Listen to the interview (20.2 MB)
Helene Tieger, '85
Edie Shean-Hammond ended up in Annandale thanks to her ‘college counselor,’ Walter Cronkite, a family friend, who suggested Bard. Shean-Hammond recalls feeling shy and scared during her first days on campus, but she felt Bard was the kind of place that would allow her to 'find her truth' and pursue her interest in 'upsetting the status quo.' She had been invited to attend Vassar, but had declined as she felt this to be a continuation of the world she had grown up in. She describes intense embarrassment at having classmates discover an article in The New York Times announcing her debut in the Junior Assemblies, an experience she had not relished, nor would she have advertised.
Shean-Hammond recalled the environment of the time: “There were a lot of people who were protesting, there was a lot of drugs on campus, there were a lot of experiments, there were people who were taking their own lives – it was scary,” she recalls.
Yet for the most part, Shean-Hammond felt Bard to be an "extraordinary four years." She met her first husband here; loved living in Blithewood and Robbins; visited and performed in Macbeth at the Loft Theater in Ireland in her freshman year; and later spent time in Strasbourg, where she opened a jazz café and became involved with a revolutionary journalist jazz musician from Bolivia.
Shean-Hammond then returned to Bard where she lived as “somewhat of a hermit” at Bard, focusing on her studies. She had moderated into French before studying abroad, but switched to English on her return. Her senior project was on Robert Graves, even living briefly in his former home.
After Bard, Shean-Hammond helped run the Southern Duchess Community Cultutral Center in Beacon, working occasionally with Pete Seeger and the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater. She moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts, finished her Masters in teaching and taught locally. At a friend’s urging, she applied for a job at the National Parks Service. She was told, “anybody who can make it through Bard in three and a half years will be okay in the National Parks Service.”
She ended up running their Communications Office, and is now a superintendaant at a national park in the Highlands of Pennsylvania. She has been with the National Parks Service for 37 years.
Walter Cronkite, Swarthmore, Vietnam, Blithewood, Robbins, Proust, Robert Graves, Pete Seeger, Beacon, Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, Cambridge, National Parks Service
BardCorps Trailer, Main Campus
Shean-Hammond, Edie, "Edie Shean-Hammond, '72 (BardCorps)" (2012). Oral Histories. 28.