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Table of Contents

Support Students, Support Transformation

Russia's Abandoned Children

When the Saints Came Marching Home!

Alumni Accomplishments

The Kenya Connection

Laurentian Reviews

Table of Contents

Support Students, Support Transformation

This edition of the Report of Appreciation is dedicated to the students who are the beneficiaries of your generosity.

As so many of you have told us, you consider higher education one of the most transforming experiences possible. You believe that the way to improve our world is to educate its citizenry for responsible, imaginative, courageous leadership.

Your gifts send a message. By learning how to seek and analyze information, how to write and speak clearly and persuasively, how to collaborate with ­colleagues, our students will have the skills they need to assume such leadership roles. You ­affirm, with your gifts, that today’s and tomorrow’s ­students deserve your support.

We want you to meet some students whose lives have been transformed by the St. Lawrence experience. Some attend St. Lawrence because of direct scholarship aid recognizing their ability and potential. Others have had extraordinary oppor­tunities made possible only through gifts to the University.

Every one of them, and every student enrolled at St. Lawrence, benefits through gifts to the annual fund and to the endowment, both of which provide a subsidy that helps make up the difference between the true cost of a St. Lawrence education — $58,979 per student in 2003-04 — and the full price of a St. Lawrence education, for those whose family resources enable them it, of $35,945 (2003-04 comprehensive fee).

In this feature section, and throughout the Report of Appreciation, you’ll meet St. Lawrence students who exemplify our values. These students have learned and grown thanks to your gifts. You have made a difference for them. You have helped transform their lives.

Jennifer Angell ’05 and Jason DeRosa ’06
Pettit Scholarship Recipients
Finding Their Stride

High school isn’t for everybody. With a packed day-to-day schedule, little academic freedom and the melodrama of teenage life, those years can be quite burdensome for students in need of an environment better suited to their life and learning styles.

Some students find that environment when they get to college. That’s why St. Law­rence launched the Linda R. Pettit Scholarship at Moving–Up Day two years ago. Commemorating the life of former Vice President for University Advancement Linda Reeves Pettit, who passed away in 2001 after a battle with cancer, it is awarded annually to students who did not earn merit scholarships before matriculation yet who have demonstrated academic excellence since arriving at St. Lawrence. Two of this year’s three recipients were Jennifer Angell ’05 and Jason DeRosa ’06.

Angell, a native of Birmingham, Mich., discovered St. Lawrence through a family connection (her eponymous cousin, also named Jennifer Angell ’82) and a search for liberal arts schools with equestrian teams. But it was the campus that sealed the deal. “I came for a summer visit and was absolutely wowed!” she exclaims.

A fine arts and history double major, Angell says the small class sizes and excellent professors strongly influenced the way she now pursues her studies. “It’s nice to have everyone in the ­department know you and be interested in what you’re doing,” she says. “Also, the First-Year Program made a big impact. Without my seminar, Dorothy Limouze’s ‘Culture and the World Stage’ now called ‘Architecture, the Fabric of Cultures,’ I would have never taken an art history course, let alone thought of art and history as majors.”

Angell plans to pursue an ­honors thesis in history this year. When asked what inspired her academic transformation, she says it lies in the community-based environment St. Law­rence offers. Plus, she says, “There are more choices, loads of great opportunities!”

Jason DeRosa hails from the Connecticut shore and heard about St. Law­rence through a high school friend. “When she returned home at the end of the weekend, she called me and said she had a feeling I would love the place,” he remembers. “She was right.”

Like Angell, DeRosa says it is the faculty that motivate his academic drive. “That professors, and others, encourage students to take their studies, interests and questions as far as possible has made me a highly motivated student,” he explains. “St. Lawrence affirms and supports my willingness to pursue projects, independent and curricular, and for that reason I look forward to my studies and really take them beyond the normal realm of the classroom or campus.”

