December 2019

Dear CSE Colleagues,

Dana Compton, CSE President

This month’s letter has been harder to write than usual. I spent a good chunk of last week wondering what I should focus on. A recap of the Board’s recent strategic planning session? A reminder that the end of the year is approaching and, with it, the time for us all to renew our CSE memberships? A funny story from Thanksgiving with the in-laws??

I struggled with a few different ideas and kept coming back to a discussion we had at the strategic planning meeting, centering around CSE’s unique qualities and what we, as members, feel we’ve gained from CSE that we haven’t from other organizations. One of the top answers was the relationships we’ve built with colleagues we may otherwise never have gotten to know. I’ve met more than a few people through CSE who I now consider personal friends, and I know that many of you have had the same experience. Walking out of two LONG days of CSE business in mid-November, I didn’t feel exhausted and burnt out, but energized and thankful to have had the pleasure of spending that time with some of my very favorite people in publishing.

Even though I knew I wanted to share those thoughts in some way, I stared at a blank screen for most of last week, unable to find just the right words. Then we received some devastating news this weekend, and this letter became simultaneously easier and far more difficult to pull together.

CSE lost one of our most dedicated members this weekend. After a 5-year battle with metastatic breast cancer, Mary Beth Schaeffer passed away on Friday, December 6. Her CSE resume is impressive: Mary Beth served as a Director-at-Large on the CSE Board from 2016-2019. As a Director, she acted as liaison to the Membership Committee. Prior to her term on the Board, Mary Beth participated on the Membership Committee and the Annual Meeting Program Committee, moderating many annual meeting sessions over the last 10 years. She co-chaired the 2011 Annual Meeting Program with Glenn Landis. She also served as short course faculty, including representing CSE at the ABEC meeting in São Pedro, Brazil.
But this list of accomplishments and service doesn’t begin to scratch the surface of what Mary Beth brought to CSE. If you knew Mary Beth, you know she brought a directness and humor all her own to any group she was a part of, and CSE is no exception. I think I can speak for all who served on the Board with her that we appreciated her straightforward, no-nonsense manner in the Board meetings almost as much as we loved her ability to keep us laughing. She fought her illness fiercely, with strength and grace, and still dedicated time to all of us at CSE. I think the last time I got to see her in person was at the 2018 Annual Meeting in New Orleans, where she’d brought her daughter along for some mother-daughter bonding/party time. I admired how she managed to remain energetic, upbeat, and fun-loving despite her diagnosis, and I always will.
Mary Beth epitomized the welcoming spirit of CSE that cropped up as a recurring theme during our Board meeting a few weeks ago. CSE is stronger thanks to her contributions. We appreciate her dedication and her service, but most of all her friendship. We will miss you, Mary Beth.

Click here to view Mary Beth’s obituary.