Vassar Today

Spirit of Vassar Award: Leah Johnson Wilcox '69

The Alumnae and Alumni of Vassar College (AAVC) Spirit of Vassar Award is given to an individual or group whose volunteer efforts exemplify an enduring spirit of community and caring. This year’s recipient is Leah Johnson Wilcox '69.

Leah Johnson Wilcox '69
Leah Johnson Wilcox '69

After graduating from Vassar, Wilcox began a 10-year career in banking. In an age when most women started out as administrative assistants, she was chosen as one of the first women accepted into the credit trainingprogram at the First National Bank of Boston and one of the first to become a lending officer. She rose to the level of assistant vice president at the bank before securing a position at Chemical Bank in New York City. After taking a few years off to enjoy raising her children, she worked as manager of finance and human resources for her husband Bob’s marketing and communications company.

Since Wilcox and her husband retired to a farm in Ancram, New York, 15 years ago, she has served as trustee and chair of the Governance Committee for the Columbia Land Conservancy, as a trustee of the Roeliff Jansen Community Library, and as an activist for New Yorkers Against Gun Violence. She also has been a member of several municipal boards in her area, including the Zoning Board of Appeals.

Wilcox has served her alma mater on the Alumnae and Alumni of Vassar College (AAVC) board of directors from 1998 to 2002, as class president from 1982 to 1988, as reunion chair for her class’s 13th and 25th reunions, and as an admission interviewer. While on the AAVC board, Wilcox chaired the admission and bylaws committees and was a member of the executive director search committee.

“Community is important to me, and when one is part of a community she can be either a bystander or an engaged participant,” says Wilcox, who received the award during Reunion of this year. “I prefer to be involved.”