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Helen Maguire Muller: Have Diploma, Will Travel

[ photo: Helen Maguire Muller ]

Have Diploma, Will Travel

Committed to cross-cultural educational exchange, Helen Maguire Muller '45-4 established the Vassar Maguire Fellowships in 1968, giving 167 Vassar graduates thus far the opportunity to travel to all parts of the globe and to pursue their studies.

In a memorial essay in the VQ, former Maguire fellow Kim Landsman '74 wrote, "Born of an Irish-American father and a Swiss-German mother, [Helen] grew up in the United States, spent much of the early years of her marriage in postwar Spain, and then divided her time between Lausanne and New York. Although firmly of the Western world, she nevertheless reached out to the east and was on familiar terms with many of the leaders of Cuba, Vietnam, the Soviet Union, and the People's Republic of China.

"That a woman so thoroughly of the capitalist world was so fascinated by and sympathetic to the communist one remained a mystery to me. She was very much aware of and amused by the oddity of it--indeed, she boasted of putting her Ho Chi Minh medal up on the mantelpiece next to the Somoza medal her husband had been awarded. She never thought the anomaly worth more than a humorous aside, however; I certainly cannot remember her feeling the need to explain it. Like many of the juxtapositions in her life, it was something that one simply accepted and enjoyed when, for example, it involved dinner at a Korean restaurant with the Soviet ambassador to the United Nations or any one of the numerous dinners she hosted each year to celebrate the Chinese new year."

In addition to the Maguire Fellowships, Maguire established the Indonesia/Maguire Vassar Fellowship and the Gallatin Fellowships which bring European doctoral candidates to the U.S. to study and send Americans to the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva.

VQ Winter 1994
Photo credit: Vassarion 1945