There’s a new Vassar club in the Hudson Valley, one that expands the bounds of the original Poughkeepsie Area Vassar Club.
The original club, founded in 1889, had been active for 120 years before it ceased programming in 2009. Over the course of its extensive history, members took advantage of the college’s proximity, engaging in numerous social, intellectual, community service, fundraising, and admissions activities. Even after the club ceased programming, one committed volunteer spearheaded an annual fundraiser, selling Vassar Pecans at a local food purveyor to raise money for scholarships.
But Laura Kaufman ’95 and Christina Tenaglia ’97, who serve as co-chairs of the Hudson Valley Vassar Club (HVVC), say it was high time there was an area club again. The two artists and faculty members [at Marist and Vassar, respectively] are residents of Cold Spring and Saugerties. “We had received plenty of invitations from the New York City club,” says Kaufman, “but we wanted to know about and connect with our local community.”
This July, with assistance from the college, the two launched HVVC, which encompasses alumnae/i living north of New York City and south of Albany—with generous lines east and west.
“The timing couldn’t have been more perfect to begin the conversation about reviving the club,” says Willa Panvini McCarthy ’92, senior director of alumnae/i engagement, “but we realized that it needed to be expanded a bit. Cold Spring, where Laura lives, as an example, wasn’t included in the Poughkeepsie club’s boundaries. So, despite the club’s long and illustrious history, it seemed like the right time to birth something new, while paying homage to the great legacy.”
HVVC held a kickoff reception in the Alumnae House Pub in late July. Nearly 40 alumnae/i—from 1950s classmates to recent graduates—enjoyed conversation, networking, and refreshments, among them a cocktail called the “Vassarpolitan.”
Other local events are in the works—the emphasis being on local.
“We all agreed that we want the club to be a community that explores the incredible place that we all call home,” says Tenaglia. Some of the ideas that have emerged are family picnics at Storm King, fall hiking at Mohonk, farm dinners in Columbia County, lectures on campus, and roving river-town schmoozes.
The next club event will be a tour of Vassar’s new Bridge for Laboratory Sciences on September 18 at 2:00 pm. It’ll be led by Professor of Chemistry Joe Tanski ’95—a key member of the project team that worked with architects on plans for the new building.
Area alumnae/i also are invited to attend an opening reception for the Over Under After Over exhibition in the Palmer Gallery (behind Main Building) on September 22 from 5:00 to 7:00 pm. The show, which will run through October 13, will include sculpture, works on paper, and paintings by Kaufman, Tenaglia, and local artist Donise English.