Summer 2020

Editor’s note

Philip Johansson, editorWith this final, abbreviated issue, we say goodbye to Potash Hill as we know it. After months of anticipation, preparation, and more than a fair share of commotion, in July 2020 Marlboro College will officially become the Marlboro Institute for Liberal Arts and Interdisciplinary Studies at Emerson College. Kind of a mouthful, I know, and there are many who have found it difficult to swallow, but in these uncertain times the college considers itself fortunate to be able to continue its academic mission and legacy. 

While short on the usual sumptuous photography and elegant design, this online issue is an opportunity to reflect on the college’s distinctive heritage and look toward its promising future. It is the right time and place to honor the final graduating class, who persevered this year despite tremendous challenges, and to check in with the many alumni who are and will continue to be the college’s living legacy. I am grateful to Dan Toomey ’79, who has written so many valuable articles for this publication about Marlboro’s history, for his final musings on the college’s place in the evolving landscape of higher education. I also want to encourage you to check out The Marlboro Years, a new panoramble book from Mark Roessler '90 and a perfect complement to this final issue of Potash Hill.

“I carry the memory of Marlboro as a small secret strength in my heart,” says Emily Field Uribe ’11 in Class Notes, and I couldn’t agree more. It has been my great privilege and joy to write for and edit this venerable magazine, and to support the mission and day-to-day endeavors of Marlboro College, for the past 12 years. I am richer for the countless stories of students, faculty, and alumni I helped share, and I’ve appreciated the support and feedback of many readers over the years. I encourage you all to stay engaged as the institution enters this new and exciting chapter, and to send your news and updates to

—Philip Johansson, editor

Inside Front Cover

Potash Hill 
Published twice every year, Potash Hill shares highlights of what Marlboro College community members, in both undergraduate and graduate programs, are doing, creating, and thinking. The publication is named after the hill in Marlboro, Vermont, where the college was founded in 1946. “Potash,” or potassium carbonate, was a locally important industry in the 18th and 19th centuries, obtained by leaching wood ash and evaporating the result in large iron pots. Students and faculty at Marlboro no longer make potash, but they are very industrious in their own way, as this publication amply demonstrates. 

Editor: Philip Johansson 
Alumni Director: Maia Segura ’91 
Staff Photographers: Emily Weatherill ’21 and Cliff Clifford ’22  

Front Cover: In what turned out to be their last week spent on campus before the coronavirus crisis, students enjoy celebrating Holi, the Hindu festival of spring representing the triumph of good over evil. Photo by Emily Weatherill '21 

Todd Smith celebrates the class of 2020Professor of chemistry Todd Smith (right) celebrates the class of 2020 by setting something on fire, an exothermic reaction that occurs when a solid, liquid, or gas-phase fuel undergoes rapid oxidation. The final graduating class of Marlboro Class faced many hurdles this spring, and rose to every challenge to make the college proud. See a congratulations video from faculty and staff.

About Marlboro College
Marlboro College provides independent thinkers with exceptional opportunities to broaden their intellectual horizons, benefit from a small and close-knit learning community, establish a strong foundation for personal and career fulfillment, and make a positive difference in the world. At our campus in the town of Marlboro, Vermont, students engage in deep exploration of their interests while developing transferrable skills that can be directly correlated with success after graduation, known as the Marlboro Promise. These skills are: (1) the ability to write with clarity and precision; (2) the ability to work, live, and communicate with a wide range of individuals; and (3) the ability to lead an ambitious project from idea to execution. Marlboro students fulfill this promise in an atmosphere that emphasizes critical and creative thinking, independence, an egalitarian spirit, and community.  

Clear Writing

Farm Cottage Dorm Charter*, Fall 2012 
Simeon Farwell-Miller, Clare Riley, Evan Sachs, Mia Bertelli

  1. Students enjoy the sunny common room in the farm cottage.Thou shalt drinketh thy fine tea or coffee as one wakes in the sunshine of the forest. Existeth not in the dark depths of thy cave! (i.e. spend time in the common room.)
  2. Thou shalt watch at least one episode of Doctor Who in good company every fortnight.
  3. If thou art watching weird cooking shows, thou shalt do so in one’s cave because it stresses Mia out.
  4. When feeling solemn, one shalt remember Father Philip.
  5. Thou shalt always feed thy sourdough starter and eat a weekly dose of sauerkraut.
  6. Thou shalt not neglect thy vegetables—save and preserve the vegetables!
  7. Thou shalt cook and eat meals with thy brethren.
  8. Thou shalt spend a sufficient time in laughter with thy brethren (and without).
  9. Thou shalt remember and honor the compost.
  10. Thou shalt turn off the lights (within and without thine abode) if thou art the last one to bed, and turn off lights when not in use in general.
  11. Thou shalt store up the riches of egg cartons and milk containers!
  12. Thou shalt get sufficient sleep and take care of thy health.
  13. Singing Saturdays! Thou shalt sing and dance and do handstands.
  14. Applying soap to cast iron pans is punishable by immersion into the compost.
  15. Spontaneous contact improv is compulsory (for all residents who are not Clare).
  16. Baked goods shall be regularly produced and shared with all cottage residents.
  17. Keep the galley clean!
  18. The spilling of balsamic vinegar is punishable by mandatory push-ups. 
  19. Thou shalt maintain and honor thy dorm charter, and adjust it as good judgment demands.
  20. Thou shalt invite thy friends over for merry gatherings and sushi making parties.
  21. Thou shalt not forget to eat ice cream.
  22. Thou shalt inquire into the well-being of thy brethren.
  23. If the mood striketh thee, thou mayest sweep any floors or clean any surfaces as compels thee.
  24. Put not the pickling spices in thy beans of dill, or they will be wreckethed.
  25. Do as the cheerio box doth instruct: smile!
  26. Inviteth thy friends over for cookies, and share cookies with thy neighbors.
  27. Judge not thy fellow friend who drinketh pickle juice by the glass.
  28. Thou shalt use plenty of butter and garlic.

Dorm Charters are one of the many community-oriented and democratic institutions perpetuated by Marlboro College over the years, perhaps to be adopted by the Marlboro Institute at Emerson College or at the new tenents on Potash Hill, Democracy Builders.

"Marlboro is People"

By Dan Toomey ’79

A legacy alumnus and perennial Marlboro historian reflects on the college’s illustrious past and unique place in the landscape of higher education.

A college’s history is an assemblage of interwoven stories about a place and about the people connected to that place. While every college’s history is different, Marlboro’s is arguably more different from others in numerous ways. I contend that the values and the character of certain individuals, and the life experiences that shaped them, came to constitute the ideals that made the college what it was.  


Walter HendricksWalter Hendricks, Marlboro’s founding president, and Arthur Whittemore, the first trustee of the college and the first board chair, were close in age, dearly loved the town of Marlboro, and were veterans of the First World War. Arthur Whittemore had led a company through several battles including Meuse-Argonne, the last great battle of the war. He was wounded in action twice. Walter Hendricks had trained over 300 pilots to fly the legendary Curtiss-Jenny, came within a hair’s breadth of being killed numerous times, and watched helplessly as a man who had crash-landed died in the hospital bed next to his. 

Arthur Whittemore’s experiences on the Western Front “made him think what way he could be the most use to humanity,” as his eldest daughter once said to me; and Walter Hendricks’ time as a pilot trainer was an experience that impelled him, as well, toward a life of meaning. While Marlboro was in obvious ways a product of the Second World War, it had been the Great War that drove these two men to do good things in the world. Their establishing Marlboro College was one such accomplishment, and it was their planning together over the late spring and summer of 1946 that laid the school’s foundation.  

Walter Hendricks’ idea for starting a college on his Vermont hill farm had its beginnings in two educational experiences. The first was his time as an undergraduate at Amherst College, and in particular the time he spent there with Robert Frost; and at the end of World War II, his time as English Department chair at Biarritz American University, when he came to understand that starting a school from scratch was possible. A third influence was his ongoing fascination with utopian experiments and ideals. His vision for Marlboro would blend all of these.

In their book The Perpetual Dream: Reform and Experiment in the American College, Gerald Grant and David Riesman (the eminent sociologist who served many years on Marlboro’s Council of Academic Advisors) have written that there are certain kinds of progressive institutions that “generally begin with a charismatic leader who is often not good at balancing either books or interests and is subsequently expelled.” It is easy enough to draw attention to Walter Hendricks’ character flaws, but as Dick Judd stated to me once, “There wouldn’t have been a college without him.” It was Walter Hendricks’ idea alone to begin a liberal arts college on his Vermont farm, and it was his intellectual courage that helped bring it into being, not his weaknesses.  

Walter Hendricks’ mentor Robert Frost had a fondness for Greek and Latin rhetorical devices that he could put to novel use. One of these was “anastrophe,” the inversion of usual word order. In an interview given in the summer of 1956, Frost took the standard phrase “believing in it” and transposed the preposition and pronoun to create “believing it in,” thereby altering the phrase’s meaning to indicate engendering something through the sheer force of belief. So when on an August evening ten years earlier, Walter Hendricks first told his former teacher about his plan for starting a college, Frost grew animated. Here was his old Amherst student about to actualize one his most cherished ideas: bringing idea into matter, or put more poetically as he did in the late poem “Kitty Hawk,” “risking spirit in substantiation.”  

Marlboro’s founding president had a particular genius for beginnings, evinced by the remarkable fact that he would found two more colleges after Marlboro. And there would be at least the idea for yet another, to be called Robert Frost College (yes, really) that “never made it out of his briefcase,” as Dick Judd, with his dependably Yankee succinctness, once framed it for me. But that is, as they say, another story.   


