Magazine ~ Fall 2021

Magazine ~ Fall 2021

Remembering Jennifer A. DeConde Borgardt

Jennifer DeConde

Jennifer DeConde, Tutoring Coordinator and Academic Coach, passed away from cancer in July 2021 after a courageous, optimistic, and unwavering fight. Her ability to marry dogged determination with joy and enthusiasm was rare and beautiful to observe. Whenever she scheduled time to meet with me, I knew she would bring a wealth of ideas and initiatives to the conversation as well as a pledge to ensure the ideas were implemented with energy and integrity. And I knew that more likely than not, she would leave my office having secured my promise to support her efforts in trying something new. It was easy to lend support to her many ideas because she was unabashed and relentless in her commitment to students and their success; she had a remarkable passion for assisting students in order to help them succeed.

She was a force and a light with a dazzling smile. I valued and respected her passion, commitment, generosity, and unyielding optimism. As others have observed, she saw the potential and good in everyone and brought out their best with her presence.

Deaf by birth, she faced this challenge as she did every challenge she encountered with a confident and upbeat outlook towards the future. She was a 1986 graduate of Greeley West High School and a strong student and athlete, reaching the Colorado state finals in the 100-yard dash. She earned a bachelor’s degree in physics, and a master’s degree in Deaf Education from the University of Arizona.

Jennifer is survived by her husband of 26 years, Jim Borgardt, and much loved sons Aiden and Soren. In lieu of flowers, we ask that donations in her honor be made to the Huntingdon Humane Society from which Jennifer adopted several pets she loved, or Hands and Voices an organization which offers support and advocacy for the families of children who are deaf or hard of hearing.

—Provost Lauren Bowen

Jennifer DeConde, 52, of Huntingdon, passed away peacefully Thursday, July 29, 2021, surrounded by friends and family after an incredibly courageous, optimistic and unwavering fight. She was loved by all who knew her, and never said a negative word about anyone. She was a bright spirit that saw potential and good in every one and brought out their best with her presence.

Jennifer is survived by her husband of 26 years, Jim Borgardt, and much loved sons Aiden and Soren who were the light of her life. She was an amazing and devoted wife, and mother. Jennifer loved the outdoors and was an exceptional skier. She also enjoyed hiking (particularly in Colorado), working with friends cooking and on other projects, and walking on Santa Barbara beaches.

Jennifer was born in Santa Barbara, California, and grew up in Greeley, Colorado. She earned a bachelor’s degree in physics, and a master’s degree in Deaf Education from the University of Arizona where she and Jim met and married, and Aiden was born in 1997.

She arrived in Huntingdon in 1998, where Soren was born in 2000, and immediately made a name for herself in town by purchasing a house for her family at an auction, bidding so enthusiastically that other participants backed off, getting her the home at a bargain price. She worked as an adjunct professor in the Communications Disorders department at the Pennsylvania State University, and over the past years as the tutoring coordinator and an academic coach at Juniata College. In the latter role, she was a staunch advocate and champion for her students, and brought determination, optimism and grace to her work.

She was first diagnosed with cancer in 2013 and fought to go into remission before a recurrence in 2018. Even in her last week she faced this challenge with unbridled bravery and a sunny disposition, calling it a “bump in the road” of her life which she tenaciously fought. She was an incredibly beautiful spirit and singular individual, and her awesomeness will be deeply remembered and missed by family, friends and those that knew her. We miss her presence in our lives so very much.

Jennifer is also survived by her father and stepmother, Kenneth and Lauri DeConde, and mother and stepfather, Cheryl and Roger Johnson, sister Sara DeConde and brother Alex DeConde, stepbrothers Luke and Mike Johnson, and numerous aunts, uncles, cousins and in-laws.