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fall 2011

emma willard school

Emma, the bulletin of Emma Willard School, is published by the Communications Office for the Emma Willard School community, and its mission is to capture the school’s remarkable history, values, and culture through objective coverage that adheres to the highest journalistic and literary standards.

Rachel Morton

Trudy E. Hall

Editor rachel@rachelmorton.com

Head of School

Megan Galbraith

Director of Strategic Communications mgalbraith@emmawillard.org Kelly A. Finnegan

Director of Alumnae Relations kfinnegan@emmawillard.org Jill Smith

Class Notes Coordinator jsmith@emmawillard.org Bidwell ID

Design www.bidwellid.com

Please forward address changes to: Emma Willard School 285 Pawling Avenue Troy, NY 12180 518.833.1787 alumnae@emmawillard.org or visit www.emmawillard.org/alumnae

The Home Issue

emma willard school fall 2011


06 Emily Dickinson’s View

Home was both a refuge and prison for the elusive and enigmatic poet, says Dickinson scholar Polly Ormsby Longsworth ’51.

12 Rooted

She practically lived in the greenhouse during her Emma years, and it pointed Sue Gawler ’73 toward a career and a life passion.

14 At Home in Hell’s Kitchen 18 Father Mother God 20 Audacia

Shanti Nagel ’98 is greening her New York City neighborhood and making those city blocks verdant and safer.

An excerpt from the memoir of Lucia Ewing Greenhouse ’80 about her life in Christian Science.

Women from around the world gathered in New York to take on an audaciously big issue: educating every girl, everywhere.

departments FEATURED ALUMNA ARTIST “Kitty’s Old Room” (2005). A photograph by Abigail Feldman ’92, from her Habitation & Hibernation of Memory series. Visit her website: www.abigailfeldman.com.

On the cover Fabric art by Caroline Hwang.

02 Headlines

32 Class Notes

e importance of being at Th home in the world.

36 Memorial List

04 Emma Everywhere

80 Women’s Work

Commencement 2011, newsmakers, and a new website.

Home is made possible by community, says architectural designer Wiebke Noack Theodore ’77.

24 Connections Reunion and Distinguished Alumnae Awards.

Printed on 100% recycled paper that is manufactured entirely with nonpolluting, wind-generated energy.


02 2


By Trudy E. Hall, Head of School

At Home in the World It was so dark it was surreal in the desert of Jordan. There was only the ground beneath my feet to assure me I was still tethered to reality. I was miles from the smells and sounds of the familiar bustle of life. I was aware of new sensations, yet I felt at home, safe and at one with this new environment. The comforting pulse of a place that gently, firmly grounds our experience in reality isn’t always evident to the five senses, sometimes it has to be experienced by the heart. That is the concept of “home.” This was in January, when I traveled with Emma alumna Pam Skripak ’80 to visit King’s Academy outside Amman, Jordan. Guests of the Royal Court, we were privileged to enjoy a “pinch-me-is-it-real” The pulse adventure that took us from the of a place sometimes Dead Sea to the ancient civilization of Petra, from deep sea has to be experienced diving in the Gulf of Aqaba to . That is by the Wadi Rum. While our friends the concept of texted us to ensure we were okay in the midst of the unrest portrayed in the media, we were warmly embraced by the Jordanian people, experiencing the strength and breadth of their remarkable culture. We were safe; we were at home there. As we guide young women from adolescence to adulthood at Emma, we have been debating the concept of home using an important word: cosmopolitan. Not the drink or the magazine, the

comforting heart

“ home.”


cosmopolitanism we are discussing is the big idea that our global reality calls for educated women to “live” the understanding that all peoples everywhere share enough commonalities to be bonded in community; that their individual responsibility extends to all humankind. Cosmopolitanism is surfacing in academic circles as deep thinkers promote inclusive thinking about economic, political, or religious relationships between distinct governments and nation states. Kwame Anthony Appiah, a philosopher and cultural theorist at Princeton University, has written extensively on this emerging mindset. He notes in Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers that two ideas “intertwine in the notion of cosmopolitanism:” the first is the idea that our obligation to others extends beyond shared citizenship, and the second is we should make being informed about the cultures and belief systems of others a priority. This thinking is the foundation for the type of “home” we work to build here at Emma. We say that an Emma girl should feel at home anywhere in the world, able to feel the authentic pulse beat of any place deep in her heart and soul, firmly grounded even in the inky blackness of foreign territory. We want her to have competencies that will help her cross all manner of imaginary boundaries. Imagine what the world would be like and what we would need to commit to change so each of us could feel at home anywhere in the world. Home. A deep and satisfying notion that can become a mission for us all.

The Meaning of Home The idea of home is deep and personal. Where we live says much about who we are, who our parents were, what we want for our children, and what we hope to be.

“Self-Portrait Marshall,” a photo by Jessica Todd Harper ’93

Home might mean a spiritual community, like Lucia Ewing Greenhouse ’80 describes in her memoir about her life in a Christian Science home—a life she rejected after her mother’s tragic death. Or for Emily Dickinson, says Dickinson scholar Polly Ormsby Longsworth ’51, home meant a house and garden in a small Massachusetts town that formed the boundaries of her life from birth to death. Nature became home for Sue Gawler ’73, both professionally and personally, and she discovered it in the greenhouse at Emma Willard. Shanti Nagel ’98 took her rural roots into New York City, turning Hell’s Kitchen into a verdant, home neighborhood. Our homes have walls of wood or brick, tin or adobe. They locate us in a forest or a suburb, the town we were born in or a foreign country. Emma grads live in cabins at the South Pole and on fishing boats in Florida, in mud huts in Africa and skyscrapers in Hong Kong. Here are a few of their stories.


emma everywhere

They Left their Mark Under a cloudless blue sky on a picture perfect day in May, the 197th Emma Willard Commencement took place, attended by the 84 members of the Class of 2011, their teachers and family, honored guests and loved ones. The class was hailed by Head of School Trudy Hall as one known for its good works, its humanitarian spirit, which she said reflected the actions of Emma Willard herself. “You have come to believe that while being good might be commendable, it is only when combined with doing


good that it is useful,” said Hall. “You are determined to matter, to be useful, to make a mark.” She then introduced keynote speaker U.S. Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand ’84 (D-NY), a leading advocate for education and equality issues, who thanked the Board and faculty for “everything you do to prepare the next generation of women leaders,” saying that these Emma graduates filled her with “extraordinary hope for the future.” Senator Gillibrand recounted her journey into public service and

asked the graduates: “How are you going to take the lessons you learned at Emma Willard to make a difference? How are you going to pick up where all the women who have come before us left off? I hope each one will find an opportunity in your lives to do public service. Through public service you can truly make a difference.” A revered faculty member, Kathleen McNamara, the Margaret Wing Dodge Instructor in Literature, delivered the Faculty Farewell offering these parting words


Every girl and faculty/staff member read Fast Food Nation during the summer, and this fall the author, Eric Schlosser, spoke on campus as part of the Serving and Shaping Her World Speaker Series. Schlosser, investigative journalist, producer, and author, spoke about the body image issues facing women and girls today and how that has impacted their relationship with food. Another speaker in the series, Dr. Donna Blackwell, executive director of AUDACIA, captured the energy, dialogue, and outcomes of the global forum on girls’ education that Emma Willard sponsored in September in New York City. Read more about the forum on page 20 of this magazine, or go to www.emmawillard.org/emmaeverywhere/global-girls/audacia. Also presenting was Guerda Harris ’68, who told a first-hand account of life during the Papa Doc Duvalier regime in Haiti. Her journey from Haiti to Emma Willard reveals her personal strength as well as the strength of community.

