Just two weeks shy of her 80th birthday, Joan Fiori Blanchfield CNR SAS ’64 walked across the stage at the State University of New York at Albany to receive her doctoral degree in history. A sculptor, professor, museum curator, polyglot, wife, mother, grandmother and volunteer, Joan shows no signs of slowing down and gives new vigor to the term Renaissance woman.
Growing up in the idyllic enclave of Sea Cliff on Long Island Sound, Joan recalls how she and her four siblings all helped their parents renovate their 100-year-old house. From her parents she learned how to sew, embroider, refinish furniture, work with tools, solder and lay tiles. These skills, which Joan still relies on, laid a solid foundation for her future art career.
While attending St. Dominic High School in Oyster Bay, Joan’s artistic talents were recognized by her high school teacher, who recommended that she attend The College of New Rochelle (CNR) after graduation because of its excellent art curriculum. Joan remembers visiting the campus with her parents. As luck would have it, the campus tour was given by Sister Dorothy Ann Kelly, the innovative and beloved former president of CNR. The campus and Sister Dorothy Ann impressed both Joan and her parents. When she won the four-year art scholarship, there was no question that Joan was CNR bound.
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