A Legacy of Loyalty:
The Browns and the Van de Waters
Sargent Brown ’30,
University president 1963-1969, is remembered via Brown
Hall, which holds the department of geology’s offices,
laboratories, classrooms and auditorium.
Marion Brown Blaisdell ’32 and her brothers, Harlan
Brown ’28 and Foster Sargent Brown ’30,
began their own St. Lawrence family legacy in the 1930s.
Marion didn’t know John Van de Water ’35 at the
time, but became familiar with him and his family when
her daughter, Elizabeth “Becky” Blaisdell ’60,
married John’s son, Peter Van de Water ’58.
By the time Foster Brown became president of St. Lawrence
University in 1963, he had become part of a much bigger legacy.
The marriage of
his niece to Peter made him part of a legacy that today, between the Browns and
the Van de Waters, includes 25 people who in one way or another attended
St. Lawrence, whether as undergraduate, visiting or graduate students. Not only
are they all part of one legacy, but both sides of the family have shown their
commitment to St. Lawrence through their exquisite volunteer efforts,
their leadership skills, and
their direct work with the University.
President Brown was one of many
who stepped into several leadership positions at St. Lawrence.
Aside from being president, he was a member of the education
faculty and served as an alumni trustee and
as an Alumni Council chair. Peter Van de Water worked
for St. Lawrence
for several years in a number of capacities: teaching several
history courses and becoming director of financial aid, director
of admissions, director of student activities,
and vice president of student affairs. He was also a member
of the Alumni Executive Council along with the fundraising
and the other volunteer work he continues
to do for St. Lawrence. He received an Alumni Citation
in 1997, and his brother John “Jack” Van de Water ’61,
was a recipient of
an Alumni Citation in 2003.
The list of honors and awards received
by this family is almost as long as the list of volunteer activities,
which includes fundraising and participating
on the Leadership Gifts Committee and reunion planning
committees. Members of both families also have been career
advisors or admissions coordinators at some point.
Van de Water brothers have received Alumni Citations
from St. Lawrence, Jack ’61 (left)
in 2003 and Peter ’58 in 1997. With
them are, from left, Jack’s wife, Nancy McHugh Van
de Water; their mother, Sarah L. Van de Water ’66;
and Peter’s wife, Elizabeth “Becky” Blaisdell
Van de Water ’60.
de Waters and Browns have dedicated their lives to helping
in what ever capacity they can, especially with their work
in the St. Lawrence community.
They have also had an impact on other communities. Several
members of their family worked or are working in the education
system as teachers, principals or counselors. Jack is dean
of international programs at Oregon State University
and assistant vice chancellor for international programs for
the Oregon University System, and Gordon “Spud” ’66
is president of the Educational Commission on the States in
Colorado. Other family members have continued their education
and become pediatricians or family physicians. Sandra
Mansfield Van de Water ’68, who is married to Gordon,
is the chief of audiology at a hospital in Denver, Col. Some,
like Peter, who is
the president of the Board of Directors for the Grasse
Area Development Cor-poration in Canton, continue to work to
preserve history and the great outdoors in different parts
of the country. The list of occupations goes on, but they all
have one common theme: helping others.
In the spring 2005 St.
Lawrence magazine, Peter and Becky Van de Water
describe about how they have helped Canton continue to grow,
not only by volunteering at the University, but also by working
with the village to bring more business
and people to the area. Many other members of their family
have also volunteered in their communities with the goal of
improving the places where they live for the future. Looking
back at the earliest part of these families’ legacies,
John ’35, who was a high school teacher; Marion, who
was also a teacher; and Foster were all perfect examples of
goal-oriented people who were very successful, and luckily
for them, the later generations carried on those same ideas
Peter was once quoted as saying that he enjoys making a difference
because it keeps him involved and committed. These families
have not only stayed involved
with and committed to St. Lawrence, but continue to make
a difference in large ways that are hard to measure.