As the AADC begins the countdown to our exciting 100th Anniversary in June, 2022, our new “Legacy of Leaders” series highlights and celebrates just some of the many people whose dedicated work and leadership will ensure the future of our sisterhood.
Published on July 29, 2021
The name Adelaide Marcus Zagoren ‘40 is synonymous with the Associate Alumnae of Douglass College.
Her visionary leadership as Executive Director of the AADC for 26 years shaped the organization into what it is today. During her tenure at the helm, from 1968 to 1994, she increased fundraising and established traditions such as The Douglass Society (now called the AADC Society of Excellence), into which she was inducted in 1987. She also established the AADC Extern Program, matching Douglass students with Douglass alumnae to provide the students with a one- or two-week work experience to “try on” a career. Today’s AADC Douglass Alumnae Mentoring, which focuses on alumnae mentoring alumnae, is an outgrowth of that creation.
Adelaide encouraged the establishment of the AADC Black Alumnae Network (BAN), which led to the formation of future affinity groups and regional networks. She also created the Alumnae Travel Program, which today continues providing memorable experiences and bringing alumnae together in far-flung locations around the world.
With her service as her Class Secretary and Class President, Adelaide helped classmates stay connected to each other and to the AADC. She also was the Honorary Chair of the highly successful fundraiser, the “Campaign for Douglass,” in 2010, which ultimately raised $42 million, exceeding its goal of $35 million. She particularly enjoyed attending the annual Zagoren Lecture, named in her honor, that each year brings distinguished alumnae speakers to address our alumnae community.
Adelaide served as trustee and president of the Blanche & Irving Laurie Foundation, a philanthropic organization with a focus on support for Jewish social services; secondary schools; cultural organizations; the arts, particularly for theater; as well as for medical and health centers. She breathed new life and programs into each position and received many honors for her work.
Among her numerous awards are the AADC Vanguard Award for Service in 2012; the Margaret T. Corwin Award, the AADC’s highest award for service; and the Douglass Medal (now called the AADC Medal). Adelaide received the New Jersey State Federation of Women’s Clubs Women of Achievement Award, the Rutgers University Medal, the Annual Trustees Award from the Rutgers University Alumni Association, the Distinguished Recognition Award from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, the Rutgers University Meritorious Service Award, Crown of Torah Award, and she was named to the Rutgers University Hall of Distinguished Alumni.
Adelaide was a consistent supporter of the AADC Annual Appeal and a major gift contributor. She created the Adelaide M. & Charles Zagoren Special Needs Fund. The Adelaide M. Zagoren Leadership Endowment was established by the Blanche & Irving Laurie Foundation in her honor and an anonymous donor created the Adelaide M. Zagoren Fellows Fund.
The Laurie Foundation generously established two endowments in Adelaide’s memory: The Adelaide Marcus Zagoren ’40 Science Scholarship and The Adelaide Marcus Zagoren ’40 Science Fellowship. These funds create a legacy of support to Douglass women in perpetuity, as does the culture of professionalism, sound business structure and the insistence on excellence she instilled at the AADC.
Adelaide said, “I knew the moment I stepped onto the Douglass Campus, I would never want to leave.” She never left us, even now. Long after her passing in 2014, Adelaide remains an inspiration to the AADC. Her leadership, friendship and generosity during more than seven decades continue to enhance our organization and serve all alumnae.