Libby Anderson Cater Halaby, who served as First Lady of Washington College during President Douglass Cater’s tenure from 1982 to 1990, passed away last night in San Rafael, CA, at the age of 96 years old.
A native of Birmingham, Alabama, Libby Anderson started her remarkable public service career early as the first female SGA President at The University of Alabama. After marrying Cater in 1950, the couple would make Washington, D.C. home for the next three decades, where she became a staff member for Congressman Laurie C. Battle, raised her family of four children, and eventually joined the Johnson Administration as special assistant to Lady Bird Johnson. In the 1970s, she served in a similar capacity at the National Endowment for the Arts, the Aspen Institute, and President Jimmy Carter’s Commission on Women.
When her husband became president of Washington College in 1982, she became his primary partner in significantly raising the school’s profile nationally as the couple hosted the Who’s Who of American politics and culture in Chestertown with such novel events like their annual Celebration on the Chesapeake weekend.
As the college’s first lady, she became one of the key fundraisers for the school’s $41 million capital campaign, which lead to dramatic improvements of the college’s campus and financial equilibrium. The college awarded her an honorary degree for Public Service in 1990.
After Douglass Cater’s death in 1995, she married Najeeb Halaby, the celebrated aviator and the father of Queen Noor of Jordan in 1997. During that time, she joined the Board of Visitors and Governors of Washington College, as well as served on the the board of Maryland Public Television. She was also an advisor to the Spy Newspapers.
The Spy will have more to say about Libby and her remarkable contributions to the Mid-Shore of Maryland over the next few days.