A Map of Laurentian Legacies
“My grandparents met when they were students at St. Lawrence. We even have the needlepoint chairs they were sitting on when they met.”
Lydia Pendleton ’17 may be the perfect person to talk about Laurentian legacies.
“My mom and my uncle also graduated from St. Lawrence—my brother and me, too, of course. Still, as a senior and third-generation student, so much of what I saw on campus while working on this project came as a total surprise.”
She was part of a team collecting data for a new map of the University. Using Geographic Information Systems, or GIS, the digital map contains locations, photos, histories and other data on every named place and object across campus, including rooms, buildings, artwork, athletic facilities, and more.
“Wherever there’s a name,” Pendleton says, “from benches to buildings, these are places that someone really cares about. They want to preserve them or support the things happening there. Each dot on the map has its own story and, taken together, they tell an amazing story about the University itself.”
A few times, she found that story included her family.
“To this day, my grandmother still talks about two professors who have plaques in Carnegie,” she says. “When I saw their names, I thought, ‘Oh wait, where have I heard this before?’ I told her about this project and we talked about our St. Lawrence connections. Also, I knew my mom lived in Carnegie, where she had a quad room. Now, it’s the classroom where I took Spanish. So, all over campus I realized spaces had changed or were preserved.”
This is stewardship, caring for the University’s physical places and ensuring their future. As President Bill Fox said recently, “Preserving St. Lawrence’s heritage buildings such as Herring-Cole, plays an important role in curating the University’s history but also in optimizing it for future generations of Laurentians.”
Stewardship was a primary reason for developing the map.
“We needed to know what was out there,” Shayla Witherell ’11 says. She’s the associate director of donor relations at St. Lawrence. “Families and others would ask about these named places and we would search our files, trying to find the relevant details. When all else failed, we would go exploring and hopefully come back with some pictures. It’s not always easy to find a specific outdoor installation or plaque in the middle of a Canton winter.”
Now, she adds, the map is a digital inventory of named places and memorials.
“People on campus can use it as a database,” she says. “The map gives us a more thorough understanding of what exists and we can keep better track of each feature’s condition.”
Dakota Casserly is a GIS and GPS technician who also works with students in the St. Lawrence GIS program. He hopes that alumni and others will navigate the online map and click on its individual features.
“They’ll see a small window pop up with information and pictures of each space or object,” he says. “Or, they can use the search function to find an individual or family name, then search the St. Lawrence features associated with that name. For all those alumni far from campus, the map is a tool to reconnect with the University.”
He adds that a major part of the map may not be visible at first glance.
“But take a good look at it,” he says. “This map shows our determination to keep all these places alive and inspiring for generations to come.”
A Sense of Place and Stewardship
A steward is attached to a place for its meaning or the memories it evokes. At St. Lawrence, stewardship includes caring for the physical spaces that matter to our community.
This place holds parts of our combined history. It also fosters the University’s enduring scholarship—and its ambitions to always discover more. As stewards, we honor both preservation and learning, because they continue to shape our collective identity as Laurentians.
View the Online Map of Laurentian Legacies at www.stlawu.edu/giving/mapping-laurentian-legacy