Beyond Vassar

Award for a Lifetime of Service in Medicine

Dr. June Jackson Christmas '45-4, former commissioner of Mental Health, Mental Retardation, and Alcoholism Services of the City of New York (1972­1980), was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award by the National Medical Fellowships in November 1999. NMF has been awarding scholarships and grants to minority medical school students for 50 years.

Christmas, a certified psychoanalyst, received her medical degree in 1949 from Boston University School of Medicine. She was a National Medical Fellow during her years of postgraduate training in psychiatry and has been awarded honorary degrees by Boston University and Trinity College. She is professor emeritus of behavioral science at the City University of New York Medical School at City College, and she has taught at Brandeis University's Heller Graduate School of Social Welfare and as a member of the faculty of Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

She is the founder and first director of the Harlem Rehabilitation Center, Harlem Hospital Center, a pioneering community-based psychiatric rehabilitation program. Past president of the American Public Health Association, Christmas has also served as vice president of the American Psychiatric Association and president of the Public Health Association of New York City. She is a Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. She has served on countless national, state, and city health advisory councils and tasks forces.

In 1988, Christmas was named Vassar College President's Distinguished Visitor. She served as a college trustee from 1978 to 1989.

The award to Christmas was given in a ceremony at the Plaza Hotel in New York last fall. Ten members of Triple AVC (African American Alumnae/i of Vassar College), many of whom Christmas inspired and mentored when she was a Vassar trustee, were on hand for the occasion. The alumnae/i also presented Christmas with a Vassar College rosewood clock.