Marjorie inspired with warmth and wit

Monday, April 3, 2006

For 25 years Marjorie Deakin’s kindness, humor, hospitality and dedication to international education endeared her to students in the SCSU British Studies Program. Beginning in 1981, she enlightened students about English literature and contemporary Britain, connected them to local families through her work with home-stays and arranged field trips that enhanced the British Studies experience. She infused all the activities with her wry Scottish wit and her enthusiasm for making each learning experience special. Many former students responded to the news that she had passed away on Oct. 27 with donations to the Marjorie Deakin Memorial Scholarship and by sharing fond memories of their former teacher.
Here are a few:

“My time in Alnwick changed my life and opened my eyes to the world. Marjorie was a big part of that. Her contemporary Britain class made reading the newspaper interesting and taught me so much. Thanks, Marjorie, SCSU has lost a great friend.”
~ Tina (Ham) Peterson ’93, Minneapolis

“I count her among the few instructors who truly left a lasting impression on me. …I last returned to the castle in March 2005 with a dear friend from my program. Marjorie learned of our visit, tracked us down and insisted we come directly to her home for a visit. … Since learning of Marjorie’s death, I am even more thankful that we took the time for a visit. It was a precious gift. Long live the memory of this great woman.”
~ Kathleen Hallinan ’88, St. Paul

"Marjorie was an inspiring and amazing teacher and person who will be greatly missed!”
~ Nancy Hellander Pung ’90, Robbinsdale

“My fondest memories … include her amazing British wit and the magic of how she brought British culture alive with her stories, humor, grace and intelligence. She was my favorite. She was an asset to the program at Alnwick and truly enhanced my personal and academic experience. I remember students and myself feeling at ease just talking with her. She is going to be truly missed, but her spirit will remain alive in all those she has touched.”
~ Kathy (Wendlandt) Hill ’95, Lino Lakes

“She was a great teacher and a great person. We have a special part of Marjorie in our home. She had my aunt and uncle and myself over for tea once and shared with us her Scottish shortbread recipe. Ever since it’s been our family’s secret and absolute favorite!”
~ Jodi (Swanson) Dobratz ’89, Lakeville

“Before I went on the Alnwick excursion, my parents bought me an SCSU study-abroad sweatshirt which I treasured. About a month into the Alnwick program, I was in Marjorie Deakin’s class sitting in the most coveted seat, the one near the radiator, squeezing a mug of hot chocolate to keep warm. Not long after class began, my roommate Melissa Lenk said she smelled something burning. I don’t recall smelling the odor of burning fabric but maybe that’s because I was in shock from discovering the smell was my coveted sweatshirt burning from sitting too close to the radiator! I have fond memories of Marjorie’s class and a few burn holes in my sweatshirt which I still treasure to this day. I never cared about history and politics until I met Marjorie. She was a gem.”
~ Nancee Magistad ’93, St. Paul

Contributions to the Marjorie Deakin Scholarship can be sent to the SCSU Foundation, 720 Fourth Ave. So., St. Cloud MN 56301.

In preparation for their reunion Aug. 11-12, alumni of the Alnwick, England, study-abroad program were invited to submit favorite memories and photos from their experience.

This story reflects some of the comments included in the dozens of enthusiastic responses from participants eager to reminisce about their transcendent coming-of-age experience at “The Castle.” Although there is not room on these pages to include all of the stories and photos, all are published in their entirety at www.stcloudstate.edu/studyabroad/alumni.

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