Trustee Zee Persons, President Tom Ragle, and Trustee Arthur Whittemore meet in the late 50s.Arthur Whittemore was a Boston attorney and later Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court judge who gave firm grounding to Walter Hendricks’ visionary idealism in ways that made the whole enterprise practical. From purchasing the necessary buildings and land that would complete the campus to paying faculty salaries out of his pocket during the lean years of the 1950s, he helped make Marlboro viable initially, and he would continue to do so for an additional two decades, all because of his unwavering faith. Tom Ragle, president emeritus, once paid tribute to him with the following words: 

When Marlboro couldn’t pay its bills, he believed. When Marlboro held only 30 students, he believed. When the trustees had to meet monthly to ascertain whether the college could stay open another month, he believed. When people questioned the worth of a little place such as this, he believed. 

He led the board for twenty years. His practical experience serving as Hingham, Massachusetts’ town meeting moderator helped him to see possibilities for community government at Marlboro, anticipating, as the first catalog states, “that students will form the habit of taking part, learn the strengths and weaknesses of the democratic process, and appreciate their own responsibility for its success.” Marlboro students over the years did indeed form the habit of taking part, as the college’s Town Meeting became central to the school’s identity. Arthur Whittemore’s conviction in the worth of democracy was derived from his innate sense of fairness and justice, ideals he lived by every moment of his public life. 


Roland BoydenIf there was a single individual over the course of Marlboro’s history who more than anyone embodied the college, it would be Roland Boyden. He served Marlboro as dean, faculty member (whose specialty was English history but who could and did teach anything), trustee, and twice acting-president. But also in other roles too numerous to count, summing it up once self-effacingly as “academic odd job man,” all this while taking—perhaps it can be said now—a dollar a year as his salary. Shortly after Roland’s death in 1981, trustee Paul Olson read a motion in his memory at a board meeting.  Here is a portion of it:  

Fortunate are the legion of Marlboro students who found Roland Boyden at the other end of the log.  Fortunate too was the board of trustees. In the days before student and faculty representatives he was the sensitive ear and the all-encompassing eye that brought to the Board the many undercurrents of thoughts and feelings on the campus. For many years he somehow magically convinced the faculty that there were certain intangible rewards to teaching at Marlboro that made up for the lack of dollars in the budget and the perversity of Vermont weather.

Roland was a revered, much loved, and many-storied man, and among the most revealing stories is one that Tom Ragle recounts in Marlboro College: A Memoir. Tom was speaking at a faculty meeting about a student wanting to do a Plan in Ethiopian history, making it clear that allowing it to proceed was not possible, as there was no faculty member who was an expert on Ethiopian history and therefore no one qualified to sponsor a Plan on the subject. When Tom ended his talk, there was an expectant silence. Then Roland, with his characteristic reserve, said quietly, “I am.” Roland sponsored the student’s Plan, and the student, whose outside examiner came from the State Department, finished with an A level grade and in the years following would earn a doctorate in sociology. Roland’s humility was the singular strength that underpinned all that he was.   


Students take the comprehensive exam in 1962.Tom Ragle’s presidency brought with it a measure of financial stability, a healthy influx of students, an enlarged faculty, a considerable expansion of the physical plant, and—in 1965—accreditation.  It also brought into being the hallmark of Marlboro’s academic program, the Plan of Concentration. The scaffolding for it was already in place when Tom arrived in 1958—Marlboro’s introductory and general education courses leading to the Comprehensive Examination had, in the mid-1950s, been adapted to Marlboro from Black Mountain College by Roland. But Marlboro’s two final years, in Tom’s view as a young president, lacked “sufficient depth” and “an adequate climax.” He looked to his own student years at Harvard and Oxford as inspiration for what those final years might become, and he found it there. While the Plan was his conception, by the time it was first implemented in the fall of 1960, the entire faculty had a voice in what it would be.

In his memoir, Tom states that as college president, “I never ceased to think of myself as primarily a teacher, as a first among equals, and I believe I was treated that way.” True as this may be, the impression his book offers is that of a man over the course of 23 years absorbing, appreciating, and arriving at deep understandings of those around him and of what the college was becoming, in a word: learning. Tom’s presidency serves to remind us that in life there is no teaching without learning, and no learning without teaching regardless of which end of the log you happen to be sitting on, and that both are necessary when committing oneself to the stewardship of an evolving ideal.  


When l think of Arthur Whittemore, Roland Boyden, Tom Ragle, and others from the early years, these words come to mind: humility, kindness, largesse, loyalty, fairness, humor, erudition, integrity, and wisdom. Taken together these virtues came to be values ingrained in the school itself, and so in that sense the Frostian ideal of “spirit in substantiation” continued well beyond the college’s founding. It was the inimitable and insightful first treasurer of the board of trustees, Zee Persons, who put it simply: “Marlboro is people.” What we remember of the outward examples of those people and others can, down to the present moment, be life-giving and life-changing.  


Students play freeze tag in 1979, the year Dan Toomey graduated.In the days and years to come, if someone asks what I learned when I was a student at Marlboro College, I will say that I was taught to be humble and kind, that I was taught to be free in giving and tolerant and accepting of those different from me. I was also taught to speak honestly and to treat people fairly, and to see humor as a means of coping with things outside my control. I will say that I developed such a passion for learning that I have come to regard it as tantamount to breathing. That I was taught these things over breakfast and in seminar classes, while shoveling snow and while scrubbing the Dining Hall floor, in the serenity of the surrounding woods and in the quiet of the library.  I will say that I was privileged in being shown, in myriad ways more implicit than explicit, that I mattered, that my presence at Marlboro was necessary and so it would be in the larger world as well.  

I will say that in the time I was a student, I was only beginning to understand these things, but I as I grew older, that understanding deepened. And I will say that I am still working through all that I was given on that beautiful Vermont hillside, and with each emerging realization comes more cause for gratitude.  

Then if the person says to me, “That must have been a very special place,” I will reply, “Believe me, it was.”

Dan Toomey has taught writing and literature at Landmark College for 35 years, and has written several article on Marlboro’s history for Potash Hill, most recently a biography of eminent ecologist Robert MacArthur ’51 in the Summer 2013 issue. He serves on the executive board of the Robert Frost Society and in 2021 will become its president.


From the Archives

In preparation for Marlboro's treasure troves of photos, videos, publications, and other archives going off to University of Vermont, an effort was made to scan many images that had never been digitalized. These are just some of the iconic images that were captured, and that will be made available in UVM's special collections.

 Sun bathing in the 1950s.

What parties used to look like in the late 1950s.

A student makes their way across campus in winter, in this undated photo.


New students wait outside the dining hall for the English exam in 1978.


Playing soccer with an audience of one, in 1982.


Students direct traffic after a Town Meeting ordinance banning cars on campus in 1970.

A scene from the dining hall in the late 1960s.

The "Grazers" clear brush by the geodesic dome that was the site of their alternative dining hall.

Community members work together to help raise the Campus Center in 1981.


Students stretch out hoses during a fire drill in the 1980s.

Appletree is filled to capacity for a debate on the subject of "Is Poetry Dead?"

Students start a garden on the future site of Marlboro Gardens in 1990.

Biology professor Bob Engel holds forth about measuring species diversity.


The OP building is painted with polkadots for a gag in 1983.


 Students express their love for Marlboro in the 1970s.

On and Off the Hill

Mark Roessler '90 sets up for one of his panoramic images of campus, the subject of his new book The Marlboro College Years, available from Levellers Press. See Alumni Notes for details.

Marlboro and Emerson Sign Agreement

Sunset on Potash HillIn May, the Marlboro and Emerson College Boards authorized negotiating and signing a binding agreement to form the much anticipated alliance that the two schools have worked so hard to develop over the last several months. This agreement was signed recently by Lee Pelton, Emerson president, and Kevin Quigley, Marlboro president, and is currently being reviewed by the Office of the State Attorney General’s Office for final approval. 

"Given our strategic approach and deliberative process over the past few years, we expect that this transaction will be eventually approved," says Kevin Quigley. “Our faculty continue to prepare for this important transition, and we are very pleased that many of our students will be following them to Boston. We want to especially acknowledge the work of the joint faculty working group, involving both Emerson and Marlboro faculty, whose work will help ensure that Marlboro's pedagogy will endure at the newly named Marlboro Institute for Liberal Arts and Interdisciplinary Studies at Emerson College.”

The Marlboro Institute provides positions to all of Marlboro's tenure and tenure-track faculty, and 20 of these 24 faculty are going. It also offers admissions to all of our students, keeping tuition at the Marlboro level and maintaining financial aid. The Marlboro Institute curriculum incorporates the Marlboro Promise and includes essential elements of the Marlboro education experience such as clear writing, a Marlboro seminar each year, a senior year capstone with elements of Plan, and outside examination. NECHE, the regional accrediting body, has already approved Emerson’s request for these substantive changes to enhance the Marlboro Institute at Emerson. 

Following a very successful student visit to Emerson in February, and continued support for making this transition, 53 students have said they will be moving to Emerson from Marlboro. In addition, Emerson has had 12 new students deposit for the Marlboro Institute, some of them who initially applied to Marlboro College for 2020 and others who applied directly to Emerson. These numbers hold some promise that the newly named and expanded institute will grow and thrive. For students who were not continuing on to Emerson, Marlboro was able to negotiate five transfer agreements with other colleges, with the same tuition at the same level, including three in Vermont.

There were countless individuals who played a vital role in forging the Emerson relationship. In typical Marlboro fashion, this has been a community effort involving students, faculty, staff, alumni and trustees, as well as members of the extended community. Marlboro was also greatly supported by colleagues at Emerson who have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to continuing Marlboro’s mission, vision, and relevance on their campus, in spite of the enormous challenges to higher education during this COVID-19 pandemic.

