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Longtime Employee Surprised with Golden Anniversary Celebration

CANTON — The St. Lawrence community honored longtime employee Elaine A. White for her 50 years of service to the University.

White, who serves as the executive secretary to the dean for Student Life, officially began working at St. Lawrence on Oct. 1, 1963. Although, she said she had begun working even before that date.

“I actually started working before Oct. 1,” she said. “(Human Resources) wanted everyone to start on the first of the month, but I had already started working. I was only making $2,700 a year back then, so it probably didn’t mean much if I didn’t get paid for a couple of days.”

White was honored for her 50 years of service at a surprise reception held Friday, Sept. 27 in the Sullivan Student Center. Several current and former employees of the University attended the event to pay tribute to White.

“Elaine has been absolutely an invaluable employee,” said Joseph A. Tolliver, vice president and dean for Student Life. “Elaine is a true cornerstone of this institution, and everyone who has worked with her has said that she is both tremendously helpful and a real asset.”

Peter Van de Water ’58 worked with White for more than 13 years, while he served as vice president for Student Life. He addressed White during the reception.

“I had one question when I was offered the job at St. Lawrence: Does Elaine come with it?” Van de Water said. “When I was told she did, then I accepted the job. Elaine, I’m glad we had the opportunity to work together, and I’ll see you around town.”

Suzanne Noble, administrative secretary to the associate dean of Student Life, has worked with White for more than 25 years. She recounted several stories during the reception about moments and events the two have shared.

“Elaine and I have spent a lot of time working together,” Noble said. “She was at my wedding, and she read a passage on love. She has watched my children grow up over the years. Elaine, it has been great working with you all these years.”

White, who initially turned away when she entered the Winston Room and saw the crowd gathered to honor her, said St. Lawrence has been a great place to work.

“I can probably still tell you today what I did 45 years ago,” said White, who is well known on campus for her keen memory. “It has been great working here for 50 years. Wow, 50 years … that’s a really long time.”

In three years, if she continues to work at St. Lawrence, White will be the longest employee ever to have worked at the University.

She shows no signs of stopping anytime soon.