Vassar Gains Two New Trustees

Photos courtesy of the subjects

The two most recent appointees to Vassar’s Board of Trustees bring some unique talents and backgrounds to their new posts at the College.

Jennifer C. Haas ’94 is President of the Levi Strauss Foundation and is the founder of the Women’s Leadership and Wellbeing Award (WLWA), an initiative that provides respite and support for women involved in social justice work.

Delia Cheung Hom ’00 serves on the board of the Alumnae/i Association of Vassar College (AAVC) and currently chairs the AAVC’s Ad Hoc Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee. She is Chief Programs Officer of the Asian American Women’s Political Initiative, the country’s only political leadership organization for Asian American and Pacific Islander women.     

Jennifer Haas ’94

Haas said she launched the WLWA in response to the recent pandemic, racial reckoning, and economic pressures in working-class communities. “Many leaders at the forefront of social justice movements are women, and I was concerned that they were becoming exhausted,” she said. “I wanted to find a way to support women leaders who are at high risk of burnout to help them sustain their impact over time.” The initiative provides cash grants to those selected with the stipulation that the funds must be spent on themselves to support their well-being, however they define it.  In addition, recipients take part in cohort gatherings and one-on-one coaching. Through this two-pronged approach, the WLWA helps women social justice leaders integrate, prioritize, and center their own healing and well-being, Haas explained.

Haas said she was drawn to her Vassar trusteeship in part by her interest in the College’s Engaged Pluralism program, which fosters engagement among members of the College community around inclusion and belonging. “I am intrigued with finding ways to create, hold, and structure safe spaces to be in conversations that can be challenging,” she said.

Haas brings a wealth of experience on other boards to her new post at Vassar. She serves on the board of the Walter and Elise Haas Fund and is a former trustee of Marin Academy, World Savvy, and St. Paul’s Episcopal School in Oakland, CA. She is a multi-generation resident of the San Francisco Bay Area, a Sonoma County wine grape grower committed to using sustainable farming practices, loves to sail and garden, and is a mother to two college-age children.

Delia Cheung Hom ’00

Hom, who lives in Newton, MA, is deeply invested in advancing goals of diversity, equity, and inclusion in education. She serves on the board of the Newton Schools Foundation, and is actively engaged in the Newton Public Schools, where two of her children are students. Hom said her tenure on the AAVC board had spurred her to take a more active role in activities at the College. “My role at AAVC has me traveling back to campus more often, and that has helped me feel more connected to the College,” she said. “Becoming a trustee is a natural extension of that feeling of connection; it offers me a different way to give back to Vassar.”

Hom, who served for 13 years as Director of the Asian American Center at Northeastern University, said she believed the insights she gained in that post would enable her to bring fresh perspectives to Vassar. “In that capacity, I had a lot of faculty- and administrator-facing roles,” she said, “but what was most meaningful to me was connecting with and mentoring students.”

One of her new tasks on Vassar’s board is serving on the Student and Academic Affairs Committee, “and that feels like an exciting space for me to be a part of,” she said.

Hom said she is also looking forward to working on the board’s Buildings and Grounds Committee. “From the outside, you only see projects once the shovels are in the ground,” she said. “This role enables me to get a full view of the process and gain an appreciation of all the work that goes into these projects.”

February 14, 2024