Untimely passing of our colleague and friend

December 24, 2023

Dear Campus Community,

It is with profound sadness that I write to share some unexpected news. Earlier this morning, we learned of the untimely passing of Sara Gifford, Assistant Director of International Student Services. She died as a result of an automobile accident on Friday, December 22. The news has come as a shock to our entire community, including her fellow colleagues, Brad Lancaster and Carla Pavlik.

Although Sara joined the College only this summer, she had an immediate impact and her absence leaves a hole in the fabric of our community. You may have seen Sara on campus with her family as they attended many College events together. She helped countless Gettysburg students to feel at home on campus, and she was always there to offer support and a listening ear when you needed her most. Sara was a trusted mentor, colleague, and friend.

Sara greatly loved her work at Gettysburg College and dedicated her life to international education. She was a talented and prolific writer and was working to earn her doctorate degree.

Please join me in keeping Sara’s family, including her husband and two children, in your heart during this trying time.

If you find yourself in need of support, we encourage you to check in with a trusted support person. Students can contact an on-call crisis counselor through Campus Safety, 717-337-6911, and employees can connect with WellSpan EAP for counseling support.

Brad Lancaster has been in contact with our international students and we will be opening the International Student Center from 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. today. Brad, Carla, one of our counselors, and other members of the College Life team will be there for students who need support.

The way in which Sara lived her life—always guided by service, kindness, and hope—is a reminder of the impact we can have on the lives of those around us. May we commit today to honoring the remarkable legacy Sara leaves behind on our campus.


Bob Iuliano