Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts

A conversation with… Margaret Dunn Smith ’73

The Quarterly recently caught up with Trustee Margaret ”Maggie” Dunn Smith ’73, the busy owner and operator of the Warren (Vt.) Store and two luxury inns, Winvian in Litchfield Hills, Conn., and the Pitcher Inn in Warren, Vt. A member of the Campaign Steering Committee, Smith shared her feelings about Wheaton, the campaign and the spirit of giving.

What message do you take from the campaign’s success so far?

In spite of these challenging economic times, philanthropy at Wheaton has never been stronger. Donors clearly understand that a Wheaton education is a transformative experience. Our alumnae/i, parents and friends recognize the importance of donating generously to honor Wheaton’s past and to preserve its legacy for future generations.

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Lifelong connection

Wheaton students will benefit for years to come from a scholarship fund established through a generous gift from the estate of Helen Dixon Kunzelmann P’65.

Mrs. Kunzelmann, a graduate of the Dana Hall School and Vassar College, was the mother of Susan Kunzelmann ’65, who passed away in 1994, and the mother-in-law of Joan Margaret Atwood Kunzelmann ’65.

The establishment of the scholarship reflects the Kunzelmann family’s connection to Wheaton and the strong bonds of friendship that Susan forged at the college, says her sister-in-law Joan Kunzelmann ’65. “She was larger than life.”

One of her classmates, Jean Jones Beard ’65, also remembers Susan as a vibrant person with a strong personality. “Somewhere I have a photo of her. It was taken at school. She’s holding a book, the title of which read Dynamite. That summed up Susan,” Beard said. “She was a feisty, independent, involved, creative student who always kept us on our toes. She went on to become a very interesting woman.”

Alexandra Marshall ’65 described her classmate and friend as an adventurer and an explorer in every way, a French major and a one-time ski instructor who became interested in spirituality and studied theology as an adult.

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Women in math

A program to promote women pursuing careers in the male-dominated field of mathematics that was founded by Assistant Professor of Mathematics Rachelle DeCoste has won a grant from the National Security Agency (NSA).

The $12,000 award from the NSA will help fund the Career Mentoring Workshop, which is scheduled to take place at the end of June. The three-day gathering prepares women who are Ph.D. candidates in math for their job search and creates a network of mentors and peers.

“I am excited that we are able to continue the mentoring after taking last summer off due to lack of funding,” Professor DeCoste said. “I’m also particularly excited to host the workshop in our new spaces in the Mars Center for Science and Technology!”

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FYS–A personal view

I came to Wheaton in the fall of 1993 to be chair of the Classics Department. I’d read the college catalog and knew my slice of the curriculum, which is to say I knew which classics courses I wanted to remove, change or create. But I didn’t know the college and I didn’t know the students, so I decided that the best thing to do was to teach a First-Year Seminar. This was not the normal thing: you were expected to settle in before you accepted the responsibilities of an FYS. This was a sensible rule, because you had to know enough of the whole curriculum and of student life to be a competent advisor, and advising was clearly a crucial component. But I could tell that FYS called for boldness, and so I decided to learn on the job.

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