Vincent and Linda Picciotto never worried about Vanessa, the older of their two daughters. A tough, focused athlete, she pursued the discipline of golf with unshakable zeal, playing through freezing temperatures and ignoring occasional harassment by her male competitors in high school.
“She never complained,” remembers her father. “Whatever had to be done, she did it!”
Vanessa Picciotto ’03 attended Wagner College on a golf scholarship. She was heavily recruited, but chose Wagner because it offered her the chance to play golf and pursue her interest in the arts in proximity to Manhattan. She played all four years and was named team MVP. An arts administration major, she interned with Sotheby’s. Following her graduation, she went to London and earned a post-baccalaureate certificate in fine and decorative art from Sotheby’s Institute of Art.
After returning to the U.S., she worked as an associate director of the Chetkin Gallery in Red Bank, New Jersey. In 2010, she went into business with her father, founding a real estate and insurance company in Red Bank.
She also married Charles Perrine, a fellow golfer. In 2012, she became pregnant with their first child.
Vincent recalls that tough Vanessa never wanted anyone to go to her doctor’s appointments with her — even when she started suffering from headaches. On October 28, 2012, at seven months pregnant, Vanessa suffered a cerebral hemorrhage as a result of preeclampsia. She and the baby died.
The family has come through this terrible time inspired by the memory of their daughter’s grace and persistence in the face of adversity. Last year, Vincent and Linda Picciotto made a gift to Wagner’s golf program that will make a permanent difference in the lives of student-athletes.
The women’s golf team’s annual spring tournament will be named the Vanessa Picciotto Perrine ’03 Memorial Intercollegiate. Proceeds from the Picciottos’ gift will underwrite the expense of hosting that event.
“This is a good tribute to Vanessa,” says Vincent Picciotto. “Every year, new girls will be coming into it. It will touch more lives than a scholarship.”
In addition to supporting the event, Linda and Vincent are hopeful that this tournament can be a vehicle to help spread the word about preeclampsia, a common and serious complication of late pregnancy.
“As with many others, we were not aware of preeclampsia and the seriousness of this condition,” said Linda. “Vanessa was young, athletic and healthy, until she was struck with this late in her pregnancy.”
The first annual Vanessa Picciotto Perrine ’03 Memorial Intercollegiate will be held on April 8–9 at the Quail Valley Golf Club in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.