In addition to pursuing an English and government double major with a minor in outdoor studies, DeRosa is also involved in the Association for Campus Entertainment, Democracy Matters and the Greenhouse theme cottage. He is also a writing center tutor, a First-Year Program mentor, and the editor for the student-produced Stump magazine. An Adiron­dack ­Semester participant, DeRosa says the University’s location was a key factor in his decision to ­matriculate. “Living and working in the North Country gives me a feeling of both comfort and inspiration,” he says.

For DeRosa, the difference between high school and college was a matter of academic comfort. “Because I am surrounded by faculty and students who are genuinely interested in their subject matter and carry a sincere seriousness of purpose, I am very comfortable being studious and devoted to what is really important to me,” he says. His advisor, Associate Professor of English Sarah Gates, has also played a huge role in his academic motivation. He calls her a “devoted and serious professor,” a “thorough and concerned advisor,” and a “truly wonderful friend.”

DeRosa’s success is a genuine ­example of how the right environment and excellent faculty really can cause a scholarly transformation. “I honestly love what I am doing with my time here,” he says. “The good grades are just a very helpful by-product and reflection of how I spend my time and energy.”

David Schryver ’05
University Fellowship Recipient
Opening Doors in Science

Imagine having the resources to do research that could open up new doors for in-vitro fertilization. Imagine finding a way to isolate immature follicles from an ovary, to freeze the follicles for later use and to find a culture method to grow the follicles and to ­ reinstate follicular growth. Imagine doing this as an undergraduate.

As the recipient of the Nicole and David Areson ’71 University Fellowship, this is exactly what David Schryver ’05 did in summer 2004, working with Karin Bodensteiner, a reproductive phy­siologist and assistant professor of biology at St. Law­rence. A biology major with a chemistry ­minor from the St. Lawrence County hamlet of Edwards, N.Y., Schryver is extremely grateful for this research opportunity and says it has been key in determining his future.

“This fellowship has opened the world of research to me,” he says. “I have always wanted to be a doctor, but have never been sure what field I would like to enter. I had a wonderful experience doing this project and would definitely be interested in graduate research now, whereas I wasn’t before.”

St. Lawrence was everything Schryver was looking for in a college: small, with an excellent reputation and professors who really care about their students. He had participated in many activities at the University while growing up, such as educational enrichment programs, summer camps and sporting activities, so he was already familiar with what St. Law­rence had to offer. The fellowship, he says, was just one more experience that proved what a great place the University is.

His close working relationship with Bodensteiner further illustrated the value of a small-school environment and the low student-to-faculty ratio. He continues to be impressed by the commitment of St. Lawrence professors to their students’ education, and this experience has inspired him even more. “We didn’t accomplish everything we set out to do,” he says. “So I’m hoping to continue this research as an honors project this year.”

A self-proclaimed “outdoorsy” person, Schryver loves hiking, biking, camping, fishing, hunting, skiing and just about any other outdoor activity. He takes full advantage of St. Lawrence’s location, including its proximity to home. He is highly family-oriented, spending lots of time with his fiancée, nieces and nephews during the school year. He says he hopes to attend medical school next year.

Sara Campos ’05
McNair Scholarship Recipient
The Transformative Power of Writing

Sara Campos wants to be a writer. As a recipient of a 2004 McNair ­Scholarship, that is exactly what she is doing.

“This is a dream come true,” she said over the summer. “Sometimes I just think about how happy I am to have so much time and financial support so I can write.”

Named for Ronald McNair, an African-American astronaut who died in the 1986 Challenger accident, the scholarships are aimed at encouraging students in underrepresented groups to pursue doctoral studies. When she struggled to think of a topic to propose in her application, her mentor, Visiting Assistant Professor of English Paul Graham ’98, advised her to think about things that really matter to her. Much deep thought and a reading of Cristina Garcia’s Dreaming in Cuban later, Sara had her proposal. “It was a no-brainer,” she explains. “I couldn’t help but think to myself, ‘Why haven’t I done this before?’”

“This” is a deeply personal project that is more of a life mission than summer research. He was called a political exile; to him that meant he wasn’t going home again, but he wasn’t sure why. She was called a Cuban-American; to her that meant dark hair, a good tan and a college scholarship, but she didn’t quite feel that she deserved it... Mystery, silence, and words like abuela, café con leche, and picadillo were inheritances from her father’s life. She knew there was something more, something covered, something hidden and she vowed to find it.”

