

Maryville College is ideally situated in Maryville, Tenn., between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Knoxville, the state's third largest city. Founded in 1819, it is the 12th oldest institution of higher learning in the South and maintains an affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (USA). Known for offering its students a rigorous and highly personal experience that includes an undergraduate research requirement, Maryville College is a nationally ranked institution of higher learning that successfully joins the liberal arts and professional preparation. Total enrollment for the fall 2016 semester is 1,198.