Vicki S. Baggia

Instructor in Modern Languages
Wheaton J. Lane '21 Bicentennial Professor in Humanities

"Modern Languages are like a mythological beast with the body of a lion and the head of an eagle: The first two years call on systematic and detailed acquisition like mathematics, but the final two become a humanities course."


Brandeis University

Harvard University


Mrs. Baggia left her native California during the tumultuous ’60s, receiving her bachelor’s degree in comparative literature from Brandeis and her master’s in Spanish from Harvard (“I never went to a college that wasn’t on strike.”) She began her teaching career at Woodberry Forest School in Virginia, and then Westtown School in Pennsylvania. She came to Exeter in 1982, teaching French, Spanish and German, with Italian added in later years.

Fascinated over the following years with discussion-based classes in a second language, Mrs. Baggia has explored a number of techniques to help students develop greater fluency and more spontaneity around the table. Trips taken to Europe and the Americas have enhanced her knowledge of those countries’ literatures and cultures. Recent trips include a string of three sabbaticals with travel in Guadeloupe, Costa Rica, and in the spring of 2015 to Vienna and Florence. She has continued actively teaching after the death of her husband, Aldo Baggia, a veteran member of the Modern Languages Department. Outside the classroom, she looks after logistics and provides escort duty for the cycling team in the spring.

When not in class, Mrs. Baggia might be found walking her Chesapeake Bay retriever, riding a bike, or at home knitting or reading yet another book on military history. New additions to the family — now that her three children are grown — are three cats, two adopted from the SPCA and the third a Russian blue from Latvia.