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~Two Wellesley College Students Named 2002 Marshall Scholarship Winners ~

For immediate release:
December 18, 2001

CONTACT: Arlie Corday,

WASHINGTON, D.C.-Wellesley College senior Claudia Veritas of Goffstown, N.H., and 2001 graduate Marisa Van Saanen of Bethesda, Md., are two of 40 leading young Americans to be awarded Marshall Scholarships to study at a university in Britain next year. British Ambassador Sir Christopher Meyer announced the scholarship awards in early December. Veritas and Van Saanen are the 10th and 11th Wellesley College students to be awarded the Marshall Scholarship.

The daughter of Ana-lia Maltais of Goffstown, N.H., and Edward Cannon of Bedford, N.H., Veritas graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy in 1997 and matriculated at Saint Anselm College. She transferred to Wellesley, where she is majoring in political science. Captain of the varsity lacrosse team, she was named Conference Player of the Year two years in a row. After completing her sociology studies at Oxford University in Britain, she plans to become a child advocate. She credits parental guidance with her success, referring to Cannon as "the best father that I have known. He exemplifies the generosity of spirit and extraordinary selflessness that changes children's lives."

Oxford offers programs well suited to her goals. "I am devoted to improving children's lives on a global scale," she said. "At Oxford, I will gain the tools that I need to deeply understand the condition of children and families forming the foundation of my life's work."

Deciding factors for earning a Marshall Scholarship include overcoming adversity; Veritas says she is no exception. "I have had to overcome great adversity to get to where I am today," she said. "In my application, I asked the Marshall Commission to invest in me so that I may give back to children and families. To do so will be a triumph not only for myself but also for all of those who will have helped me, including the Marshall Commission. I hope to do for children what the great activists in the Civil Rights movement have done for African-Americans. I hope to bring to the public eye a clear picture of the challenges faced by children and families along with a vision for how society can successfully overcome these challenges."

Van Saanen, the daughter of Shelagh Van Saanen of Washington, D.C., is a graduate of the Connelly School of the Holy Child in Potomac, Md., where she received the Mary C. Crivella Prize, the highest graduation honor, for character and loyalty and service to the school for four years. She also was a Cornelian Scholar, a four-year merit prize that allowed her to attend the school.

She will most likely attend Oxford for two to three years, pursuing a master's of philosophy in international relations. Her goals are to "help our world eradicate economic poverty and make it possible for all people to have clean water and enough to eat, some basic housing and health care, access to formal education, and freedom from violence, within our lifetimes." She may pursue a career in education, service or politics.

While at Wellesley, Van Saanen was awarded the prestigious Harry S. Truman Scholarship for outstanding leadership and commitment to public service. One of 61 students nationwide to receive the honor, she earned $30,000 in scholarship aid for her senior year at Wellesley and graduate studies. The Young Alumnae member of the Wellesley College Board of Trustees, Van Saanen served as president of College Government, as an intern at the White House Office of National AIDS Policy and Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS and also as an intern with Maryland Senator Barbara A. Mikulski's office, among other accomplishments.

She recently has returned from a Susan Rappoport Knafel International Internship (arranged through Wellesley's Center for Work and Service) at Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta, India. "I was there for nearly three months, working in hospices and orphanages and teaching at the Gandhi School for Streetchildren," she said. "This is the beginning of some research I would like to do about the function and efficacy of social movements in addressing economic poverty."

More than a thousand young Americans have been awarded Marshall Scholarships since the program's inception. Prominent past Marshall Scholars include U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer; Duke University president (and former Wellesley College president and alumna) Nannerl Keohane; Providence psychiatrist Peter Kramer ("Listening to Prozac"); and Pulitzer Prize-winning authors Tom Friedman of The New York Times and Dan Yergin ("The Prize"); Stanford Law School Dean Kathleen Sullivan; and noted inventor Ray Dolby.

The Marshall Scholarships were established in 1953 as a British gesture of thanks to the people of the United States for the assistance received after World War II under the Marshall Plan. Financed by the British Government, the highly competitive scholarships provide an opportunity for American students who have demonstrated academic excellence to continue their studies for two to three years at the British university of their choice. The scholarships are worth about $50,000 each.

In addition to intellectual distinction, Marshall selectors look for individuals who are likely to become leaders in their field and make a contribution to society. The exceptional academic achievements of this year's scholars are matched by their commitment to public service, artistic talent and triumph over adversity. For more information see

Founded in 1875, Wellesley College has been a leader in liberal arts and the education of women for 125 years. The College's 500-acre campus near Boston is home to 2,300 undergraduate students.



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  • Date Modified: Dec. 18, 2001
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