New scholarship in memory of Jamis Lott

Jamis Lott was a former Castleton art graduate. Lott was murdered on Nov. 17, 2014.
Photo Contributed by Callie Ginter

Kind, dependable, nurturing, idiosyncratic, docile and calm were just a few of the many words used over and over to describe the kind of person, friend, student and family member Jamis Lott, a former Castleton graduate, was.

“He had such an impact on the community,” said Donna Ginter, who lives in Lott’s hometown and is very close with his family.

On Nov. 17, Robin O’Neil, the ex-fiancé of Lott’s father, allegedly shot and killed both men while Lott was visiting his father in Townsend, Vt., police said.

Now, friends and family have come together in loving memory of Lott to support his family – and support future college students in his name.

Starting in the Ginter residence was the idea of a scholarship that would help celebrate Lott’s life. Since then, Donna and her son Pete Ginter, have been going door-to-door telling Lott’s story and asking for donations for what is now called the Jamis Lott Foundation Scholarship.

So far, the process has been going very well, Donna said happily.

She has been working with Liz Garside, director of annual fund and donor relations at Castleton, to set certain qualifications for the scholarship. As of right now Garside said the scholarship will be for a fine arts student with financial need and it will be available for the fall of 2015, but further standards still need to be decided before everything is set.

She also said if anyone would like to make a donation or contribution to this scholarship fund, they just need to send an email to or get ahold of the alumni office.

Lott graduated in 2011 as an art major at Castleton and an editorial cartoonist for The Spartan.

Former art professor Bill Ramage had the honor of getting to know Lott particularly well, not only as a student, but also as a friend and co-worker. Lott worked in Ramage’s art gallery for three years.  

Ramage said he was an interesting guy and very dedicated to the art-making process.

“His artwork was as idiosyncratic as he was. It was always very engaging,” he said, adding that Lott’s work was a little surreal and a little whimsical, which went along with his offbeat sense of humor.

Ramage said he likes the idea of creating such a scholarship.

Another close friend of Lott was Pete Ginter, also an art major at Castleton at the same time as Lott. They had been friends since they were young teenagers and he said Lott’s death left him distraught.

“Jamis is as natural as it gets. He let life go on as it is and was there just to enjoy the ride,” Pete said.

Considered a pretty unique man himself, Pete said he and Lott were very similar in character.  He referred to them both as “loners” of their family because they are very deep thinkers and sort of keep to themselves.

Seeing how many people have come together to honor Lott’s life, to Pete, is a true blessing.

“I’m happy that people like me are trying to keep Jamis’ attributes alive,” he said.

He fondly recalled jam sessions Lott used to attend, which took place down the road from their homes at a barn. Every Thursday, he said, people would go down to play music and Lott was always there with his artwork, sketching whatever he felt, sometimes of the band.

 He was finally at the point in his life where he was getting up on stage showing his work, Pete said. He called him “independent-minded” and a “free sprit.”

“He was a really genuine guy and he did everything on his own time. Know one could tell him any different,” Pete said.

And spawned from Lott’s tragic death will be concert series put together by the principal of the Leland and Gray High School Lott attended. It will be called the Last Saturday Series and will go on every Saturday from January to May. The bands will be community bands and it will be completely open and free to the public, Pete said.

The Ginters said they are thrilled with the amount support everyone has given, not only toward the scholarship, but also to Lott’s family. They said they just want people to truly remember who Lott was as a person.

“He was true blue. Absolutely what you see is what you get,” Pete said with adoration in his voice.


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