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Shelly Calabrese Named Executive Director of The Women’s Institute at Russell Sage College



Shelly Calabrese has been named executive director of The Women’s Institute at Russell Sage College following a national search.

Calabrese was most recently senior director of leadership gifts in Sage’s Office of Institutional Advancement, where she has worked for six years. She has also held advancement roles at the Albany Medical Center Foundation, Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences and Emma Willard School.  

As interim director of the Women’s Institute since August, she has begun a detailed business plan for the Institute, established innovative programming, and has proposed a focus on social justice feminism. Calabrese played the central role in developing and executing “Deeds Not Words: Women’s Political Past, Present and Future,” the five-part inaugural program of The Women’s Institute that featured Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan, leading African-American historian Martha S. Jones and Nancy Abudu of the Southern Poverty Law Center.

“Shelly Calabrese’s vision for the Women’s Institute understands that gender equity is inextricably linked to racial justice and achieving a more equitable and inclusive society,” said Russell Sage College President Chris Ames. “That makes her especially well suited to the possibilities of this moment in history.”

“I’ve been invested in the success of The Women’s Institute since it was established in Russell Sage College’s strategic plan and am honored to be named its executive director,” said Calabrese. “I am proud of our existing reputation for thought-provoking and relevant programming and look forward to future collaborations across the community on public-facing events as well initiatives that tie into the Russell Sage College curriculum.”      

Under Calabrese’s leadership, The Women’s Institute will launch the Russell Sage College Women’s Institute Associate Scholar program.

The program will award a generous stipend to one or two associate scholars per year. The scholars will be influential figures in political life, business, natural and social sciences or the arts, whose accomplishments evidence a commitment to the advancement of women and social equity.

Associate scholars are not in full-time residence but will visit campus for events and programs they help arrange and promote, leveraging their expertise and connections. Their association includes one signature event plus additional work with students, faculty or the advisory board.

Learn more about the Women’s Institute at Russell Sage College at https://www.sage.edu/about/community-resources/womens-institute.

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