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Peter Godshall '15 memorial information

Vice President for Student Affairs Ginger Ambler sent the following message to the campus community on Aug. 28, 2014 - Ed.

Dear W&M Community,

Memorial services for Peter Godshall are now being finalized, and I want to share the details with you.


A campus memorial service for Peter has been scheduled for tomorrow, Friday, August 29 at 7:30 p.m. on the grass field at Busch Stadium behind W&M Hall. Please join members of Peter’s family, his friends, and others from the William & Mary community as we gather to remember him and to celebrate his life. 


Peter’s funeral service will be held next Tuesday, September 2 at 2:00 p.m. at The Tatnall School’s Laird Performing Arts Center, 1501 Barley Mill Road, Wilmington, DE  19807 ( ). The College will provide transportation to and from Wilmington on Tuesday for students who would like to attend the funeral.  To request a seat on the bus, students should complete a brief reservation form ( no later than 5:00 p.m. on Friday.

We understand that a scholarship is being established in Peter’s memory at the Tatnall School.  More information about the scholarship will be included in his obituary, to be posted tomorrow through Sunday at  The family has requested that no flowers be sent. Our thoughts continue to be with Peter’s family and friends during these very difficult days.


Ginger Ambler


Vice President for Student Affairs Ginger Ambler sent the following message to the campus community on Aug. 25, 2014 - Ed.

Dear William & Mary Community,
I write to share more information about the student whose death I contacted you about earlier today. W&M Police alerted us this morning that Peter Godshall, a member of the class of 2015, had been found near the Crim Dell Bridge.  His death is the result of an apparent suicide.  

Peter, age 21, came to William & Mary from Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania.  He was completing a double major in history and finance at the College, and was well known to many on campus through his involvements in numerous campus organizations.  Peter was an officer in Beta Theta Pi fraternity and was active across the fraternity/sorority community.  He also played club lacrosse and served as that club’s president last semester.  Peter's friends remember him as a person who was recognized by everyone on campus, and who was valued and loved by all who knew him.

Since learning this tragic news, members of the student affairs staff have been reaching out and offering assistance to those who were closest to Peter. Counselors will be available throughout the day to talk with members of the campus community, as needed.  They will be in the Fraternity & Sorority Community Building by Yates field until noon, or as long as students continue to come in; in the Dodge Room, to the left off the lobby in PBK Hall, until 2 p.m., as well as in the Counseling Center until 6 p.m. As always, counselors are on call on a 24-hour basis and can be reached after hours through the W&M Police at 221-4596.  Additionally, the Residence Life staff, Dean of Students Office, campus ministers, and my office are available on a priority basis for those who need us.

Peter is survived by his mother, Sheridan Black, his father, Scott Godshall, and his younger brother, Malcolm. This is heartbreaking news for the his immediate family and for all of us who are part of the extended William & Mary family.  I know you join me in extending our deepest sympathy to Peter’s family and friends at this very difficult time.   I am including below, some information about suicide and suicide prevention – I hope it is useful to our campus community as we strive ever to be a place of care and concern for one another.

Ginger Ambler

Virginia Miller Ambler, Ph.D.
Vice President for Student Affairs
The College of William & Mary


About Suicide
According to national resources such as the Jed Foundation and the  American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), one in ten college students has at one time considered suicide, and suicide is the third leading cause of death nationally among those 15-24 years of age.  Almost all who die by suicide are suffering from an emotional disorder, most commonly depression.  As the AFSP notes, "90% of all people who die by suicide have a diagnosable psychiatric disorder at the time of their death."  Therefore, identifying and treating these illnesses is especially important; someone with an untreated emotional disorder may be more likely to attempt suicide in the wake of stressful life events.  
Knowing the Warning Signs
The most effective way to help in preventing suicide is to know the warning signs, take those signs seriously, and respond appropriately.  Fortunately, people who are suicidal CAN be helped with the proper treatment.  Common warning signs of suicide include:

•    Hopelessness
•    Rage, uncontrolled anger or seeking revenge
•    Acting recklessly or engaging in risky activities, seemingly without thinking
•    Feeling trapped, like there is no way out
•    Increased alcohol or drug use
•    Withdrawing from friends, family, and society
•    Anxiety, agitation, inability to sleep or sleeping all the time
•    Dramatic mood changes
•    Expressing no reason for living or no purpose in life
•    Inability to see the future without pain
•    Inability to make decisions or think clearly
•    Decision to stop taking prescribed medication for depression or other psychological disorder
•    Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide

How To Respond if You are Concerned About Someone

•    DO listen and offer support in a non-judgmental way
•    DO help the person explore feelings
•    DO widen options and explore alternatives for problem solving
•    DO ask direct questions about the person's intentions; ask if the person is considering suicide
•    DO communicate your concern for the person's well being
•    DO recommend that the person contact a mental health professional
•    DO call a professional yourself and offer to accompany the person to an initial appointment
•    DO call the police if you believe the risk of suicide is immediate
•    DON'T say "everything will be alright"
•    DON'T dare the person to "do it"
•    DON'T tell the person about someone who "has it worse"
•    DON'T promise secrecy to the suicidal person
•    DON'T leave the person alone if you believe the risk of suicide is imminent

William & Mary Resources
There are many campus resources available to give assistance to you and/or someone else in crisis.  Looking out for friends and loved ones is an especially important part of helping to prevent suicide.  In a community as close-knit as ours, we can do a great deal to reach out to one another in support.

•    The Counseling Center, 221-3620
•    The Student Health Center, 221-4386
•    The W&M Police, 221-4596
•    The Dean of Students Office, 221-2510
•    After hours, the evening dispatcher at the police department coordinates communication with all on-call professionals, including residence life staff, the dean on-call, and the counselor on-call
•    “Report Issues and Concerns” button on the Dean of Students webpage
•    EMERGENCY -- Call 911
•    The “At Risk: Friends in College” on-line training module