Pincus2 00022Against All Odds
Alice Pincus '72 G

When you meet Alice Pincus ’72, her calm demeanor and welcoming smile provide a glimpse into the comfortable family life she has carved out. If you engage her in conversation, you will learn about the many challenges she overcame to follow her dreams.

Born in Haiti, Alice was sent as a child to live in the U.S. due to political unrest. Her parents said good-by to their three children with the hope that they would have a better life outside of their native country.

Leaving everything she knew, Alice arrived in New York at the age of 12 to live with her uncle’s family in Bethesda, MD. Although the culture was different and she had to learn English immersed in regular classes, she made the most of her new, educational opportunity.  “Given all that my family sacrificed, I knew that I had to embrace my new life head on,” shares Alice. “I was fortunate that the public junior high I attended offered great equipment and exceptional teachers.”  Being close to Washington, DC, Bethesda was a favorite location for Congressional families to raise their children. 

It was during these early teen years that Alice was introduced to the science lab. At first struggling with the English language, she was drawn to math and science.  She ended up forming a life-long bond with these subjects.  As Alice looked forward to attending the public high school, her uncle‘s job changed and she was given the choice of moving with them to Guatemala or staying in the U.S. on a student visa.

“I was determined to stay in the U.S. so I wrote to St. Anne Academy in Marlboro, MA where one cousin was a resident student, asking them for a scholarship,” explains Alice. “And, with their positive response began my lifelong relationship with the Sisters of St. Anne.  I started as a sophomore and the small-school experience was just what I needed,” she adds. “I participated in almost every activity and learned how to be a leader; but most important I made great friends.”

Alice graduated in a class of 42 students, seven of whom went on to AMC, including Alice and her closest friend, Renee (Malboeuf) Morse’72. “Once again, the Sisters came through by helping me obtain a scholarship and locating a Paxton family with whom I could live.  How generous of these families who opened their homes to students who couldn’t afford to live on campus!” she remarks. However, after her freshman year, Alice faced another struggle and had to find work to pay the tuition going forward.   She moved to Worcester sharing apartments with struggling students from other colleges, working two jobs while finishing school.

After graduation, Alice again faced challenges.  To remain in the States, she had to marry or stay in school. With Sr. Pauline Madore’s assistance, Alice entered the masters in organic chemistry program at Holy Cross, which was going co-ed.   She became one of the first women to graduate from the school.

“I went from an all-female to an all-male school, and then entered the work-force during the turbulence of the seventies,” claims Alice. “I promptly learned that women had a long way to go to be taken seriously in what was considered a man’s world.”

Having met other challenges, Alice quickly succeeded professionally, starting her own consulting and contract R&D business, Pincus Associates, in 1983 with the support of her husband, Bob, who joined her full time in 1990.  In 1986, Alice became a key founder of a trade organization, RadTech International No. America, and served as its first, full-term president.  Her first experience on a board of directors was as chairperson, creating a board.

Once, after a successful business meeting, Alice reflected on her achievements and immediately thought of the scholarship assistance from the Academy and AMC, and particularly of the academic and emotional support from Sr. Pauline, who had been the chemistry department head when Alice attended AMC.  She decided to find Sr. Pauline and establish a scholarship in her honor so other international students could realize their dream of a college education.

In addition to fulfilling her educational dreams, Alice was able to find a permanent home in Andover, MA where she has lived for 36 years. “After all the moving around, when Bob and I married in 1974 I told him I wanted to buy a house where we could form a close-knit family and be grounded,” she shares. We are glad she did.