Fiona’s service to Wells is unparalleled. Along with nine years on the Board of Trustees during a challenging time for the College, she has been class fundraising chair for 51 years and chair of every Reunion. She is the first and only chair of the President’s Circle Committee.
As a member of the Wells College Board of Trustees from January 2009 to May 2017, Fein was admired for her perseverance, willingness to ask hard questions, and encouragement of staff and faculty. “Fiona stuck it out through everything,” a colleague noted. “Even when others paused in their volunteer work and giving, she stepped up.”
During her tenure as trustee, Fein also chaired the board’s Advancement Committee, where she guided the collaboration between peers and college leadership to develop effective fundraising strategies.
“The gift of time, talent and treasure is mentioned often in philanthropy, but Fiona takes those three things to the next level,” another of her colleagues noted. “She sets the example of giving very generously, providing great insight and wisdom, and works tirelessly for our beloved Wells. She is my mentor and friend; not only am I a better person because she has graced my life, but the entire Wells community is better, stronger and eternally in her debt.”
As a trustee, Fein regularly attended campus events, striving to connect with students, faculty and staff, and be a face of the trustees on campus. Several Wells trustees and staff mentioned her as a “shining example” in her “personal commitment to fundraising...and dedication to the College.”
Fein has also served, since 2006, as chair of the President’s Circle Committee, which works to secure annual gifts of $5,000 to $25,000 for the Wells Fund. Her tireless energy contacting donors, motivating committee volunteers and brainstorming new ways to encourage giving has helped inspire some of the College’s largest annual fund gifts to date. Colleagues regularly cite how hard she works to cultivate new members and steward her peers on the committee. She even handwrites thank-you notes to all President’s Circle donors.
For many years, Fein has served as her class’s Reunion social chair and fundraising chair, including its 50th Reunion celebration in 2015. The work involved hours of calling and writing classmates, working to keep everyone in touch, scheduling and planning events, and tirelessly raising funds for the class gift. The amount she helped raise—more than $400,000—is the largest Reunion gift Wells has ever received.
Over the years, Fein has made such an impression on her classmates that they held a secret fundraiser to raise money to plant a tree in her honor. The tree’s plaque reads, “In recognition of her enduring dedication to our alma mater and our class.” It is planted outside Barler Hall in recognition for her love of music and singing in the choir.
“Fiona provides the leadership and glue which has allowed our class to form lasting friendships and relationships,” said one of her classmates. Another said that Fiona has “kept the members of the class of 1965 involved with the College from the time we graduated. I firmly feel she has been one of the most effective and inspirational leaders I have watched in my life.”
Fein has also hosted Wells events, coached students and mentored staff. Her colleagues have cited her credibility, professionalism, perseverance, thoughtfulness and generosity with time, talent, and treasure as outstanding, intrinsic qualities. Her peers have asserted that they cannot think of a person more deserving of the Wells College Association Alumnae and Alumni Award than Fiona Morgan Fein.
After graduating from Wells in 1965 with a degree in art history, Fein spent 8 years as Photograph and Slide Librarian at the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Mass. Switching fields in 1975, she held positions in classical music administration at New School Concerts, the New York String Orchestra Seminar and the Brandenburg Ensemble, all under the musical direction of violinist/conductor Alexander Schneider. She also worked with Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival, the Marlboro School of Music, and the Mozart Bicentennial at Lincoln Center. In addition, she took on freelance projects for Frank Salomon Associates, the Harlem School of the Arts, Great Performers at Lincoln Center and the Lincoln Center Institute.
Fein’s coordination of the programming for the 1991 Mozart Bicentennial celebration was integral to its success. She worked with Lincoln Center’s constituent companies, among them the New York Philharmonic, Metropolitan Opera, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and The Juilliard School, in planning the 19-month celebration which featured over 500 events. It is widely considered the largest and most extensive of the Mozart bicentennial celebrations that year, and represented the first time that all the constituents of Lincoln Center ever collaborated on programming.
Fein serves on the New School Concerts’ Advisory Committee, where she still helps plan the New York String Orchestra Seminar. Considered one of the most prestigious professional training programs for young musicians in the United States, seminar attendees come to Manhattan for an intense period of orchestral rehearsals, now under the direction of Jaime Laredo, and chamber music coaching with many of America’s best players. Their work culminates in two concerts at Carnegie Hall, where the New York String Orchestra has played for over 40 years.
“All those accomplishments aside, however, I admire Fiona’s dedication to the school which helped educate her, providing her with the tools to be as successful as she is—for I think she so effectively realizes and articulates the impact Wells made in her life and career,” a classmate said. “In turn, she’s returned the favor with grace, competence, creativity and dignity.”
