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Coming Home
Alumni Who Have Returned to Canton to Live and Work

From time to time, St. Lawrence presents stories of alumni who establish homes and businesses in the North Country

Dorothy Mallam ’72 used to say that she wanted to live either abroad or in Canton, New York.  Although she grew up in Canton, she moved away several times—calling those moves adventures—to places such as Michigan; New York City; Iowa City; Dublin, Ireland; Jamestown, N.Y.; and Hiroshima, Japan. Eventually, her heart pulled her back to the North Country.  “Canton is the only place that seems like home and holds my interests,” says the Canton native and daughter of St. Lawrence history professor William Mallam and ODY technical services librarian Mary Mallam, both deceased.

Dorothy is director of the federally-funded North Country Migrant Education Program (NCMEP), which is housed at SUNY Potsdam.  “NCMEP provides for children who move across school district lines with their families who do farm work, and for Hispanic dairy farm workers under the age of 21,” Dorothy explains.  “I am in my 28th year with the program and I find it just as rewarding as when I started, perhaps more so, because we can look back and see some successes.

One of Mallam’s lifelong passions has been theater.  “St. Lawrence had a huge influence on my acting,” she says.  In 1974, after some professional acting training and a shot at trying to make a living as an actress, Mallam came back to Canton and helped launch the Grasse River Players, a community theater group that flourishes to this day, mounting a busy schedule of musicals, dramas and audience-participation mystery plays.

“I still enjoy acting and directing with this group and count some of its members as my oldest and dearest friends.  It’s a great way to get to know new and young members of the community,” she says.  Among many stage appearances have been roles in Steel Magnolias and The Odd Couple; her directing credits include The Cemetery Club and, as this magazine was going to press, Arsenic and Old Lace.

Part of the reason Mallam has remained in Canton is because of the easy pace of life and the people.  “Those born and bred here, those who have chosen to move here because they like the North Country, and those who have found jobs in the four colleges make a fascinating mix,” she says. “We don’t have big roads; people can drive safely as they get older, and many things are within walking distance.  We have a low crime rate and the area is beautiful.  It’s the perfect place to take the dog for a walk and visit a friend for tea or hot chocolate.”                                                                 --Megan Bernier ’07
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