“We recognize that all of us would prefer that Marlboro College remain as is on our beautiful campus in the foothills of the Green Mountains,” continues Kevin. “We are, however, very fortunate to have found a path that both continues our distinctive liberal arts mission at Emerson and offers an opportunity for an innovative, mission-driven education program to take root here on the Hill.”


Campus To Go to Democracy Builders

In response to community members concerned about the future of the Marlboro campus, the Campus Working Group made every effort to find another educational institution would build on the foundations that Marlboro College has so carefully laid. In June, the college signed a binding agreement on the sale of the campus to Democracy Builders, a non-profit organization that will launch an innovative new model of higher education dramatically improving outcomes for low-income and first generation college students. Like the Emerson alliance, this agreement is being reviewed by the Office of the State Attorney General’s Office, and is expected to be approved. 

Pending state regulatory and accreditors’ approval, Democracy Builders’ “Degrees of Freedom”program will offer a hybrid degree that will bring cohorts of students to the campus for multiple residencies. Democracy Builders was chosen above all other proposals by the Campus Working Group (CWG), and trustees unanimously followed their recommendation.   

 “We are reimagining higher education, not tinkering around the edges,” said Seth Andrew, founder and CEO of Democracy Builders and founding president of Degrees of Freedom, as quoted in the Brattleboro Reformer. He believes the new model will “revolutionize the design and structure of college while bringing new energy to the beautiful hills of southern Vermont.” This new model, he said, is “a more nimble, personalized, and career-targeted model of higher education that aims to yield dramatically better outcomes for our students.”

Democracy Builders founded Democracy Prep, a network of 20+ high-performing public schools throughout the U.S. committed to educating citizen-scholars who are well-prepared for success in college and citizenship. Degrees of Freedom is born out of work with 10,000 K-12 students and, pending state approval, will create a wholly integrated path to a degree for students from hundreds of similar schools across the nation. The Degrees of Freedom model will also continue Marlboro’s self-governing tradition through bi-weekly town hall meetings similar to those already in place at Democracy Prep. 

It will be a reassurance to many community members that the impressive academic and democratic legacy of Marlboro College is one factor that makes the location exciting. “It is a legacy of academic rigor and independent study that we are very passionate about,” said Andrew. “We believe passionately in democracy and right now it’s in jeopardy and needs a lot of support. We want to produce citizens who are prepared to function in our democracy, just as Marlboro College did.”

 Read the Brattleboro Reformer article.

Marlboro Responds to Coronavirus Crisis

Like every college or university in the United States, indeed around the world, Marlboro faced immense challenges this spring semester because of the emerging COVID-19 outbreak, ultimately a global pandemic. Starting with baby steps just before spring break, the college’s response would ultimately result in shutting down the campus for the rest of the semester, a move that took speedy and proactive efforts on several fronts. 

On March 19, most staff began to work remotely and Vermont Governor Phil Scott ordered all non-emergency, non-essential individuals to stay at home the following week. Even seniors who were staying on campus to complete their Plans were only able to stay until March 22. Instead of returning to campus after spring break on March 29, all students and faculty began engaging in online classes and tutorials with support from the IT department. 

“Like any other year, this was the time to start the exhilarating and always fascinating race to finish the semester,” said President Kevin Quigley. “Witnessing the flowering of senior Plans leading up to commencement remains one of the great joys of being a part of the Marlboro community. This year felt very different, but held the same promise for academic accomplishment and closure for these students.”

Despite the challenges, classes and tutorials met at their usual times using online platforms, and advisors, staff, and student tutors continued to support students and help them make the most of this transition to remote learning. Student life staff remained vigilant to the needs of students, providing virtual programming like movie and game nights, workshops, shared meals, and other ways to stay connected. The Outdoor Program continued to encourage ways to get outside and stay healthy, in mind and body, during this challenging time.

The college even took positive role in the local community, donated masks and other personal protective equipment from the Total Health Center to the Springfield Medical Care system, Brattleboro Memorial Hospital, and local first responders. Additionally, the college worked with Metz, our food service company, to distribute the remaining food from the dining hall to local organizations, including the Marlboro Community Center, Chester Helping Hands, and local food shelves, to help feed those who found themselves food insecure.

The timing could not be much worse, of course, as the COVID-19 crisis was coupled with the imminent Emerson alliance to make for a very difficult end-of-year transition for the campus community. Despite all of these challenges, the community generally—and especially graduating seniors—demonstrated the very best of Marlboro’s spirit of resilience and creativity.

Archives Find a Home at UVM

In the wake of Marlboro College’s alliance with Emerson College, one of the outstanding concerns of community members has been the future of archives housed in Rice-Aron Library, including the Plan Room housing decades of original student work. There were concerns about these valuable artifacts leaving Vermont, or being inaccessible to those interested in exploring Marlboro history. In June, the college was pleased to announce that their archives and special collections would be going to the University of Vermont, where they will be carefully curated and made publicly available into the future.  

“We are thrilled to have our invaluable archives going to UVM, where they will join historic collections from several other Vermont colleges,” said Kevin Quigley, Marlboro president. “As an urban campus, Emerson College does not have the capacity for our extensive collections to remain a public resource, and it has been extremely important to many in our community that the collections remain in Vermont, with easy access.”

“I’m very pleased Marlboro’s archives are staying together and heading to UVM, where they will be well cared for by a team of archival professionals and made available to interested researchers,” added Amber Hunt, interim library director. As part of the agreement, the collections will remain open to the public for use. 

One of the most valuable parts of the Marlboro College archives collection is more than 2,500 Plans of Concentration submitted by graduating students and spanning from the early 1950’s to present day. These remarkable works represent the range of creative and scholarly exploration by Marlboro students over the years, and remain the clearest legacy of the college’s student-centered pedagogy. Each Plan is professionally bound and cataloged, including digital copies, and the copyright for each remains with the alumni authors.

The collection also contains a variety of other materials, including college catalogs and handbooks, The Citizen student newspaper, Potash Hill magazine, yearbooks, scrapbooks, and historical college ephemera. It includes documents from the college’s early history, and recordings from campus events including concerts featuring notable musicians such as Blanche Moyse and speakers like Loren Pope and Saul Bellow. There are also oral histories of alumni from the college’s first few graduating classes, faculty and alumni publications, and photographs of campus life dating back to the mid-1940s and continuing to the present time. 

“The University of Vermont’s Silver Special Collections Library is pleased to be able to provide a home for the Marlboro College archives,” said Chris Burns, curator of manuscripts and university archivist. “Marlboro’s legacy of a high quality, small-scale, egalitarian, and individualized approach to education will continue to live on in the college archives that will be preserved and made accessible at the University of Vermont. Our special thanks go to our friends at the Marlboro College Library who collected and organized these records over the years.”

“At a time when small colleges in Vermont—and indeed across the country—are struggling to exist, we can’t underestimate the importance of protecting our invaluable archives in perpetuity,” said President Quigley. “While other colleges have been forced by economic expediency to auction off or abandon their collections, Marlboro College is very pleased and grateful that UVM will be providing an appropriate home for these historic resources.”


Although the spring semester on campus was short, it was action-packed. Highlights include, clockwise starting with top left: A Night of Music with Felix Jarrar ’16 and vocalist colleagues featuring a recital of his art songs for voice and piano including the world premiere of his cycle “The Ulster County Songbook”; a reading by acclaimed poet Sophie Cabot Black ’80, called “a poet’s poet” by National Public Radio; “Literature as Resistance,” a conversation with award-winning author Michael Datcher, with music by Rodney “Don” Chapman; A Music for a Sunday Afternoon concert by Layale Chakar and her ensemble Sarafand, featuring the Lebanese violinist’s unique blend of contemporary, jazz, and Arabic Maqam music; a panel discussion on racial bias titled “What is ‘Woke,’ and are you it?” featuring Shanta Lee Gander, Julie Pham, and Jenna Chandler-Ward ’92;  The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, a musical comedy directed by Emily Weatherill and Izzy Swarbuck; and perhaps the final annual broomball tournament featuring competitive teams from the alumni community as well as faculty and staff.

Also of Note

In March, just as the campus was poised to close for spring semester, and ultimate for the semester, Alta Millar ’20 (pictured right) pulled off a public performance of her Plan work-in-progress in the Serkin Center Dance Studio. Working with her improvisational dance collective, which included Karla Julia Ramos ’20Minno Zelkin ’20Sarah Cyr ’21, and Charlie Hickman ’20, Alta aspired to create a space “where desired futures are alive in the moment, difference is utilized, and (re)actions are questioned.” Alta’s Plan of Concentration “generates, suspends, and propels mechanisms for change-making through the sensorial experience of improvisational movement.”

In February, four Marlboro students accompanied sociology professor Jennifer Girouard to the annual Eastern Sociological Society (ESS) Conference in Philadelphia, where they presented on their Plan work during a poster session. Cyane Thomas ’20 presented a poster titled “Cross-Cultural Unity or Division: Analysis of Fans within the Korean Pop Music Subculture,” and Drew Daniels ’20 presented his on “The Effects of Active Co-Creation within the Burning Man Community.” Grace Hamilton ’20 presented her work on “Navigating Privilege and Difference in Human Service Work,”  and Sage Kapitsis ’20 explored“Expectation Differences Between School- and Nonprofit-Education. The group shared their posters and their experiences at the conference with Marlboro community members in March, and were well-received!

