Alumna Demonstrates the Utility of Lifelong Scholarship


Hunneman says her appreciation for nature and the outdoors has influenced her in her jobs, including the state office she held.

"Vermont is very environmentally focused and we have had a constant struggle between trying to improve the economy and preserving the wonderful environment that we are so fortunate too have," she says.

After serving for 13 years as commissioner, she resigned. Later, she took on a position as the chair of the Low-Level Radioactive Waste Authority in Vermont.

Hunneman says the job is tough because it is difficult to please everyone, or even anyone, involved.

"It was very interesting, but you know it is a no-win proposition," she said. "Every segment of society is against what you are doing."


Hunneman says one of the main problems she faced was that people wanted nuclear waste to be abolished, but no one wanted to help get rid of it.

[People] are sure they don't want you to put [nuclear waste] near them," she says. "I worked with wonderful people, thank heavens, because every part of the public, from the anti-nuclear people to the companies...didn't like what we were doing."

Hunneman says she believes it is important, and that we also must strike a balance between economic factors and environmental ones, and try to achieve a reasonable compromise," she says.

In 1994, she completed the project to which she had been assigned as chair.

Since then, she has returned to her alma mater to further her studies at the Harvard Institute for Learning in Retirement.

Looking back, she says she considers her years at Radcliffe as some of the best in her life.

"I had an [awfully] good time," she said. "It was during the war, and Harvard had all the Army and Navy trainees there, so we had quite an active social life."

Hunneman says she appreciates her undergraduate experience even more as time passes.

"I liked the atmosphere, and the more I have been away from it, the more I realize the importance of being in such a strong intellectual atmosphere," she says.

Having enjoyed the benefits that an education at Harvard and Radcliffe has given her, Hunneman says she is somewhat puzzled as to why the schools do not officially merge. Radcliffe maintains separate public-relations, fund-raising and alumni development functions from Harvard.

"Since my time, Harvard has really assumed control of Radcliffe, it runs everything, and I think that's fine. But I think that it's time that the situation was recognized ant Radcliffe became a college of Harvard University."

Hunneman adds that the two colleges have virtually merged in the minds of most students, in any case, so the merger should be made formal.

"If you ask any girl here where she goes to school, she's going to say Harvard," she says. "If you ask her parents, they'll say the same thing."