Mary Knuth Otto '63
Grinnell Major: English
Alumni Engagement and Communication Committee, Election and Membership Committee
A native Iowan, Mary Knuth Otto '63 is a Class Agent and chaired her 50th reunion committee in 2013.
Mary was an English major at Grinnell. After graduating from Grinnell, she followed her new husband, David Otto, to New York, where he was starting graduate school at Union Theological Seminary. Mary’s 40 New York years, several in Manhattan and the rest in Westchester County, included earning a master’s degree in English at Hunter College of the City University of New York and a Ph.D. in English Education at New York University. She also spent many years teaching English at Briarcliff High School in Briarcliff Manor, New York, and at Edgemont High School in Scarsdale, New York. For 2 years in the mid-1990s, Mary headed the English department at the American School in London and served as a K-12 language arts consultant there. She was also part of the New York City Writing Project during most of those years.
Following her retirement from teaching in Scarsdale, Mary and David moved to Norwich, Vermont, where Mary began work at a new school nearby, The Sharon Academy, as both an English teacher and a curriculum design consultant.
Mary is on the board of the Norwich Public Library and is involved on committees of the Montshire Museum of Science, in Norwich. She writes regularly, publishing in the local newspaper as well as other outlets, and teaches courses in creative nonfiction writing for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Dartmouth.
Mary says that Vermont is a wonderful state for retirement living, and both Mary and her husband, David, are active walkers, bicyclers, cross country skiers, and sailors—during summers spent in Boothbay Harbor, Maine. Mary and David have two daughters and three grandchildren, and travel is high on their list of activities too—mostly recently to Greece in July of 2014, with Jerry Lalonde, Monessa Cummins, and Jayn Chaney from the College, along with a great group of alums!