Letters of gratitude to Bill and Lynn Fox
Over the past five years and 20 issues of St. Lawrence magazine, I have had the opportunity to work with Bill Fox on preparing his Message from the President for print. When I say “work with,” what I actually mean is read and digest his beautiful words articulating equally simple and complex ideas while doing my best to contribute to the process of getting it just right for Laurentian readers. In other words, he did all the work.
That work each season was an invitation to think, and think deeply about the world around us, most often from the vantage point of the St. Lawrence experience. It is no wonder that the president’s message has been the second most popular real estate in each magazine after Laurentians finish reading their Class Notes.
Conventional wisdom in the alumni magazine world is that nobody reads the message from the president (often not even written by the president), especially not a message that is nearly 1,000 words—the equivalent of a short term paper in length. However, what Bill has done over the past 12 years is unconventional. I’ve come to the conclusion that his essays are more of a multi-disciplinary classroom on the page, complete with homework: an obscure biblical reference to look up or a poet I needed to research to be able to ask an informed question.
I consider these past five years of brief, but meaningful interactions with Bill about his messages, my own unique St. Lawrence education, complete with many humble, affirming, and aspirational lessons. I am grateful for these lessons and, most importantly, the excuse to pause, and put on my thinking cap.
Deborah Dudley, editor
That’s how President Bill Fox ’75 greeted the Alumni Executive Council the last time we were all on campus together in January 2020.
At the end of June, we will be saying goodbye to Bill and Lynn Fox as our “First Couple.” Both have made the St. Lawrence campus “home” for thousands of students and alumni over the last 12 years. They have been such a significant presence at functions, sporting events, running in the early morning along the pathways of campus and streets of Canton, Reunion, Homecoming, and the many warm receptions at MacAllaster House. It is hard to imagine campus without their friendly, welcoming style.
Even though Bill’s time as president is coming to an end, no matter where he goes, we know that, like every Laurentian, he will remember the sound of the Gunnison Memorial Chapel bells at 5 o’clock; candles illuminating the sanctuary in celebration; the sight of Richardson Hall covered in the “first” snow; the marvel of students wearing shorts on the first sunny, 45-degree, spring day; and the first Beta Beach Party, and think of “home.”
To quote Robert Frost, who Bill often quotes to us, “Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.”
Be assured, Bill and Lynn, that Laurentians everywhere will welcome you into their community, regardless of where your travels may take you. The AEC thanks you both for all you’ve done for the University, the students, the alumni body, the town of Canton, and surrounding communities. Enjoy your retirement. You’ve earned it! And know that you will always be welcomed home again.
Your Alumni Executive Council