Panagora Founder Betsy Bassan Receives Alumni Award from St. John’s College

We are Panagora Proud to share that our founder and CEO, Betsy Bassan, received the Alumni Award of Merit from her alma mater, St. John’s College, home to the Great Books Program. The award recognizes Betsy for her achievements in the field of international development, her support to the college as a board member at a time of great inflection, and for her gift to promote Gender Equity and Inclusivity. Betsy was presented the award at a luncheon at the Army and Navy Club in Washington, D.C. on January 28, 2024. Betsy attended the ceremony with her daughter, Rebecca Pryor, who is a fellow alum (Santa Fe class of 2011).

Betsy Bassan with her fellow awardee and friend, Lucy Tamlyn, U.S. Ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The Great Books Program was launched in 1937 at St. John’s College in Annapolis, the third-oldest college in the U.S. and now hailed as the “most forward-thinking, future-proof college in America.” It’s the only school in America with such a traditional approach to the liberal arts that it’s now somewhat revolutionary. Over four years, students read their way through the millennia of human thought across literature, philosophy, mathematics, science, music, history, and language (ancient Greek and French). And then discuss the books in small seminars and tutorials.

In receiving the award, Betsy said, “I loved my St. John’s education and credit it with forming my young brain and persona with the skills that underpin all my small successes–skills that are most valued in today’s workplace–reading, listening, and speaking carefully; learning new things with humility and wonder; working effectively in small teams; and thinking and writing clearly and logically–while prizing community and an ethical life.”

Betsy has built upon her St. John’s education throughout her career in international development–even drawing on her Greek when naming Panagora. “Pan” in Greek meaning all and “agora” the city center or market square–an inclusive space where ideas bubble and the best ones thrive and spread.