December 27, 2013
Deborah Wadsworth, one of EDC’s most distinguished advisors and leaders, passed away on December 24. An EDC trustee since 1996, Wadsworth died after a long battle with cancer.
“EDC is so very fortunate to have been the beneficiary of Deborah’s wisdom, kindness, and elegance,” said EDC President and CEO Luther S. Luedtke. “Drawing on her distinguished career in education and public affairs, she brought unflagging commitment and insight to EDC.” Wadsworth served as board chair from 2005-2010 and was a charter trustee thereafter. She attended the most recent meeting in October and was delighted to see for the first time the Wadsworth Conference Room in the Waltham headquarters.
From 1986 to 2004, Wadsworth led the nonpartisan education and public policy research organization Public Agenda, initially as its executive director and then as its president. She continued to serve as a member of Public Agenda’s board of directors and as senior adviser to the organization. As an interpreter of Public Agenda’s in-depth opinion research, she spoke and wrote widely on how average citizens think about issues ranging from abortion and education to crime, national security, health, and welfare. In noting her passing, Public Agenda said, “Deborah was a woman of astonishing warmth, intelligence, integrity, and commitment.”
Previously, Wadsworth served as director of the Smart Family Foundation and, prior to that, as program officer of the John and Mary Markle Foundation. As director of admissions for Purchase College, State University of New York, in the 1970s, she joined the founders of the college in developing a national student body for both its College of Letters and Science and its Professional School of the Arts. She served as a member of the board of directors of the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education as well as chair of the board of trustees of Bennington College. Wadsworth held degrees from Wellesley College and Columbia University.
A memorial service will be held in New York City in the coming months.