From astrophysicists to economists to actresses, Madeira women of all ages and generations have great accomplishments that span throughout their lives and their careers. As a Madeira alumna, you share a common bond with the following extraordinary women among many others.
Madeira women continue to push, challenge, and question. The purpose of this page is to highlight the unique achievements of our alumnae and as those accomplishments continue to grow, this page will always be a work in progress.
Brooke Astor was philanthropist in New York City, throughout her long life. She sat as a board member for many organizations and acted as the chairwoman of the Vincent Astor Foundation, her late husband's foundation. Brooke was the author of two personal memoirs.
Brooke died on August 13, 2007.
Heiress of the Biltmore Estate
Cornelia Vanderbilt was the only child of Cecil Vanderbilt, whose family was responsible for the development of various means of transportation, including steamboats and railroads, in America. Cornelia was born at the Biltmore Estate, where she lived until 1934.
Cornelia died on February 8, 1976.
Publisher of The Washington Post
Katharine Meyer Graham '34 ran The Washington Post for more than two decades and under her tenure as Publisher, the Watergate scandal unfolded. Her memoir, Personal History, won a Pulitzer Prize in 1998. Her daughter, Lally Graham Weymouth, is a Madeira girl too, class of 1961.
Katherine passed away on July 17, 2001.
A philanthropist and life long friend of Madeira, Prill Hurd served the School in many capacities. A member of the Alumnae Council, the Board of Directors, honorary campaign chair and the only Emeritus member of the board, Madeira benefitted greatly from Prill’s generosity. The Hurd Center, Madeira’s athletic facility, is named in her honor. On her last visit to campus, she established the John D. Deardourff Award for Creativity and Exploration, funding professional development for faculty and staff. Her philanthropic priorities also included hospitals, homeless shelters, schools and museums, largely near and around her home in northeastern Pennsylvania.
Prill died on Feburary 5, 2013.
Horsewoman; Bred triple-crown winner Secretariat
Penny Chenery came to Madeira with a great love of horses that would become a lifelong passion. In 1973, her horse, Sercretariat won the Triple Crown, the first horse to do so in 25 years. The movie Secreteriat starring Diane Lane was based on Penny's life and career with her famed horse. Penny was presented with the Alumnae Achievement Award in 2012.
Philanthropist; Founder of the Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth
Ruth Carter Stevenson '41's father, Amon Carter, was an avid art collector and philanthropist. Having amassed an enormous collection, upon his death, Ruth built the Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth, TX to house the sculptures, paintings and photographs he collected over the years. Among her many other accolades, Ruth was involved with many organizations with a particular interest in the arts and was the first woman Board Member of the National Gallery of Art. Ruth received the Alumnae Achievement Award in 2013, posthumously.
Ruth passed away on January 6, 2013.
After graduating from Madeira and Vassar, Joan served on the faculty at Cornell University School of Medicine for seventeen years and then Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Professor of Clinical Pediatrics and Preventive Medicine at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Joan was Founder and Director of the Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center and went on to become Director of Health Services and Professor of Psychology at Smith College.
Joan passed away on October 1, 2012.
Known as the “Mother of Drug Resistance,” June was widely admired for her achievements in cancer therapy. The announcement of her death from the American Association for Cancer Research hailed her as a pioneer:
This highly original science by Dr. Biedler has revolutionized the design and development of cancer therapeutic agents and has resulted in new approaches to the treatment of cancer patients. In fact, her trailblazing work gave birth to the concept of utilizing combination therapies, which is now a mainstream approach to effective cancer treatment. For 35 years, June worked in many capacities at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, serving as Program Chairman for Cell Biology and Genetics and as the only female member on the Executive Committee, upon which she became Member Emeritus after her retirement. In conjunction with her work at Memorial Sloan-Kettering, June was a professor at the Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences until 1994.
June died on April 16, 2012.
Politician; West Virginia State Senator
Martha was a West Virginia State Senator, a civic leader and beloved benefactor in West Virginia. She served on the West Virginia House of Delegates where she served for 14 years before being appointed to her Senate seat.