A Cuban political exile who fled to the United States with his family at the age of 9 and settled in Buffalo, N.Y , George (Jorge) Campos, Sara’s father, never spoke of his past or his native land. “My father refused to speak Spanish to us,” she says. “Like many immigrant parents, he wanted his kids to find success, so he never talked about Cuba. When I started this project, I knew nothing about Cuba, so I taught myself Cuban history. Then I began to get my father to tell me his story.”

As an English writing major with a focus on creative non-fiction, Campos hopes to turn her research into a full-length book someday. For now, she says it will feed into her senior honors thesis. Then she plans on ­furthering her education in a Ph.D. program combining Cuban studies and creative writing.

Campos has also begun expanding her project by working with her brother, a filmmaker, to make a documentary based on interviews with her grandmother and father. “This is getting my father to open up,” she says. “It is inspiring my family to do artistic things. The biography will help to uncover the forgotten stories and hidden life in my father’s memory and fill in missing pieces of my family history — a task I believe is a necessity for people whose families have left one life in search of another.”

One outcome, however, rises above them all. Says Campos, “This research is bringing my ­­­­­family closer together.”

Paul Ohri ’05
HEOP Affiliation
Someone To Talk To

For senior Paul Ohri, the transformative experience at St. Lawrence was his affiliation with the Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP).

“I never thought that I could go to a private college,” he says. “My high school guidance counselor persuaded me to pursue it and HEOP made it possible. HEOP is there to provide a helping hand to those who need it, to give good advice and guidance throughout our days at St. Lawrence, and to support those who are willing to become better people and forge ahead. HEOP helps students from all cultural backgrounds to benefit from broadening our horizons. In the future I hope that I can offer someone like me an opportunity like this.”

Actually, Ohri has already taken a small step toward that goal, by working in the HEOP office on campus, to assist others in the program in any way he can. A native of nearby Ogdensburg, N.Y., he is a fine arts and religious studies double major, with a minor in European studies. On any given day, he can be found almost anywhere on campus. He is a member of the rugby club team and of PRIDES (People Recognizing Individuality, Diversity, and Equality of Sexualities), Men Against Sexual Violence and the Diversity Coalition. You might find him fulfilling the responsibilities of one of his many campus jobs if you grab some lunch at the Northstar Café, stop by a concession stand during a hockey game, or drop into the alumni and parent programs office to find out about an alumni event in your hometown. He lives in International House, a residence area for international students and those interested in international relations.

“St. Lawrence is perfect for me because of its small-town, family-like atmosphere,” says Ohri. “There’s always someone to talk to.” As a member of many organizations that open dialog on campus about issues that are often easy to ignore, Ohri is considered by many to be one of those people to talk to. He also points out that professors, tutors, writing mentors, and teaching assistants are helpful resources that should be used by everyone throughout campus.

Ohri also expresses his thoughts and feelings while he studies studio art and art history. “Art is relaxing and calming; it’s not a class to me, but a state of mind,” he says. He has studied in Florence, Italy, in order to learn more about art, history and other cultures.

Chris Young ’06
SLU Buddies
Role Model

For Chris Young, the hours spent with his SLU Buddy, a second-grader at Banford Elementary School in Canton, are some of the most important he has spent during his career at St. Lawrence. “I’ve really enjoyed hanging out with this kid,” says Young, a­junior Eng­lish and psychology double ­major from Shutesbury, Mass. “I think I’ve had an impact on his life.”

Modeled on the Big Brothers Big Sisters program, SLU Buddies is a collaboration between the University and the Canton public schools. Volunteers are matched with at-risk elementary and middle school students for one-on-one interaction for an hour each week. “Mentors help with homework, play in structured activities, talk about everyday happenings, listen to concerns, and serve as role models,” says Anne Townsend, coordinator of volunteer activities at St. Law­rence. The time commitment is small, but reports from both sides have been overwhelmingly enthusiastic. That enthusiasm extends beyond the immediate community; in August 2004 the program was recognized in a manual citing “ideas for good practice” that was published by the American College Personnel Association (ACPA) Commission for Student Involvement.

