In Memory of Barbie Burgmeier '15

Barbie Burgmeier ’15 lost her life tragically on December 17, 2015. Born in Syracuse, N.Y., she was working as a teacher at the Lausanne Collegiate School in Memphis, Tenn., after graduating from St. Lawrence with a BS in biology and a minor in education. Barbie was a loved and respected member of the SLU community and will be remembered for her character, passion and friendship.

In order to honor her love of science, the Barbie Burgmeier ’15 Women in Science Scholarship Fund has been established to help future women St. Lawrence students follow their dreams. To contribute, visit

Barbie also left a lasting impact on Kappa Delta Sigma, serving as president for the sorority. In March, a new porch swing at the house was dedicated to her as a way to cherish her memory and continue her legacy of love, friendship and inspiration.

Class Reporter Kara McDuffee ’15 ( has compiled the following thoughts about her classmate:

“When I think about Barbie, I think about my first friend at St. Lawrence. In the first few weeks of my freshman year, I was struggling with the transition away from family and friends on top of a difficult roommate situation. Barbie saw me sitting alone in the Whitman hallway one September day when I was clearly upset. She invited me to hang out in her room anytime, and we immediately clicked with one another. Just when I was questioning if I had made the right choice to come to SLU, Barbie reached out to me and I made a long lasting friend. I can always thank Barbie for teaching me what true friendship is about.”

Maureen Pellerin ’15

“As the boys of the KDS Sorority, we had the honor to be welcomed into such a loving home, but by none more than Barbie. She cared for everyone with such a kind heart, always willing to sit down and chat, and more importantly listen. She was an incredibly strong leader with wisdom beyond her age. She had a way of doing things with such ease and understanding, and seemed to always know what to say. But above all she was genuine, a true and honest friend that always made us feel like honorary sisters of KDS. You will truly be missed, Babs, and have made an everlasting impact on all of us.”

KDS Houseboys '15

“As a close friend of Barbie’s, my mind continues to pull me back to the beauty and simplicity of our friendship. The accumulation of these simple things created the wonderful life of an amazing human being.

“When I think of Barbie, I think of the distinct scent of her room, the textures of her pillows and the colors of her blankets. I think of the cardigans, soy candles, and sitting alone with her in quiet corners of the Hoot Owl. I think of tea leaves, envelopes, hand written letters, and Moulin Rouge. I think of lying down and not saying a word or alternatively being able to say everything if that’s what we needed. I think of the laughter, her laughter, the things that made her beautiful. We will never again meet someone like Barbie, but we all can carry her along with us on our journey and allow her to continue touching people’s lives as she always has. She left us with memories which stay with us, each and every day, reminding us of the beauty and light she brought into our lives.” Megan Pietryka ’15

“No one can accurately put into words the impact Barbie had on the people she knew, because she wasn’t just part of one demographic or organization. She touched the lives of people far and wide with nothing in common, that was her gift. Without a wavering thought, she was there to help you move on and dust off the troubles weighing you down; whether through her irreplaceable laugh, evenhanded opinions, dry sense of humor or caring honesty, you knew she would always be there for you. She filled Kappa Delta Sigma with music and love, and when she turned up the speakers in her President’s suite everyone around knew it was time to ‘get up, get up, get up, get up’ and start the evening festivities. She was the girl that always stood in the back of pictures, but was the glue that kept everyone whole.

“Professors, mentors, and other classmates have reached out to one another to not only extend their sympathies, but to acknowledge what a large part Barbie played in their classrooms, and to express their gratitude for having known her in any capacity. Her spirit, intelligence, and willingness to share her thoughts and opinions made her an asset to any group or gathering, and through these short interactions and remembrances we are reminded of how unique and supportive our small Laurentian community truly is.

“Although Barbie had over 60 sisters, her favorite (and biological) sister left us all with an important thought: People stay with you through DNA: memories, pictures, smells, and most importantly feelings. Barbie’s not gone, she’s just a little further away from us than we would like.

To quote one of Barbie’s close friends from home, ‘The most beautiful flowers always get picked first.’ Though she was one of the first picked to leave us for now, she’ll always be rooted in the hearts of those who knew her best. Her wise words and joyous laughter will continue to resonate in the memories she leaves us with.”  

Kappa Delta Sigma, Class of 201