Martha passed away on October 31, 2007.
Frances is an actress who has appeared on Broadway, television and movies. She has won two Tony awards for Best Supporting Actress (Dramatic). Frances has been a part of many movies throughout here career including Starting Over (1979), Bright Lights, Big City (1989) and Raising Cain (1992). Her television appearances including roles in Cheers, ER, Sex and the City, Law & Order, among many others.
Alice has had a lengthy career that has spanned various presidential administrations in various capacities. She served Lyndon Johnson as the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, Bill Clinton, as the deputy director of Office Management and Budget; and most recently under Barack Obama as a member of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. She was the recipient of the MacArthur Foundation "Genius Award" in 1983.
Helen is a physicist and recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship (1988). She was instrumental in the development of the Tevatron, a high energy particle accelerator and the first high energy accelerator based on super conducting magnets. (Source: Wikipedia)
Dr. Mona Hagyard is a retired solar physicist who, most recently, was the Director of Solar Vector Magnetograph Facility, a solar observatory at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.
Judge, Philadelphia Third Court of Appeals
The Honorable Jane Roth is a Senior Judge with the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia. She was appointed in July 1991 and assumed senior status in June 2006. After Madeira, she attended Smith College where she majored in the history of art. She attended Harvard Law School, graduating in 1965 with an LLB cum laude. She has participated in many committees of the Judicial Conference of the U.S. and chaired the Committee on Space & Facilities, from 2005-06 and the Committee on Security & Facilities, from 1999-2005.
Administrator, Texas Governor's Mansion
Anne is a former administrator of the Texas Governor's Mansion. She has seen five Texas governors, including George W., through the daily details of running the Governor's Mansion. She has retired after nearly 20 years there. First Lady Laura Bush remarked, "We're lucky that Anne DeBois' administration of the Governor's Mansion wasn't subject to term limits-she's been a good and faithful steward of one of Texas' most precious landmarks." Prior to working in the Governor's Mansion, Anne managed theaters and theatrical companies. Through these organizations, Anne became an experienced and skilled fundraiser.
Queen of Sikkim; Editor and Author
Married to the King of Sikkim, whom she met on a summer trip to India. Sikkim is a former Indian state located in the Himalayas. Hope is now an author, editor, lecturer and writer.
A three time Emmy winner, Stockard Channing is perhaps best known for her role as Rizzo in Grease. She has appeared in NBC’s West Wing and was nominated for an Academy Award and Golden Globe Award for her performance in Six Degrees of Separation.
Blair Brown is an actress with performances on film, stage and television. During her career, Blair is the recipient of a Tony Award for her role in Copenhagen in 2000. She has been nominated for a Golden Globe and received five consecutive Emmy nominations for her role in The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd.
A longtime supporter of Madeira, the arts and education, Mrs. Cisneros is as a fervent advocate of Latin American culture and art. The mission of the Fundacion Cisneros is to “improve education throughout Latin America and to foster global awareness of the region’s heritage and many contributions to world culture.” Mrs. Cisneros is the recipient of numerous awards including the Alumnae Recognition Award in 2003.
Patience is the chief public health officer of the Arthritis Foundation. She is a professor of medicine and pediatrics at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences.
Politician; New Hampshire State Senator
Sylvia is the deputy leader of the New Hampshire State Senate. Before becoming a state senator, Sylvia worked at the New Hampshire Council on World Affairs as a development officer. Though she was Senior Class President at Madeira, her political career truly began after she was elected to the Concord City Council. As a council member, she tackled such issues as affordable housing, recycling, and the restoration of an old theater into a cultural center. In 1994, her campaign for the State Senate focused on the need to drastically alter New Hampshire's poor education system, to ensure that educational programs and institutions received adequate funding. She has continued to champion social issues throughout her tenure. In 1998, Sylvia was elected by her Senate colleagues to the office of President Pro Tem of the New Hampshire State Senate, responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Senate, and becoming the official Senate spokesperson.
