It is with a sad heart that I convey the news that on December 26, 2008, we lost Dr. Lance Peters ’89, a True Gentleman who was very special to New York Alpha, a past eminent archon who later became a chapter adviser to the brothers of younger generations, and who was a close friend to numerous other alumni. We all express our humble gratitude for what he did and for his significant commitment to New York Alpha over the years. We also express our deepest condolences to his parents, Jeffrey and Mary Ann Peters; brother, Brendan (Jil) Peters; one niece; one nephew; and special friend, Eric VanEvenhoven.
He specialized in joint replacements and practiced in Binghamton, Ithaca and Auburn. While an undergraduate, Lance was an active brother at SAE, serving in numerous leadership roles, including eminent archon and rush chairman. Last spring, he was honored by the Alumni Association as the recipient of the New York Alpha True Gentleman Award.
Membership in a fraternity is about building bonds with other men and developing skills for life. We are guided by John Walter Wayland’s words in our daily activities. Lance was more than chapter advisor to the young undergraduates that he mentored in that he exhibited all of the skills and attributes that are necessary to be successful in life. In Lance, one could see that it was possible to not only play an active role in the chapter but also find success outside of the house. Many actives remarked that although Lance was there in a supervisory role, he was more of a brother and friend than anything else. He took the time to get to know each and every brother on an individual basis. Not surprisingly, he took a keen interest in helping those who were pondering the notion of attending medical school after graduation. His calm, reassuring manner instantly put brothers at ease.
It was easy to forget that there was a chapter adviser in the room when the gavel was passed around at the end of chapter and others were boasting of their own possessions and achievements. Former EAs remark that, with Lance, it was always best to give it to him straight. It seemed that no matter the issue, Lance would remain unfazed and knew how to right the course of our action. He established strong relationships and avenues of communication with the staff of the OFSA;relationships that would be tested by the sometimes poor judgment of young men. It seemed that when this happened, Lance was always at his very best. He would put on his best suit and march up the hill with the officers in tow. They would not return to Hillcrest until the matter was resolved.
One of Lance’s most important contributions to the chapter was his leading by example, by exuding the notion that membership is for life. He selflessly gave his time and energy to the noble cause of creating the best fraternity on campus. He knew that without officer leadership or organization, the rest—the parties, the All Sports trophies—were for naught. And his leading by example set the tone and foundation for undergraduates to follow as they strived to make the chapter one of the best on campus. Lance inspired a generation of undergraduates to believe that participation in the chapter does not end with graduation. The young members of the alumni board can point to Lance as their inspiration for what it means to be an active alumnus of New York Alpha. He never seemed to want credit, despite the enormous contributions that he made to our house and to the lives of the undergraduate brothers that he mentored. In essence, he was and will always be a True Gentleman.
Lance leaves a void in our hearts with his sudden passing—let us remember that each day brings its joys and sorrows—but let us be inspired by Lance’s service to our fraternity. Let us remember that brotherhood is for life and that a fraternity is only as strong as each of its individual members. Brother Peters was an inspiration to us all. Those wishing may contribute to Auburn Hospital Foundation-Memorial Orthopedic Fund, 17 Lansing St., Auburn, NY 13021.
Brother Peters, may you rest in peace in Chapter Eternal.
Sean Mackay ’02
and the NYA Alumni Board
LANCE E. PETERS MD
1966 – 2008
EMINENT ARCHON SIGMA ALPHA EPSILON NY ALPHA
CORNELL BS 1989
CORNELL MEDICAL COLLEGE MD 1994
A TRUE GENTLEMAN
The world loved Lance Peters and he loved it back – his family, Sigma Alpha Epsilon brothers, classmates, physicians, hospital staff, patients and friends. He was amazing, brilliant, curious, witty, fun loving, and an incredible prankster. Lance was passionate about his many interests including computers, photography, water skiing, boating, hunting and track.
He came to Cornell as a CALS pre-med, joined SAE, and was elected fraternity Eminent Archon (President), leading the chapter thru difficult times and winning the affection and respect of the brothers. He served SAE as Alumni Chapter Advisor from 1996 to 2004 and was awarded the True Gentleman Award in 2008, the highest honor bestowed by the NY Alpha Alumni Board.
He received his MD from the Cornell Medical College and trained in orthopedic surgery at New York City’s Hospital for Special Surgery for four years. Lance returned to Ithaca and Cayuga Lake and built an orthopedic surgery practice. He treated patients that were mishandled by others, and sometimes did both knees or both hips at the same time. He once walked a hospitalized patient’s dog. When he observed a malpractice case he reported it to the hospital head who acknowledged it but refused to act. Lance wrote an account of the patient’s condition and what had transpired since the injury and then signed his name.
One hundred and sixty one people authored entries in his family’s condolence book.