Holmes [Areson], Ann

As you may remember, Allegheny had some pretty rigid curfews for freshman women. I guess they thought if we were locked up in our dorm early in the evening, we couldn’t get in trouble nor would there be as many problems on campus in general. The only ”late minutes” I got in my freshman year were when my adviser, Professor (Captain) Kidd, took my roommate Leslie and me to Hank’s for frozen custard one spring evening. He got us back to South Hall a few minutes after the doors had been locked. Fast forward to senior year. I was a Resident Adviser in South Hall and, as part of the job, I had a key to the dorm and NO curfew. I won’t go into detail about some of the things that transpired as a result of that perk. Suffice it to say that entertainment options expanded from a trip to Hank’s for frozen custard to exploring the nightlife in downtown Meadville.

Education after Allegheny

After living and working in Michigan for three years following graduation from  Allegheny and my subsequent marriage to Charlie Areson, in 1972 I earned a master’s degree in International Administration from the School for International Training in Brattleboro, Vermont. Twenty years later, in 1992, I was awarded a Ph.D. from the Graduate School of Education at Syracuse University.  


I married Charlie Areson in February 1968. We divorced 12 years later and took different paths to different places and lives. Fortunately,  we have remained in communication with each other. In 1990 I married Herb Brill, whom I met when I was consulting for the Guggenheim Foundation. Our marriage lasted about 12 years. Herb died more than two years ago. I remain close to his three adult  children and their families.

Where I’ve lived

After graduating from Allegheny, I worked at the college for Ruth Knights until January 1968. I moved to Michigan in February 1968 when I married Charlie Areson. During the three years that we lived in Michigan, we lived in Midland, Saginaw and University Center.

We moved to Brattleboro, Vermont, where I was studying for a master’s degree. My program required students to complete a six-month internship in a country other than their own. I secured an internship in Geneva, Switzerland. The internship turned into a full-time position, and we lived in Geneva until 1975.

We then moved to Rochester, New York, where Charlie enrolled at RIT to earn a degree in photography. I worked at one of the colleges of RIT. We separated after Charlie completed his degree. He left Rochester for a year, while I stayed and worked. When Charlie returned, we decided to travel to western Europe and try to find a way to live there again. We lived for several months in Geneva, Switzerland, but the circumstances were far from ideal, and so we returned to the States. We returned to Rochester, where I worked for RIT again. We divorced a couple of years later.

I continued to live and work in Rochester, and I also began my Ph.D., commuting to Syracuse a couple of evenings a week. After two years of that, I moved to Syracuse to complete my required residency. I remained in Syracuse until 1988, when I returned to Rochester.  

My second husband, Herb Brill, experienced some severe health problems. He did not find Rochester to be a welcoming place, and so we moved to Isle of  Palms, South Carolina, in 1995. I remained there until August 1999, when I accepted a full-time position at Allegheny College. I’ve lived in Meadville ever since.

My jobs

As noted in the previous section, I worked for Dean Knights as Assistant to the Dean immediately after graduating from Allegheny.

After moving to Michigan, I was hired by Saginaw Valley College (now Saginaw Valley State University) as the Director of Student Activities. For the first two years I worked at Saginaw Valley, Charlie and I also served as coordinators of Residential Life and lived in the college’s first residence hall as “houseparents.” Two years was long enough to live in the dorm, and so we moved to an apartment in Midland, and my role at the college changed to Admissions Counselor. We left after a  year so that I could pursue my master’s degree.

I had a six-month internship at the International Secretariat for Volunteer Service in Geneva, Switzerland. That internship turned into a full-time position as Desk Officer for English-speaking Africa and Latin America. I traveled extensively to East Africa to coordinate and facilitate training and professional development programs for directors of domestic development services (think ”AmeriCorps VISTA”).

When we moved to Rochester, I had a number of positions at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID), one of the colleges of the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). I began as Assistant to the Dean, coordinating, administering and monitoring program planning and budgeting for all academic divisions.  

I then moved to Geneva for about six months, and was a partner in a consulting initiative. I provided writing, editing and various consulting services to organizations involved in international economic development and social and educational services.

When we returned to Rochester, I was hired again by NTID, first as Special Assistant to the Dean and then as Director of Special Programs. The move to Syracuse as a full-time Ph.D. student was accompanied by a graduate fellowship that included responsibilities as administrative fellow for the Dean of the School of Education.

When my fellowship ended, I did some consulting, writing, program evaluation and editing for various clients. One of my consulting/writing gigs took me back to Geneva, Switzerland for ten weeks. I was  working on my dissertation and also was consulting to pay the bills. I realized I was spending as much time securing consulting jobs as I was earning money and working on my dissertation. When NTID came to me with an offer to serve as Coordinator of Instructional Development, I accepted and moved back to Rochester.

After five months, I was named chair of the Department of Instructional Design and Evaluation. After three years in that position, I became Associate Director of Instructional Design and Technical Services. At the same time, I was asked to serve as Acting Director of the Joint Educational Specialist Program, a Master of Science program that prepared graduate students to become secondary school teachers of deaf students. Somehow, I managed to complete and defend my dissertation during this time.

In 1995 I moved with my husband Herb to South Carolina. I had such a variety of consulting jobs that I hesitate to list them all here. I will simply say that I did everything from restaurant reviews, writing speeches for corporate CEOs, editing  “Charleston Magazine,” and writing grant proposals for various agencies.

After nearly five years of this, I knew that the variety of activities  that I was doing did not provide professional satisfaction. I needed to feel that my work made a difference. So, through a fortuitous phone call, I was approached by Allegheny to apply for the position of Director of Foundation & Corporate Relations. I had no idea what that meant, and when I learned that I would be responsible for grant proposal writing and post-award activities associated with grant-funded initiatives, I almost refused to interview for the position. However, I was  persuaded to do so, and I never looked back. I eventually became Associate Vice President for Foundation & Corporate Relations and Donor Relations. It was a great conclusion to my professional journey.

My children / grandchildren

I do not have any biological children or grandchildren. However, I am very fortunate to have a wonderful relationship with the three adult children of my former husband, Herb. They have children of their own, and I enjoy visiting them and watching them grow.  My step-grandchildren range in age from three to 25.


I retired at the end of June 2016. I’m still getting accustomed to the absence of the constant pressure that accompanies grant proposal deadlines, and I miss the daily interaction with faculty, administrators and my colleagues in the development office. However, there are possibilities to explore and travel to plan.

Current activities / hobbies

I’m on the board of three non-profit organizations in Meadville, and I also chair some committees associated with these organizations. There are some community development and planning initiatives underway apart from these non-profits, and I find myself involved to varying degrees in this work. A friend reminds me that “no is a complete sentence”  when I show signs of committing to yet another community undertaking.  I’ve recently done a little consulting for Allegheny, and I have no idea if that will continue from time to time.  I hope to take piano lessons, take up bird watching, scrub the rust off my French language skills and travel! I still haven’t learned to give myself permission to take time out to read for pleasure, but I’m sure that will come in time.  I’ve never considered cooking to be a hobby. It’s a passion and gives me pleasure every day. I love sharing meals with friends and family. I  expect my life will take a wonderful turn at the end of December, when Greg Dauber (Allegheny ‘68) retires from Penn State and moves to Meadville. We look forward to this next chapter in our lives.

My contact Info

Address: 197 North Main Street Meadville, PA 16335
Phone: 814-333-9051

Graduation 1967

Graduation 1967

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