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Winter 2000

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Alumni volunteer spotlight


Clark Bell/Saratogian

Florence Andresen ’57 knows about difficult choices. Having worked in the field of education for 34 years, rising through the ranks from English teacher to high-school principal to superintendent of schools, she helped lead the way, through controversy and hard decisions, to important educational reform in the Glen Cove, N.Y., school system. Upon retirement in 1991, she moved to Saratoga Springs to be nearer her family and, after her parents’ deaths in 1994, she was able to turn her attention to volunteer activities in the community.

Andresen has compiled a long and varied roster of volunteer experience–from Educorps, a group of 200 retired school superintendents who troubleshoot, pro bono, for public school districts or their administrators in New York State; to the Saratoga Springs Education Foundation, which funds equipment, learning materials, and teaching grants that would otherwise be cut from school budgets; to the Saratoga Springs Rotary Club. Now she’s chosen to narrow the field and add Skidmore to her slate. "As I get older," she explains, "I have to zero in on one, two, or three things to concentrate on, and Skidmore is one of them."

Andresen, former president of Saratoga’s Rotary Club, was instrumental in obtaining a grant to Skidmore for an endowed scholarship fund, which will provide one free tuition per year and, she hopes, will increase with additional fundraising. In addition, for Skidmore’s Josephine Young Case Associates, she recently joined the advisory council to encourage her fellow alumni to include the College in their estate planning, as she has done. And this year Andresen is serving as chair of the gala Polo Benefit Luncheon, a major event in the Saratoga summer scene, which raises significant sums for the Palamountain Scholarships. Andresen credits Anne Palamountain, widow of former Skidmore president Joseph Palamountain, with inspiring her renewed enthusiasm for Skidmore after her parents died; helping coordinate the polo lunch is a way to thank Anne Palamountain and to further their friendly cooperation on behalf of Skidmore. Finally, as class president, elected by her classmates at Reunion ’97, Andresen will help recruit and convene a committee of volunteers to organize the class’s 45th reunion celebration in 2002.

Andresen knows that change often means choices, and vice versa. "The Skidmore of today is not the Skidmore of my era; they cannot be compared," she admits. Nevertheless, she says, "Today there is a warmth and individual concern which attracts me, and there is a vitality in the coeducational environment. Skidmore had to make some tough choices and, obviously, made the right choices." For Andresen, that makes her choice, to serve the College, an easy one. –SG

 


© 2000 Skidmore College