Tribute to Elizabeth Howell

We shared the sad news last year when Elizabeth Howell, a SUNY Potsdam music major and member of the Crane Symphony Orchestra, was shot & killed as she was walking near campus. After more than a year, the motive behind the drive-by shooting was finally revealed at the sentencing of Michael Snow from Massena, who prosecutors say held a grudge against the college.  Snow was given a 22-years-to-life sentence in prison.  In response to the sentencing, SUNY Potsdam’s President, Suzanne Smith, released a statement and a video of one of Elizabeth Howell’s performances from one of Crane’s popular Candlelight Christmas Concerts.  Howell as a talented cello player, and studying to become a music teacher.

Watch Crane Symphony Orchestra Candlelight Christmas Concert with Elizabeth Howell:

Read President Smith’s Statement on Elizabeth Howell:

Remembering Elizabeth Howell ’22

July 28, 2023

Dear Campus Community,

As you may know, today was the sentencing hearing in the case of the death of Elizabeth Howell ’22 at St. Lawrence County Court. Michael Snow of Massena, N.Y., has now been sentenced to 22 years to life in prison, after pleading guilty to second-degree murder in the shooting, which took place just off campus, on February 18, 2022.

Our hearts are with Beth’s family and friends, and with all members of our community who have been affected by her tragic loss—today and always.

For all who knew and loved Beth, there are no adequate words of solace or comfort, even as her murderer is sentenced. A talented Crane School of Music student, Beth was a gifted cellist and an aspiring music teacher who was beloved by all who knew her. She was set to graduate with honors in May 2022.

As her family wrote, Beth “knew what she wanted out of life, and went for it without hesitation.” Following her death, SUNY Potsdam posthumously awarded her degree and presented it to her family in her stead at Commencement, alongside her classmates.

For all who are grieving, please remember to seek support and to be compassionate to yourself and to each other. Please also remember that the College Counseling Center is available as a resource for any student who needs support. The Employee Assistance Program can connect faculty and staff with counseling support as well. 

Anyone seeking a quiet place of reflection and remembrance is invited to visit Cassie’s Harp, the memorial space dedicated to all SUNY Potsdam students who have been lost too soon. We also invite you to remember Beth with this performance in tribute to her memory, performed by the Crane Chorus and Crane Symphony Orchestra. We will forever remember Beth as a beloved member of the SUNY Potsdam family.


Suzanne R. Smith
President, SUNY Potsdam