By Kenneth Rosen
The service in memory of Pamela Poetter, senior vice president for marketing and enrollment management, illuminated the everlasting impact she had on family, friends, faculty, staff, students and the growth of SCAD.
More than 400 people paid their final respects to Poetter at the memorial service held today at Skidaway Island Methodist Church. She passed on Oct. 1 after an eight-year battle with ovarian cancer.
“Most people didn’t even know it,” Sally Rajcic of the SCAD Board of Trustees said. “Not because she didn’t want people to know, but because she wouldn’t allow it to define her.”
Born in Atlanta, Poetter, who was 58, grew up heavily influenced by the arts. Poetter moved to Savannah in 1988, where she began her career at SCAD. As the first-ever director of college publications, Poetter spearheaded many of the university’s publications. She worked closely with students, encouraging the creation and advancement of the Student Media Center, of which District is a part.
“She touched so many lives and sparked so many bright ideas,” said Beth Concepción, a professor in the writing department. “[She was] the impetus for so many great achievements.”
Along with other various contributions to the community, Poetter founded The Georgia Guardian and edited it herself. She was in love with writing, friends say.
“Everything I learned about copy editing, I learned from her,” said Concepción. “I lived for that tiny little ‘yes!’ written in the margins.”
Those who remember Poetter knew her for loving more than just the page.
“After exchanging a few rounds of formal handshakes, I extended my hand to Pam,” said Chairman of the SCAD Board of Trustees, Taras Danyluk. “[Instead I was greeted with] a bright smile and an embracing, tight hug. ‘Welcome,’ she said, and welcomed I felt.”
Danyluk said she brought that same warmth wherever she went, even as SCAD expanded. “As the university grew, so did Pam’s role but her generosity never wavered.”
Poetter played an integral role in SCAD’s growth, and always pushed the school and the people around her to do their best, Concepción said. “She inspired us; she loved us; she prodded us; made us better people. Her influence is legendary.”
Poetter worked until only a few weeks prior to her death, she had a “fighter’s spirit,” Rajcic said. “If I were a betting woman … I bet Pam left her office in perfect order. She crossed every T and dotted every I.”
Poetter is survived by her mother, May Poetter of Savannah; sister, Paula Wallace of Savannah; and three children, Kevin Stogner of Washington, D.C.; Kimberly Stogner Shreve of Savannah; and Adam Afifi of Savannah.
Memorial contributions to The Pamela Elaine Poetter Scholarship Fund can be sent to P.O. Box 3146, Savannah, Ga. 31401.
Contact Kenneth Rosen.