In Memoriam - Sylvia Shortt, co-founder of Wildcat Alumni Magazine.
In Memoriam, Sylvia Shortt
Should you wish to honor Sylvia’s legacy, consider a contribution to the Sylvia Shortt Scholarship for International Students at University of West Georgia here. Also, Sylvia was working tirelessly to support the Democratic candidates in the Georgia Runoff Election on January 5th. She encouraged everyone to vote, regardless of party.
These words come from Malcolm Ryder after hearing of Sylvia’s sudden death on December 17, 2020.
Unknown to us, at virtually the exact moment that we were launching Volume 1 Issue 1 of Wildcat Alumni Magazine online, one of our team members, Sylvia Shortt was suddenly in the last minutes of her life. Sylvia didn't find out that we launched. Her hospitalization, non-COVID, was wholly unexpected and brutally brief. She was gone before we knew it; before she could see what she'd done.
During the run up to the launch, she had always been doing what she did best — making other people's efforts more likely to reach their goals. We thought, jealously, that once she got past text banking tirelessly for months to help the people of Georgia and America get more of what they need from leaders, that we would get more of her for ourselves — to do the next issue, and the next, and to have much more of her blend of memories, compassion, energy and frankness that spread beneath her laugh and her affection for people — in our weekly zoom calls.
Her favorite question was "how did you get from where you were to here?" Her career, spanning decades, will show that there are hundreds, and more hundreds, of people who can answer that question only by including what she did for them. She was all about us doing that for each other.
Our memory of her from three days ago and from 1973 are equally vivid. When she agreed to start this project with us, we knew only intuitively that it would be about discovering and appreciating each other, setting that example, and spreading it widely. We have the certainty that she knew it was going in the right direction; the challenge to keep learning how that works, and the need to not let her down.
The following comments come from Sylvia’s friends and acquaintances on Facebook:
From the class of ’73 members:
“I’m sure that she feels a sense of pride in recent elections and had an opportunity to cast her vote in the runoff.”
“ I was checking her FB page Tuesday night because she hadn’t posted her daily story, (a constant source of memes and wisdom to save and repost later.”
“I’m stunned and so very sad to hear that her singular, interesting personality, spirit and light have winked out of this world.”
“Her spirit was so uplifting and I loved her humor and care and concern for others.”
From fellow dormies:
“She made each of us feel that we were a special friend.”
“ So sorry to have lost her, and that the world has lost her.”
From her Facebook page:
“ So saddened to hear. The ripple effects of your good work impacted my life so greatly. I wouldn’t have been able to attend UWG and finish my degree without all the work you did. I’ve met some of my favorite people in life because you created a safe and happy place for all international students to hang out. “
“You will missed by many and forgotten by none.”
“ You were a special person… selfless and extremely intelligent with an open mind… this is a rarity in today’s world for someone to be so open and humble.”
“ Thank you for everything you did to move humanity forward.
“ She was a mentor, mother, inspiration, and support to countless students who walked through her doors.”
“ I have known Sylvia through American College Counseling Association and always admired her organizational and leadership skills as well as her being multicultural and her ways of accepting other cultures.”
“ The world has lost a kind soul.”
“ Deeply shocked and saddened. Sylvia, your world view always heartened me at times when our world look dark.”
“ Thank you for sharing your journey and graciously leaving your beautiful self as an enduring presence in my heart.”
“ Her intellect, spirit, and pro-humanist ferocity live on.”
“ Hard to imagine the world without her light in it, even though I know that light will shine on through all who were touched by her.”
“ Passionate Democrat, motivated football fan and so much more.”
“ She showed me what being dedicated and compassionate truly looks like.”
“ Democracy didn’t have many better allies than Sylvia, who showed me what tirelessly volunteering for a cause was like from a grassroots level. “
“Selfless, loving and caring but still a strong woman…. Fighting for all things just and fair.”
“ From the American Counseling Association, “heartbroken to read of her passing. She was committed, dedicated, and so wonderful to work with.”
“ We are all diminished by her passing.”
“ Your intelligent, fun, democrat-hippy view on what is going on in this world will be missed dearly!”
“ I’ll never understand how people like Sylvia Shortt are able to break the social fabric and be close friends to so many people in so many countries and never lose touch.”
“Your fire, your wisdom, your passion, your optimism and your fight will be sorely missed.”
In Sylvia’s own words:
“Old friends are the best friends. They know you before all the life crap…… at the very beginning of all the life crap. It is coming home to a safe haven.”