U.S. Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand ’84 gave the keynote address.

of wisdom to the class: “What matters most is not your answers, but your questions.” Degrees were conferred by Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees Anne N. DePrez ’73, who also received the Jameson Adkins Baxter Award. Beverly Burke Gunther ’60 received the Clementine Miller Tangeman Award, and the Senior Speaker was Fatima Attalah Johnson. Trudy J. Hanmer, Associate Head

Emerita delivered the Words of Farewell. As graduates processed to the Senior Triangle to bid farewell to their teachers, Trudy Hall’s last words may have been ringing in their ears: “You may be assured that you have left the mark of your benevolence on this place, and we believe this place has left its mark on your altruistic hearts. Go now with our blessing and our thanks.”

Caroline Kesselem ’12 was selected as one of the three delegates from New York to attend the Global Youth Institute in Iowa. She competed with 14 other students for the honor. This is the second year in a row that an Emma girl has qualified to attend the Global Youth Institute. Jeeyon Chung ’12 attended last year.

New Emma Online This fall, Emma relaunched emmawillard.org. The website is fresh, authentic, and dynamic, just like an Emma Girl. It was designed by Bidwell ID and built by Schoolyard.

Fall 2011

emma everywhere





Emily Dickinson's V iew A scholar’s restoration of the famous homestead offers a glimpse into the reclusive poet’s daily life

By Rachel Morton Painting by Elizabeth Pols

Fall 2011


Some keep the Sabbath going to Church– I keep it, staying at Home– With a Bobolink for a Chorister– And an Orchard, for a Dome–


Emily Dickinson

outlines of Emily Dickinson’s life can be traced around the foundation of a yellow brick building on Main Street in Amherst, Massachusetts. This is the house where Dickinson was born, lived most of her life, and died. This house defined her universe.

The Dickinson Homestead was both a paradise and a prison for the poet, who after an ordinary childhood filled with friends, school, and travels, became increasingly reclusive. By the time she was in her late twenties, she had begun a retreat into that home, experiencing the world through her family, newspapers and books, and through her rich correspondence with several close friends and associates. Eventually, in the town, she was thought to be an eccentric—an odd vision, often in white, seen only fleetingly at the window of her bedroom or in her garden. Neighbors had no idea of her dedication to her poetry or the rigor of her intelligence. When Polly Ormsby Longsworth ’51 moved to Amherst in 1961, Emily Dickinson’s home was protected by a high hemlock hedge that in subsequent years became a tangle of overgrown shrubs and trees. Seventy-five years had passed since the death of this mysterious woman, celebrated as one of America’s most original poets. Though the myth of the reclusive poet was well known in town, knowledge of her poetry and her life was mostly restricted to a cadre of literary scholars and poets. And her


home, the Dickinson Homestead, once the pride of a prominent Amherst family, was literally lost in the trees. Longsworth has helped change all that. Today 13,000 visitors a year tour the Emily Dickinson Museum. As founding chair in 2003 of the Board of Governors of the Emily Dickinson Museum, and still a member of that board, Longsworth has been engaged in raising funds to enable the restoration and renovation of the Dickinson Homestead and the Evergreens next door, where Emily’s brother, Austin, lived with his family. Longsworth, a leading Dickinson scholar who has written extensively on Dickinson’s life and works, admits, “I have something of an Emily obsession. I’m devoted to her poetry. Devoted to her. It’s hard to explain obsessions, but luckily I know a lot of other people who are obsessed with Dickinson. It’s indigenous to this poet.” People come from all over the world to enter Dickinson’s home and climb the stairs to the room where her possibilities as a writer were realized. “Her bedroom is sacred to people,” says Longsworth. “As she herself wrote, ‘Sweet hours have perished here,/This is a mighty

room –’ People come to stand in the room. They are awestruck.” Longsworth can relate. She developed a passion for Dickinson early in her writing career. After graduating from Smith College, she worked for a New York publisher in the juvenile department and published her first book in 1958—a book about cave exploring, an adventure she was introduced to by her soon-to-behusband Chuck Longsworth. They married, and in 1961 the young couple moved to Amherst, where her husband joined the administration of Amherst College, “and I fell into the arms of Emily Dickinson.” Though she’d been an English major at Smith, she hadn’t studied Dickinson, “so I started from scratch.” At that time new and rich resources for Dickinson’s poetry, letters, and papers were becoming available to scholars. So she began educating herself about the “Belle of Amherst.” She wrote a second book for teenagers, “really to explain Emily Dickinson to myself. I thought that was the end of it,” laughs Longsworth, who instead wrote three more. “But once Emily gets her hooks into you, it’s hard to escape her.” Why is Emily Dickinson such a source of fascination? Why does her life and poetry attract intense interest and adoration? Longsworth thinks it has to do with the enduring mystery of the woman. “There are so many unanswered questions,” she says. For example, why did she wear white? Why did she never publish


her poems during her life? Did she have a lover? Analyzing her poetry and letters, scholars have argued these questions for years. And why was she reclusive? Dickinson withdrew into her own home, and late in life refused to let a physician examine her. She walked by the doorway to let the doctor see her. Her sister Lavinia became her proxy, standing in as dress model so Emily could have her garments made without being seen or touched by a seamstress. She communicated regularly with her best friend and sister-in-law, Susan, who lived next door, largely through notes and poems. She entered the play of her beloved niece and nephew by lowering gingerbread in a basket from a second-floor window. At her father’s death, she didn’t attend the funeral service or receive visitors in the library afterwards. She just opened her bedroom door a crack so she could hear it. “You can’t just say her behavior was quirky,” says Longsworth. “These are not just quaint little habits. I’m convinced that she suffered from an anxiety disorder, a social phobia. There’s sufficient evidence in her own words to support it.” Longsworth notes a letter in which Emily describes symptoms of a panic attack while outside the home, and she increasingly turned to Lavinia for help and support in navigating the world. When in 1883 she learned that her adored nephew was nearing death, she was distraught and went next door to see him. This was the first time in 15 years she had left her home, and

it would be the last time. After that, the Homestead was her world. “In one of her poems, How soft this Prison is, she talks about the bars that keep her from going from home. At the same time, that’s where she wants to be.” The house at 280 Main Street, located near the center of town, once bustled with the activity of Emily’s politically active and socially

Her mother, Emily Norcross, was a quiet woman who was skilled in the household arts and passionate about gardening, and who taught her daughters to excel in both. The house must have been an appealing one, both inside and out. Though it was a stately and large house, its three-acre lot contained a working barn with chickens, cows, and the occasional pig, fruit trees, a full vegetable garden, orchards, grape

As Emily’s circle of comfort got smaller and she became homebound, her sister became her main support, her messenger, and her advocate. prominent family. Her grandfather, Samuel Fowler Dickinson, was instrumental in the founding of Amherst College. Her father, Edward Dickinson, a lawyer, was treasurer of Amherst College for nearly 50 years and helped bring the railroad to town. Her brother, Austin, also a lawyer, helped shape the future of Amherst, a rural village that was quickly turning into a town with two colleges (Amherst and the newly founded Massachusetts Agricultural College). Recently linked by rail to Boston, it was also becoming a cultural destination for many respected literary and political figures of the time, many of whom were entertained by the Austin Dickinsons.

trellises, and prized fig trees. The extensive flower gardens that the Dickinson women created and maintained were admired in the town. In addition there was a small conservatory off the dining room to keep the avid gardeners in flowers all winter long. Austin’s house next door, built at mid-century on the same acreage, was linked to the Dickinson Homestead by a path lined with hollyhocks (“just wide enough for two who love”). His home, called the Evergreens, was a large Italianate building standing regally in what looked like an arboretum, for Austin was a dedicated horticulturist. Frederick Olmstead and his partner Calvin Vaux were guests of Austin Dickinson’s and advised him about

Fall 2011


Polly Ormsby Longsworth ’51 in Emily DIckinson’s bedroom.