“I go over to the elementary school, across town from the St. Lawrence campus, on Mondays and just run around with my buddy,” Young explains. “St. Lawrence provides transportation. It’s an opportunity for us to talk, for him to tell me about his week.”

The SLU Buddies program also brings the children to campus for group activities from time to time. Last year, 40 of the 48 children in the program participated with their University friends in Halloween activities including a pizza party, a project to make their own “goody bags,” videos, trick-or-treating in two residence halls (participants had paper pumpkins in front of their doors) and a tour of a “fun house” (a fraternity house, transformed just for the occasion).

Before meeting Young, his Buddy had been getting into trouble. While Young refuses to take too much credit for the boy’s progress, he proudly reports that teachers have told him that his behavior has improved. This is good news for Young, a football player considering a coaching career after graduation, who was inspired to work with young people by fond memories of “a couple of older guys” he met through a church youth group.

“I just loved hanging out with them,” Young recalls. “I plan on ­sticking with this kid until I graduate because I want to see him get ­somewhere. I want to see him start ­moving up and learning that he can succeed.”

Wendy Berner ’06
Sesquicentennial Fellowship Recipient
Singing St. Lawrence’s History

The history of St. Lawrence University is steeped in music. From sports to the Greek system to campus activism, music has played an important role in shaping the traditions of the University. But if you asked most current students to sing the alma mater, they would probably stare at you blankly and shrug their shoulders. Sesquicentennial Fellowship winner Wendy Berner ’06, Hamburg, N.Y., wants to find out why.

Music has always been a big part of Berner’s life, so when Director of Music Ensembles Barry Torres approached her about a project focusing on the history of vocal music at St. Lawrence, she jumped at the chance. Her fellowship project was actually the brainchild of President Daniel F. Sullivan, who shares a great interest in music. Its thrust is to trace the history of vocal music at St. Lawrence and to find out what role music played in campus life.

“Music used to be a huge part of life at St. Lawrence,” Berner says. “Vocal ­music was really well established in the 1950’s and ’60s. The Laurentian Singers were the first group ever to be invited to sing at Canadian Parliament. They also sang for President Nixon.”

The research is original, because no publications directly trace St. Lawrence music history. Berner says she spent weeks searching through archives in the music library and in the Owen D. Young Library’s special collections. But her most helpful and inspiring information came directly from alumni. Berner sent letters to dozens, and got many enthusiastic responses. She also interviewed musical alumni at Reunion 2004.

“I was impressed by the effect music had on their lives,” she says. Hearing stories and searching through old yearbooks, Berner ­discovered the huge role Greek life played in the development of choral music. “In paging through Gridirons, I found that there were a bunch of little groups on campus, but each Greek house had several,” she says. “Many alumni have vivid memories of fraternity serenades, where an entire fraternity would sing to a sorority woman. That tradition is really where choral music here began.”

“Music on campus really paralleled attitudes on campus,” she adds. “During the world wars, students sang patriotic songs,” but during the Vietnam War many sang protest songs.

The project, says Berner, “really made me think, why isn’t music as important as it used to be? There was once an annual competition to write school songs. That would never happen now.”

But she sees hope. “I got really excited about this project at graduation when I was singing with the Laurentian Singers and looking out over all the graduates,” she remembers. “I could see how hearing the alma mater affected them, and that was inspiring.” Among outcomes she plans are a timeline comparing the development of music at St. Lawrence national and local events, a concert of historical St. Lawrence songs, and possibly a St. Lawrence song-book, which hasn’t been done since 1952.

“This fellowship has really given me a greater appreciation not only for music at St. Lawrence, but also for ­St. Lawrence overall,” she says. “Now I walk across campus thinking ‘I love this place.’”

