RIT mourns the passing of Janice Strine, coordinator for the NTID Athletic Support Team, and before that an educator at the Rochester School for the Deaf (RSD). Strine, or “Jan” as she liked to be called, touched the lives of students and faculty alike, leaving an impression that few ever do, and none will forget.
Strine taught physical education at RSD in the 1970’s where she also coached swimming and gymnastics. “It was amazing to me to see someone who went out of her way to make sure everyone had been involved,” Joe Hamilton, a former student of Strine’s at RSD commented. “She was always positive, and was always encouraging us. She never gave up until you nailed it.”
Strine maintained close relationships with the coaching staff, along with the students themselves, to make sure that everyone was involved. “She always wanted to make sure that everyone had their chance,” Meredith Ray, an Interpreter at NTID and a NTID Athletic Support Team member said. “She made sure that everyone soared.”
In the mid 1980’s, Strine came to teach at RIT as a wellness coordinator. Linda Bryant, Interim Dean for Student and Academic Services at NTID, spoke highly of her. “If anything needed to be done, and Jan was working on it, it would get done,” said Bryant.
“She once told me, ‘I could never imagine retirement,’” said Gerry Bateman, a close friend of Striner’s. “There was always that temptation to walk into her office just to talk.” Striner always went above and beyond her duties; she even put a class together to get coaches to learn sign language so that communication between them and the athletes was improved. She always made sure that students and athletes had a chance and would succeed.
“Jan’s office was right next to mine, it has been incredibly hard to come into work every day and looked at her closed door,” said Louann Davies, a fellow wellness coordinator “It was always humming with life! Students were in and out, laughing, sometimes crying. But it was always about Jan’s heart, she loved the happy times with her students and was determined to help a student who needed her support or guidance.”
In February of 2013, Strine received word that she had lymphoma. “She knew she was sick, but she was still planning to teach, she was always hopeful,” Batemen commented. On September 21, 2013, Strine lost her battle. She left behind a legacy that everyone who knew her will remember. “She was a bridge,” Byrne commented. “She made sure everyone succeeded. The hallways just aren’t the same with her gone.”
Strine taught kindness and compassion, not just by words but by actions, that’s one of the defining qualities of those who change the world around them. “She was really humble, but she was a real asset to the deaf community and to people as a whole.” Hamilton stated.
Jan was one of the people that truly changed peoples’ lives in a world where too often compassion isn’t shown and stories go unnoticed. She left behind a legacy of kindness and fortitude, giving everyone a chance and making sure no one was left out. Her name, her kindness and big heart will not be forgotten. “She will be greatly missed, but her spirit will always remain,” said Bryant.
In Strine’s memory, NTID is raising money to build a labyrinth, a meditation spot, to commemorate her and respect her spiritual side. If you would like to contribute to Strine’s labyrinth please contact the RIT Office of Development or visit www.rit.edu/makeagift.