Film and video studies professor Brad Heck ’04 had the world premiere of Sisters Rising, the film he made with Willow O’Feral ’07 (see Alumni News), in February at Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, where it earned an honorable mention. Sisters Rising is the story of six Native American women fighting to restore personal and tribal sovereignty in the face of ongoing sexual violence against indigenous women in the United States. It’s an urgent call to action, a gorgeous portrait of powerful women acting in solidarity, and a demand for self-determination as the necessary step towards ending violence against Native women. Learn more at

Jillian Gillman ’22 shared this photo of what her world looked like on April 22, in response to and Earth Day Photo Quest. Community members engaged in several online activities to celebrate Earth Week, including an online workshop with Rich Earth Institute, a discussion with Kathy Urffer of Connecticut River Conservancy, and the Climate Action Film Festival. In May, students and faculty shared their written work in an online reading celebrating the work of graduates and sadly saying goodbye, sponsored by creative writing and literature professor Bronwen Tate. Readings included poetry by Lydia Nuhfer ’20Anna Morrissey ’20Raph Cornel ’20Maya Faerstein-Weiss ’20Nick Creel ’20Bronwen TateJac Clark ’95, MSM ’14, anthropology professor Nelli Sargsyan, and Daniel Medeiros ’19, fiction by Roan Lee-Plunkett ’20Sophie Gorjance ’16, and Kristen Thompson ’19, and a personal essay by Jadian Bryan ’20. See the whole reading.

“The unifying theme of this Plan of concentration lies at the intersections of race, identity, and culture,” says Ricarrdo Valentine ’20, who completed a Plan in dance and photography titled  “Shaping Afro-Neo Narratives: Bailar y Fotos (Dance and Photos) in Afro-México.” “It’s a collaborative examination of (re)claiming and (re)connecting with diasporic siblings in North America specifically in and between Veracruz, México.” Ricarrdo used oral history, autoethnography, and cross cultural dance exchange to engage with collaborators in Veracruz. “This connection through our shared African descendant heritage helped me to reveal the commonalities and differences that emerge in the (re)claiming process of a displaced marginalized group.” Explore Ricarrdo’s work at

Like many graduating seniors, Jenny Stofer ’20 struggled with how to share her final work, which was completed in a secluded makeshift studio at home. She made her Plan in visual arts and philosophy, titled “Thinking with Others: Explorations in Philosophy and Painting, available on a Wordpress site. Jenny said, “My Plan was a process of closely examining the works of artists, both professionals and the ones in my lineage, and scholars of critical theory, moral theory, and others, and clarifying my own questions in relation to their work. My paintings, drawings, and writings are a realization of this goal.” Find Jenny's Plan work at

Marlboro students greet presidential candidate Bernie Sanders at a New Hampshire rally in February, shortly after Bernie had won the primary in that state. Visible in the foreground are Lucy Johnson ’20, Connor Linden ’17, Sara McMahon ’20, Kat Cannon-MacMartin ’20, Malachie Reilly ’20, and Grace Hamilton ’20.In May, creative writing and literature professor Bronwen Tate’s next book of poetry was selected as the national winner of the Hillary Gravendyk Prize. The Silk that Moths Ignore, “chronicles both loss and joy in its peculiar, sensual language, all the while keeping its focus on the mind’s movement as it tracks that which is beyond or below attention,” writes Jessica Fisher, one of the judges. “Here is a poet who ignores nothing, whose description brings us into the immersive space of experiences that are not ours, but are nonetheless felt fully. The lived and the linguistic find a common articulation in this work, given that the ‘tongue is word and taste;’ this is an exhilarating and perceptive book which values, as does Hillary Gravendyk’s own indelible work, the homes we make within both nature and language.” In addition to $1000 the prize includes a publishing agreement, with a scheduled 2021 release.

In May, film students presented their final works in an on-line film festival hosted by film and video studies professor Brad Heck ’04, and including work by Sam Harrison ’20, Merlin Katz ’20, Veronica Sherman ’20, Deana Seitz ’20, and David Teter ’20. It included a work-in-progress narrative film by Merlin, and involving most of those students and several others, called Hilbert the Bunny, a story of love, loss, and imaginary fauna. “My Plan examines and exemplifies the depiction of imagination in film,” says Merlin. “I write and produce a short film that utilizes elements of magical realism to illustrate a state of mind that cannot be conveyed through conventional acting or coverage, specifically to show how the imagination interacts with one's surrounding environment.” The festival also included a short film by Sam, whose plan to document the last semester at Marlboro (see Potash Hill Spring 2020) was curtailed by the coronavirus crisis. See Reflections on the Last Semester of Marlboro College.



Commencement 2020

This year’s commencement was exceptional in so many ways, not only because it was the final one on the Potash Hill campus. Although the coronavirus pandemic prevented the college from holding in-person commencement ceremonies and other activities, the graduating class of 2020 was celebrated by a commencement video, which they were able to enjoy with their family and friends. This on-line solution was developed in response to feedback and suggestions from graduating students, and captures the spirit of an in-person ceremony with speeches, music, and multimedia displays illustrating student accomplishments. The students simultaneously received a package from the college with their regalia, diploma, and other items to help them celebrate with their loved ones. See the whole commencement video.

From the remarks of President Kevin Quigley
Thinking about the arc of your lives, I am reminded that you have been through so much to get to this moment… and everyone in the Marlboro community is very proud of you. Your lives have been shaped by the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the Great Recession, the growing evidence of irreparable damage to planet earth, and the stark reminders of the persistence of racism, sexism and demonization of those different from us. On top of all of that, your lives have been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic and a global economic trauma unlike anything since the Great Depression. Given these myriad disruptions around your life, you have shown remarkable flexibility and resilience. 

From the remarks of student speaker Lydia Nuhfer ’20 
People are saying it feels like the end of the world. But before I talk about the world, I want to talk about Potash Hill, about our home. Because it is still here, even without us. Right now as I record this the trout lilies are blooming, and the wood violets, and the coltsfoot flowers have given way to leaves. Potash Hill—the hemlock trees, the woodpeckers, the quiet stone walls burying themselves in the woods—these things have seen us. The strange crawfish making homes in the fire pond, the rotting apples, the spring mud, that cold sap of the earth—all of these and more have witnessed us, held and beheld us. Some of us for long decades, some only for a semester or two.

From the remarks of student speaker Simon Renault MSM ’20 
The current crisis teaches us that we will be faced with a lot of unknown. Yet, in that unknown, may lie the truth of who we are as humans. As a species, we instinctively too often run away from the dangerous unpredictability of natural systems to design our own systems: ones we can predict, manipulate and control. And yet, Can we really run away from the messiness of life and being alive on this Earth? We cling to what is and sadly suffer when things fall apart. And yet, let’s together see beyond the ending of things and understand that it is just another iteration of a never ending cycle. Let us embrace aliveness. Let’s push the edges of discovery, together let’s learn to adapt to a life that will, anyway, forever be unpredictable and uncertain.

From the remarks of faculty speaker Jennifer Girouard ’01 
At Marlboro, you accomplished something you didn’t think possible. You came close to giving up but your friends and faculty and staff encouraged you to push through. And now there is this small, hard rock of pride you carry with you. Marlboro is that tiny pebble that you can hold in your palm or place in your pocket as a reminder that you are resilient, that you are capable of big things, and that you will continue to question the world and learn from those around you.



From the valediction by Charlie Hickman ’21 
It is my hope that we can all come back together on Potash Hill when it is safe to do so, but I again acknowledge the fact that any future gathering will not repair our loss. I guess that is it, my requisite piece of benedictory advice. Live into the contradiction. Hold the bad with the good, the mess with the beauty, the obstacles with the possibilities, and the ends with the beginnings. I feel so lucky to have been able to experience Marlboro. Not just because of the academic freedom, the governance structure, and the beauty of the campus, but primarily because of this community that continues to astound me. Though this chapter is closing, my wish is that we continue to astound each other and the world.

For full transcripts of speakers’ comments, as well as the lists of graduates and academic prizes, go to










Alumni News

Carbon Farming in California

For years, Anwyn Hurxthal ’92 applied the curiosity and photography skills she fostered in Marlboro’s World Studies Program to her work with Oxfam, documenting social justice, disasters, and community development around the world. Now she is using the same skills to master regenerative ranching and farming in the San Francisco Bay Area of northern California. 

“Farming was never part of the plan,” says Anwyn Hurxthal, co-owner of Tule Ranch outside of Morgan Hill, California. “It was an American quarter horse and a Catahoula leopard dog that made us brave enough to dream of owning land.” After living and working in Palo Alto for seven years, she and her husband, Dan, and their two children, began making weekend trips to the surrounding country in search of wider horizons. “During this time we fell in love with, and bought, an old soul American quarter horse, CC Jack, and a Catahoula puppy, Kai. Both of these souls are pure reflections of our own—big-land creatures that need to see the horizon and roam freely.” 

After two years of looking, they found Tule Ranch, 48 acres of rangeland, straddling hills and a stream, adjoining 1,000 acres of untouched ‘open space’ wild land. Neither of them had any farming or rangeland experience, but their combined skills made them a great fit: Anwyn brought her ardor for animals, plants, land, and science, and Dan applied his ability to fix and build anything—fence lines, water pipeline leaks, bridge repairs, well monitoring, flood control, and more.

After five years of observation, research and reflection, we see our roles here as being ‘carbon farmers.’” Within our lifetime, our goal is to build diverse forms of carbon—plants, soil microorganisms, fungi, insects, birds, trees, animals—throughout every micro-environment around us. Although 48 acres isn’t a huge amount of space, we intend to make every inch of it into thriving, enriched environments for wild and domesticated life.”

