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Professor Emeritus Robert Pounder Honored with AAVC’s Outstanding Faculty Award

During a virtual presentation on October 23, the AAVC bestowed the Outstanding Faculty/Staff Award upon Robert Pounder, Special Assistant to the President and Professor Emeritus of Classics. The honor goes to a faculty or staff member who has demonstrated exemplary service, leadership, and commitment to engage with alumnae/i and current students through a range of programs, initiatives, and activities over a period of years.

Photo: Jim Smith

Many of Pounder’s current and former colleagues were there to pay tribute, including President Elizabeth Bradley; Vassar President Emerita Catharine Hill; Vice President for Alumnae/i Affairs and Development Tim Kane; former Vice President for Alumnae/i Affairs and Development Cathy Baer; and Rachel Kitzinger, former Dean of Strategic Planning and Academic Resources and Professor Emerita of Greek and Roman Studies. (Watch the video below to hear their touching tributes.)

Pounder first came to Vassar College in 1972 to fill a temporary one-year position while completing his PhD at Brown University. He returned in 1975 when a permanent position opened up and has been working for the college in a variety of roles ever since.

“I can’t divorce myself from Vassar,” Pounder once told VQ magazine. “The values and traditions of Vassar are mine, too; the college becomes just as much a part of you as you are a part of it.”

Pounder created a highly successful Greek archaeology survey course in the late 1970s and contributed many articles over the years on his specialty of Greek inscriptions. In 1989, Pounder became Special Assistant to Vassar President Frances Fergusson—a position he held for 15 years. He returned to teaching before retiring in 2007, only to begin work on fund-raising projects with the Office of Alumnae/i Affairs and Development. He fully retired in June.

Even Meryl Streep ’71, who worked closely with Pounder when she served as a Vassar trustee, said there has been “no more passionate and jolly a cheerleader in [the college’s] illustrious history” than Pounder.

Pounder said he was “speechless but so grateful and deeply honored” to receive this award. “My career at Vassar has been the core of my existence for almost 50 years,” he said. “Vassar has enriched my life and given me more than I could possibly have given it.”