Josephine McFadden ’57
A member of the Chatham Hall Class of 1957, Ms. McFadden went on to graduate from Wheaton College before returning to live in New York. Josie spent her life’s work in selfless devotion and advocacy for those in need.
A lifelong member of Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church, she served as both Deacon and Elder, a full-time volunteer on the Pastoral Staff, and one of the church’s Commissioners to the Presbytery of New York City. As a community leader, Josie was an active advocate for safe and humane criminal justice policies, safe and affordable housing, hunger relief, and healthcare for elders. Carnegie East House, which she was instrumental in bringing into existence, honored her as a 2006 New York Treasure.
Ms. McFadden became re-engaged with Chatham Hall in the late 1990’s, nearly 40 years after graduating. She attended events in New York City such as the Chamber Choir Tea and Alumnae Association Annual Meeting. She participated in the Toast from Coast to Coast more than once and attended Reunions on campus and traveled to Santa Fe for the Georgia O’Keeffe in the Southwest trip.
Josie made her first gift to Chatham Hall as a young alumna in 1963 when Chatham Hall was embarking on a fundraising campaign. Her first gift was both modest and quite generous for a recent graduate. As she became more personally connected in later years, Ms. McFadden began to be a consistent yearly contributor to the Annual Fund. Over time, she increased her support to the Rector’s Circle, the highest Annual Fund level. Her support as a Rector’s Circle member demonstrated not only generosity for the school but also an unfailing confidence in the various Rectors and members of the Board of Trustees who have guided the school over time. In a fall 2016 visit with Rector Buck, Ms. McFadden’s only complaint was too few school spirit items for members of the gold team in the bookstore! Ms. McFadden passed away on December 23, 2016.
As a member of the Esto Perpetua Society, Ms. McFadden remembered Chatham Hall through her estate plans. Chatham Hall was honored and humbled to be the beneficiary of Josie’s long-standing philanthropy and to receive her ultimate gift in excess of $1.5 million. Ms. McFadden’s final gift to the school was given with absolute faith in the school’s leadership and the school’s future.
Originally published in the Spring 2018 edition of the School magazine, The Chat.