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Dr. Ardena Tyson Shankar ‘75

Dr. Ardena Tyson Shankar was guided by God's loving arms on Thursday, October 19, 2017. She was born on June 22, 1941 in Washington, DC, to George Tyson (deceased) and Virginia Briscoe (deceased). She grew up in Southern Maryland where she attended the Charles County Public School system. She later married Herbert Shanks and raised twin daughters.

Dr. Shankar graduated from Antioch with a Bachelor in Arts in Communications in 1975, and a Master of Arts in an Individual Program specializing in Inter-Cultural Relations in 2001. When Ardena moved to Atlanta, GA, to be near her family, she received her Doctorial Ministerial Specialty degree, Doctor of Philosophy, specializing in Holistic Life Coaching in 2004 and Master of Metaphysical Science in 2005 from the University of Sedona.

Dr. Shankar's Life Work included Metaphysics, Self-help, and Spirituality. She had a brilliant mind and a great heart. She was an author and authority on self-esteem and self-compassion, and the value of appreciating and respecting others. Professionally and personally, Ardena was "All About Love."

In the Santa Cruz, California community, nationally and worldwide, Dr. Shankar was a valued Educational Consultant, Keynote Motivational Speaker, Lecturer, Life Coach, Researcher, Spiritual Counselor, and Humanitarian. Her contributions were devoted to the expansion of human consciousness and personal transformation. Locally, she facilitated self-esteem and consciousness, raising events and trainings for many organizations, schools, including Women's Crisis Support and the Santa Cruz, YMCA.

She served on the Conflict Resolution Education Team, providing curriculum and trainings in mediation to all students and staff in Santa Cruz County Schools, K-12. Dr. Shankar was interviewed by the Santa Cruz Sentinel in California where she promoted her workshops where she facilitated entitled "Beyond Survival: "Women and Self-Esteem" She was a "Warrior for Women", always kind ever compassionate, and passionate –willing to be outspoken, bold, courageous, take risks, and argue for the respect and dignity of others.

Dr. Shankar supported many communities as they were looking for ways to bring about solidarity and working together. She advocated equality in work, and education for all in need. No one was to be left out. Ardena's presence through radio, public speaking and one on one meetings always made a difference. The community always enjoyed her wonderful singing voice and her messages of hope, love and encouragement.

Dr. Shankar was also recognized as a Writer, Poet and Story-teller, a Spokesperson for the Soul. She was one of the esteemed women poets who presented at the prestigious Santa Cruz annual event, "In Celebration of The Muse". She was also on the Cultural Environment Movement (CEM) Board of Directors, a global organization committed to working for freedom, gender equality and diversity.Her colleagues called her "Our Ambassador of Love", when she journeyed twice to South Africa, attending women's conferences as an Inter-Cultural Communications Specialist. These experiences were the basis for her Masters' thesis from Antioch in 2001. "Facilitating Inter-Cultural Communication: A Study of Black Women Communicating Across Cultural Differences in South Africa."

In the magazine Intersections, "Covering Gender at the World Conference Against Racism (WCAR) NGO Forum, Durban, South Africa (2001), she described herself this way: "At this point in my life, I identify myself as a world citizen…This is my second time in Africa… attending... cross cultural events, and I could see the potential for our connection. It's very exciting to me to identify with people around the world who are on that path of reaching out to others, so for all the people who consider themselves World Citizens, I join them."

Ardena was a mentor to all that knew her. She supported many to reach their high in life, low was easy; to reach high is to stretch yourself and believe in YOU. Ardena would dare you to become, what she knew you could become. Ardena is in great company and is among those who went before her. Just imagine, Ardena holding council and saying to those who are listening, nothing is impossible, as long as you have faith and love that is free of limitations.

Dr. Shankar was a "Master of Healing in Matters of the Heart." She was always available as a teacher, guide and resource to others. She often examined her life and was always nurturing her faith in God. Ardena's eternal light shines upon us.

She is survived by her loving and devoted daughters, Angela Shanks, Andrea Knight; siblings; Peggy Moton, Bertha Wimbish, James Haskel, and Benjamin Haskel; Grandchildren Christopher Knight, Justin Jackson, Brittany Knight and Jonathan Cooke; Great Grandchildren; Tyler Knight, Brooklyn Knight, Justus Jackson, Maliyah Busey, Jonathan Cooke Jr., Mekhi Knight, Jaxon Cooke (deceased), and Jade Cooke. A host of nieces, nephews and cousins. To those of us who in her extended family, she was our teacher, "soul-sister" and precious friend -- a profound presence in our lives.