Letter: Recalling an extraordinary leader, Dr. Mary Botter

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To the Editor:

Bennington as a town and Southern Vermont College (and Southwestern Vermont Medical Center) were privileged to have Dr. Mary Botter grace their presence for the past five years. And, grace is a word that perfectly describes Mary. She was the leader of SVC's nursing division and one could not imagine a more thoughtful, ethical, deeply caring, smart and wise educator — committed to her students, her profession and its high standards and the then remarkable college she made her home. She was able to handle both small and massive problems with equanimity; she was not boastful; she was as honest, transparent and respectful as a day is long. No one worked harder. She loved what she did (most of the time) and she was a colleague beyond reproach.

If you were one of Dr. Botter's students who is now a nurse, you carry her with you. If you were one of her faculty colleagues, you too carry her with you. If you were a staff member or coach at SVC, you too carry her with you. If you were an administrator, you too carry her with you. If you were a fellow nurse or medical professional, you too carry her with you. And, if we can all just incorporate one-tenth of her commitment, her vision and her wisdom into what we now do, we will all be better for it as will all those whom we serve now and in the years to come.

Mary's life ended way way way (how many ways can I write?) too soon. But, and this is a perspective she would favor: we received a gift by engaging with her and having her in our lives. Angie, Mary's beloved, said it right: Mary had grace. We can all learn from that.

Karen Gross,

Washington

The writer is a former president of Southern Vermont College. A memorial service for Botter will be held at 2 p.m. on Aug. 10 at St Stephen's Episcopal Church in Middlebury.

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