Philanthropy in Action

Scholarships at Marlboro, 2014-15

Each year scholarships funded by generous donors recognize the unique gifts that students bring to the Marlboro College community. The profiles below are followed by a complete list of scholarship recipients for the 2014-15 academic year.

“To be awarded the Christopher Boeth Scholarship was unexpected in the best of ways,” said Kendall O’Connell, who graduated in May with a Plan of Concentration in biology and writing. “It was a great motivator to keep working on Plan in those last few stretches—I felt like I needed to continue to make those donors proud and to justify their investment.” Kendall’s Plan explored ecological restoration and invasive plants, with a field study focusing on Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica) eradication, as well as eco-critical analyses of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road and Edward Abbey’s Desert Solitaire and personal essays about interactions with nature. “What excites me about biology is the sense of discovery and the necessity to tinker effectively. There’s always something new out there that is waiting to be seen or found. That’s what fuels me: the unknown.”

“As a transfer student who has experienced a number of other colleges, I can say firsthand that Marlboro is an incredibly unique institution,” said John Ivers ’16, who was awarded the M. Brenn Green Scholarship. John’s studies have focused on music, specifically composition, in the traditional Western art tradition as well as electronic and electro-acoustic pieces. “I really came to Marlboro because of the Plan process—I wanted the space and opportunity to dive deeply into my passion and produce a larger body of work than would be available at other colleges.” Although Marlboro doesn’t have the number of musicians that he would find at large conservatories, John finds the small community conducive to making quality connections with other artists and collaborating. “I will be leaving Marlboro with more experience composing and directly working with professional musicians than is offered at most undergraduate institutions.”

“Marlboro College is different from other colleges, because it gives you control over your education,” said Ivy Woodrow ’15, who was awarded the John Kenneth Galbraith Scholarship. Ivy’s Plan of Concentration focused on the use of bibliotherapy in college settings. “Bibliotherapy is an exciting area of study because I was able to study two main subjects that I am passionate about, psychology and literature, though these subjects are not often directly related.” Her Plan also included working with the Rice Aron Library and the Total Health Center to purchase books for therapeutic use. “Because I was able to make connections with the health center and library staff, I could create a bibliotherapy collaboration and collection and pass it on to future classes. This scholarship gave me the validation that my work was valued, so when I encountered doubts it was helpful to refer back to this accomplishment.”

“The close collaboration between students and faculty at Marlboro allows us to explore more broadly and deeply than might be possible and other colleges,” said Ian Hitchcock ’16, who is working on a Plan of Concentration in human ecology and environmental history. “I am excited to conduct original historical research, and to see what lessons can be applied to contemporary attempts to regulate carbon pollution contributing to global warming.” Ian was awarded the Jean Crosby Markham Scholarship, which recognizes a student’s “grit and determination.” “Since I have struggled with a variety of personal challenges beyond my academic life at Marlboro, I was grateful that my attempts to persevere in pursuing my degree have been recognized in this way,” said Ian. “Receiving this scholarship helped strengthen my resolve to continue in my academic pursuits while overcoming other obstacles that have arisen.”


The George I. Alden Trust supports two scholarships given annually, one to an older student who has returned to school and the other to a student who shows promise of excellence in the natural sciences. Krystal Graybeal (older student), Jonathan Earle (natural sciences)                       

The Robert Sheldon Stainton Scholarship is awarded annually to an upper-class student for academic achievement and community service. Aidan Keeva

The Warren R. Sisson Scholarship is awarded annually to an upper-class student for academic achievement and community service. Thomas Arsenault

M. Brenn Greene Scholarships are awarded through the generosity of the late trustee, Brenn Greene. John Ivers, Jacob Morely, Felix Jarrar, Anna Goren

Thomas Thompson Trust Scholarships are awarded to full-time students for academic achievement who are Windham County residents. Felicia-Jean Wyman, Dakota Walsh, Kathleen Mackin, Thomas Arsenault

