Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
Support independent student journalism. Support independent student journalism. Support independent student journalism.
The Dartmouth
May 30, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Lynn Proctor '99 dies suddenly at Cornell

Lynn Proctor '99, a cum laude College graduate in physics, died Thursday of supposed heart failure at her apartment near Cornell University. She was 22.

Proctor's roommate, Ann Bilderback '99, told The Dartmouth last night Proctor left her a note on Thursday night saying she did not feel well.

Bilderback, who had been studying long hours for her midterms at the Cornell Veterinarian School, assumed Proctor was sleeping and awake through the next few days, and that she simply missed her.

Proctor was studying in the Cornell graduate program in applied physics with the intent of getting a Ph.D., Bilderback said.

However, Bilderback said she realized Saturday morning that something was wrong, and found that Proctor had died Thursday night.

Bilderback said doctors performed an autopsy on Proctor and that she was a "perfectly healthy 22 year old." There was no fluid in Proctor's lungs, infection or disease, Bilderback said.

Class of 1999 Dean Sylvia Langford said the death is particularly sad coming so soon after to Proctor's graduation.

"It's very sad," Langford said.

Bilderback called Proctor her "best friend since day one" of college, someone she met during Orientation for the Class of 1999.

"If I had to sum up Lynn in one word, it would be totally 'giving,'" Bilderback said. "She was the most wonderful friend to me, always giving me presents, flowers, and making me coffee everyday to keep me awake to study."

Bilderback said mutual friends affectionately teased the two girls about their closeness.

"People who knew us knew that we were a package deal," she said.

Proctor's sweetness and intellectual success led to the Physics Department's creation of a special honor for her when she graduated.

Physics Chair Mary Hudson said she created the Chair's Award to honor Proctor -- and subsequent seniors -- who distinguished themselves in the department aside from grade point averages or theses.

Proctor decided on a physics major in her sophomore year and completed more than enough courses for the major in a shorter time period than usual.

Hudson said Proctor was the student professors steered underclassmen to when they sought physics advice. She said Proctor "excelled" in the major.

Bilderback said in addition to studying, Proctor also worked at Lowe Auditorium and did research with a laboratory.

Proctor was also a "running fanatic" who could go running up to three times a day, Bilderback said.

Bilderback characterized both herself and Proctor as bookworms, telling The Dartmouth she could go on for hours with stories that symbolized Proctor for her.

Time spent in a rundown New York City apartment during their junior summer meant a great deal, Bilderback said.

The two girls went to musicals and went shopping, but avoided clubs, since Proctor was not a big drinker and did not frequent the fraternity scene much at the College, Bilderback said.

They would take walks often and watched numerous movies, Bilderback said.

"She would always leave me notes around the apartment to make me laugh. There are about 20 up around the apartment right now which will always stay up as long as I live here," Bilderback said.

A native of Tallahassee, Florida, Proctor is survived by her parents and an older brother, Kelly. Funeral services will be held Thursday in Florida.