Milbry Polk is the Founder and Director Emeritus of Wings WorldQuest. She is the author/editor of a dozen books includingWomen of Discovery, The Looting of the Iraq Museum, Baghdad, Egyptian Mummies, has contributed chapters to several books including the recent The Great Explorers (2010), and she is the book reviews editor for The Explorers Journal. She lectures frequently and serves on the boards of several organizations.
Naomi is a Professor of Biology in the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University, and Curator of Lepidoptera in the Museum of Comparative Zoology. Her research focuses on the ecology and evolution of species interactions. She has also been involved in reconstructing the evolutionary ‘Tree of life’ of insects such as ants, bees, and butterflies, and in using molecular phylogenies to make comparative studies of life history evolution and biogeographical distributions. She has received prizes such as a Fulbright Fellowship and a MacArthur award.
Lucy Blake is a conservationist and the President of the Northern Sierra Partnership. Lucy was the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship. Lucy served on President Obama's Transition Team for the Department of Energy and as National Co-Chair of Cleantech for Obama, a network of cleantech and green business leaders that worked for Obama's election.
Lieutenant Colonel, US Army
Brooke graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York as a member of the Class of 1983 (the fourth class of women to graduate). Among her various assignments she commanded a Finance Company and deployed twice to Honduras where she performed a supporting role to Humanitarian Assistance Missions, including building orphanages, digging wells, building roads, and even assisting on surgeries in the free Honduran clinic. Brooke’s other assignments include budgeting the military’s world wide exercises in the Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Pentagon), duty on the Army Staff (Pentagon), a three-year tour at Fort Hood, Texas as a battalion executive officer, and a tour as an Assignment Officer in the Army Human Resources Command. She also spent a year as a procurement officer in the “training with industry” program with Sikorsky Aircraft Company, which builds the Army’s Black Hawk Helicopter.
Writer, Author, Editor
Julia Reed is a writer and author. She is a contributing editor at Newsweek and contributes regularly to Garden & Gun, Elle Décor and Vogue among many others. Julia was a senior writer at Vogue for many years and has published a number of books including Queen of the Turtle Derby and Other Southern Phenomena; The House on First Street, My New Orleans Story; and Ham Biscuits, Hostess Gowns and Other Southern Specialties: An Entertaining Life (With Recipes).
Journalist, Author, Producer
Clara Bingham is a journalist and author. She is a former Newsweek White House correspondent, and the author of Class Action: The Landmark Case that Changed Sexual Harassment Law which was was adapted into the 2005 film North Country, staring Charlize Theron and Frances McDormand. A Kentucky native, Clara witnessed the destructive effects of Mountain Top Removal coal mining for the first time. Since then she has dedicated her time and energy to producing The Last Mountain.
Executive and Producer, Warner Brothers Pictures
Courtenay is a senior executive and producer at Warner Brothers Pictures where she oversees development and production of a number of movies including several movies in the Harry Potter Series, Happy Feet, Happy Feet Two, The Great Gatsby, and Crazy, Stupid, Love.
Based in New York City, Amanda Nisbet is an interior designer with a renowned firm that bears her name. Amanda is the designer of her own textile line and the author of Dazzling Design (2012). Her work has been featured in many publications Coastal Living, House Beautiful, Veranda and Traditional Home.
Physical Therapist, ESPN Sports Commentator
Stephania is a physical therapist as well as an author and ESPN commentator (on-air and online) and columnist where she acts as a football injury analyst.
Along with her sister Landon, Heath is the founder of SLANE Jewelry. Founded in 1997, Heath’s unique jewelry line is founded on principles of unique design and craftsmanship and has been featured in numerous publications.