his plantings of indigenous trees and shrubs. Emily was the baker of the family, and by all accounts was very good at it. The house must have been fragrant with the smell of freshly baked breads, and in the spring and summer the yards would have been a riot of flowers. Last year, the New York Botanical Garden put on a flower exhibit called Emily Dickinson’s Garden. Based on her many flower poems, they created a 19th-centurystyle garden with foxgloves and daffodils, zinnias and hydrangeas, dianthus and delphinium, roses and heliotropes, among others—all flowers that made appearances in poems. In fact, in Amherst she was known more as a gardener than as a poet. Though Emily’s poems often accompanied bouquets she sent to friends


“People come to stand in her bedroom. They are awestruck.” and neighbors, it is said that people were more fond of the posies than the poesy. One can imagine Emily sitting at her desk, looking out the window at the farm fields to the south, at her brother’s house to the west. The birds and butterflies were prolific in the trees and gardens around the property and we know she observed nature closely and wrote about it often. But over the years, she ventured beyond the confines of that three-acre lot, and then her own house, less and less frequently. As Emily’s circle of comfort got

smaller and smaller and she became homebound, her sister became her main support, her messenger, and her advocate. While the outside world was seeing an eccentric shut-in, her family and correspondents were able to appreciate her gifts more fully through her notes, letters, and poetry. Yet even they weren’t aware until after her death of the sheer amount of poetry she had written— nearly 1,800 poems—or the fact that Emily had forged her own literary path and that history would see her as one of America’s foremost poets.


How soft this Prison is How sweet these sullen bars No Despot but the King of Down Invented this repose Emily Dickinson

One hundred and twenty four years after Emily’s death, a docent at the Dickinson Homestead is giving a tour. It must be daunting to have Polly Longsworth in the group. As she gives her spiel, the guide surreptitiously glances at Longsworth from time to time and occasionally asks her a question or tries to elicit some anecdotes or little-known historical facts. Longsworth is widely seen as the leading expert on Dickinson’s life. One Amherst Dickinson fan said simply, “Polly Longsworth owns Emily Dickinson!” Though Longsworth has been in the house countless times and has herself led occasional tours, she still enjoys being here. Pointing to the nearly empty bookcase in the library, she talks of her plans to fill it with the same editions that were in the house—books that Emily read, that influenced her mind. The Replenishing the Shelves Project is dear to her heart, and raising funds to restock a library described as ample and eclectic is one of her favorite goals for the museum. Another goal is to appoint the sparsely furnished Homestead with appropriate 19th-century furniture. Currently, though the Dickinson Homestead is slowly being restored, it doesn’t feel like Emily’s private home and sanctuary. It is bright and airy with newly refinished ceilings and floors. Apart from Emily’s bedroom, where, thankfully, her bed remains, it is furnished with only a few Dickinson family pieces. The guide tells us that people come to see Emily’s bedroom and

stand reverently, but when they walk into Austin’s house, which is an unrestored time capsule, they are mesmerized, as it is so evocative of the period and of the family that lived there. The Evergreens tells the story of lives lived. In her research, Longsworth unearthed a chapter of the Dickinson family history that hadn’t been fully told—the story of Austin’s 13-year affair with Mabel Loomis Todd, the young wife of an Amherst College astronomy professor. Austin and Mabel: The Amherst Affair and Love Letters of Austin Dickinson and Mabel Loomis Todd became something of a sensation when it was published in 1984. It was Mrs. Todd who rescued and published the earliest volumes of Dickinson’s poetry and letters after the poet’s death. Today, one can easily imagine those parties and social occasions at the Evergreens where Mabel, charming and beautiful, must have caught Austin’s eye. The parlor is still filled with ornate Victorian furniture, its velvet upholstery now dusty and shredding. Musical instruments, long out of tune and deteriorating, are tucked into a bookcase. The dark wallpaper is flapping off the horsehair plaster walls. In the dining room, the table is set. The children’s bedrooms were upstairs. One can look into the room that belonged to Gib, the youngest of Austin and Susan’s children, who died when he was eight, and still see his clothes laid out on the bed. The house looks as if, when the last surviving Dickinson departed, the door was closed and nothing

was changed until today. Of course, that’s not true. Many things have changed, in both houses. For one thing, Harvard University took possession of many of the Dickinson possessions—papers, books, furniture, and household items—in 1950. Brown University took possession of the rest of the books in the 1990s. In addition to her work on the board of the Dickinson Museum and her effort to restore both the library and interior furnishings of the two houses, Longsworth is currently writing an extensive “cradle to grave” biography of Emily Dickinson. Seemingly tireless, she and Chuck live on an old farm at the end of a dirt road in a little rural town about an hour from Amherst. Though she is 78 and Chuck 82, they heat with wood, felling trees on their property, cutting and splitting them, then stacking 8 to 10 cords per winter. “Heating with wood keeps us healthy,” she smiles. “It takes seven or eight trips downstairs to keep the furnace going every day. That’s my exercise, along with stacking.” Longsworth doesn’t consider herself an athlete, yet she skis, kayaks, bikes, and has been a pilot. Some of her fondest memories involve bike trips with her family (she and Chuck have four daughters and six grandchildren). In her spare time, she reads biographies, memoirs, and poetry. She loves Richard Wilbur, Mary Oliver, Amy Clampitt, and Linda Pasten. And, of course, there is always Emily Dickinson.

Fall 2011

by Sue Gawler ’73

It’s been said that I lived in the greenhouse while at Emma. It’s true, though only figuratively. The first Earth Day was in April of my freshman year, and it struck a chord in this girl who had often sought the company of trees. I returned in the fall to start my second year with some coleus plants and a Swedish ivy that had caught my fancy. The plants thrived, but I struggled—in retrospect, with normal teenage issues, though they didn’t feel that way at the time. I don’t remember exactly how my independent study came about, but with my desire to learn more about plants, Mrs. Simpson (my advisor) and I cooked up a plan for me to work with the school gardener, Heinz Oldenroth. Grounds staff, including Heinz, went about their jobs with no student interaction, so this was a new idea. But several periods a week, I would head down to the greenhouse as Heinz’s pupil, and it changed my life. It not only set me on a career path, but also enabled me to stick things out and benefit from all the aspects of the Emma experience. The greenhouse had been built as part of the Wellington-Lay estate, behind the brick faculty


houses that are still there. Heinz’s job was to grow flowers and plants for inside décor, poinsettias, etc., for Christmas, and bedding annuals to be set out in the spring. Emma was lucky to have him. He had trained for many years in Berlin, attaining the rank of Gartenmeister, then brought his family here after World War II. His knowledge was encyclopedic, his standards consistently high, and he had a generous spirit and a twinkle in his eye. He was athletic, trim, and swore by yoga. (I can still hear him saying “yoga” in his German accent, and my entire German vocabulary is derived from Heinz plus choral lyrics.) He was a great teacher. As I continued through my junior year, other girls asked to work in the greenhouse, and soon we had a cadre of horticulture assistants. By my senior year, I was entrusted with the key and the weekend opening, watering, and closing (before the days of

