Kenyon Remembers Sonya Dudgeon

Sonya D. Dudgeon ’90 was a native of Gambier, longtime Kenyon staff member and friend to many.

Sonya Dudgeon

Sonya D. Dudgeon ’90 died on Mar. 22, 2021, after a long battle with cancer. A resident of Newport Beach, California, she was 52.

"I am so heartbroken to hear of Sonya's passing," said Beverly Morse, retired associate dean, who worked with Sonya in Kenyon's admissions office and lived next door to her for many years on Gambier's East Woodside Drive.  "Sonya was such a good friend, neighbor, and admissions colleague. Her wickedly good sense of humor carried all of us through the good times and the tough times.  We worked together, played in the symphony together, and made a difference in the lives of so many international students whom we brought to the College.  I prayed that the luck of the Irish would help her beat her cancer, but alas."

Sonya was a native of Gambier, descended from a long line of local residents who could trace their lineage in the area back to one of the English stonecutters hired to work on the building now known as Old Kenyon. She graduated from Mount Vernon High School and then followed her older sister to the college across the fields from home.

At Kenyon, Sonya was active and involved, particularly with the Kenyon Collegian newspaper, of which she was an editor, and the Student Alumni Association. After a junior semester abroad in Vienna, Austria, she returned to Gambier to complete her degree in political science.

Sonya worked in human resources in the Washington, D.C., area before returning to Gambier in 2002. Three years later, she accepted her first job at Kenyon, as campus events director in the Office of Alumni and Parent Programs. She took her first position in the College’s Office of Admissions in 2009 and worked her way up to associate dean and director of international admissions.

In 2019, after 14 years of service to Kenyon, Sonya left her alma mater’s employ to become the California-based associate dean of admissions for New York’s Union College.

Sonya is survived by her parents, Shirley D. Dudgeon, a retired member of Kenyon’s library staff, and G. Daniel Dudgeon; a daughter, Eleanor C. Broeren, a student at Middlebury College; a son, Zachary D. Broeren, a student at Denison University; a sister, Stephanie L. Dudgeon ’85; her partner, Sean A. Ward ’90; and her former husband, P. Robert Broeren ’91. 

Sonya made many, many friends over the years, and they followed her cancer remissions and relapses closely, always hoping for the best and celebrating with her in the good times. Her persistence in the struggle to beat the disease was remarkable. In the words of Jack Au ’73, whose affection for her grew as they worked together to bring more Chinese students to Kenyon, “Sonya showed us how not to give up.”