By turning the clock back on decades of overgrazing, synthetics use, and practices that turn a blind eye to everything but humans and cattle, Anwyn and Dan aim to restore the land to its most healthy state and to grow only what serves the land and its inhabitants sustainably. Carbon and healthy soil lie at the heart of every ranch decision. 

“Over time, we’ve woven together a fabric of diverse creatures and systems that serve each other well,” says Anwyn. A herd of Highland cattle act as “fire grazers” in a region known for devastating wildfires, and enrich the land with generous manure. Baby doll sheep graze and fertilize the olive grove without harming the trees. A flock of 70 diverse chickens control pesky insects that follow the grazers, and their beloved dogs protect the livestock from wild predators while allowing the coyotes and mountain lions to coexist nearby. “Last but not least, for purely selfish purposes, our horses serve as a human religion of sorts.” 

“The irony is that we’re trying to work with the land in simple ways that all our ancestors mastered thousands of years ago—using old land-management techniques that prioritized stewardship and balance. The most valuable tools we’ve come to use are our powers of observation and our curiosity, traits that were nurtured at Marlboro. Beloved professors like Birje Patel were masters at their craft, but above all else asked fantastic questions and taught that skill to their students.”  

But wait, there's more! For this final issue we decided to assemble a larger collection of alumni profiles, to show the profound range of positive impacts they have had through the years and give concrete examples of Marlboro College's lasting legacy in the world. Some of them you may have seen before, and some are adapted from other materials, but prepare to by impressed by these leaders in the arts, sciences, humanities, and of course writing: 

Class notes are listed by year and include both graduates and nongraduates; the latter are listed under the class with which they are associated. 

“Marlboro has a will always be part of me,” writes Bob Hickey. “I will sorely miss Potash Hill since it was one of the main sources of my continued contact with the college. Those early years did so much to build my self-confidence and my future development. Both have stayed with me these 69 year since I graduated. I have corresponded with several of my classmates over the years, but most are no longer with us. I have no idea of how many of the original pioneers are still active. I’m sure the Marlboro legacy will live on.”

“For years I kept a firewall between my work and poetry, writing very few poems about my work experience,” writes Tom Mayo. “Suddenly about two years ago, it all changed for no apparent reason: Notes to the Mental Hospital Timekeeper, published in 2019, is the result. I don’t know whether it’s the beginning of some change in my artistic life or just some passing thoughts I’ve tried to make into hopefully meaningful poems.” According to Amazon, “the poems in Notes to the Mental Hospital Timekeeper demonstrate the humanity of those who suffer from mental illness and the sometimes existential difficulties of caring for the mentally ill. Based on nine years of experience teaching disturbed children and caring for adults whose afflictions range from depression, anxiety, and addiction to deep psychosis, Mayo recognizes the importance of their dignity and shows that compassion, trust and empathy—not fear—are the necessary ingredients to healing.” Find it at on Amazon

In April, Arthur Magida participated in an online reading and discussion about his new book, Code Name Madeleine: A Sufi Spy in Nazi-Occupied Paris, part of the alumni speaker series. See his presentation.

Dan Preniszni writes, “With apologies to Dickens . . . ‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.’ It was Marlboro.”

Bruce Balmer writes, “Hi everyone. Lisa and I live in my home stompings of Woodstock, New York, finally in a wonderfully serviceable house, with her son Lee, all splitting rent. We prepare for our next Markley&Balmer album in sequestrian circumstances. I made that word up, it’s real. We’ve been performing online concerts for 10 weeks now, allowing us some income, keeping our sanity relatively close at hand.  We practice, we write, we walk, we wash our hands. M&B Show: Thursdays 8:30PM EDT from Facebook Live. Grandpa Bruce Show: Sunday 11AM EDT. Stay well, stay safe, stay in touch.” 

Michelle Chasse Holzapfel recently posted a digital archive of her amazing works in wood. You can see them all at

Lonnie Lamont ’75 and Terry Woods '75“My wife Helena and I are doing well, under these circumstances,” writes Terry Woods. “We will retire this June. She has taught English at the same high school since 1975, the year she graduated from Douglass, the women’s college of Rutgers, back when there was a women’s college. Her assigned reading before she entered, in 1971, was Sisterhood is Powerful. I will retire after teaching history and English for 40 years. We both despise all this online learning, much more work, far less reward. Not much learning. Marlboro meant the world to me—and still does—and not for the sake of nostalgia. The college was just right for me, in its warm intellectual embrace and its natural beauty. After Marlboro, I earned advanced degrees at Brown and at Middlebury College. As it happens, on e-bay I found a copy of the 1969 - 1970 catalog that drew me to Marlboro.” Terry shares the picture to the right of himself and Lonnie Lamont '75.  “Lonnie and I were very close friends and terrific roommates. He was an amazingly funny, charismatic, athletic fellow, over whom the ladies swooned. Very handsome guy, with a wonderful laugh and a smooth touch.”

Ellen Schön writes, “Hope everyone is well! I had my inaugural exhibition at Boston Sculptors Gallery back in March. Unfortunately, the show was cut short due to Covid-19. Here is a link to a short film I made about the show in lieu of my artist talk.” 

Lindsay Beane
 recently published a memoir “Embracing The Dragon: One Mother's Relentless Search for Healing and Hope.” The book chronicles her second child's diagnosis with two life-threatening diseases before the age of one, as well as her exploration of so-called "alternative" healing. Her book is funny, heart-wrenching, and educational about the acupuncture, homeopathy, nutrition, osteopathy, and herbal medicine that she added into her son's treatment regimen. Her son, now 27 years old, is in great health with an expected normal life expectancy. Learn more at

Jan Hamill at the lectern.Jan Hamill writes, “44 years ago, Marlboro graduation! Who knew where a Plan in medieval French studies would send me? From Yale Divinity School then to still working at what I love—helping others find sacred
space to connect with self/God, primarily in Christian context. Ordained priest in the Episcopal Church 40 years ago, serving congregations, schools, and now with adults in their 20s in an intentional living/service year context in Episcopal Service Corps. Married to an Episcopal priest, two amazing adult children.”

 Martha Toomey ’78 on St John in March 2015, with Senator Tim Kaine, husband Jeff McCord, and son Jeffrey.Martha Toomey
, who sent this photo taken in 2015 in St. John, writes, “We had no idea our island would soon be a victim of two historic devastating hurricanes. We were forced to evacuate and eventually, with great sadness, sold our home. We moved to Rhinebeck, New York. We are surrounded by Covid but are personally safe. The retirement phrase “fixed income” sounds good to us now. When my dad John Toomey taught at Marlboro, where I lived as a baby, he had no idea what the future held. We have all been forced by circumstances to adjust, persevere. Marlboro College cannot die as long as we keep the values we learned there. Remember that the apple tree always bloomed after the long winter.

In February, Dan Dewalt played his original piano score for the silent film classic Man With a Movie Camera at the Williamsville Hall, a fundraiser for this village meeting place in nearby Newfane. 

“Fond memories of Happy Valley on the hill,” writes Evan Stewart. “Numerous friends, 24-hour library (and science building), Grazers' dome, snow galore, Green Mountains. Cherished times. Also our co-ed bathroom with no shower curtains.  Altogether a great educational experience.”

“In July I will complete my sabbatical and return to being the Spiritual Leader and Cantor of the Brattleboro Area Jewish Community,” writes Kate Judd. “I spent seven months in Jerusalem studying Talmud at the Pardes Institute, and (due to COVID-19), two and half more online doing the same from my home in Brattleboro. Pardes is the fifth tiny, creative, quirky, intellectually challenging, institution I’ve studied at in my life, beginning with Marlboro. I am profoundly grieved to see the end of the unique college my grandparents and parents were helped to found and sustain, but Marlboro lives on in all of us!”

Daniel Picker writes, “The Irish Journal of American Studies published my article on ‘European Perspectives on Updike.’ Rain Taxi Review of Books published my fourth review in that journal, this time on John Banville’s Time Pieces. My fiction has recently appeared in The Adelaide Literary Magazine, and my poetry has recently appeared in Plough. I exchange emails with Dan Toomey ’79 and Jim Wade.”

In January, Vaune Trachman wrote, “Next month I have a residency at the Vermont Studio Center, where I'll be working on a new body of work called “Now Is Always,” which is supported by a 2020 creation grant from the Vermont Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts.”  

“Initially, I wanted to design a year-book for the final graduating class,” says Mark Roessler in the introduction of his new book, The Marlboro College Years: A Panoramic Celebration (right). “As I discovered the resources available and began sharing my concept, the project’s goals grew and changed. Hoping to reach a wider audience, the book evolved into something more expansive—a pictorial guide, illustrating the campus geography while also giving a sense of chronology. I wanted it to speak to all alumni, but also welcome those who never had a chance to visit in person.” With dozens of panoramic photographs taken at the college from 2019–2020 and many more images from the school’s archives, Mark’s amazing book is now available to everyone at Levellers Press. Learn more and see Mark's amazing intro video!

Judy Houser Baker earned her PhD in English at University of Washington, Seattle, and dedicated her dissertation to Marlboro College. “Very Marlboro!” she says. “It was on ‘translingualism,’ how kids online learn-teach-use language in ways that reveal the deep problems with how we ‘school’ students (and it’s open source!).

Carolyn Ross and Edward Ross ’96 are living in Salem, Massachusetts, with their daughter Avellana Ross ’19, son Finian, and daughter Liadan. Carolyn has worked for 15 years at the Registry of Deeds in Cambridge, while Edward works for the a public health clinic in Lynn. She writes, “We will hold our memories of Marlboro close and carry the learning and friendships that began there into the future. We send our deepest respect to the faculty and staff and students, both current and past.”

