It is with great sadness that the Associate Alumnae of Douglass College reports the death of beloved alumna Adelaide Marcus Zagoren, Class of 1940. Always a vital leader of the Douglass alumnae sisterhood, Adelaide passed away peacefully on January 31, 2014. She was 94.
Adelaide served as longtime Executive Director of the Associate Alumnae of Douglass College from 1968 through 1994. As Executive Director, Adelaide worked with seven AADC Board Presidents and six Douglass College Deans. To name but a few of the highlights of Adelaide’s leadership, her work included creating the Women’s Center, the AADC Black Alumnae Network, the award-winning Extern Program, and a tradition of keeping alumnae connected with alma mater and current students. With a strong committee and the dedication of Dean Mary Hartman, Adelaide led the first major fund raising campaign for Douglass and the first ever conducted at Rutgers: The 75th Anniversary Campaign. This effort not only exceeded its goal but set a standard of excellence for future campaigns. She recently served as honorary co-chair of the Campaign for Douglass, the current capital campaign that began in 2010.
She stated at the launch of the Campaign that “innovative education and leadership training for today’s young women is vital. Douglass’s excellence in providing a stellar education is only possible with strong alumnae support.”
Adelaide literally wrote the book on alumni development and use of volunteers: Involving Alumni in Career Assistance Programs was published in 1982. In honor of her service, the AADC conducts the Annual Zagoren Lecture each year with the generous support of benefactors and Adelaide herself.
Adelaide was a Douglass leader since her days as a student. She once commented that upon arriving at NJC in 1936, she thought, “I never want to leave.” In fact, she never did. Adelaide has received every honor extended by the AADC, including the Margaret T. Corwin Award and the Douglass Medal, and, most recently, the Vanguard Service Award. Adelaide was well known for her work within the non-profit community. She was a board member and generous contributor to numerous organizations that enrich the lives of many in our community: arts organizations, Jewish causes, organizations focused on youth services like the Girl Scouts and wide- reaching organizations like The United Way.
She served as president and trustee of the Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation, which provides support for the arts, education, human needs and Jewish causes for the greater Middlesex County, New Jersey, area and beyond.
“Adelaide was the heart and soul of the AADC and she leaves behind a legacy of devotion to Douglass that will serve as a call to action for Douglass alumnae for generations to come. I was fortunate to have visited Adelaide in January and found her dynamic spirit and incredible memory as vital as ever, even as she dealt with challenging health issues,” commented Tina Gordon ’72, AADC Board President. “Adelaide is irreplaceable, but she will live on in our hearts forever.”