Patricia Pogue Couper, Hamilton friend, benefactor and widow of alumnus Richard W. Couper ’44, died Monday evening at her home. She was 90.
“It is difficult to imagine College Hill without Patsy’s optimism, smiling benevolence and immense good will,” President Joan Hinde Stewart said in announcing the news to the Hamilton College community. “The people and things she cared about shone through in all her conversations: wildflowers, Dick Couper, their children and grandchildren, libraries, music, Hamilton College. I am surely not the only one who took encouragement and hope from every meeting I had with her and who will cherish the beautiful cards and letters she wrote by hand.”
A native of Cincinnati, Patsy earned a degree in French from Smith College before she came to Hamilton in 1946 with her husband Dick. After stops in Albany, Princeton and New York, the Coupers retired to Clinton, where they immersed themselves in the life of the college they loved.
Patsy and Dick created the Williams-Watrous-Couper Fund, which provides support for faculty research and teaching improvement at Hamilton. They also endowed the Couper Librarianship and supported in many other ways the College’s library and its collections. Local organizations, such as the Kirkland Town Library and the Oneida County Historical Society, were beneficiaries of the Coupers’ largesse.1
After Dick died in 2006, Patsy remained a steady presence on campus. She audited classes; exercised in the fitness center; enjoyed concerts, lectures and sporting events; and attended every annual celebration from Convocation, to Class & Charter Day, to Baccalaureate and Commencement.2 In 2007, the Alumni Association recognized her with its highest honor, the Bell Ringer Award, for her “enthusiastic commitment to the College and your lively presence in its life.”
In 2011, Hamilton dedicated the Patricia Pogue Couper Research Room in the Burke Library and presented her with an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters.
“Patsy Couper was and remains an inspiration and an example to Hamilton students, to our faculty and staff, and to me,” Stewart said.
Editor's note: Patsy will be remembered at a memorial service on Saturday, Feb. 22, at 11 a.m. in the Hamilton College Chapel. A reception will follow in Dwight Lounge in the Bristol Center. Calling hours are from 5-8 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 21, at Owens-Pavlot & Rogers Funeral Service in Clinton. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be sent to the Trustees of Hamilton College, 198 College Hill Rd., Clinton, NY 13323. (Updated Wednesday, Feb. 19, at 3:30 p.m.)
1 Adapted from Bell Ringer citation, June 2, 2007
2 Adapted from Honorary Degree citation, May 22, 2011