Wellesley Community Celebrates the Life and Legacy of Trustee Emerita Elizabeth “Betsy” Wood Knapp ’64 Today in Jewett Auditorium

November 3, 2017
Betsy Wood Knapp

Today, November 3, the Wellesley community will join the family and friends of Elizabeth “Betsy” Wood Knapp ’64 to celebrate the life and honor the far-reaching impact of the former trustee, distinguished alumna, and philanthropic leader. Knapp died this summer, at the age of 74, at her home in Edwards, Colo. Her husband, Cleon “Bud” Knapp, and members of her family will attend the event, which will take place in the Jewett Auditorium. A reception will follow at the Knapp Social Science Center Atrium, Pendleton East.

A panel of faculty, staff, and alumnae will share stories about Knapp’s friendship, her leadership, and the many ways she transformed Wellesley. President Paula Johnson and Provost Andy Shennan will give remarks. Music will be provided by the Guild of Carillonneurs, the Wellesley a cappella group the Blue Notes, and pianist Katie Hodges ’20.

Knapp was a much-loved member of the Wellesley community whose friendship and support affected students, faculty, and staff across campus and beyond. Widely admired and respected as a pioneer and distinguished leader in the field of online interactive computer software, Knapp’s generosity made possible the creation of the Knapp Media and Technology Center, a hub for state-of-the-art technology, and the Knapp Social Science Center, which integrated the social sciences, providing spaces for interdisciplinary programming, instruction, and research and connecting the intellectual work of social science to its role in the real world. She also endowed funds to support technology and education innovation at Wellesley.

Knapp believed that in investing in women and women’s education was key to making significant change in the world. A highly influential alumna, she served on the Wellesley College Board of Trustees for 15 years, was a founding member of the Wellesley College Business Leadership Council, and co-chaired the College’s record-setting $400 million comprehensive campaign that ended in 2005. The faculty, staff, alumnae, and fellow trustees who worked with her say she inspired admiration and affection in everyone she knew.

In a memorial published by the Boston Globe, Shennan said, “I worked with Betsy for 20 years, and never encountered a more creative, daring, or loyal trustee. Surely the true mark of loyalty to one’s college is the desire to make it into something better, not simply to secure what it once was. Betsy’s generous support for innovation in teaching and learning and for integrating technology in the classroom has made Wellesley a more inventive, more generative, and more interesting institution. We will always be grateful to Betsy for seeing that potential and helping us realize it.”