Virginia Jeanette Kissane (ne Drummond) was the only child of two high school teachers - her father who taught history and her mother who taught mathematics. Her mother was a member of one of the first graduating classes of the New Jersey College for Women (which later became Douglass College), and one of very few who elected to major in mathematics.
Virginia proved to be a headstrong and talented student, but was disappointed when she saw classmates who were not as passionate being admitted to Ivy League schools that at the time would not enroll women undergraduates. She elected to follow in her mother’s footsteps and attend Douglass College, an all women’s institution that was part of Rutgers University in New Jersey. Virginia studied biology, chemistry, and mathematics with a devout curiosity. She had a focused purpose to become a high school teacher and share the beauty and power of STEM with the next generations of female students.
Virginia taught for over three decades, evolving her curriculum for AP Biology, AP Chemistry and other honors courses. She was dedicated to making her courses exciting, challenging her students, and supporting them through their college admissions. With a conservative estimate of 30 years of teaching, with 25-30 students per class, and at least five classes at a time, Virginia Kissane impacted the education and career trajectory of over 4,000 young women. In many cases she taught the daughters and nieces of prior students. Many became scientists, doctors, and teachers themselves.
She had a passion for sharing her science knowledge, and spent wonderful time with each of her grandchildren showing them how to dissect mice remains from owl scat, create chemical reactions in preparing food, and understand what makes Mentos and Pepsi a powerful combination. Her two grandsons are enrolled at Stanford University and her four granddaughters are excitedly finding their own academic interests in middle and elementary school.
It is in the spirit of this focus, passion, and dedication that we’ve established the Virginia Jeanette Drummond Kissane Memorial Scholarships. The scholarships will help further generations of academic women apply themselves in the fields of science, engineering, and mathematics as they begin their collegiate careers or advance towards that aspiration. Hopefully they too can positively impact others with their education.
To support alumnae of GMS and PHS who seek to attend top colleges and study traditional STEM fields and positively impact the world with their education, and who would meaningfully benefit from financial assistance in their journey.
To instill the academic and philanthropic spirit of Virginia Jeanette Drummond Kissane in a new generation of determined women in STEM.