Christine Zapotocky Kelleher Headshot
Photo: Rebecca Clews, National Gallery of Art
A Wise Investment

Christine Zapotocky Kelleher ’91, an executive officer for the Bucknell University Alumni Association Board of Directors, is chief of investments at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., where she manages an endowment of more than $900 million. At Bucknell, she majored in Russian and international relations, graduating with honors, cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, and holds master’s degrees in Russian and East European studies and Central European history from Georgetown University.

1. How did Bucknell shape your career?

Besides providing an incredible education? After graduation, I crashed on a classmate’s couch and pounded the pavement in Washington, D.C., connecting with Bucknell alumni in sectors of interest to me, which led to a job that launched my career. Whenever I can, I try to pay it forward for other Bucknellians.

2. What class opened your eyes the most?

Russian. I was hooked after the first class and changed my major. It awakened a lifelong wanderlust, including a semester abroad in Leningrad and a professional stint in Central Europe (where I met my husband!), and led to many travel adventures.

3. If you could go back to college, what would you do differently?

Nothing — not even the things I should have done differently. Bucknell provided the opportunity to take chances and learn from failure as well as success.

4. What fun moment at Bucknell is the most memorable for you?

It’s not a moment but Jan Plan in general — Professor James Turnure’s art history classes, basketball games and quality time with friends. Can we reinstitute Jan Plan for alums?

5. What lesson did you learn at Bucknell that you still carry with you?
The timeless value of a liberal arts education and the critical-thinking skills it imparts.