“I wrote the first drafts of A Song from Faraway 20 years ago to understand how family identity could be transformed not only by borders and wars but also by various types of artistic expression,” says Deni Ellis Béchard, who published his eighth book in May with Milkweed Editions. “Over the course of many rewrites, the novel's family took shape, with the lives of its members spanning a hundred and fifty years. Deni participated in an online reading and discussion, part of the alumni speaker series, on May 13. Learn more at

Dagmawi Iyasu ’98 at the Blue Nile Falls, the source of the longest river in the world, in March 2020.“I just took a leap of faith to bring the Marlboro experience to Ethiopia by planning for a STEAM liberal arts school in Addis Ababa,” writes Dagmawi Iyasu. “It was the best way to celebrate the relocation of Marlboro to Boston as the Marlboro Institute at Emerson College. The dream is already being supported by members of the Marlboro community and hope to welcome the first students in 2025. The new school will be a Center of Excellence for coffee, honey, and dairy as inputs for sustainable living with links to our Marlboro and Vermont heritage. Much love from Addis.”

Jonathan Franklin has spent the last couple of years as part of a team designing a new methane-sensing satellite that will hopefully achieve orbit in 2023.  MethaneSAT data will be publicly available and used to drive advocacy to dramatically reduce the emissions of this powerful greenhouse gas from oil and gas operations world-wide. You can learn more at

Emily Hood FerrinEmily Hood Ferrin is living just outside Chicago with her husband Tim and two kids, Nora (5) and Annie (3). She is the program director and resident scientist for The Baxter Center for Science Education at Northwestern University. Her work is focused on increasing equitable access, exposure, opportunity, and empowerment for K-12 students in STEM. She misses Marlboro dearly and is so thankful for her time on campus with the faculty, staff, and her Marlboro friends.

Sue McClintock is living in Searsport, Maine, and working as the library director at Carver Memorial Library. “It’s hard to believe that it’s been nearly 19 years since I started my career as a freshman with a work-study position at the Rice Library (they broke ground for the Aron wing that spring). This year marked exactly half my lifetime working in libraries.” She sends best wishes to her friends and professors, and says “Marlboro was the first place where I felt like I belonged. I’ve come to appreciate how rare that can be, and how special those connections are.” 

Aimee Davidson is living in Providence, Rhode Island, “in good company with many other Marlboro alums. Working in racial justice education and reflecting on my time on the hill, it’s apparent that Marlboro—though unique in many ways—was not free from the US's legacy of institutional racism, and struggled throughout its history to be an inclusive space for all students. As we reflect on all the wonderful things about Marlboro and its history, we should also be willing to reflect on where our beloved institution fell short, who it failed to serve with equity, and what the consequences of that have been for students and faculty/staff of color through the years. Marlboro College was a treasure no doubt, but I'm sending my hope into the ether that its many alumni will reflect on this aspect of its legacy with some seriousness and humility. Wishing everyone the absolute best.” 

In June, the alumni office presented an online concert with Helen Hummel (right), Tobey Sol LaRoche, woodworker and instrument-builder Jason Breen ’92, Maine-based contemporary folk duo Clayton Clemetson ’19, and Willy Clemetson ’21. Helen recently released a full length album, Many Waters, and has played at the historic Bitter End in New York City, and the legendary Viper Room in Los Angeles.Her music reflects the rural landscape of her upbringing and explores the styles of folk, Americana, and indie, among many others. Toby got his professional start recording and touring alongside fellow Mike Harrist ’10, in an Americana trio called Sol & Kiel, where he solidified an appreciation for creating music that encompasses something beyond itself. Currently based out of Northampton, Massachusetts, Tobey plays percussion and MC’s for a long-standing nine-piece new world funk band, Shokazoba. See the concert again and again

Julie Powers writes, “I’m finishing my residency at UMass (where Laura Sturgill ’95 has been one of my faculty), and heading back this summer to the San Francisco Bay Area to start my first job as a family physician. Despite being in residency, I won my category (just intermediate!) in Scottish harp at the Highland Games last fall, and traveled to a trad festival in Ireland with my dance group the summer prior.”

“I finished my Masters in Social Work program last July,” writes Emily Field Uribe. “I am living in Roanoke, Virginia, working as a medical case manager for people living with HIV (the epidemiology of HIV was a small part of my Plan at Marlboro) and as a therapist at a small mental wellness office specializing in social justice and work with underserved minorities. Both jobs have shifted to phone and internet during the pandemic. My Plan at Marlboro was in creative writing, and the observation and empathy skills needed for therapy mirror those that I use in writing. I carry the memory of Marlboro as a small secret strength in my heart.”  

Morgan Broadfoot and Daniel Garcia-Galili ’07, MAT ’16  are still happily living at the Putney School, where Daniel teaches math, science, snowboarding, and learning to navigate being human. Daniel recently learned how to fell trees and is currently trying to figure out how to teach progressive and experiential education through a screen—which he will do until the students are able to come back to campus. He also runs the study abroad program (if that ever happens again). Morgan started her first year of medical practice just as Covid-19 started to directly affect the US. She’s a physician assistant at Home Farm Family Medicine, a primary care clinic in Brattleboro that focuses on serving marginalized people, including those struggling with opioid use disorder and those experiencing homelessness. She misses unrationed hand sanitizer and recently learned how to sew garments that don’t look half bad. Both hope to continue to be involved in the Marlboro College community, even without Potash Hill. 

Aidan Keeva writes, “Last year, I completed a dual masters and doctorate in Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine in Asheville, North Carolina. Since finishing school, I have been practicing in Michigan and have been traveling extensively (prior to covid) to continue my studies in the Daoist arts. I am currently working on a number of writing projects regarding Chinese medicine and medical paradigms of embodiment more generally, and I teach classes on Chinese medicine and lifestyle in my community and online.”

Krystal Graybeal models a T-shirt to commemorate the shredding of documents.“I’ve worked at Marlboro since 2017,” writes Krystal Graybeal, assistant director of admissions. Right now I’m helping close our beloved library. My alumnus partner and I will spend a slow summer saying a long goodbye to Marlboro from just down the road at the Whetstone Inn. I’ll preserve a little food, walk Mochi on town trail, and complete my MBA on trauma informed leadership (not at Marlboro, unfortunately). In the midst of both a global pandemic and racial justice crisis, I will also be working to unlearn / dismantle white supremacy and seeking ways to show up for my community. I hope to see you out there, too.” 

Fiona Craig writes, “I am living a life of love in North Carolina, and starting law school in the fall at UNC Chapel Hill to pursue my dream of being a public defender and advocate for prison abolition. I pray the skunks and bears stay healthy and happy on Potash Hill.”

“I'm currently in Albany,” writes Hannah Noblewolf. “I just received my MA in linguistic anthropology, doing an analysis of the #ShoutYourAbortion movement and abortion stigma. I will be continuing on to Phase II of the doctoral program at SUNY Albany in the fall, hopefully continuing to expand on the work I did for my Plan of Concentration. During the year I TA for introductory anthropology courses, and I really love my program and where I’m at right now.”

“I just finished a wild year staffing a gap year program in Colorado with High Desert Center,” writes Clayton Clemetson. “I found it challenging but rewarding to support a community during the pandemic. I am now holed up in Maine during my two week quarantine, and am excited to rejoin my family soon. I am relieved to have a break from an over-scheduled life although I’m disappointed that my tour with Northern Harmony is canceled this fall. It feels like a good time to look inward and give space to things that I am tempted to ignore, like emotions, and to put energy towards people and projects that matter to me.”

Retired Faculty

“This is a time when people could demand from their states: you need to fulfill your first obligation, which is to protect us,” said retired politics professor Meg Mott, referring to the recent coronavirus pandemic. In an article in The Commons, Meg explains how the public health crisis presents an opportunity for states to have a stronger voice in health care. Learn more.

Mni Wiconi, Water Is Life, retired photographer professor John Willis’s new book on the Dakota Access Pipeline Resistance Movement, was nominated for an Advocacy Award in the Annual Reading the West Book Awards. “This book is still timely in purpose as the government and fossil fuel industry want to move along with the Keystone XL Pipeline and many others. Also, as the Trump administration has recently removed status of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe of Massachusetts, ironically the first tribe believed to greet Europeans coming to America. The indigenous people continue to be disenfranchised to help other people’s economic gain.” Learn more at

Hugh Mulligan ’48: Reporting on the World

No account of Marlboro’s alumni legacy would be complete without Hugh Mulligan, the college’s first graduate, who went on to an illustrious career as a reporter for the Associated Press. “My brother said I had to start my own college in order to graduate, and that’s about how it worked out,” said Hugh in 2008, the same year he passed away. 

After Marlboro, Hugh earned master’s degrees in journalism and English literature before starting a journalism career that sent him literally around the world. He visited nearly 150 countries over the years and reported on more than half a dozen wars, including a stint in the Saigon bureau during the Vietnam War. Hugh covered everyone from presidents and popes to astronauts and combat solders, all with the same wry humor and compassion. 

In his colorful career, Hugh went to the North Pole in a navy blimp, toured for a week with Louis Armstrong, and went on a camel patrol with Trucial Oman Scouts. Among those he interviewed were Marilyn Monroe, Margaret Thatcher, Salvador Dali, Tennessee Williams, and Joe DiMaggio. He wrote about a Pennsylvania nudist colony, where he said the July 4 barbecue was “about the same as any other place except that people tend to stand a little further away from the fire.”

Hugh won many journalism awards and authored several books, including his 2005 memoir Been Everywhere, Got Nowhere. He was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Marlboro in 1973, and remained engaged and generous with the college all his years.

