Message from Niagara College President Sean Kennedy:
It is with great sadness that I share the news that Saundra Patterson passed away last evening (Wednesday) after a long illness.
As the dedicated partner of our president emeritus Dan Patterson and as a champion for NC in her own right, Saundra leaves an indelible mark on our College community.
For more than 25 years during Dan’s tenure as president, Saundra was a steadfast supporter of our College through a transformative period of growth and evolution of our campuses.
She was at the heart of every major college event – as a supporter, ambassador and the true embodiment of our ‘NC DNA.’
Year after year, Saundra was a fixture of the front row at our convocation ceremonies, cheering on our new classes of graduates.
She greeted countless visitors to our campuses from across Canada and around the world – including two royal visits (Prince Charles, and Sophie the Countess of Wessex), two prime ministers (Stephen Harper and Justin Trudeau), and numerous government officials and dignitaries.
Saundra and Dan also graciously welcomed their ‘NC family’ into their home over the years, including many gatherings of international students, and numerous ‘friends of NC’ from Niagara and around the world.
Saundra was present for the groundbreaking of the Niagara-on-the-Lake campus in 1996, and in late 2019 when the announcement was made at Dan’s community retirement celebration that the campus would be renamed the Daniel J. Patterson Campus in her husband’s honour.
With Dan by her side, she represented NC throughout the community and has spent numerous Christmases volunteering to help those in need at the Spirit of Christmas Dinner in St. Catharines.
Saundra leaves a special legacy at NC through her love for animals. As champion and guardian of our beloved Greenhouse cats, she brought much joy to students and employees alike. For more than 15 years, Saundra delighted in and took great care of Basil, often taking him for vet checkups, and presided over a special memorial in his honour in October 2019. More recently, she supported the adoption of our new Orange tabby, Scout, and was instrumental in selecting his name among finalists from a college-wide naming contest. Whenever we pay tribute to Basil or stop into the greenhouse to admire Scout, we have Saundra to thank for making this possible.
Prior to Dan’s presidency at NC, Saundra dedicated her career working in what was then called the Federal Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development. In 1977, she was awarded the Queen’s Silver Jubilee medal for her work with Canada’s First Nations.
Saundra will forever have a special place in the hearts and memories of our college community.
Flags are half-staff at our College campuses in Saundra’s memory and details regarding a virtual service will be shared with the College community once available.
On behalf of Niagara College, I extend my deepest condolences to Dan, and to Dan and Saundra’s family, including their daughter Christine, and grandson Sean.