“Our friend, our colleague, our teacher and our neighbor”: Storytelling at the Celebration of the Life of Anne Goding

The Department of Communication welcomed family, friends, students, faculty colleagues and community members to the Honors Center on Feb. 20 for a Celebration of the Life of Anne Goding, retired lecturer of communication, who passed away in 2019.

Goding joined the SUNY New Paltz faculty in 2001 and was beloved by students and colleagues within the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences and across campus. She forged connections with numerous students over the years through her compassionate teaching, advising and mentorship. She also worked closely with fellow faculty members in her department.

The College had the privilege of welcoming Yarrow Goding, Anne’s daughter, and other family members, who traveled to New Paltz from Washington state to participate in the celebration.

Many colleagues offered words of remembrance in Goding’s honor, including Jeri Burns, adjunct faculty in the Department of Communication, who performed a short story with musical accompaniment.

A student tribute included the College’s chapter of the National Residence Hall Honorary presenting its Staff or Faculty Award to Yarrow Goding, in recognition of Anne’s exceptional teaching and mentorship.

“I’m so deeply grateful to everyone who came and shared their love of my mom,” Yarrow Goding said. “I continue to learn about her and all the ways in which she was an exceptional human being even now, after her passing. I am particularly grateful to her students who shared the ways in which she helped them navigate the transitions of life. I also have nothing but gratitude for Jeri and Janice [Anderson] for creating such a beautiful celebration that so clearly reflected who my mom was.”

Selected memories and tributes shared at the Celebration of the Life of Anne Goding are excerpted below.


“My mom had this unconditional and undemanding love at the core of who she was. It’s this gigantic challenge that she’s given all of us, because she also believed in paying it forward. So now, that love that she gave all of us, we need to go out and pass it on.”

“At 42 years old, she went back to school to finish that degree, and learn even more about the world. At 50 she had her master’s degree, and shortly after that she came here, to New Paltz. She came to teach, but found a home here.

“As she was in the hospital, all she talked about was her students, her colleagues, and getting back to work. I knew that this was her community, and I want to thank you all for giving her that community for all those years, and for coming together now to honor her.”Yarrow Goding, daughter


“Anne loved stories, and she loved storytelling. She loved the way it builds community when a story is told, how people connect through the act of storytelling. She loved when people learned from stories; learning about the world, about other cultures, and about themselves. She was so committed to this idea that she developed a class, a really popular class, here at SUNY New Paltz. She probably taught 242 sections of that class over the course of its life. It’s astounding what she did with that class.”

“In thinking about how we can honor Anne, we thought it would be nice to tell a story à la that class.”

“I’m telling this because this story, for me, reflects Anne in a number of ways. She had the generosity to share the beauty in the things that she had. She also had the vision to care about what she was doing, and she kept that at the forefront of her teaching and her interactions with other people. She looked at the world always seeing possibility and beauty.”Jeri Burns, adjunct faculty, Department of Communication, and founding member of The Storycrafters.


“I enrolled in Professor Goding’s ‘Small Group Communications’ class during my first semester at New Paltz. I’ve never been so sure after just one class that I was going to love a professor. Her classes were always full by the end of the first day of registration. I remember rushing to register, searching her name and immediately clicking into her class.”

“She was one-of-a-kind. She cared deeply about her students, including their mental health, which I really appreciated. She was more than just a professor to her students, and I know I and many others would go to her office just to talk to her. I miss dropping by her office just to say hello to my favorite professor.”Marissa Richman ’20 (Communication Studies), president of the SUNY New Paltz campus chapter of the National Residence Hall Honorary.


“Anne was one of the most broadly read, intellectually engaged people I have ever met. She was always engaged with life, and had one of the greatest passions for learning I’ve ever known.”Janice Anderson, associate professor of communication and event emcee


“When she walked in the room there was warmth, there was kindness, there was energy about her in terms of her teaching and her subject matter. We will always feel her warmth and her kindness, because she had such a lasting presence.”Lynn Spangler, former associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences and former chair of the Department of Communication (retired)


Students who may require assistance in processing Anne’s passing can contact the Psychological Counseling Center at 257-2920. Employees are encouraged to contact the Employee Assistance Program at 257-2886.