A trustee of the College since 1998—and chairman from 2000 to 2011—public policy expert and education advocate Deborah Wadsworth died this week. She had a keen understanding of the power and potential of education to transform society and, while not an alumna herself, was fiercely committed to Bennington.
Prior to her retirement, Deborah Wadsworth was the president of Public Agenda, an organization that works to help citizens better understand critical policy issues and the nation’s leaders better understand the public’s point of view. Throughout her career she spoke and wrote widely on how citizens think about issues ranging from abortion and education to crime, national security, and welfare. She served as a consultant to the Mathematical Sciences Education Board of the National Research Council, the New American Schools Development Corporation, and the Public Education Network. In addition to Bennington, she served on the boards of Public Agenda and the Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, and was chairman of the board of the Educational Development Center, an international organization working in more than 50 countries serving youngsters through education and health care initiatives worldwide. Wadsworth held degrees from Wellesley College and Columbia University. She was preceded in death by her husband, Frank W. Wadsworth, and is survived by several grown children and growing grandchildren.