William Horridge ’51: Crafting History

Years ago, when asked about which tree on campus inspired the woodcut of the original Marlboro seal, “pioneer” Bill Horridge said, “It’s a fictional representation.” Although several trees, most of them gone by now, have been considered by others to be “the” tree, Bill insisted that it was imaginary. With characteristic humility, Bill said he and a few friends designed the seal to “look like a bare maple in winter, with contrast so it stood out as a symbol—you know, Vermont and maple trees.” He also designed a beautiful class ring. 

Bill died last year, but his role in crafting the iconic symbol that distinguished Marlboro was a harbinger of a life well-lived, one where he was often using his hands in creative ways. Having served in the Army Counter-Intelligence Corps, after he graduated from Marlboro with a concentration in labor relations he served for 27 years as chief of security at Picatinny Arsenal, New Jersey. But his craftsmanship was never far away and when he retired he become the resident broom maker and wood carver at Waterloo Village, a restored historic village in New Jersey, as well as stocking trout for the state. 

More recently, his love for Vermont brought him back and he purchased, renovated, and restored the historic Eagle Tavern in East Poultney, and became an innkeeper. When he was not seen sailing, skiing, camping, or traveling—in short, living life to the fullest—he also carved duck decoys and was a skilled cabinet maker. 


Bruce & Barbara Cole '59: Life-long Learners

Bruce and Barbara Cole came to Marlboro as married students, and never really left. After graduating with concentrations in history and biology, respectively, they bought a house in nearby Wilmington and went on to fulfilling careers as educators. Bruce taught generations of students at Marlboro Elementary School for 28 years, while Barbara taught environmental science to kids in Wilmington. They attribute much of their experiential pedagogy to lessons first learned at Marlboro.

“I had kindergarteners through sixth graders, and it was great,” says Barbara, who first taught biology at Marlboro College in the late ’60s when founding biology teacher Olive MacArthur retired. “I got them outdoors, sifting soil, and doing all sorts of hands-on things. We did science—instead of just out of a book, I got them outdoors.”

“Although we lived in Wilmington, we were certainly involved with Marlboro, and had the same wavelength, I think you could say,” says Bruce. In addition to their teaching jobs, they also ran a summer camp for area children to learn about the outdoors. Both Bruce and Barbara worked at the college bookstore for several years, and their son Andrew graduated from Marlboro in 1997, so they have continued to be engaged with campus.

“We miss the loss of Marlboro College on the hill,” says Barbara. “Working in the bookstore and taking classes over the years kept us in close contact with great teachers, staff, and students. We attribute our joy and success to what Marlboro College gave us—you can’t replace it.”


Piet van Loon ’63 and Hilly van Loon ’62: Dedication to Marlboro

Like Bruce and Barbara Cole, Piet and Hilly van Loon have been a hard habit for Marlboro College to change. Since graduating they have given decades of their lives to the college as staff members, volunteers, and supporters, including being an enthusiastic presence at so many college events.

Piet served on the maintenance staff for several years (?), then as business manager from 1973 to 1999, “a role in which many of us encountered his stern, curmudgeonly, hilarious, warm, endearing, and always conscientious self,” says Maia Segura ’91, director of alumni engagement. Just last fall he was present at a solemn ceremony celebrating the elm tree that had graced campus for all of the college’s years, before it succumbed to Dutch elm disease. In addition to his dedication to Marlboro, Piet has been on the Town of Newfane Selectboard for many years, serving repeatedly as chairman.  

Also a constant and devoted presence, Hilly held the positions of alumni director and editor of Potash Hill for ten years and director of advising from 1987 to 2000. Since then she has worked as a freelance copyeditor, sung in the Brattleboro Music Center chorus, hosted a writing group, and served as an historian for the Town of Newfane. She received an honorary degree from Marlboro in 2000, and the graduating class established a prize in her honor, “given to the senior who best reflects Hilly’s wisdom, compassion, community involvement, quiet dedication to the spirit of Marlboro College, joy in writing, and celebration of life.” 


Arthur Magida ’67: Exploring Self through Nonfiction

“Writing is an exploration of self, of time, of place—various times and various places, but always one self. I can't get away from me,” says author, journalist, columnist, and educator Arthur Magida. “Overall, it’s a plunge into mystery since, indeed, all life is a mystery. Why settle for the easy and the pat when you can wrangle with the difficult and the complex and have fun at the same time?”

Over the years Arthur has been drawn to a diversity of mysteries involving unsavory or controversial characters: a rabbi who had his wife killed, a Jewish mentalist who got too close to top Nazis, an incendiary leader of Nation of Islam. But he considers his most recent books to be the most resonant and inspiring: a biography of Noor Inayat Khan—poet, author, Sufi mystic, and secret British agent in France during World War Two. Titled Code Name Madeleine: A Sufi Spy in Nazi-Occupied Paris, the book was released by W.W. Norton in June 2020. 

Noor Inayat Khan wrote, “The heart must be broken in order for the real to come forth.” Arthur says, “In a world torn asunder, Noor found herself, and her destiny. Code Name Madeleine is a story of courage, faith, and resilience that is much needed in our own chaotic and shifting age.” In addition to writing books, Arthur’s op-eds and articles have appeared in Newsweek, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, Conde Nast Traveler, and many other media. 

Learn more at, or see his appearance in the Alumni Speaker Series.

Gretchen Holbrook Gerzina ’72: Defender of the Humanities

“I worry about the future of culture and the arts and the humanities,” said Gretchen Holbrook Gerzina, who received an honorary degree in 2017 at Marlboro’s 70th commencement. “As you may have heard, those things are in great jeopardy these days…There is no doubt that times have changed since I was a student at Marlboro.”

After graduating from Marlboro, with a Plan of Concentration on Dickens, Gretchen received an MA from Simmons College and a PhD from Stanford University, where her dissertation on painter Dora Carrington led to her first celebrated biography. Since then, she has shared her unique perspective on literature and biography at colleges in the US and abroad, including Dartmouth College, where she was the first African American woman to chair an Ivy League English department. Most recently she is at the University of Massachusetts–Amherst’s Commonwealth Honors College, where she is the Paul Murray Kendall Chair in Biography.

Gretchen’s latest of seven books, Mr. and Mrs. Prince, tells the remarkable story of former slaves who moved to Vermont as landowners in the 18th century. Lucy Terry (Mrs.) Prince was also the nation’s first known African American poet, and Gretchen’s scholarship about Lucy’ life was the inspiration for a mobile exhibit at the Brattleboro Literary Festival in October 2017, where she an invited speaker. A valuable trustee of Marlboro for several years, Gretchen said, “Here, students could think deeply, engage with each other and with the world, and go forth with the confidence that comes from individual achievement amidst a community of thinkers within this microcosm of the wider world.” 

Melanie Gifford ’73: Conserving Art with Science

“Marlboro’s wide-ranging appreciation of all the disciplines and how they come together, at one time, in one mind, on one problem, is essential preparation for the future,” says Melanie Gifford ’73. For example, her Marlboro experience prepared her for a fascinating career as a research conservator at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. “What the Plan of Concentration did for me, for my future career, was first and foremost to bring me into the study of art history in a rigorous, scholarly way.” 

Melanie did her Plan on the life and work of Dutch painter Carel Fabritius, inviting the great Columbia University art history scholar Julius Held as her outside examiner. She went on to get master’s degrees in both art history and art conservation, learning the chemistry and organic chemistry she needed along the way, and later receiving her PhD in art history from University of Maryland. 

As a research conservator for painting technology in the Scientific Research Department at the National Gallery, Melanie conducts research to help conserve the precious works of Vermeer, Rubens, van Eyck, and other Dutch and Flemish masters. But she also explores the ways these artists made their paintings, studying cross-sections of microscopic paint fragments to discover their techniques and choices, layer by layer. 

“By understanding how these works were created, there are times when I feel as if I’m looking over the shoulder of the artist and watching the decisions they make from day to day,” says Melanie. “This is a deeply emotional connection that sustains me every day.”

Tom Good ’86: Science for Sound Policy

At a time when the significance of science is challenged at every turn, Tom Good ’86 is doing original research and collaborating with others to turn good science into sound policy. A research fishery biologist for the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA), Tom works on seabird-fishery interactions including incidental seabird mortality and seabird predation of fish stocks. He also coordinated the 2005 update of the status of protected Pacific salmonids along the west coast of the US, and works with colleagues on the impacts of derelict fishing gear on marine fauna of Puget Sound and the Northwest Straits.

“I still love going into the field and doing biology,” says Tom, who has worked at NOAA’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center in Seattle. “A big reason I became a field biologist was the time I spent in the field at Marlboro—trips with Bob Engel and John Hayes to the Everglades, the Yucatan Peninsula, the desert southwest, and central Mexico.”

Tom says that tutorials with Bob were instrumental in designing the field research for his Plan in biology, which involved a theoretical and experimental analysis of ecological patters in a New England rocky intertidal community. It also gave him a leg up when he went to graduate school. He received his PhD from the University of Kansas, where he studied hybridization in seabirds along the Pacific coast, followed by a postdoctoral research position at Brown University. Tom has been a research biologist at the Northwest Fisheries Science Center since 2001. 


Daniel Morrison ’84: Good Words

“As a preacher, I spend a good portion of my week studying the scriptures, and listening for what God has to say to us,” says Daniel Morrison, who has been the pastor of Huntingdon Valley Presbyterian Church in suburban Philadelphia for 14 years. “Week-to-week, I preach straight through entire books of the Bible. This forces me and the church to wrestle with the tough passages of scripture that are often skipped in other churches. It also helps us understand particular passages in their larger context.”