Christopher Boeth Scholarships are given to juniors or seniors whose Plans of Concentration are in the field of literature or writing, and who have demonstrated a gift for and an appreciation of the usage of language. Christian Lampart, Phoebe Lumley, Anna Blackburn, Kendall O’Connell

The Jean Crosby Markham Scholarship is given to a junior or senior who best exemplifies the grit and determination needed to complete his or her education. Ian Hitchcock     

Lillian Farber Scholarships are given to juniors or seniors whose Plans of Concentration demonstrate a passion for social justice. Clair Maleney, Claire Trail, Joseph Persio, Ian Hitchcock, Mary Gilmore

The Agnes M. Lindsay Trust Scholarship is given annually to students from New England towns with populations of under 15,000. Claire Trail, Cassandra Anderson, Eve Moeykens-Arballo

The Wolf Kahn Scholarship is awarded annually to juniors or seniors who demonstrate talent in the visual arts. Naji Pride

The Windham Community Scholarships are awarded annually to freshmen or sophomores from Vermont who in the opinion of the faculty demonstrate exceptional potential for upper-level academic work. Two or more scholarships are awarded. Samuel Amber, Cait Mazzarella, Olivia Palermo, Luke Becker-Lowe

The John Kenneth Galbraith Scholarship is awarded annually to a student who shows the promise of excellence in the fields of literature, economics, or social policy. Ivy Woodrow 

Chair in Music Reaches Full Funding

In March, Marlboro College announced the completion of funding for the Luis C. Batlle Chair in Music, the first fully endowed chair at the college. The chair serves as a fitting tribute to longtime music faculty member and Marlboro Music School and Festival mentor Luis Batlle (pictured, right), who retired in 2010.

The chair endowment reached the full amount of $1.4 million thanks to a generous final anonymous donation of $650,000. A total of 34 donors have contributed more than $1.2 million over a period of 13 years, with an additional $200,000 in earnings. Donations include $50,000 from the Alexander Schneider Foundation, which commemorates the eminent violinist and fellow Marlboro Music mentor Sasha Schneider.

“We are thrilled to have the Luis Batlle Chair fully funded, with the generous help of many dear friends and supporters,” said Ellen McCulloch-Lovell, former president. “Luis is an exemplary teacher and musician, and has been a vital link between the college and Marlboro Music for more than 30 years.”

The Luis Batlle Chair fund will remain permanently restricted, with only the annual income being applied to defray the salary of an honored music faculty member. Music professor Stan Charkey, who has been teaching music at the college since 1977, is the current holder of Marlboro’s very first endowed chair.

Other endowed chair funds that have been initiated, and await complete funding, include: the Lillian Farber Chair in Technology and the Liberal Arts; the Walter and Flora Bishop Hendricks Chair in English Literature, Poetry, and Creative Writing; the Roland W. Boyden Chair in History and Philosophy; and the Christian A. Johnson Chair in Visual Arts.

Friends of Ellen McCulloch-Lovell Create Writing Prize

One of the defining characteristics of a Marlboro education has been, and always will be, clear writing. It is therefore a very auspicious parting gesture that Marlboro College and friends of Ellen McCulloch-Lovell have established a student prize for writing, in honor of Ellen’s 11 years as president of the college. The prize commemorates Ellen’s devotion to education and the arts, lived out through her career as a leader and a poet.

“Leading Marlboro College was the apex of a career devoted to advancing education, the arts, and humanities for the betterment of our state and the nation,” said Mara Williams, chief curator of the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center, who spearheaded creation of the prize. “I wanted there to be a living legacy to honor Ellen’s service to ideals I hold dear.”  

Mara’s idea encouraged Marlboro College Trustee Phil Steckler to direct a leadership gift to the prize, launching a giving campaign with Windham County friends of the college. To date, more than $45,000 has been raised from 47 donors. The prize will be awarded for the first time at Commencement 2016.

The Ellen McCulloch-Lovell Prize in Writing will recognize both achievement and promise in writing—fiction, poetry, non-fiction, and creative non-fiction—and encourage emerging writers to keep developing their craft at the college. Each year, recipients will alternate between Marlboro College undergraduate and graduate students, making this the first academic prize to include students on both campuses.

