Alice B. Rabson

Alice Rabson, retired professor of psychology and outspoken advocate of equality for all, died Oct. 22, 2012. She was 92.

Rabson arrived on campus just as the coeducation era began, and she was an immediate and avid supporter of admitting men to what was then Mary Washington College. Throughout the 1970s and into the ’80s, she taught such topics as psychology of women, human sexual response, personality, and social psychology.

Rabson helped form a Fredericksburg-area chapter of the National Organization for Women and encouraged students to join. She was among the founders of the Rappahannock Council on Domestic Violence, now called Empowerhouse.

After she retired from Mary Washington in 1985, Rabson joined the Peace Corps at age 65. She served in the Marshall Islands, teaching English and psychology, and writing and distributing information about health topics.

Back in Fredericksburg, Rabson continued to volunteer her time and talents. She was known for her crisply worded letters to the editor of The Free Lance-Star, and she was active in the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Fredericksburg.

Rabson earned an undergraduate degree from Cornell University and a doctorate from Purdue University. Her daughter, Ann Rabson, an internationally known blues musician, died in January. Alice Rabson is survived by her son, Steve Rabson, professor emeritus of East Asian studies at Brown University, who teaches at UMW, and by grandchildren and great-grandchildren.


  1. Eileen Wiles Sateriale says

    I am sorry to hear of the passing of Dr. Rabson. She was truly an asset to the Psychology department at Mary Washington. I found it amazing that after retiring as a professor, she joined the Peace Corps. I know she did good work for them. I thought of her and the lessons she taught many years after I graduated. I would like to express my sympathy to her family. May she rest in peace.
    Eileen (Wiles) Sateriale
    Class of 1978.