By David Nathan
Thelma Greenberg Florin ’54 looks back with great fondness on her days at Lasell: a life-changing mélange of academics, co-curricular activities, and social pursuits that almost did not happen.
Much to her surprise, as a high school senior in Manchester, New Hampshire, Thelma was denied admission to her first-choice school, Connecticut College for Women. Her college future was uncertain until her friend Glenna Pofcher Bloom ’54 intervened, convincing Thelma to join
her at Lasell. “Glenna talked me into it and the dean found a way to squeeze me in,” she recalls.
After a difficult semester in the fall of 1952, Thelma moved into a Woodland Hall double with Glenna for the spring term and began to thrive on Lasell’s intimate, student-centered campus. She majored in children’s studies, rowed for the crew team, and edited her residence hall newspaper. Thelma still remembers attending early-morning classes in pajamas with a rain slicker over her outfit.
Grateful for her Lasell experience, Thelma and her husband, Richard, have generously supported Lasell through the Florin Family Foundation. They have made gifts to the “In Pursuit of Great” and “Bridge to the Future” campaigns, in addition to annual donations to the Lasell Fund. Thelma and Richard have also hosted Lasell events at their homes in New Jersey and Florida. In recognition of Thelma’s distinguished service to Lasell and society at large, she received the Lasell Medallion in 2015.
“I believe in Lasell and am so proud of what it has become,” Thelma says. “My experience at Lasell provided the foundation for everything that came later in my life.”
After graduating from Lasell with an “A” average, she earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Boston University. She went on to teach elementary school before concluding her career as a middle school special-education teacher.
Since retiring from teaching, Thelma has immersed herself in a number of organizations in New Jersey, where she has lived since 1957. She served as chair of the women’s division of the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ, the Rachel Coalition to combat domestic violence, and JCC MetroWest.
Thelma introduced Glenna to her husband, Marty, and the two remain close. “We were inseparable when we were roommates and we are still very good friends, almost like sisters,” Thelma says.