To: The St. Lawrence Community
From: William L. Fox, President
Date: September 10, 2020
Subject: Vice President for Community and Employee Relations
I write today to share the news that our colleague Lisa Cania, Vice President for Community and Employee Relations, has decided to retire next summer. Lisa’s dedication, indefatigable focus, and commitment to St. Lawrence University have been unsurpassed during her extraordinary career as a Laurentian.
Lisa arrived in 1987, and after ten years as Director of University Communications was promoted to Associate Vice President for University Relations. After another decade in that role, she was promoted to serve as Vice President of Community and Employee Relations during my tenure as President. During her time at St. Lawrence, she oversaw at one time or another a variety of administrative operations, including admissions and financial aid, the annual fund, university communications, human resources, community relations, and Title IX compliance. She has held the corporation office of University Secretary for the Board of Trustees for ten years. Lisa received the prestigious Jack Taylor Award for Exemplary Professional Service to the University in 2000.
Her accomplishments are truly countless and impossible to list comprehensively. Nevertheless, her imprint on generations of students will be long remembered. She has crafted hundreds of messages in moments of tribute to honor the service of others; her words often delivered important news in the most urgent moments. Lisa developed content that launched and celebrated fundraising initiatives, many bringing the resources for new buildings and programs. She has offered comfort in mourning the loss of students, employees, trustees, and retirees; and has assisted those involved in painful situations of harassment or assault who needed understanding and empathy.
Lisa advocated for the first version of the St. Lawrence University website and worked closely for 19 years with our Alumni Council to set the stage for our recent alumni network recognition by the Princeton Review. She quite literally has touched the lives of thousands of Laurentians, who are better off because they interacted with Lisa (and if lucky got a copy of the Mazzola family recipe for marinara sauce).
A lifelong champion of higher education, I know Lisa looks forward to continuing her service as a Trustee of her alma mater, Wells College. She will have the opportunity to spend more time with her devoted husband Sal, and her wonderful family in two countries. With her love of music, particularly opera and ballet, I suspect that she may even learn to play a new instrument in the years ahead.
I will forever be indebted to Lisa, whose leadership in the transition team was essential when I returned to Canton as a new president. Her steady hand and voice while dealing with difficult situations always gave me confidence. I extend a deeply personal word of thanks to Lisa for all that she accomplished in her years of service to St. Lawrence. We will celebrate her significant career next year. Until then, she would tell us all… ok, get back to work.