Photo by Giacomo La Vita.
Rebecca Haag ’74 has been an agent for change since her high school days. As a senior at Wells, she chaired the students’ capital campaign and, upon graduation, served on the College’s Board of Trustees for two years. She is a longtime advocate for social change, from advancing women’s rights to serving the needs of people living with HIV/AIDS. Never content with the status quo, Rebecca is now committed to achieving food sustainability and equity on Martha’s Vineyard.
Rebecca grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, the oldest of five children. She graduated magna cum laude from Wells with a B.A. in Economics and Management and membership in Phi Beta Kappa. After graduation, she moved to Boston and earned an MBA from Boston University. Rebecca has worked in government, as well as the private and public sectors, all the while continually striving to create opportunity, particularly for those who face social inequities.
As Senior Vice President of Work/Family Direction in the 1990s, Rebecca directed initiatives and programs for Fortune 500 clients that increased the productivity, retention and quality of life for women in the workforce. At a critical time in corporate America, she was a key driver of growth and innovation for working families. She helped create a $125 million capital fund in partnership with Fortune 100 companies that expanded community-based child, youth and elder programs to support employees and their families, as well as the community at large. The American Business Coalition for Quality Dependent Care won many accolades and prestigious awards, including an invitation to receive a Department of Labor citation at a White House ceremony.
Rebecca joined the board of directors of the AIDS Action Committee (AAC) of Massachusetts in 1996, and was appointed Executive Director in 2003. The statewide organization focuses on HIV infection and care for those diagnosed with HIV, while advocating for responsive public policies and programs to address and mitigate the HIV epidemic.
In 2006, the boards of the AAC and the AIDS Action Council, based in Washington, D.C., appointed Rebecca as Executive Director of both organizations. During her tenure, she spearheaded a national coalition of more than 100 HIV/AIDS agencies across the country demanding a national AIDS Strategy for the United States. Those efforts led to the nation’s first coordinated, strategic approach to managing the HIV/AIDS crisis in 2010. Recognized for her leadership role in creating the policy, Rebecca was an invited guest at the White House when President Barack Obama made the announcement.
With the epidemic changing and fewer resources available to serve those infected, Rebecca spent the final years of her work in HIV, working to make the field more efficient and effective. To that end, she merged the AIDS Action Council with the National AIDS Fund to form AIDS United, an organization that continues to serve as one of the most powerful voices on behalf of Americans people living with HIV/AIDS. With the goal of increasing efficiency and improving care, Rebecca returned to Massachusetts and acquired and integrated two smaller agencies into the AIDS Action Committee and ultimately merged AAC with a larger community health center in 2014. Through her work at the AIDS Action Committee, she “brought much needed attention and resources to people throughout the country who are living with HIV,” said Sylvia Stevens-Edouard, Executive Director of The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship.
When she chose to step down from AAC in 2014, the agency named the client drop-in center in her honor. At the dedication ceremony, Carl Sciortino—a former Massachusetts state representative and Rebecca’s successor—said, “Rebecca has left me a financially stable agency with excellent staff, a clear mission and a history of responsible management...Rebecca has always been about our clients and our staff first. She has a huge heart and she really cares about each and every one of them.”
After consulting for a couple of years, in May 2016 she was named Executive Director of Island Grown Initiative (IGI), a nonprofit organization focused on creating food equity and stability for Martha’s Vineyard residents. Although commonly viewed as an exclusive resort community, the island is in fact one of the poorest counties in Massachusetts, with more than 11 percent of the year-round population living in poverty.
Through IGI, Rebecca has spearheaded a movement to make good food available to islanders of all incomes. At her prompting, more than a dozen community organizations came together to foster understanding, coordinate efforts and share resources while addressing the daily issue of food insecurity. This summer, her agency initiated the first summer food service for Martha’s Vineyard children and launched a mobile farmers market that sells fresh produce at lower prices.
Her achievements have garnered many awards, including the John Russell Award for Public and Nonprofit Management (2005), the Positive Leadership Award from the National Association of People Living with AIDS (2010), an honorary doctorate from Simmons College (2011), the Wainwright Social Justice Award from Eastern Bank (2012) and the Schweitzer Leadership Award (2014).
Her career is a shining example of our alma mater’s motto, “To Have and To Share.” For her commitment, compassion, dedication and amazing achievements, Rebecca is a recipient of the 2018 WCA Award.
Photo by Jeanna Shepard for the Vineyard Gazette