John Linsley ’04
Kenya Semester Program
The Call of Africa

“One of the main reasons I came to St. Lawrence was the Kenya semester program,” John Linsley says. “I knew it was one of the most highly regarded undergraduate programs on the ­African continent, and I wanted to be part of it.”

For most of his adolescence, Linsley, whose home was Topsfield, Mass., dreamed of living and studying in Africa , and maybe even serving in the Peace Corps someday. “I don’t know why, but for some reason I’ve always been drawn there,” says Linsley, who majored in government at St. Lawrence. “I think Africa is one of the best places for a student to get firsthand knowledge of the developmental challenges that the Third World is ­facing right now.”

Back when Linsley was investigating colleges, St. Lawrence’s celebrated international study program in Kenya had understandable appeal. “I saw right away that the people at St. Law­rence take Africa seriously,” he says. The Kenya program, one of the first such programs offered by an American college or university in Africa, was established in 1974, and is one of 14 international study programs the ­University offers on five continents.

After participating in the Kenya Semester in fall 2002, and being awarded the D. Douglas Andrews Travel Research Grant by St. Lawrence to study river tourism in Jinja, Uganda, over winter break of that year, Linsley returned to East Africa after graduating in May 2004. He spent the summer perfecting his Swahili in Arusha, Tanzania, as a student on a Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad scholarship. The scholarship is awarded each year through the U.S. Department of Education and usually funds Swahili language study for 12 to 14 graduate students; Linsley was one of only three undergraduates nationwide to receive funding this year. He is spending the fall working with a Maasai community conservation project in Kenya ’s Amboseli National Park. In his senior spring, he presented his independent study paper at the Eighth Annual African Language Teachers Association conference at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and his article about market day in Kenya was published in the Spring 2004 issue of Abroad View Magazine. Linsley plans to spend more time in Africa in the coming years, whether as part of graduate studies in healthcare or through the Peace Corps.

Linsley attributes his continued interest in Africa to the experience he had while studying on St. Lawrence’s Kenya Program. “During my time at St. Lawrence, I was able to get a clear picture of African life,” Linsley says. “It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, an experience I’ll never be able to replicate.”

Shirley Obioha ’04
A Decree of Fate

Someday, we will address her as Dr. Obioha. She began her professional preparation as a student at SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, N.Y., in summer 2004, with the intent of becoming a pediatrician.

Shirley Obioha grew up in The Bronx, N.Y., although she lived with her family in Mt. Vernon, N.Y., while attending St. Lawrence. She came to the University thanks in part to the Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program (CSTEP), a state-funded program for students from under-represented portions of the general population who are interested in careers in scientific, health-related and technical fields and the licensed professions.

A biology major and chemistry minor, she gave back to the CSTEP program by being a group leader on campus. She also worked at Launders Science Library and was an Organic Chemistry tutor and member of the American Chemical Society and the ­biology honorary Beta Beta Beta. Her professors signaled their regard for her by naming her a student member of the search committee for a new microbiology/genetics professor. She has been a substitute teacher for New York City and Mt. Vernon public schools, and completed internships at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons, at a nephrology and dialysis clinic, at SUNY Optometry School and at North General Hospital in Harlem .

Clearly, Shirley Obioha is ready for medical school.

“What I liked about St. Lawrence was the serene environment, because it allowed me to do my work in a quiet setting with few distractions,” she recalls. “But what I loved about it were the professors and the staff who took me into their care. I developed great relationships with my professors, and because of that I was able to do well academically. Whenever I began to feel overwhelmed by schoolwork, I knew there were always people who were concerned about my well-being and would do everything they could to help me achieve my goals.”

“The things that I became involved in at St. Lawrence were pertinent to my intended career path,” she continues. “These opportunities were made possible for me by the staff of CSTEP and the Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP) and my academic advisors. Without their overflowing support I could easily be somewhere else right now,” says Obioha, who at one point considered entering the U.S. Air Force. She says fate decreed that she would come to St. Law­rence and, thanks to the support of the campus community, set her on course toward her career in medicine.

These student and alumni profiles were compiled by Rachel B. Peterson ’04 and Neal S. Burdick ’72.