To: The St. Lawrence Community
From: William L. Fox, President
Date: January 24, 2011
Subject: In Memory: H. Sargent Whittier ’57
I write to share the sad news that H. Sargent "Sarge" Whittier '57, who served St. Lawrence as vice president for advancement and in other leadership roles for nearly three decades, died on Sunday evening, January 23. For me personally, I have lost a friend of 40 years, one who has made a tremendous difference from the day I entered St. Lawrence as a student.
For more than 30 years, Sarge was the consummate mentor, teacher and friend to hundreds of professionals in the advancement field throughout the United States. More people than we could ever know, or count, credit Sarge for their deeply fulfilling careers, for teaching them the basics of the profession, the strategies for successful fundraising campaigns, and for showing them the way such work can be done with exquisite humanity. Most importantly, all who knew, worked with and loved Sarge looked to him as a guide for wise, ethical and compassionate counsel.
He earned his St. Lawrence degree in economics and was a member of the men's hockey team as well as a number of student organizations. Sarge was in the nets as the Saints goalie when the team played for the national championship in 1956.
During his 28-year tenure at St. Lawrence University (1960-1988), Sarge directed two successful capital campaigns and was instrumental in deepening the relationships among alumni of all generations. When he left St. Lawrence in 1988, Sarge was able to work with colleges worldwide as a fundraising consultant at Barnes & Roche, while maintaining his beloved homes in Canton and on the St. Lawrence River. He maintained close connections throughout the North Country, with leadership of the Canton-Potsdam Hospital Board of Directors and membership on the Frederic Remington Art Museum board as important examples of his commitment to the community. Sarge and his wife Lynn were known to generations of Laurentians and their Canton neighbors for their infectious spirit of hospitality and thoughtfulness.
Sarge and Lynn's two sons also graduated from St. Lawrence, Peter in 1993 and Andy, our director of major gifts, in 1991.
Sarge served as Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) trustee from 1976-1984 and was chair of the CASE board in 1982-83. He was awarded one of the first Fulbright Fellowships to a college administrator, to study fund-raising in the United Kingdom, and received the Hesburgh Medal for service to CASE and education. His alma mater honored him in 1988 with an Alumni Citation, and again in 1999, when his friends and admirers raised funds to honor him in the naming of a study room in Owen D. Young Library. Regarded as a national pioneer in college and university advancement, he received in 2007 the Lifetime Achievement Award from CASE at the organization's Summit for Advancement Leaders conference.
A celebration of Sarge Whittier's life will be held Friday, January 28, 11:00 AM in Gunnison Chapel. A reception will follow in Sykes Common Room. In lieu of flowers, friends may make contributions to St. Lawrence University or the Canton-Potsdam Hospital.
Friends and colleagues may share their thoughts on our Memorial Web site.
I know that the entire community joins with me and Lynn in expressing our very great sadness at the loss of this most loyal Laurentian.