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Feb. 19, 2022: Campus in mourning

February 19, 2022 

Dear students and colleagues: 

It is with a heavy heart that I write to you following the death of one of our own, Elizabeth Howell ’22, a music education student at SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music.  

Beth was a cellist who performed with the Crane Symphony Orchestra. She was an aspiring educator with a bright future ahead of her. Together, we – as one united campus community – honor her life and mourn her loss. 

To all of you who knew Beth, please accept our deepest condolences. We are thinking of her, of her family, her friends, her classmates, and her loved ones in their grief. To lose such a promising student, and under these circumstances, is not only sad; it is shocking. Please, then, look after yourself. Take the time you need, and take the steps you need, to take care of yourself. Also, if you are able, please do what you can to be there for others. 

The College Counseling Center will be offering drop-in support all weekend. 

  • Counselors are available today and tomorrow, to meet with students one-on-one or in groups, from 1 to 5 p.m. in the Fireside Lounge in the Barrington Student Union.  
  • The Counseling Center staff is also working on putting together trauma support groups and will follow up with more details and support resources. 

We have designated the Hosmer Gallery in the lobby of the Helen M. Hosmer Concert Hall at The Crane School of Music as a memorial space for members of the campus community. All will be welcome to leave flowers or items in her memory and to sign a memorial placard in honor of Beth. 

We will plan a vigil and memorial concert in honor of Beth in the coming days and weeks, and will continue to apprise campus of updates. 

As a reminder, classes will be canceled on Monday, February 21. A number of previously scheduled campus activities have also been canceled or will be rescheduled. For the latest information, please keep track of the events calendar on our website and on Get Involved

Please remember that you can also receive support 24/7 from— 

Crisis Text Line: 
Text Got5 or HOME to 741741 

Suicide Hotline:
1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433)
1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) 

(315) 265-2422 

Police are still actively searching for the suspect, who remains at large. Law enforcement agencies are continuing to ask members of the public in both St. Lawrence County and neighboring Franklin County to be vigilant, as there may still be an active threat to the community. Please continue to lock your doors, and report any suspicious activity. 

Please contact the police with any information that might be relevant or to report any suspicious activity, by calling 911, calling Potsdam Village Police at (315) 265-2121, or University Police at (315) 267-2222. 

During this terribly difficult time, we are filled with compassion and sympathy for our entire SUNY Potsdam family. 


Dr. Phil Neisser ’79  

Officer in Charge, SUNY Potsdam  
Pronouns: he, him, his