Tuesday, August 01, 2006

A heartfelt thanks

Sherry Lefevre is the mother of Callie, a sophomore, who was studying in Beirut this summer. Callie was evacuated from Lebanon by International SOS, a private security consulting firm with whom the University contracted. The following letter was sent by Sherry to President Tilghman on July 19 in gratitude for the University's efforts to evacuate her daughter. (Princetonian Staff Writer Julia Osellame wrote about Callie's journey out of Lebanon. Read the story here.)

Dear Professor Tilghman,

I just want to express my gratitude to you for everything the University has done in the last 48 hours to ensure the safe evacuation from Lebanon of my daughter, Callie and Emily Norris. Beginning with the first news of hostilities, Dean Nancy Kanach and Professor Nancy Coffin acted in every way, with such vigilance, care and kindness, it would be hard to imagine more exceptional behavior in any circumstances.

You are probably aware that on July 16-17, Callie and Emily, who were both studying Arabic in the American University of Beirut summer CAMES program were evacuated by land to Syria and then flown to Cyprus under the auspices of International SOS. Within hours of the beginning of hostilities in Lebanon, Dean Nancy Kanach reached me by phone where I was on vacation, to express her concern and to ask that I remind Callie that SOS services were available to her. From that point on, Dean Kanach was in contact with Callie and me around the clock — through the weekend. She also alerted SOS of Callie and Emily’s circumstances and she received constant updates of the SOS evacuation plans. At the same time, Nancy Coffin, who had been both Callie and Emily’s first year Arabic teacher, reached Callie and Emily by email and maintained steady contact throughout, bolstering her students flagging spirits.

While the past week has been incredibly distressing, for all of us but especially the girls, it has also been so heartening to feel the steady swell of kindness, the steady application of good judgment, that has surrounded these very lucky Princeton students.


Sherry Lefevre


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