Staff Assistant, Director's Office
Born in Guadalajara, Mexico, Carolyn Higgins grew up around the world. Her father, a career diplomat with the U.S. State Department, was posted to a new country every two years, and her childhood was spent in Spain, Togo, Canada, Rwanda, and New Zealand. By the end of high school, she had been to French and Belgian schools in Africa, a Spanish school, a Canadian school, a California boarding school, and a Virginia public school.
In Rwanda she became a close friend of Dian Fossey, the noted primatologist supported by National Geographic magazine, visiting her camp in the Virunga Mountains and tracking the gorilla family groups with her. It was Dr. Fossey who suggested that she might be happier attending the smaller University of California at Santa Barbara campus, rather than U.C. Berkeley, where she had planned to apply. Following this advice, Ms. Higgins went to Santa Barbara and received degrees in classical archaeology (with a Greek emphasis) and cultural anthropology.
After college she moved to Greece and then Italy to work on several archaeological digs. Returning to the United States in 1985, she took a job managing a Colorado art gallery situated in the Rocky Mountain hotel where Stephen King wrote his novel The Shining. The following year she came to Los Angeles and took a temporary position in the Photographic Services department of the Getty Museum. Seven months later, Andrea Rothe, the Museum's conservator in charge of paintings, recommended her for a full-time job in the GCI's Training Program. In that position she worked with Training Program director Marta de la Torre. Later she became the secretary to Luis Monreal, who was the Institute's director at the time.
Today Ms. Higgins is the assistant to Neville Agnew, associate director, programs. She likes the opportunity to provide support for the Institute's international projects, and her work has included preparations for a 1995 conference on the conservation of archaeological sites in the Mediterranean region. She particularly enjoyed this conference because it took her back to a region of the world whose history continues to enchant her. So does the region's cuisine, and she enjoys nothing more than whipping up an Italian, Greek, or French meal or combing Los Angeles for innovative chefs and restaurants featuring those cuisines.