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Letter from the Editor | Losing June


ormally, i take great pleasure in finding

words to put on a page, and I am so grateful

to have a forum in which to share the stories

of St. Lawrence with all of you. However, in

this case, there is no joy in finding the words

to express how deeply sad I am at the tragic

passing of our colleague, June Peoples, who had joined the

University Advancement and University Communications teams

in August 2016 as a writer, following an extremely successful 12-

year tenure as the director of giving and finance at North Country

Public Radio. On the evening of December 1, after we had

finalized some edits for her articles on pages 30-33, June was killed

in a roadside accident while rescuing two stray dogs.

The attempt to express the loss of June is beyond frustrating.

All words, written and spoken, are ridiculously inadequate to

capture and illustrate June’s impact on the North Country

and on the many lives she enhanced. June’s community

involvement included the Potsdam Humane Society,

Canton-Potsdam Hospital, St. Lawrence Health System,

and Reachout of St. Lawrence County. She had a passion

for dance and was a Zumba instructor at several locations,

including St. Lawrence University.

St. Lawrence is where I met June. The University was a new

beginning for both June and me—new jobs, new surroundings,

new culture, a place where we would have to make new friends.

I confess, I was nervous about starting over. June started shortly

after me, similarly shifting professional gears and similarly

anxious and excited by the opportunity to tell the St. Lawrence

story. As June put it, “Every Laurentian has a story to tell—

stories of inspiration, passion, commitment, and gratitude.”

June had many talents. Not only was she a strategic thinker and

an excellent writer, June was warm and generous, while

simultaneously being an unapologetic mischief-maker. Both clever

and wise, June possessed a unique emotional intelligence and

mastered a perfect blend of authority, humility, curiosity, humor,

and kindness. Her energy was palpable. She had a contagious

enthusiasm for chasing the right words and phrases to pin down

the narrative of how so many lives intersect on the St. Lawrence

campus and how those lives impact the living and learning of this

community for generations. I learned a lot from June.

Unfortunately, for all of us, sharing this space in time was

short-lived, and my heart breaks for all of those who lost the

many rich facets of June: the partner, the friend, the dancer, the

advocate, the storyteller, the rescuer, the joker, and the

mischief-maker. Losing June hurts.

St. Lawrence University is a catalyst in many ways, and for most

it is the place where we meet people who inspire us, show us their

passion, and teach us about commitment. It is the place where we

become friends and colleagues. It is the place where I met June.

And I am forever grateful.

Deborah Dudley


Letter to the Editor


Outdoor Adventures

i very much enjoyed the “From the Archives” photo in

the Fall 2016 edition of the University magazine in which

the paddlers of the Hudson reunited to commemorate their

incredible journey of 40 years ago. As an another Outing

Club member myself, I missed out on that adventure,

but I did climb quite a few high peaks with John Mabie

and Bob Holley. They were looking to knock off all 46 high

peaks. They had done most of them already. I was less

experienced, but I tagged along and did the 10 “trail-less”

peaks with them. I was amazed at how fast these guys hiked

and how light they would pack. Not a single extra piece of

equipment or stitch of clothing would be brought. Lean and

mean was the gospel. Well, wasn’t I surprised when Bob

pulled out a boom box and started playing a Grateful Dead

tune at the top of that 46th peak!

Wonderful memories. And to this day, I still hike those peaks.

Tom (Tab) Bersani ’78

Skaneateles, New York

Letter to the Editor


Nepal Connections

what a pleasure and eye opener reading your HOME section

in the Fall 2016 issue of the

St. Lawrence


We found a coincidence in the article on Nepal and the

humanitarian efforts being put forth by St. Lawrence graduates.

The church we attend in Vermont has a drive to raise funds

to help rebuild schools in Nepal. The initiator and leader of

this fund drive is 13 years old. At two years of age, he came to

live in Vermont. He has set a goal of $1,000. Currently, he is

over that amount but has not yet achieved drive completion.

We are passing your article on to this 13-year-old boy and

his mother.

Ward and Janet Wilson ’51

Arlington, Vermont