After completing his Plan on “historical, philosophical, and doctrinal aspects of Christianity,” Daniel taught philosophy for many years at New York Institute of Technology, Duquesne University, and Carlow University. In 2005 he graduated from Princeton Theological Seminary, where he won the Edward Howell Roberts preaching prize.

“In addition to my vocational work, I find time for avocational interests, most of which involves digging in archives and library stacks,” says Daniel. Two years ago, he was invited to address a Slavery and Race Seminar at Princeton, where he presented a paper on Theodore Sedgwick Wright, who attended the seminary prior to emancipation and wasthe first African American to receive a graduate degree in the United States.  

“Earlier this year, I presented a paper to The Doylestown Institute on a popular 19th-century college song. That paper was titled, “Second-Hand Smoke: James Maurice Hubbard and the search for the elusive author and composer of ‘My Last Cigar,’ America’s second favorite song,” says Daniel, who is known to enjoy an occasional lazy cigar himself.

Ron Mwangaguhunga ’94: Writing Existential Crises

“If all humans have a book in them, then that holds doubly true for Marlboro alumni,” says Ron Mwangaguhunga, who completed his MFA in creative writing at Brooklyn’s St. Joseph’s College in 2017. Ron is a freelance digital journalist, with a beat in technology, politics, and the media. But he is also working on completing his novel started in grad school, and the coronavirus crisis actually afforded him more time for this. 

“In a way it is an extension of my Plan—those ideas have never left me,” says Ron, who did his Plan on existentialism in Kierkegaard, Virginia Woolf, and Shakespeare. “Existentialism has a funny way of popping up during historical crises. Kierkegaard was an anomaly until World War I, when his philosophy gained attention. The fact that we are defined by our actions before ‘being’ has always stayed with me.”

Ron’s novel-in-progress personalizes Kierkegaard’s message through the story of a Sudanese refugee, who was conscripted as a child soldier before being adopted by an American family. It involves warlords, Big Oil, well-intentioned Midwestern evangelicals, and a small, beloved Vermont college that places a premium on self-initiative and community.  

“What we owed the Marlboro community shaped each student’s experience differently. Everything from the ad hoc committees to the Plan of Concentration led to a community of ‘experts in their own thing.’ This shapes the way the novel is going, and how I engage with the current crisis as a writer. I’d like to think Kierkegaard would be cool with that.”

Jenna Chandler-Ward ’92: Bringing White People to the Conversation

You would need your head in the sand to not be aware of the structural racism and racial tensions that have come to a head in our country in recent months. Jenna Chandler-Ward has been doing something about it for years by addressing racial illiteracy in education. Jenna is co-founder of Teaching While White, an organization that teaches educators across the country how to make the whiteness inherent in educational institutions more explicit.  

“When we talk about race in education, the culture of whiteness is the baseline from which everything is judged,” said Jenna in a Marlboro College panel discussion on racial bias last February titled “What Is ‘Woke,’ and Are You It?” “We have this school-to-prison pipeline, and we don’t talk about how our system is failing—we talk about how those kids are failing. We talk about achievement gaps, not about expectation and opportunity gaps.” 

Jenna did her Plan on theater that evokes social change and worked with homeless people, and as an actor, directly after. Since then she has been an educator in non-profits, schools, and colleges, working with students from kindergarten to college level. Jenna is also a founder and co-director of the Multicultural Teaching Institute, which produces workshops and a conference for educators on issues of equity and inclusion. “My objective is to bring more white people to the conversation, do some self-education, and stop relying on folks of color to be the ones who have to tell us what we’re doing and not doing,” she said.

Learn more at, or see the panel discussion


Willow O’Feral ’07: Change Through Film

“The pervasive violence against Native American women in this country, is intolerable—yet it has become normalized,” says Willow O’Feral in an article (Spring 2015 Potash Hill) coauthored with her partner Brad Heck ’07 (see Also of Note) about their film Sisters Rising. “The primary goal of the documentary is to raise awareness of the issue and humanize the statistics by sharing the stories of survivors who are actively fighting for positive change.” 

Graduating with a Plan in film/video studies and French, and a veteran staff member of retired film faculty Jay Craven’s Movies from Marlboro program, Willow is an unflinching social justice documentarian who daylights difficult subjects and makes them accessible. Her debut feature film was Break the Silence: Reproductive & Sexual Health Stories, highlighting the experiences of diverse Vermont women and awarded the 2018 Choice Champion Award from Planned Parenthood of New England. 

“This documentary should be seen and digested by anyone with a pulse,” says Donna Macomber, executive director of the Women's Freedom Center. In November 2018, Willow presented a screening of Break the Silence in Ragle Hall, followed by a panel discussion by women from the film, and is now available to universities, high schools, libraries, and nonprofits across the country through New Day Films.

Meanwhile, Sisters Rising won an Honorable Mention when it premiered at the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival in February 2020. The film was selected as a featured film for seven film festivals this year and was scheduled for 15 screenings across the country prior to the coronavirus health crisis.  

Learn more at and

Lara Knudsen ’03: Pioneering Happy Medicine

In medical school at George Washington University and her residency at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Lara Knudsen experienced a typical schedule of rapid-fire, 10- or 15-minute slots with patients. She found that physicians typically don’t have much control over how many patients they see, how many are double booked, how much time to allow for thoroughness. 

“It’s a common theme that many primary care physicians are not very happy with their jobs, and end up feeling quite burnt out and drained,” says Lara, who opened Happy Doc, in Salem, Oregon, with her husband Chris Jones ’05 in 2013. Part of a new wave of “micropractices,” where the patient-physician relationship comes first, Happy Doc is Lara’s inspired answer to many of the things that are wrong with the current health care system.

“In a more typical clinic there tends to be a lot of pressure from the administrators to see more and more patients, because that’s the only way to generate income to pay for all the salaries, and the big, fancy buildings,” says Lara. She finds that getting back to the basics of one doctor and one patient, the relationship is strengthened and there is more time to be thorough.”

Even in response to the recent coronavirus outbreak, Lara has managed to reach more people in her community with compassionate care through a partnership with a nurse practitioner at another family practice. With support from government agencies, they formed the nonprofit Alluvium, which provides a mobile unit to reach underserved parts of the population and provide COVID-19 testing and education, taking the burden off of Salem’s only emergency room.

Get more information about Happy Doc Family Medicine.


Felix Jarrar ’16: Composing Virtuosity

“I started playing piano and composing when I was five,” said Felix Jarrar, who presented new works at a Marlboro concert in March, including his latest song cycle titled “Ulster County Songbook.” “Playing piano and composing have been big parts of my life.” 

Felix’s depth of experience shows in his prolific and imaginative works. He has written over 60 art songs, eight operas, two string quartets, and a cantata. His Plan project, a contemporary opera based on Poe’s “Fall of the House of Usher,” was produced off-Broadway just months after his graduation. Since then, he pursued his musical education at Brooklyn College, where he received the Lehman Engel Award for his master’s thesis composition and fifth opera, Mother Goose

Felix’s works have been praised as “experimental and beautifully composed” (Broadway World) with “lush and memorable melodies” (Operawire). His list of accomplishments includes performances at diverse venues such as Symphony Space, Feinstein's/54 below, the BAM! Fisher Hillman Studio, Roulette Intermedium, and Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall. His works have been performed internationally by members of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus, the Atlantic Music Festival Orchestra, and the duo Unassisted Fold.

Felix’s song cycle Songs of the Soul Beams, which premiered at (le) poisson rouge in New York in 2018, explores the depths of loss and mourning and was inspired by the death of his father two years before. “While the inspiration behind this song cycle comes from a place of darkness, the work features inspiration and uplifting music inspired by influences such as Handel’s Messiah and Kanye West hip hop beats,” said Felix.


In Memoriam

Richard Liversage ’51 
One of the pioneering first students of Marlboro College, Richard Liversage died in February at the age of 95. Richard was born and grew up in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, and served in the Air Force stationed in Hethel, England, before coming to Marlboro. “People at Marlboro were very fine; I made a good choice,” said Richard, who studied biology and chemistry with John MacArthur, Sr., and roomed with renowned ecologist Robert MacArthur. He got a master’s at Amherst College and his doctorate at Princeton University before immigrating to Canada in 1961 to continue his work on amphibian limb regeneration at the University of Toronto. He taught some undergraduate courses in his first years there, but by the time he was a full professor he was primarily doing research and advising graduate students, many of whom were co-authors of his more than 80 published papers. Although he officially retired in 1991 after 44 years, a period of incredible growth in the biological sciences, Richard continued writing research papers and staying in touch with research colleagues. He is survived by his wife of 65 years June Patricia, children John, Robert, James, and Ross, and six grandchildren. 

Wolf Kahn, former trustee
Renowned painter and longtime trustee, friend, and supporter of Marlboro College Wolf Kahn died in March, at the age of 92. After emigrating from Germany to the United States in 1940, Wolf graduated from New York City’s High School of Music and Art and served in the Navy during World War II. Then he began studying with renowned painter Hans Hofmann before completing his bachelor’s degree at the University of Chicago. Wolf traveled extensively, painting landscapes in Egypt, Greece, Hawaii, Italy, Kenya, Maine, Mexico, and New Mexico. Although he lived in New York he spent summers and autumns on a hillside farm near Marlboro on Stark Road, and it is his vibrant Vermont landscapes for which he is most known. Over the many years of his association with Marlboro College, Wolf served on an academic advisory board, as an outside examiner for art students, and starting in 2006 as a trustee. In 1992 he endowed a visual arts scholarship at the college, and in 2004 he generously provided funding to complete the welding shed and equip the sculpture studio. At last year’s commencement, both Wolf and his lifelong partner Emily received honorary degrees for their commitment to the ideals of Marlboro College.