13 automatic vents), and spent countless hours potting, taking cuttings, mixing soil, weeding, and just hanging out in the greenhouse. My classmates remember that I was nuts about Maine, where we had a summer home. By the age of eight, I considered it my permanent home. At the University of Maine, I chose to study agriculture, thinking that it would be the right way for me to combine my love of plants with something practical. But my hippie tendencies rebelled against the conventional agronomy offerings of the day, and I annoyed my professors with questions the syllabus didn’t cover. (Emma Girl.) When I widened my view upstairs to the botany department and took my first plant taxonomy course, I was hooked. When I took plant ecology, I couldn’t believe my good fortune: my aptitude at math and my love of plants meshed! College was followed by off-and-on jobs in conservation, and my focus became native plants and their habitats. I built a little cabin on family land in central Maine, and I rooted. After four years, I left Maine temporarily to pursue a Ph.D. in botany at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. At Madison, I was faced with a dilemma. My professors encouraged me to follow the standard path into academia, i.e., going wherever I could get a tenure-track job. But Maine was home, and I intended to return. (Indeed, I’d been back every summer since my dissertation fieldwork was along the St. John River in northernmost Maine.) This idea was looked at askance, and at least one professor wrote me off completely. I was pretty sure I could find a way that my skills and passion could contribute to actual plant/habitat conservation, even in a backwater like Maine, so back I came. In the 25 or so years since, I’ve been so fortunate to maintain my home both professionally and geographically right where I wanted to. My husband and I eventually bought the long-idle hilltop farm from my parents and moved into the drafty 200-year-old farmhouse. I taught botany and ecology at tiny Unity College for four years, then switched to more hands-on work as the ecologist at the state’s natural heritage program. My work took me all over the state, documenting different plant communities and developing criteria by which conservation efforts could be focused. Even when the days weren’t sunny and the bushwhacking led through dense spruce regeneration and the bugs were out, it was interesting. And there were a lot of “I can’t believe I’m getting paid to do this” days. In the winter, I used

that data to work on a comprehensive classification of Maine’s natural vegetation (remember the math part?). After 11 years there, I broadened my geographic horizons and began working for NatureServe (www.nature serve.org), doing similar work but over the northeastern United States. That little cabin I’d built after college became my telecommuting office. In both jobs, I worked with dedicated, talented, collaborative, and fun colleagues who made the work a joy. With my kids in their teenage years, I was finally able to bring things full circle. My handyman husband converted the old playhouse into a small but efficient greenhouse for me to support my ever-expanding vegetable and flower gardens. In 1995, I helped found a farmers’ market in our town, and when one of our core vendors dropped out, I said, “Heck, I grow vegetables, I might as well sell them,” and jumped in. Of course, it wasn’t quite as simple as that…but I learned a lot, partnered with my sister-in-law next door, and we developed a loyal following. It was a “don’t quit your day job” enterprise, but the dawn-to-dusk hours in the garden fed my soul and my community, and my day job fed my mind. I think Heinz would have approved. Finding a home in the greenhouse led to my professional home in botany, and both came together in my home at the farm. I haven’t published a lot of academic papers, but my book on Maine vegetation types finally was published in 2010, I’ve contributed to the national vegetation classification, the farmers’ market is still going strong, and I was able to raise my family exactly where I’d dreamed of since girlhood. A year ago (Sept. 20) when I was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease), I was still fully functional and with no obvious symptoms; now I am retired from both jobs, unable to talk much at all, typing with one finger and lots of rest breaks, and needing assistance to get around, etc. But I was the top fundraiser in the state for the annual Walk to Defeat ALS, and my team topped the charts (http://web.alsa.org/goto/sueboocrew), so that was fun. Thank God for the computer and for the friends and family that help me through each day.

Several periods a week I would head down to the greenhouse as Heinz’s pupil, and it changed my life.

Since her diagnosis, Sue Gawler is now retired and living in her Maine farmhouse with her husband.

Fall 2011

Shanti Nagel ’98 cares for 40 gardens, two small parks, and 85 trees in her New York City neighborhood, Hell’s Kitchen.



By Lizzie Stark

Shanti Nagel ’98 cultivates community, one garden at a time

h~me at


photo: Bob Handelman

hell’s kitchen “It’s so beautiful out here,” a middle-aged woman yells from a rooftop garden two stories above Shanti Nagel ’98. “It’s getting there,” answers Nagel, 31, who created and maintains the lush sanctuary.

Fall 2011



own where we’re sitting, in a courtyard garden that Nagel also designed, she explains that this is the best part of her job. “The payback is awesome,” she says. This affordable housing building was renovated just two years ago, and a lot of older women live here,” she tells me. “They come out and talk to me about plants all the time. And they love watching our progress.” Nagel lives and works in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of New York City, where she is on a mission to improve the neighborhood one garden at a time. She is ever-present on the streets, the sidewalks, and even up on the roofs as she chisels more precious green space into a vast concrete desert, transforming the environment outside of buildings that house low-income residents, some of whom are formerly homeless. Nagel also lives in one of the buildings where she works, which makes her job much more than a job; it’s also her home. The woman on the roof points at a squirrel down in the courtyard, amazed to find a real animal in a garden boxed in by buildings. “This little guy. He’s trouble,” says Nagel. “He’s eating everything. He’s digging everything up.” She tosses an empty paper cup at him and he doesn’t flinch. “And he’s not afraid of anything!” she laughs. The squirrel scampers up an ornamental bush and begins eating the berries. Even the squirrels love what Nagel has done to this property!

Nagel works for the Clinton Housing Development

Company (CHDC), a New York City housing association that manages about 60 buildings for the city, transforming them from dilapidated derelicts into affordable housing with green space. Many of the CHDC’s buildings are located in Hell’s Kitchen, also called Clinton, a large, diverse neighborhood on the west side of Manhattan, stretching from 34th Street to 59th Street and from 8th Avenue over to the Hudson River. The neighborhood contains commercial and residential space and houses a diverse range of people—from actors and other theater people who commute to the nearby theater district, to yuppies, to populations from the “old days” as immortalized in the musical West Side Story, which was set in this neighborhood. The CDHC’s buildings contain about 750 apartments and house more than 1,000 people of varying income levels, including some formerly homeless people and families. In addition, many staff members, including Nagel, live in these buildings. For that reason, Nagel approached this job—managing green space in the buildings—with caution. She worked at the CHDC for a couple months before moving into an apartment in one of the buildings because she wanted to be certain she liked the job and the environment. “My home is very precious to me,” she said, “and to put my home on the line for a job— I had to be very sure I wanted to be here.” That was three years ago.


Almost all of the CHDC’s buildings have green space that Nagel handles. Sometimes, it’s just a touch—a few window boxes out front, or a “tree pit”—a street tree surrounded by plants and rimmed with wrought-iron edging. Other times, it’s a rooftop garden, a backyard, or a courtyard garden. In total, Nagel cares for some 40 gardens, plus two small parks, and 85 street trees with their surrounding tree pits. It’s a big job, but one that is integral to the way the CHDC approaches its buildings. According to Nagel’s boss, Joe Restuccia, the executive director of the nonprofit, green space is “not a luxury,” even when it comes to affordable housing. “We don’t build barns; we build homes, a place to live,” he said. As it turns out, green space has a real impact on citydwellers. Studies have shown that areas with green space have less property and violent crime and more healthy social interactions among inhabitants, perhaps because greenery alleviates stress and anxiety, which are precursors to crime, and because people gather in green space, which puts more eyes on the street. Green space isn’t a nicety, it’s something that humans need to feel at home and safe. Certainly living in a CDHC building changes the nature of Nagel’s job. For one thing, she says, “You have a different concern for the tenants because they’re not just clients; they’re your neighbors and they’re people you live next to all the time and see on the street.” Employee concerns and tenant concerns can be one and the same. “I think one of the interesting things about living in one of these buildings in the middle of Manhattan is that you live with tenants who are real people,” she says. “They’re

people with kids, they’re families, they’re older people, they’re normal working people. The building next to us is a super-fancy glass castle, and the people coming out of there look very different. I’d much rather live with the people in my building.” Having staff live in the department’s buildings also means more eyeballs on everything, including the gardens. Nagel pointed out that the super of the building we’re in drinks his coffee in the garden, and “he calls me up and tells me when anything is wrong or when anything is right.” The supers help take care of green space, primarily by watering it. “I would be nothing without them,” Nagel says. But the supers benefit from the arrangement as well, because residents and people on the street praise the plants. “They get all that feedback, especially the ones that live on the premises—they get the plant bug,” Nagel explained. It’s no mystery why the supers like Nagel either. Of course, she’s young and attractive, which doesn’t hurt, but more than this, her enthusiasm for her work is evident, and not just its botanical component—she loves working with people. Her fire for community organizing is part of why Restuccia hired her, he said. As Nagel walks me through the neighborhood, past tree pits, parks, and window boxes,

