By Laken Franchetti, Editor-in-Chief
This afternoon, President Bob Iuliano sent an email to the campus community detailing the untimely passing of Assistant Director of International Student Services Sara Gifford. The College became aware of the news earlier this morning.
“She died as a result of an automobile accident on Friday, December 22,” Iuliano wrote. “The news has come as a shock to our entire community, including her fellow colleagues, Brad Lancaster and Carla Pavlik.”
Iuliano explained that Gifford joined the campus community this summer yet had already created a significant impact: “…her absence leaves a hole in the fabric of our community. You may have seen Sara on campus with her family as they attended many College events together. She helped countless Gettysburg students to feel at home on campus, and she was always there to offer support and a listening ear when you needed her most. Sara was a trusted mentor, colleague, and friend.”
The email also shared that Gifford was a talented writer and was working to earn her doctorate degree.
“Please join me in keeping Sara’s family, including her husband and two children, in your heart during this trying time,” Iuliano wrote.
Iuliano encouraged students to contact an on-call crisis counselor through Campus Safety if needed (717-337-6911). He also shared that employees can connect with WellSpan EAP for counseling support.
“Brad Lancaster has been in contact with our international students and we will be opening the International Student Center from 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. today. Brad, Carla, one of our counselors, and other members of the College Life team will be there for students who need support,” Iuliano said.
Iuliano closed the email by emphasizing the legacy Gifford leaves behind: “The way in which Sara lived her life—always guided by service, kindness, and hope—is a reminder of the impact we can have on the lives of those around us. May we commit today to honoring the remarkable legacy Sara leaves behind on our campus.”
Shortly after Iuliano’s email, the Student Senate Executive Board sent an email to all students in regards to the news as well.
“We are saddened to hear of the passing of Sara Gifford, the Assistant Director of International Student Services,” the email stated. “Her service to campus, in the short time she was with us, was felt by all members of the community and we join President Iuliano in keeping her family and colleagues in our hearts and thoughts during this holiday season.”
The Student Senate Executive Board expressed their hope to honor her legacy through their work.
“Sara’s dedication to international education and support of our international community helped to build the feeling of home for many students. She was a shining example of a Gettysburgian,” the email stated. “We commit to honoring Sara’s memory through our work on campus.”