Katherine H. Fair

Instructor in Modern Languages
Steyer Distinguished Professor
Katherine Fair

"It’s a privilege to nurture the French identity of these talented students, to foster their confidence and fluency as French speakers, and to rediscover French masterpieces through their insightful Harkness discussions."


B.A. Brown University

M.A. University of Michigan

Ph.D. University of Michigan


Born in northern New York State, Mme Fair (Kitty) has lived much of her life in boarding schools, including North Country School in Lake Placid, New York, and The Putney School in Vermont. Dissatisfied with her progress in French after a college freshman year in Paris, she stayed on for a more total immersion experience as an au pair and as a local high school senior in Normandy. As a doctoral candidate and teaching assistant, she spent a third full year in France as an exchange lecturer in Montpellier at the Université Paul Valéry.

Since joining the Exeter faculty in 1984, Mme Fair has led the fall term Grenoble Study Tour multiple times, chaired the Modern Languages Department (the first woman chair), and coached girls cross-country off and on since the early 1990s. She is currently the French Club adviser. She has a long-term commitment to the Advanced Placement Program in French, as a grader of the exams since 1989, member of the AP French Development Committee, and item writer for the exam.

Mme Fair is an enthusiast of long-distance running and, more recently, triathlons. A newcomer to running on her arrival at Exeter, she has now completed 23 marathons, including 11 in Boston, and last summer finished her first full Ironman in Mont Tremblant, Quebec. While Kitty does not currently have a dog in her life, she loves them; she used to have Newfoundlands and a Saint Bernard, and hopes eventually to adopt another pup. Other goals include getting back to former hobbies: studying Hebrew and Spanish and playing the clarinet. On vacations, she and her husband, Raphael Colb, return to their cottage and 35 acres in the Adirondack Park to read, garden and entertain friends on the deck overlooking their waterfall.