17 a beautifully invasive vine, and envious neighboring buildings have approached Restuccia and Nagel for advice on how to edge their tree pits in iron and fill them with plantings. she talks about the plants, the It’s not easy to find the people, and the history of this right plants to grow in the neighborhood. city. “When you get a gardenWe tromp up five flights of ing book they don’t tell you stairs—this is how she stays in what plant can handle hours shape, she says—to a rooftop garden lined with pots explod- of heavy bus exhaust,” says Nagel, or hundreds of dogs ing with greenery. This is her peeing on it each day. “These boss’s building, she explains, are the kind of environmental and it’s not easy to keep roofissues that we deal with here top gardens so lush. Watering is a challenge in the city, where in the city,” she added. “And we’re really homing in on hoses often live in basements. the plants that can handle it. Nagel’s boss learned this firstSome of them are a surprise.” hand. For years, he kept up Like Japanese anemone, this garden with an elderly which tolerates hours of neighbor woman who spent bumper-to-bumper exhaust hours each day lugging watering cans to the roof. When she each day, since she’s planted passed away, many of his plants it on a block that leads to the Lincoln Tunnel. floundered. Now Nagel has Oftentimes, Nagel tries introduced him to the marvels to sneak an edible—like a of irrigation—there are small metal rings in each of the pots, potato or Swiss chard—into which are hooked up to a cen- plantings, just to generate tral water supply— and all this conversation. While working on an edible food project for resulting greenery has made New York University a couple him a convert. of years ago, she noticed that Restuccia and Nagel share while flowers provoke aesa gardening aesthetic, favorthetic reactions—“Oh, pretty ing gardens that look wild flowers!”—vegetables in the and natural instead of rigidly city induce a whole conversaorganized. Restuccia came up with the tree pit concept, while tion. People, particularly older ones, dredge up memories of Nagel designed and executed it. Forget dull rows of begonias the farms from their youth, she says, and everyone asks or impatiens. Nagel’s tree pits questions like, “Who’s going look wild and biodiverse, full of reedy flowers, lush variegated to eat vegetables?” or “What happens if someone steals leaves, and other plants. The CHDC’s work is spreading like the vegetables?”

“My home is very precious to me, and to put my home on the line for a job—I had to be very

sure I wanted to be here.”

Vegetables are Nagel’s

first love. She grew up outside Saratoga Springs on her family’s 10 acres. Her parents, whom she describes as “incredibly skilled vegetable gardeners,” cultivated food on about half the land. Each weekend, she and her siblings had to work in the garden for a few hours. As she got older, working in the garden stopped being a chore, and she stayed and weeded and pruned with her parents long after she’d finished the mandatory weeding. After graduating from Emma Willard, she spent almost a decade farming, then studied at the New York Botanical Garden School of Professional Horticulture for a few years before joining the CHDC’s staff. Now, even though her schedule is hectic thanks to the intense logistics of keeping up so many gardens in New York City, Nagel still finds time to grow food. Across the street from the CHDC’s office, at Metro Baptist Church, she’s organized a rooftop vegetable garden. It was hard to carry all the materials up to the roof of this five-story building since there’s no elevator, but church members and volunteers helped haul soil and baby pools to use as containers. The produce from this garden—tomatoes, basil, cucumbers, zucchini, peppers, beans, peas, and

more—goes to a local food pantry. Downstairs, inside the church, there is produce available, too, though it wasn’t grown on the roof. Nagel has organized a local CSA share. (CSA stands for communitysupported agriculture and allows people to buy vegetables directly from the farmer.) Eventually, Nagel hopes to find grant money so that the local food pantry can take a share of the crops. And while altruism is part of her motive, so too is her love of farmgrown vegetables. She wanted a CSA that was convenient to her, and this one’s just across from her office. For the time being, Nagel says, New York City is her home. She’s got a local CSA, a bevy of close girlfriends who date from her time at Emma Willard, and plenty of room to garden and, through gardening, to create community in her neighborhood. Living where she works has transformed the experience of New York for her. Unlike many New Yorkers, she knows her neighbors and her neighbors know her. “I can walk around Hell’s Kitchen,” she says, “it can be 42nd Street and 8th Avenue (near Times Square), super-urban, total New York; I can walk around those streets and people stop me and recognize me and talk to me about plants.”

Fall 2011

18 BY Lucia Greenhouse ’80

father mother god my journey out of christian science April 1970. Wayzata, Minnesota. One afternoon a couple of weeks before my eighth birthday, my five-year-old brother, Sherman, and I scramble out of the school bus and race each other home up the steep hill, which we only do—and always do—on Wednesdays. Wednesday is Caramel Apple Day, because on Wednesday mornings, Mom volunteers at the Christian Science Reading Room, and on the way home she stops at the Excelsior bakery for their caramel apple special. We drop our books in the front hall and dart into the kitchen to find not only the white square cardboard bakery box sitting, as usual, on the lazy Susan in the middle of the table but also our older sister, Olivia, asleep on the tattered red and white love seat, with a blanket up to her chin. Her long brown hair is pulled back in a ponytail. Her chin, cheeks, nose, forehead, and both hands are covered in little red spots. “Hi!” Sherman says. Olivia opens her eyes. “Chicken pox,” she says miserably. “Do they hurt?” I ask.


“They really itch,” she says, wincing. Satisfied with her answer, our eyes turn to the caramel apples. “You want one?” Sherman asks. Olivia shakes her head no. Mom appears as we help ourselves to the bakery box. “Olivia has chicken pox?” I ask. Mom doesn’t answer. “Mom? Chicken po—” “In Christian Science,” she reminds us gently, “we know that there is no illness. No disease. No contagion. Olivia is not sick. She is God’s perfect child. We are all going to work very hard to keep our thoughts elevated.” “Does that mean she doesn’t have to go to school?” I ask Mom.


photo by bobbyfriedel.com

“So if we think of God’s love as a suit of armor, protecting us, we can never be hurt or sick.” “It means I can’t,” Olivia says. “No fair!” Sherman protests. “How come?” “Well, even though we know Olivia isn’t sick— can’t be sick,” our mother says, “we need to follow the school’s policy on certain…matters.” “I can’t go back to school until the chicken—I mean, until…they…crust over,” Olivia says. We know from Sunday school that we’re not supposed to name illness, because by naming something, we are giving in to the lie about it. Mary Baker Eddy tells us to “stand porter at the door of thought.” For the next several days, life at our house is unbearably dull. My brother and I go to school; our sister doesn’t, until her spots crust over. After school, our friends don’t come to play kickball or ride bikes in our driveway. We are told it’s because of contagion, a scary thing other people worry about but we Christian Scientists don’t believe in. We know that contagion is about germs spreading; we also know that prevailing thought (something we can tell is bad just from the way our parents and other Christian Scientists say it) claims that chicken pox is contagious. But we have learned in Sunday school that there’s no such thing as germs. Before we go to bed, Olivia, Sherman, and I pile into our parents’ bed and listen as they read aloud various passages from the Bible and Science and Health. “‘We weep because others weep, we yawn because they yawn,’” my mother recites. Curiously, I find myself yawning. “‘And we have smallpox because others have it; but mortal mind, not matter, contains and carries the infection.’” I think to myself that I’d rather hear the next chapter of Little House in the Big Woods, the book Mom was reading to us before Olivia got spots. They read aloud for almost an hour. Snuggled under the soft comforter and between warm bodies, we fall asleep; soon we are carried, half-awake, to our own beds. “Am I going to get”—I hesitate groggily—“chicken pox?” My father has just brought me a drink of water. “Let’s talk about what you’re learning in Sunday school,” he says gently. “Is sickness real?” I shake my head no. “Are you God’s child?” I nod yes.

