35 Years of Beautiful Friendship and New Ones Just Beginning

Sally Peper Tompkins ’88 and Sudie Brown Danaher ’87 met while they were living on the third floor of Abbey Hall in the late 80’s, and they have been best friends ever since. Now, three of their children are following in their footsteps and beginning a new generation of CSC friendships.

Sally and Sudie instantly became friends when Sally moved across the hall from Sudie in 1988. They were both very involved students and loved their time at Colby-Sawyer College. Sudie majored in sport management and was a star-athlete participating in tennis, cross country skiing, lacrosse and soccer. Sally was a child study major and played lacrosse. She was also a member of the Key Association, giving tours to prospective students. After graduation, both women remained involved with Colby-Sawyer for years by serving as class correspondents for their classes, and Sally also was a member of the President’s Alumni Advisory Council. And of course, they occasionally came back for their reunions, sometimes staying where their friendship began – Abbey Hall.

When Sudie’s son, Charlie, began looking at colleges, she admits Colby-Sawyer College was not on her radar. “He was being recruited for the baseball team. He knew Colby-Sawyer had a really good baseball team, and thought the school would be a really good fit for him,” remembers Sudie. She was thrilled when he decided to come to CSC in 2017. Majoring in sport management, just like his mom, Charlie is currently a junior and lives in Rooke Hall.

Sally first visited campus with her daughter, Caroline, on a whim on their way back from a trip to the University of Vermont. She suggested they pull off Route 89 and take a quick look at campus while driving through New London. Sally says, “We pulled into the parking lot and saw Peg Rogers Andrews ’85 and Beth Bryant Camp ’92. She saw how excited they were to see me and our connection that was still so strong. I think that really resonated with her.” As Caroline’s college search narrowed, Colby-Sawyer always remained high on the list. In the spring of 2018, she was admitted into the nursing program and recruited for the field hockey team.

Caroline, Charlie and Janie

When Sudie’s daughter, Janie, began her college search last year, she knew for certain that she did not want to attend Colby-Sawyer. With her brother being here, she wanted to go somewhere else and have her own college experience. Janie was looking at larger schools, and had her heart set on the University of Vermont. When orientation rolled around in July, Janie attended and instantly felt like something was missing. She told her mom she didn’t want to go there. When Sudie asked what she wanted to do, Janie replied that she wanted to apply to Colby-Sawyer. So, with three days left till the rolling admissions application deadline, Janie applied to the nursing program. She was not only accepted into the nursing program, but was taken in as a walk-on for the field hockey team. Six days after applying, Janie was on the CSC campus for preseason with her new teammates. Sudie remembers her phone call to her lifelong friend, Sally. She said, “You’re not going to believe this, but the stars have lined up, and Janie will be attending Colby-Sawyer College this fall.”

And now a new friendship between these three Colby-Sawyer students has begun. Sudie says, “Even though they didn’t know each other before, I have talked about Sally for so long that Sally and Caroline are like extended family. Janie says she has so much in common with Caroline. She looks up to her for advice both on the field hockey team and in the nursing program.” It is not surprising to Sudie or Sally that everything has come full circle and that Caroline, Charlie and Janie have become friends. Sudie says, “Thirty-five years later, Sally and I are still best friends, and this has brought us even closer.”

By Donna Long