Terry Potter Memorial Fund

Terry Potter Memorial Fund

From Alan van den Arend

To honor Terry's memory, we're seeking donations to write grants for graduate students in the Rutgers - Camden History Department. Please help us endow a permanent fund to support their research.

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Terry's Story

One of the most personally significant decisions of Terry's life came in the last decade. In 2009, she decided to return to school at Rutgers University - Camden, where she would study for her Master of Arts in U.S. History. Her goal was simple: to pursue her long-time dream of becoming an archivist.

Over the subsequent years, Terry's involvement in the department led to an internship at the Philadelphia branch of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and, upon her successful graduation in 2014, a permanent position as an archivist. After a brief tenure with NARA, she accepted the opportunity to become the Director of the J. Welles Henderson Archives & Library at Philadelphia's Independence Seaport Museum.

Terry's transformative work at the Seaport Museum - which included the launch of a revolutionary digital materials catalog, a contribution to the Encyclopedia of Philadelphia, and a burgeoning network of committed scholars, researchers, and archival studies interns - was cut short in August of 2017, when she underwent emergency brain surgery and treatment for aggressive glioblastoma. After twenty months of hard-fought battles, Terry passed away peacefully on April 25th, comforted by her family and friends. At 58, she considered herself an archivist and historian until the end.

Our Cause

Aware of the transformative impact that Terry's time at Rutgers had on her, we want to remember and honor her legacy by supporting the institution's present and future graduate students. After speaking with the department's Director of Graduate Studies, Dr. Andrew Shankman, we identified a deep and persistent need to better support graduate students' research - a crucial element of historical study about which Terry was especially passionate.

Contributions to the Terry Potter Memorial Fund will endow grants to help graduate students prepare for, learn about, engage in, and present archival work - whether as part of their research, as continuing education, or as a career plan to become a practicing archivist. Our hope is to establish a permanent fund to support research by Rutgers-Camden history graduate students in perpetuity.

Testimonials from Rutgers Faculty

"Terry Potter’s passing is a loss not just to family and friends but to greater Philadelphia’s community of scholars, archivists, and librarians....Proud as I am of her achievements, I join the many people whose lives she touched in mourning the loss of a good friend. " - Dr. Howard Gillette, Founding Director Mid-Atlantic Regional Center for the Humanities; Professor of History Emeritus

"No one came to the evening graduate class with more energy than Terry Potter.... [or] expressed as much joy in learning and eagerness to learn." - Dr. Janet Golden, Professor of History Emerita

"Terry exemplified the qualities we hope to find in students we seek to recruit into our grad program and [we] are grateful for her time with us." Dr. Andrew Lees, Professor of History Emeritus

"Terry's willingness to take chances, offer her judgments, and risk missing targets (which she rarely did) encouraged younger and more cautious students to emulate her active involvement... She proved persistently curious about how research was designed and executed, how arguments were framed, and how conclusions were supported.... Terry’s enthusiasm and intensity lit up every room she entered. That’s rare." - Dr. Philip Scranton, former Graduate Program Director and Professor of History Emeritus

"In so many ways Terry Potter embodied everything the graduate history program at Rutgers-Camden is all about. She came to us in mid-life, not confident that she could do the work and needing a program that would welcome her to take the opportunity. She excelled, and every moment she spent with us never did anything but convey what a privilege she felt it was to talk about books and ideas, to develop as an intellectual, to participate in the life of the mind.  She always expressed deep gratitude to her professors for giving her the opportunity, and she was so modest that she never realized that watching Terry blossom was a great privilege for all of us who worked with her, that we were the lucky ones." - Dr. Andrew Shankman, Graduate Program Director and Professor of History

(click here to view the testimonials in full)

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