“Can you be anything but perfect?” “Nope.” “Mary Baker Eddy says we must put on the panoply of Love. Do you remember what panoply means?” Even though I’ve heard the word a lot in Sunday school, I can never remember what it means. I make a face that tells my dad I’ve forgotten. “A panoply is a full suit of armor,” he says. “So if we think of God’s love as a suit of armor, protecting us, we can never be hurt or sick.” “Well,” I ask, “how come Olivia has…spots?” “That’s just erroneous belief—error,” my dad says, “which we all must guard against. She may have the appearance of error, but we know it’s a lie, an illusion.” My Sunday school teacher talks a lot about error too, and I remember what that is: sin, disease, and death. She tells us that error is like a mirage in the desert: the vision of a pool of water where there is nothing but sand. So when my dad says Olivia’s spots are the appearance of error, I understand that he means the spots are not real. But I don’t exactly understand how that can be; it seems like everything that Christian Science says is unreal is real, and vice versa. I guess when I’m older it’ll make more sense, but for now, it is comforting enough to know that, as Mom and Dad and Sunday school have taught me, Christian Science is a science that works. “Okay, Loosh,” Dad says, and I know it is time for bedtime prayers....
Together we recite the Children’s Prayer, written by Mary Baker Eddy.

 Father-Mother God,
 Loving me,— Guard me while I sleep;
 Guide my little feet up to Thee. 
 I kick the covers off my bed and levitate my feet toward my canopy.
 “Good night, Dad,” I say, giggling at our silliness. I pull the covers back up to my chin. 
 Reprinted from fathermothergod by Lucia Greenhouse. Copyright ©2011. Published by Crown, a division of Random House, Inc.

Fall 2011



audacious idea

credit here




education for every girl, everywhere

Photo by Mark Tuschman, international freelance photographer, who spoke at the conference about marketing programs with high-impact photography.

At the end of September, Emma Willard School sponsored an ambitious forum in New York City that drew over one hundred men and women from around the world to discuss girls’ education. Called Audacia, the conference took place at the U.S. headquarters of Credit Suisse, which was a co-sponsor of the event along with the Hearst Corporation and Ted Turner. “Audacia is the 21st-century idea of Emma Willard’s vision,” said Trudy Hall in welcoming the participants. “Educate a girl, transform the world. This room is filled with bold thinkers and activists who are confronting an audacious idea: We must provide quality education to every girl, everywhere.” The speakers included people who came from well-known organizations including UNICEF and the Nike Foundation, the Ms. Foundation for Women and the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls, and from dozens of NGOs and lesser-known agencies providing aid to communities around the world. Participants were helping orphans in Malawi, bringing literacy skills to the Dalit in Nepal, providing scholarships to Mayan girls in Guatemala, and building libraries for the Makulele Community of South Africa. Their ranks included educators and activists, filmmakers and physicians, grant makers and marketers. In addition to education, the organizations dealt with such issues as energy, new technology, gender, and leadership development.

Fall 2011

“The potential within these walls for real change is inspiring,” said Dr. Donna Blackwell, executive director of Audacia. “Exchange ideas, allow yourself to be surprised by new ways of doing things. I’m not going to preach to the choir, but I’m going to ask the choir to sing, together.” Connections were made rapidly and people grouped and regrouped throughout the breaks, lunches, and after the sessions to network, compare notes, and exchange ideas. Much discussion had to do with best practices and how to measure results, and participants were eager to see how they could learn from each other. Collaborations were sought between nonprofits and the philanthropic community because finding sources for financial support is such a critical need. Yet as many testified, that support can come with strings attached. “Philanthropy has become impatient,” said Gayle Peterson of the Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford. “People are looking for impact, and they want it today.” When the desire of the corporation or foundation for measurable results takes precedence over the needs of the local community, the future of a program is in doubt. Dressed in her native Afghan clothing and a headscarf, Sakena Yacoobi, executive director of the Afghan Institute of Learning, stood and implored the assembly to listen to the local community. “Ask the girl what she needs. If you implement that, you will be successful.” Yacoobi is a respected figure among the leaders in this field, and her words brought applause from the audience. As the participants made abundantly clear from their own perspectives and with their own on-the-ground experience, getting a girl to school involves a whole host of cultural and social issues that go far beyond providing a book and a roof and a teacher. There are basic needs like electricity, toilet facilities, and even sanitary pads that if unmet can make going to school an impossibility for a girl. Many girls, even young girls, are responsible for so much of the family support that families are loath to let them leave for school. Then there’s the issue of sexual abuse—there are very real threats to girls’ safety if they leave their homes, threats from boys and men in

cultures where sexual assault on very young girls is common and accepted. Journalist Katie Couric moderated a panel devoted to the use of communication for social change. One of the panelists, Dr. Abigail E. Disney, a filmmaker whose documentary Women, War and Peace was due to air on PBS in the fall, spoke with emotion about the subject: “We have a culture aestheticizing violence, romanticizing war, making violence the meaning of being a man. This culture of violence is actually pushing the agenda, making conflicts and wars happen, with all those repercussions for women and families.” While everyone agreed that access to an education was a fundamental right, some thought-provoking ideas and paradigm-rattling questions were raised. Kavita Ramdas, executive director of Ripples to Waves: Program on Social Entrepreneurship at Stanford University, questioned the economic rationale for improving girls’ access to education. If educating a girl can improve the conditions of not only her immediate family, but also her community and even her nation, Ramdas wondered if this placed an undue pressure on girls, who are already working, helping raise siblings, and caring for others. “I am worried we are asking too much of these young women,” she said. “We as educators are beginning to ask of them to end poverty.” And Dr. Nahid Toubia pointed out that education was well and good, but if there were no jobs for an educated girl to move into, what was the point? Women might have a voice, but they can’t get a seat at the table. But Meera Gandhi, founder of The Giving Back Foundation, was an optimist. She gave multiple personal examples of small interventions that had large, transforming economic results. “When we have women leaders they are pushing the dial in the right direction.” The consensus, as the forum began to break up on the second day, was that it had been an enormous success, for the participants and for Emma Willard. Colleagues from across the globe had connected, friendships were forged, avenues of collaboration were explored. As Wendy Lesko, with School Girls Unite, put it, “In the face of all these well-established CEOs, that Emma Willard could say, ‘We will be the convener,’ well, it’s audacious!”

Katie Couric, who moderated a session on communication for social change, meets Emma Willard students.


Photos by Lily Kesselman



This is a systemic cultural problem rooted in ideas of cultural gender roles and race-based classification. Education must be accompanied by broader global change. Anika Rahman, president and CEO of Ms. Foundation for Women

When they tell us to do it this way, we cannot take the money. Sakena Yacoobi, Afghan Institute of Learning

Participants and organizers included, left to right: Emily Leys, Room to Read; Trudy Hall; Carol Jenkins, Women’s Media Center; Dr. Donna Blackwell, Executive Director of Audacia; Kristine Pearson, Lifeline Energy; Jensine Larsen, World Pulse.

If in fact girls’ education is such a marvelous tool to get rid of violence, why is it in a country like the United States, every six minutes a woman is sexually assaulted? Kavita Ramdas, executive director of Ripples to Waves: Program on Social Entrepreneurship at Stanford University

I believe if we educate a lot of girls and don’t give them another means to do something with that education, we might be torturing them. Dr. Nahid Toubia, physician

Fall 2011


Commencement 2011

connections Dear Alumnae I write this to you as I begin my term as president of the Alumnae Association Council of Emma Willard School. We have assembled a spectacular team of women in leadership roles on the AAC and the larger alumnae population. On behalf of myself and the entire AAC, let me say how excited I am as we begin this amazing journey. I wanted to share these few thoughts and goals with you as we begin a new year. Connections. There are many kinds: emotional, physical, spiritual. As we head into another fall season, the AAC is launching one of its most important endeavors yet: connecting over 7,700 alumnae worldwide in anticipation of one of the school’s most important events ever: the bicentennial celebration in 2014. A lofty goal? Yes. Achievable? We believe so. But not without your help. We hope that you will all reach far and wide, and close, and into yourself to strengthen your existing connection with the school, or to reconnect if you have lost touch or your memories have faded over time. We will be asking for your help with the bicentennial, regional events, and many other things we can’t even fathom right now. Stay tuned! We hope you are ready for a great journey! Jane Cohen Freedman ’86 President of the Alumnae Association Council

New Board Chair Named The Board of Trustees welcomes a new chair, Anne N. DePrez ’73. A successful trial attorney, Ms. DePrez received a BA in economics from Smith College in 1977 and her JD from Indiana University in 1981. She is a partner in the litigation department of Barnes & Thornburg LLP in Indianapolis, representing clients in securities litigation and corporate govenance disputes. Ms. DePrez is an avid biker and a skilled horsewoman who enjoys unusual travel adventures to faraway destinations. She resides in Shelbyville, Indiana.