“Ellen’s passion for writing and her understanding of the importance of supporting both graduate and undergraduate students—with recognition of excellence and financial support—became the defining elements of the prize,” said Mara.

Contributions of all sizes are invited to honor Ellen’s presidency. To participate, please complete the online giving form and enter Ellen McCulloch-Lovell Prize in the “Comments” section. Or contact the development office at (802) 251-7624.



Aron Grant Weaves Narrative with Spiderwoman Theater

In May, senior Rainbow Stakiwicz and theater professor Brenda Foley, her Plan sponsor, traveled to Eugene, Oregon, to participate in a Spiderwoman Theater Residency with renowned artist Muriel Miguel. A playwright, actress, elder, and founding member of Spiderwoman Theatre Company, Miguel led a series of workshops on storyweaving and narrative in collaboration with Marlboro theater professor Jean O’Hara. 

“My sponsor Brenda and I are currently working on projects that each have to do with theater portraying the fragile, frightening, and enigmatic nature of the human condition,” said Rainbow (pictured, right). “It was an incredible opportunity to work with Marlboro's own Jean O’Hara and the incomparable Muriel Miguel during their fun and radical workshop at University of Oregon.”

Brenda added, “Muriel Miguel’s process of storyweaving as a collaborative endeavor is directly applicable to teaching constructions of narrative, but also speaks to a larger pedagogy of inclusiveness and diversity that is deeply relevant for our classes at Marlboro.”

Rainbow and Brenda’s research trip was supported by the Jerome I. Aron Fund, an endowment created in 2004 in memory of Marlboro’s dear friend and trustee, Jerry Aron. The fund was established to promote collaboration between students and faculty, and Rainbow’s work with her Plan sponsor, sharing a focus on personal agency, pathways, and modes of communication, is an excellent example of this.

Both Brenda and Rainbow will spend the rest of the summer building on the Spiderwoman workshops, weaving narratives that explore personal lives responding to societal mores and restrictions. Brenda is investigating the historical treatment of women in asylums and the fragments that remain of their lives, while Rainbow is conducting oral histories across the country to explore empathy as a productive theory of acting.

“I feel so fortunate to have this time to work with Rainbow in a way that differs from the usual campus relationship and daily rhythm of classes and tutorials,” said Brenda. “The Aron grant has afforded us an opportunity to share our research and strategies with each other, the parallels and points of departure, creating time and space to work and reminding us both of the merits in process.”

“Brenda’s been researching closer to home while I explore the country, both of us looking to strangers for deep, personal narratives to translate onto the stage,” said Rainbow. “I’ve met all sorts of people, from El Paso to Chicago to Memphis, and I’m keeping in mind the advice Muriel gave me: Don't make it theatrical. Make it real.”


First Jed Fels Award Announced

“I was honored and amazed to hear that I was the first recipient of the Jed Fels Award,” said Emma Studebaker, who will be a sophomore this fall. The first Jedediah Adam Leland Fels Award was announced at undergraduate commencement in May 2015. The award was established this year in memory of Jed (Adam) Fels, class of 1992, by a groundswell of support from more than 80 alumni donating nearly $13,000. The award recognizes a freshman or sophomore who demonstrates a passion for the literary and/or dramatic arts and “whose sense of humor and unique or even provocative community presence embodies the core values of the college.”

“In my first year at Marlboro, I was very excited at all the opportunities to be a part of the community,” said Emma, who has studied primarily visual arts, as well as theater and writing. “I wanted to do everything and tried to do just that. It’s cool to be receiving an award that recognizes how ambitious I was in this first year.” Emma worked in admissions and in the marketing department, served one semester on selectboard, got hired as an RA for this coming school year, and was involved with a few Plan shows.

“Next year I hope to do more work in theater and maybe dance and music as well. I’m very grateful to be pushed to study so broadly and also feel very lucky to be able to mix so many realms of study.”




