First Words

The State of the Association

By Susan McCallum Bledsoe ‘64, AAVC President

Although 2002 is not the 100th or even 150th anniversary of AAVC (it’s the 131st), for me it is a landmark year as it draws to a close my tenure as president of AAVC. I am extremely proud of the work the AAVC Board, staff, and, of course, the Vassar volunteers have accomplished to lead AAVC into the 21st century; we should all take pride in the state of our alumnae/i association.


Judge Pauline Newman '47
Judge Pauline Newman '47

February 11, 2002, Judge Pauline Newman ‘47 was the recipient of the first annual AAVC Award for Distinguished Achievement, given to an alumna or alumnus who has achieved the highest level of her or his field of endeavor. (l to r: Vassar President Frances Fergusson, AAVC President Susan McCallum Bledsoe ‘64, Newman, and AAVC Awards Committee Chair Yolanda Sabio ‘73)

Over its long history, AAVC has had to grow in order to stay true to its mission, to accommodate an evolving alumnae/i body and changing times. We have an executive director with new ideas and a vision for the future, supported by an excellent, creative staff; a new strategic plan and mission; a newly designed and directed Vassar magazine; and a new board goal to reach out to more and more alumnae/i. We are in an excellent position to move forward and achieve the AAVC vision: “AAVC will be relevant to the alumnae/i and to Vassar College by sustaining a sense of community, maintaining traditions, sharing resources, fostering connections, and encouraging a lifelong desire to know.”

I have been well served throughout my adult life by the education, values, commitment to community, and desire to learn imparted to me at Vassar. When I was asked seven years ago to join the board, it seemed only right to get more involved with Vassar and thereby give something back to my alma mater. But as it turned out (and many of you who volunteer can attest), I am constantly rewarded in return and get much more than I give. I continue to be challenged by the Vassar intellect, whether on campus, among the alumnae/i, or by the college faculty and administration.

Although this June I bid farewell to my position as president of the AAVC Board, I am proud to have been a part of this fine organization and to have had the opportunity to lead it. I continue to learn and grow through my connections with Vassar and cherish the alumnae/i friendships I make, just as I cherish the friendships I made as a student.