2012 Board of Trustees Anne N. DePrez ’73, president Phillip Bernstein James D. Brassord Jonathan Calos, faculty trustee Philip Cifarelli Erin Crotty ’84 Glenn Epstein, treasurer Angeline Eveleens, parent trustee Jane Cohen Freedman ’86 Deborah Frease Geraghty ’88 Wendy S. Graham ’85, ex officio Trudy E. Hall, Head of School, ex officio Douglas E. Hart, vice chair Farah Jaffer ’93, ex officio

Emmanuel Kao, parent trustee Judith A. Kleiner ’74 Elisabeth Allen LeFort ’72 Wendy Pestel Lehmann ’64 Erica H. Ling ’75 Sarah Klingenstein Martell ’85 Sarah J. McCarthey ’73 Michael McKenna Wayne C. Mellor Diane Wynne Mercer ’61, secretary David Morley, parent trustee Nancy Linkroum Pennell ’61 Susan Poisson-Dollar, parent trustee Phyllis A. Roth Tobi Saulnier Pinki Srivastava Verma ’79 Michal Colby Wadsworth ’65

Fall 2011



Distinguished Alumnae Award Winners Accomplished Alumna Mary Price Taylor Harrison ’76 For fiercely guarding the environment, for fighting for women’s rights, and for working to reform our nation’s health care system, the Alumnae Association proudly bestows upon you the 2011 Accomplished Alumna Award. Outstanding Young Alumna Rebekah Strock Layton ’01 For your keen pursuit of a rigorous intellectual life as a social psychologist, for your honorable service to the United States, and for your willingness to share both of these pursuits with the Emma Willard community through engaging lectures, the Alumnae Association proudly bestows upon you the 2011 Outstanding Young Alumna Award. (pictured, top left) Humanitarian Anne F. Collins ’56 For your selfless, heroic advocacy on behalf of your patients in the United States and the developing world, for your demonstrated kindness and compassion to all you have

encountered, and for bringing quality health care to rural and underserved populations, the Alumnae Association proudly bestows upon you the 2011 Humanitarian Award. (pictured, middle left) Life Achievement Susan Doyle Knowles ’61 For your tireless, tremendous life work of nurturing and promoting women in higher education, and for your generous support of Emma Willard as a two-time reunion co-chair and creator of an outstanding website for the 2011 Reunion, the Alumnae Association proudly bestows upon you the 2011 Life Achievement Award. (pictured, bottom left)   Service to Emma Willard School Tina Neighbors Hardenbergh ’51 For your outstanding contributions as a member of the governance committee of the Alumnae Association Council, and for your work as a bulletin reporter and Annual Fund volunteer, the Alumnae Association proudly bestows upon you the 2011 Service to Emma Willard Award.

Alumnae Council Names New Leaders, Members President Jane Cohen Freedman ’86 (BA, Wellesley; JD, Suffolk University Law School) is the new president of the Alumnae Association Council. She has been secretary and associate general counsel at OneBeacon Insurance Group since 2006, and before that was senior counsel at Raytheon Company, advising directors and executives on corporate, securities, and executive compensation law issues. She lives in Newton Centre, MA. Vice President Susan Koerner Pearson ’83 (BA, MBA, Dickinson College) is the new vice president of the AAC. She worked as a marketing manager for L&F Products (Lysol), Mobil Chemical, and Quaker, among other companies. She now works at home in Hopkinton, MA, caring for her three young children.


Secretary Devin E. Van Exel ’99 (BA, University of Virginia; JD, Columbia Law School) is the AAC’s new secretary. Devin was a senior editor on the Columbia Law Review and was an active member of the Black Law Students Association. Devin practiced as an associate in the banking and institutional investing department at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP. Presently she is a member of the diversity and inclusion department at Skadden and is responsible for developing and administering the firm’s global diversity and inclusion initiatives. Devin lives in New York City. Members at-Large Janis Cohen ’75, governance chair Jodi Kittle Carle ’89 Sue Gawler ’73 Rachel Goodstein ’70

Sandra Jemison ’69 Caitlin Jones ’04 Samantha Jones ’92 Erin Silverman Kim ’00 Susan Doyle Knowles ’61 Rebekah Strock Layton ’01 Virginia Hinrichs McMichael ’74 Nina Pattison ’46 Elizabeth Leib Pollack ’76 Evelyn Reading ’50 Sarah Stearns ’69 Alexandra Slote ’94 Abigail Sussman ’05 Sheila Stenhouse Lee ’81, past president, ex officio

27 connections

Giving back is giving forward. “

Start by giving a bright young woman an Emma Willard education. Her knowledge and confidence will grow, and she’ll understand her potential. In time, she will go on to make a notable difference in the world, because that’s what Emma graduates do. What an extraordinary return on my investment!

Sara Lubin Schupf ’58 P’79

A generation of women paved the way for you to thrive here. Now you have the opportunity to do the same. Your gift immediately benefits today’s students and teachers and allows the school to act on its highest priorities each year. Emma brought out the best in you. It tapped your initiative and nurtured your generosity of spirit. It is your turn to help the next generation of Emma Girls find their own brilliant future.

the fund

Make your gift today. Go to emmawillard.org and click on “Give Now” or call 866-833-1814 toll-free. Fall 2011

28 connections

1 4 2



6 3 7 emma


1. Melissa Palmer ’86 with her husband, Michael Marshall, and their daughters. Do we see future Emma alums? 2. Classmates Alexandra Wait ’06 and Natasha Kermani ’06 enjoying the afternoon sun outside Wellington-Lay.


3. Members of the class of ’06 enjoying a beautiful summer day on campus. 4. Members of the class of 2001 enjoying good friends and good conversation in the student center. 5. Newell Chair in Humanities Bob Naeher participating in a panel discussion on Emma Willard School curriculum—a seminar not to be missed.

10 12


6. Parker Anderson-Mabry ’71 was the lucky winner of the beautiful Burberry bag raffle announced by 50th-reunion class chairs Melinda Mills Lee ’61, Susan Doyle Knowles ’61, and Olivia Fiske Post ’61. 7. Outgoing Board of Trustees Chair, Wendy Pestel Lehmann ’64 (left) and incoming Board of Trustees Chair Anne DePrez ’73 (right) speaking with Mary Lake Polan ’61. 8. Members of the class of 1961 parading in style—wow, what a class! 9. Fifty years after graduation, the laughs continue (Ellen Phillipps Wales ’61 with Valerie Phillips Parsegian ’61). 10. The rain could not dampen the spirits of the class of 1976—their jester hats and good cheer made us all smile. 11. Rosamond Grindy Christensen, Florence Kennedy Davidsen, Nina Pattison, and Margaret Noble Peterson from the class of 1946—charming, amazing, and exuberant!


12. Anjali Dayal ’01 delivering an unforgettable chapel speech. 13. Reconnecting with the class of 1991 at Friday’s Welcome Home Reception.