Willene Clark Bequeaths Faculty Research Fund

A beloved art history professor at Marlboro College for many years, Willene Clark passed away in January 2015. In March, Marlboro received notification that Willene had generously provided for Marlboro’s future through her estate: a bequest of $100,000 was received to establish a faculty research fund. 

“Marlboro College remembers Willene Clark (pictured right, with colleague art history professor Felicity Ratte) for her dedication to teaching, her passion for learning, her enthusiasm for life, and now for her lasting generosity,” said Molly Fannon Williams, interim chief development officer. “Her gift will inspire many generations of Marlboro College faculty and students to come. In this way she will always keep on teaching.”

Proceeds from the Willene Clark Faculty Research Fund will support research projects by faculty across the curriculum. Among faculty, funds are in demand for research-related travel, books, and materials, including lab equipment, recording devices, software, etc. This new endowed source will guarantee that such support will be available in perpetuity. Funds may also be used to hire lab and research assistants, positions often filled by Marlboro students. The Clark Fund is the first gift of its kind to Marlboro—the first endowed fund devoted to faculty research.

In recent years, faculty research travel destinations have included Spain, Turkey, Italy, and Egypt. Dance professor Kristin Horrigan has applied for support to collaborate with colleagues in Berlin regarding gender and dance improvisation, and math professor Matt Ollis has applied for a research assistant to further develop his own work in combinatorics. Faculty research projects may lead directly to publication or performance, or be brought back into the classroom to expand Marlboro’s curriculum offerings. Either way, faculty research activities provide for a vibrant academic environment on campus, as demonstrated by Willene Clark’s own extraordinary teaching career. 

As trustee Ted Wendell commented, “Willene was part of the Marlboro fabric from the time she arrived in the sixties.” Willene was devoted to Marlboro and generous all along: annually she supported the Helen Clark Prize, in honor of her mother, recognizing a selected student’s outstanding Plan of Concentration in the fine arts. The Willene Clark Faculty Research Fund will guarantee that she has a lasting impact on the Marlboro fabric for years to come.

Harold Grinspoon Joins Giving Pledge

A Marlboro pioneer (1948-50) and generous donor to the college for 35 years, Harold Grinspoon and his wife Diane Troderman joined the Giving Pledge launched by Warren Buffett, Bill and Melinda Gates, and other philanthropists. The Giving Pledge is a commitment by some of the wealthiest individuals in the US and abroad to give more than half of their wealth to philanthropy or charitable causes, either during their lifetime or in their will. 

“The sense of mission and accomplishment that I get through my philanthropy energizes me every day,” said Harold, in his pledge letter. “I am honored to join the Giving Pledge, and encourage others to join as well”

Harold is the founder and chairman a private multifamily investment and management company—one of the 50 largest apartment owners in the country—but the best measure of his success is in the realm of philanthropy. Inspired by his wife, Diane, he created the Harold Grinspoon Foundation in 1991 with a mission to enhance Jewish life and engage Jews in the richness of Jewish tradition. Since that time the foundation has supported education in inner-city Springfield, encouraged energy conservation, and supported Jewish life among young people and families. More recently, the foundation launched the PJ Library, distributing free books on subjects of Jewish life and traditions to 100,000 children in communities across the country each month.

“In the 21st century, I believe that for Judaism to continue to have an impact on families and society, Jewish living and learning must be actively cultivated. That is why I am committing nearly all of my assets to my foundation to pursue this goal,” said Harold.

Marlboro College conferred upon Harold an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters in 2012 (pictured, above), recognizing his generosity, enthusiasm, and personal humility. Along with promoting literacy, rewarding excellence in teaching, supporting education and health in Cambodia, and much more, Marlboro is honored that the Grinspoon Foundation helps fund financial aid for Marlboro students as well.

A Marlboro College “subfund” within the Grinspoon Foundation has grown to nearly $350,000, thanks to Harold’s generous donations over the years, with an annual distribution this year reaching more than $17,000. This distribution will not only benefit financial aid, but also non-degree programs and the Center for New Leadership. Marlboro applauds Harold’s news of joining the Giving Pledge, and encourages readers to find his full pledge letter and those of others at