Today our community mourns the loss of Miriam Pederson, a beloved Professor Emeritus of English at Aquinas College. I extend my deepest sympathies to Professor Emeritus Ron Pederson, husband to Miriam; Miriam's son, Ben; daughter, Madeline; son-in-law, Luke Eschenburg; and grandchildren Clara and Oscar.

Miriam and Ron humbly served the Aquinas community for three decades, championing the Arts and Women's Studies. We have Miriam to thank for our thriving community of creative writing majors and minors, a program which she helped create here in the English department. A dedicated and talented teacher, she tirelessly encouraged students to reach their creative potential. She herself published a number of poems in anthologies like Poems from the Third Coast: Contemporary Michigan Poetry and journals like Passages North. She also published a chapbook called This Brief Light and co-edited The SAMPLER with Pamela Dail Whiting for many years.

Miriam was passionate about sharing poetry with people of all ages, leading workshops for several years at Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park, judging poetry contests, giving readings of her original work, and serving as a Poet in Residence at a number of schools like Belmont Elementary in Rockford, East Oakview Elementary in Northview, and the Delta-Schoolcraft ISD in Escanaba.

Together, Miriam and Ron crossed the sea with Aquinas Students to Ireland five times as faculty directors of the Tully Cross Study Away Program. They became affectionately known by many of those students as their "Ireland Parents." Their dedication to their students and this community was a gift. 

While we mourn the loss, we also celebrate the life of Miriam Pederson; one full of family, friends, poetry, and her musical laughter. She was a pillar of our Arts community here at Aquinas College, and shared her gift for language widely, from West Michigan to Tully Cross. I want to end this letter with an excerpt from her poem "More Light."

In this solstice time

we feel eternal–

an effortless short-sleeved ease

in leafy greens and friendly barbecues.

We own a sweet forgetfulness

that leaves will fall,

that sun will age our skin,

and that this light is ours

so briefly on this uncommon earth.