Fall 2011








96 51



REUNION CLASSES ’46: Front Row: Virginia Calhoun Frost, Rosamond Grindy Christensen Back Row: Florence Kennedy Davidsen, Nina Pattison, Carol Houston Maynard, Margaret Noble Petersen ’51: Polly Ormsby Longsworth, Wendy Witherell Hill, Rhoda Bierstedt, Rhoda Ernst Bannon ’56: Kaye Benner Reardon, Augusta Needles Field, Anne Collins

’61: Front Row: Athene Chiriacka Westergaard, Barbara Mahony Kent, Rachel Crow Dosé, Melinda Mills Lee, Susan Doyle Knowles, Lezah Fisher Pinnell, Anne Dubraska Britt, Virginia Pratt Malcolm, Diane Wynne Mercer, Ruth Kramer Ziony Second Row: Jane Dorgeloh Muranyi, Cynthia Bauer Gibby, Pamela Newcombe Abele, Helen Pettit, Susan Birch Duffy, Jeramy Campagna Dove, Cabell Smith Tower, Ellen Phillipps Wales, Jean Von Bernuth Thomson Third Row: Michael Gage, Diana Sprague

71 Stugger, Helen Funkhouser Read, Sheila Heasley Gates, Nancy Linkroum Pennell, Valerie Phillips Parsegian, Tena Loveland Russ, Anne Platt Irish, Alicia Sorensen Robertson, Jamie Adkins Baxter Back Row: Olivia Post Fiske, Katharine Zimmermann Egan, Lesley Shaw Lake, Jeanette Stoner DeLucia; Briony Sharman Newington, Susan Stroup Adnopoz, Amanda Cluett Fry, Victoria Thompson Winterer, Margaret Miller, Suzannne Neimann, Penelope Homan Neale, Rosalie Case Clark

All photos by Mark Van Wormer


31 connections

86 ’86: Front Row: Sara Elizabeth Dryfoos, Galen Newman, Madhuri Sethi, Elizabeth Schultz Maitland, Rachel Sutel Sherman Middle Row: Pamela Mealus Berdou, Karen Hayton Ellard, Margaret Lionberger Kohn, Janet Hall Koether, Jennifer Smith Back Row: Melissa Palmer, Tori Garcia, Laura Crapo Tymoshenko, Cheryl Hines, Cristina Gegenschatz, Christine Bence Allen, Kelly Wilson, Leigh Neville Tauber



’91: Front Row: Shona Kaestner Baldoni, Victoria Barrett Jacobsen, Bridget McCarthy, Steve Jacobsen, Alexandra Ludwig Back Row: Jennifer Freedman Prince, Chelsea Lyons Montgomery, Deanna Croce, Marisa Moriarty, Heather Okerlund Rodgers, Alyssa Cohen Zelman, Anna Ellis ’96: Lilliana Anthony-Brown Mason and Sarah Schneck Driscoll

61 ’71: Front Row: Amy Stone, Mercier Robinson, Carol Maynard Khalsa, Corrine Hammet, Alison Knopf Insinger Back Row: Carolyn Busch Foster, Anne Shutt Trahan, M. Parker Anderson-Mabry, Harriet Gross Sanford, Ann Kenney Barrett ’76: Front Row: Cassandra Eckhof, Rachel Hetko Morrison, Elizabeth Leib Pollack, Karen Busch Cox; Noel Granger, Ursula Mathers Nehrt, Andy Holman (Thacher ’77) Back Row: Cara Christie-Rocha, Mary Hill, Elizabeth Westbrook Hydes, Garrett Eastman (Cassie’s Husband)

’81: Front Row: Sheila Stenhouse Lee, Lori Garrison Randolph, Karen Knope Bullivant, Kinter MacKenzie Lennon, Carol Batchelder Trester, Nicole Skinner Caron, Heather Scott, Melanie Crannell Malema Back Row: Amy Clarke Luchsinger, Valerie Krowe Shostak, Regan Andrews, Jennifer Krogh Capala, Adriane Kufta, Jennifer Kealy, Cynthia Gemson Barcomi Friedman, Anastasia Pflug McGee, Katharine Hadow, Julie Light Githens, Stephanie Chase Bradbury, Wendy O’Neill, Diane Denton Stone, Garland Kemper, Terri Sinclair Walter

’01: Front Row: Curran Saile, Elizabeth Crain, Melinda Paquin (kneeling), Leili Fatehi, Lisa Lee-Herbert, Jessica Martin, Alia Stavrand-Woolf ’02 Middle Row: Jennifer Baumann, Molly Mulligan, Evette Stair, Audrey Ting Schmook, Jarrett Gregory, Lauren Kelly Back Row: Kathleen Kilkenny, Andrea Frydl, Anjali Dayal, Rebekah Strock Layton, Reynetta Sampson, Siona Cox Patisteas, Alice Gibson Richardson, Ashley Vellano ’06: Front Row: Francesca DeLucia, Lauren Wilhelmi, Emily Gasperetti, Marina Mezzogiorno-Brown, Sarah Woods, Ariane Rizzo, Natalie Shoemaker Middle Row: Hannah Darrin, Annalise Kjolhede, Kerry Baumann, Leah Davis, Rachel Johnson, Fae Jencks, Kathryn Coughlin, Lauryn Johnson, Dara Cohen, Charis Kotfila, Inga-Marie Facey-Higgins Back Row: Emily Arrighi, Jamila Best, Melissa Skevington, Abigail LaBella, Alexandra Wait, Emily Wroczynski, Mfon Umoren, Jessica King, Claire Burns, Shantay Mobley, Katherine Sargent, Alexandra Steele

women’s work

Home Made Wiebke Noack Theodore ’77, Architectural Designer, Theodore + Theodore Architects, Bath, Maine My fascination with the idea of home came very early. I drew a section of a house when I was in third grade where I put all the contents of this idealized interior landscape together. I had a very chaotic childhood; my mother had a serious illness, and design and thinking about homes was a peaceful place I could go. Home and connection to community is really important, so it’s not just the isolated structure where you live. What draws people to our practice is that it is not simply about the materials or style. It’s really about the connection of the space to the landscape. The houses we design are typically smaller, very energy efficient, and have as little impact on the landscape as possible. The orientation is important; the house responds to the site. The spaces typically are very open and simple so people can connect, but there is a sense of creating community and privacy within the home. We live in a house we designed; it’s the second house we’ve designed for ourselves. It has a little less muscle flexing going on—our first house had a very dramatic double-height space. With our second house we were more confident in having something more modest and simple.


Right now from where I’m sitting on a window seat, I can see a rock outcropping. There is a concrete floor that is made of sand from a gravel pit not that far away. The ledge looks like it comes into the house so there’s that connection to the landscape. A lot of our projects respond to the vernacular of the barns and the farms around us, but they are not nostalgic in terms of reproducing them. So, materials definitely speak to us. We have done a fair amount of timber frame where we are using wood that comes from the site. When you use local materials it is part of the place, the connection happens naturally. We lived in New York for seven years. We worked for larger firms, and it took a long time to get things to happen. We came to Maine and immediately we could have an impact. We have helped small nonprofits raise funds and make building projects come to life. You don’t just leave it then; you are connected to the place and the people. It is a lasting relationship. We find that’s true of our clients, too. They become our friends. You are constantly building community. Theodore + Theodore Architects designed this living room addition with a west-facing porch for reading and river views.

Photo by Karsten Moran


emma willard school 285 Pawling Avenue Troy, NY 12180


Reunion 2012 June 8–10, 2012 Classes of 1932, 1937, 1942, 1947, 1952, 1957, 1962, 1967, 1972, 1977, 1982, 1987, 1992, 1997, 2002, 2007 If you’d like to volunteer for reunion, please call or email the Alumnae Relations Office at 866.833.1814 toll-free or alumnae@emmawillard.org. Look for your invitation in March with all the details of the weekend’s activities.

Profile for Emma Willard

emma: fall 2011  

The Home Issue: The idea of home is deep and personal. Home might mean a spiritual community, like Lucia Ewing Greenhouse ’80 describes inh...

emma: fall 2011  

The Home Issue: The idea of home is deep and personal. Home might mean a spiritual community, like Lucia Ewing Greenhouse ’80 describes inh...