Vassar Today


Robin Whitten ’70 recently celebrated the 10th anniversary of the magazine, AudioFile, which she founded in 1992. AudioFile is the only consumer magazine devoted to audiobooks, and has a circulation of 22,000. Whitten said, “Aside from a flood, my shoe-eating dog, no investors, and no experience, it still amazes me today that not only have we stayed in business, but we’ve grown, endured, and even flourished.”

Susan Murphy ’72 has received the 2002 Time-Out Grant. The grant, established by an anonymous alumna, helps alumnae/i who have reached their 40th birthdays make a career change or take time out to pursue a strongly desired endeavor. Murphy, a Martha’s Vineyard resident, will use the grant to study cabinet and furniture making at a school in Boston, an interest of hers since she attended Vassar.

The Luce Scholars Program has named Elizabeth Brown ’00 as one of this year’s 18 scholars. After graduation, this political science major was selected to the U.S. Department of Justice’s Honors Program, working as a paralegal in the Civil Rights Division. The Luce Scholars Program provides stipends and internships for 18 young Americans to live and work in Asia each year. Dating from 1974, the program’s purpose is to increase awareness of Asia among future leaders in American society (

The Great North Special, a funk/hip-hop/reggae/fusion band founded in 1999 and composed of

Vassar classmates from ’01 to ’03, (Darvey Santner ’01, James Brown ‘01, Terrence Harris ‘01, Adam Krug ‘02, John Montavon-McKillip ‘02, Luke O’Neill ‘02, and Evan Haskell ‘03) has released their album, Earthdrop. The band has played extensively throughout the Hudson Valley area and has been featured at major New York City and Key West venues. Visit to learn more about the band.

Accomplished composer Alexandra Gardner ’90 has been awarded the W.K. Rose Fellowship in the Creative Arts. The fellowship allows a young artist who has demonstrated creative talent in writing, the visual arts, or music composition during undergraduate study to pursue a career in the arts, and is open to Vassar seniors and graduates. Gardner’s works have been featured internationally and at such performance spaces as the Kennedy Center. She is currently the sound engineer for Soundprint, a weekly documentary series on NPR.

Recently, Gilles D. Monsarrat, a French professor of languages, stated that the true author of the poem “A Funeral Elegy” is John Ford. In 1995, Vassar Professor of English Donald Foster had named William Shakespeare as the poet — a discovery that became widely supported in scholarly circles. In a message posted on the Internet discussion group Shaksper, Foster wrote, “I know good evidence when I see it, and I predict that Monsarrat will carry the day. No one who cannot rejoice in the discovery of his own mistakes deserves to be called a scholar.”

Jose Medina ’02 and Caroline Loomis ’02 have been selected as the recipients of the 2002–03 Compton Mentor Fellowship. This new fellowship program “promote[s] the creativity and support[s] the commitment of graduating seniors as they move beyond academic preparation to focus on continuing ‘real world’ application and contribution.” Medina will work with mentor, Richard Witt, president of Rural and Migrant Ministry, to serve as a resource for migrant youth empowerment in upstate New York. Loomis will work with a mentor in the San Francisco Bay Area, exploring the benefits of urban community gardens and food systems projects.

Vassar yielded six Fulbright Fellowship ( recipients this year. Lissette Olivares ’02 will study clandestine literature in Chile. Deborah Warnock ’02

will research psychology in Germany. Kristin Rule ’02 will explore chemistry in Russia. Brett Lampiasi ’02 will approach urban studies in Spain. And Amanda Croushore ’02 will study teaching in France.

President Frances Fergusson has been named a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the national preeminent learned society and research institution. Fergusson joins the likes of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Ralph Waldo Emerson. Fergusson remarked, “I am deeply honored, delighted, and greatly surprised by this honor. Vassar’s own Maria Mitchell was the first woman to be elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and I find it quite humbling to be in her company.” Those inducted alongside Fergusson included, among others, Senator Edward M. Kennedy, actress Angelica Huston, and violinist Itzhak Perlman.

In 2001, Virginia Mars ’51 became president of the Wildlife Trust, for a term of three years. Wildlife Trust is a conservation science organization that partners with local conservation scientists in 22 countries to save endangered species with innovative, community-based solutions.