Mary Anne Schwalbe

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SCHWALBE--Mary Anne, died on September 14, at age 75, of pancreatic cancer. She was an educator and advocate for refugees and displaced persons. She earned her A.B. from Radcliffe College. After working in theater for Irene Selznick and Frederick Brisson and The Playwrights Company, she joined the Radcliffe Admissions office and eventually became Associate Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid for Harvard and Radcliffe. In 1979, she moved back to New York and became Director of College Counseling at Dalton and then Head of the Upper School of Nightingale-Bamford. In 1989, she took a leave to work in a refugee camp in the northeast of Thailand, and became committed to the cause of refugees. In 1990, she helped found The Women's Commission for Refugee Women & Children as its first Staff Director. She was also the founder of the International Rescue Committee's UK Board. Her work on behalf of refugees brought her to 27 countries, often during war. She served on 22 boards, including Brearley (where she went to school), Radcliffe College, and The College Board. She received an Honorary Doctorate from Marymount Manhattan and the De La Salle Service Award. She was the first woman to be President of the Harvard Faculty Club. She was also an Elder of Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church and was working to help build traveling libraries in Afghanistan. Her husband, Douglas, her children Douglas, Will, and Nina, their spouses Nancy, David, and Sally, and her five grandchildren adored her. In lieu of flowers, she asked that donations be made to the IRC, the Women's Refugee Commission, The Brearley School, Harvard/Radcliffe, Marymount Manhattan College, or De La Salle Academy. A celebration of her life will be held in late autumn.

Published in The New York Times on Sept. 15, 2009