When in his late eighties Frank Piskor was asked to be honorary chair of the Canton public library’s centennial fund-raising campaign, he promptly and firmly rejected the “honorary” part of the title, rolled up his sleeves and got down to the business of encouraging his fellow community members to support the renovation and modernization of their library. He continued in that capacity until just days before his passing in March 2006. The story speaks volumes about three of his passions — books, the North Country, and civic engagement.
Frank Piskor retired in 1981 as St. Lawrence’s fourteenth president, having served since 1969. He and his wife, Anne, who was his partner in every way, settled in Canton and became ardent community servants. The list of regional agencies and organizations that benefited from his wisdom, energy, generosity and loyalty, both during his tenure as president of the University and in retirement, is long and diverse, spanning the spectrum from corporations and banks to philanthropic societies, cultural institutions, civic clubs and hospitals. President Emeritus Piskor also remained in close touch with the University he so wisely piloted through one of the most tumultuous eras in the history of American higher education. He was a friend and counselor to many on campus, and was a familiar presence in the library or at a lecture or concert.
The poet Robert Frost, a longtime friend, wrote, “The heart can think of no devotion / Greater than being shore to the ocean.” Frank Piskor was a shore to many in the North Country — receptive, reliable, helping them feel connected to something larger. With gratitude and enduring devotion in return, St. Lawrence University today awards Frank Peter Piskor its 2006 North Country Citation, posthumously.
Accepting the North Country Citation for President Emeritus Piskor is his daughter, Nancy Piskor Twichell.