Eliza launched the world’s first Dolphin Assisted Psychotherapy program. The program helps recovering addicts and veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome through interaction with Spinner dolphins. http://www.hawaiiislandrecovery.com/dolphin-assisted-psychotherapy/
Mika is a television journalist and author. She co-hosts Morning Joe on MSNBC with former Congressman Joe Scarborough. Mika is the author of several books including the recently released Obsessed.
Maryam is a producer, who has worked for networks and shows that include CNN’s Erin Burnett Out Front, CBS The Morning Show, NBC’s Countdown with Keith Olbermann, The Today Show, Dateline and MSNBC. More recently, Maryam is a senior communications executive and consultant.
Editor-in-Chief, Lucky Magazine
Brandon became the Editor in Chief of Lucky Magazine in 2010. Prior to joining Lucky, Brandon was the Editor in Chief for Jane and ELLEGirl. She began her career in journalism at Paper Magazine and Rolling Stone.
Writer, Author, Editor
Alex is a frequent contributing editor to a wide variety of publications including The New York Times, where she started her career, The New York Observer, Vanity Fair, The New York Times Book Review and New York Times Magazine, Vogue, and Harper’s Bazaar. Alex recently published Beauty Junkies: Inside our 15 Billion Dollar Obsession with Cosmetic Surgery.
Avery Miller is a producer at World News with Diane Sawyer and covers Capitol Hill. She primarily produces for Senior National Correspondent Jonathan Karl and has covered stories ranging from presidential campaigns to the recent shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. As Karl's producer, she won an Emmy last year for her coverage of the Obama inauguration and the "Joan Barone" award for her investigative work into government waste of taxpayer money.
An actress based in Washington, D.C., Holly has appeared in many productions around the city including performances on The Arena Stage and at the Folger Shakespeare Library. Holly is recipient of four Helen Hayes Awards and a ten-time nominee.
Rory is a documentary filmmaker and producer. She has produced and directed a number of films including her most recent release, Ethel, an HBO documentary about her mother.
Musicians and Authors
Sisters Nerissa and Katryna Nields are folk singers and authors and together comprise the fold band “The Nields”. They have performed at a variety of fairs and shows including the Lilith Fair and at Wolf Trap theater. More recently, the sisters have become authors, specifically for children’s books releasing All Together Singing in the Kitchen.
Founder and President of the National Military Spouse Network
Sue Hoppin is the founder and president of the National Military Spouse Network, a consultant on military family issues and the co-author of, "A Family's Guide to the Military for Dummies". Before founding the NMSN, Sue served as the first deputy director for spouse outreach for a military affiliated non-profit with a 375,000+ membership. She is a recognized subject matter expert on military spouse and family issues and has spoken to audiences nationwide ranging from installation career events to leadership training sessions and national conferences.
Finance Analyst and CEO
Meredith Whitney is the CEO of the Meredith Whitney Advisory Group in New York City. Meredith's career in finance has included positions at Oppenheimer, Wachovia and CIBC World Markets. She is a contributor to CNBC, Fox Business News and Bloomberg News and is the author of Fate of the States: The New Geography of American Prosperity.
A photojournalist, Ami has traveled to more than 80 countries witnessing and documenting both violence and civil unrest as well as the world’s natural beauty. Her work has appeared in galleries and museums and published in a variety of publications including National Geographic, Newsweek, Time and Smithsonian. Ami is the recipient of many prestigious awards including Magazine Photographer of the Year.
Melanie is a photographer and author. Melanie has photographed a number of powerful and influential people. An author of a number of books, her most recent release My Last Supper: The Next Course asked the question “What would be your last meal on earth?” to the world’s preeminent chefs and food personalities. The book was a follow up to My Last Supper.
Madeleine is a Senior Producer, Newsgathering for NBC News, manages major breaking foreign and domestic stories in the field across all NBC News platforms. Prior to that, Haeringer served as NBC’s lead foreign producer working alongside NBC News's Chief Foreign Correspondent Richard Engel for several years. Madeleine's work has been honored with numerous awards including six News & Documentary Emmys, two Peabodys, two DuPonts and five Edward R. Murrows.
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