Ann Van Deusen was hired as Burgundy’s first full-time librarian in 1981 by Don Mills, the director at the time. Ann’s son began at Burgundy the same year and her daughter also attended Burgundy, starting what has become a family tradition.
Ann didn’t let health concerns compromise her dedication to Burgundy; after a cancer diagnosis, she worked off-campus for the 2014-2015 school year before retiring in June. After a brave fight against cancer, Ann passed away in August 2015. The following is an excerpt from a speech given at Burgundy’s 2015 graduation by Sukie Farmer ’15.
Ann, you are the history book of Burgundy Farm Country Day School. You have been the librarian here for 34 years. Not only do you know all of the current students’ names and their favorites books, but you also can recall all of your former students as well. You always know what every student who walks into the library is looking for and how to help them.
You have done it all: from the teacher’s classroom budgets, to costumes for plays, events, colonial times and the famous Santa Lucia dress. You have been here for my entire Burgundy experience. You have been there for me and my family, and it was you who first thought I might have a learning disability, because of the way I checked out books. In 4/5 you taught my classmates and me how to write our first research paper, and you helped each one of us edit and site our bibliographies until they were “almost” right. And, finally I was Santa Lucia. I will never forget at this year’s Festival of Lights—being in the girl’s bathroom with EJ [Middle School teacher Emily Jonas ’03] FaceTiming you [videochatting] so you could make sure my sash was just right!
You have not only been a librarian but so much more—a Burgundy parent, a teacher, a trusted friend, a co-worker, and a grandmother to Jessie [’16] and Kaitlyn [’19]. But, in many ways you have been a grandmother to us all. You know the names of every student who passes through your library, and you brighten their days. You often recommend a book to each of us, and these recommendations are always spot on. You have made every Burgundy student love to read! You have been the source of all Burgundy history, all the traditions, connections to the teachers, and classes. As this chapter of your own Burgundy history closes, thank you for the 34 amazing years you gave us. We will always remember you.
Ann with her granddaughters, Burgundy students Jessie and Kaitlyn Inguagiato, at a faculty luncheon.