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FALL 2019 Non-Profit Org. U.S. Postage Paid Permit No. 9 North Adams, MA

375 Church Street North Adams, MA 01247

MCLA.EDU

QUASQUICENTENNIAL ISSUE

Trailhead THE MAGAZINE OF THE COMMONWEALTH’S LIBERAL ARTS COLLEGE

REUNION SAVE THE DATE

JUNE 5–7

2020

Celebrating classes ending in 0s and 5s! Currently seeking Reunion Class Committee volunteers. Contact Kate Gigliotti, director of alumni engagement & donor relations at alumni@mcla.edu or call 413.662.5224 to get involved.

BLAZING TRAILS FOR THE NEXT 125 MCLA CELEBRATES ITS PAST, LOOKS TO THE FUTURE


125 years. 19,000 alumni. A lasting legacy.

125 YEARS OF MEMORIES, STORIES, AND FRIENDSHIPS.

Learn more: bit.ly/MCLA125

Connect with us at a regional or on-campus event this year. Regional Alumni & Friends Gatherings CAPITAL REGION, NY • PLYMOUTH, MA • NYC, NY • BERKSHIRES, MA • WORCESTER, MA NASHUA, NH • PIONEER VALLEY, MA • BOSTON, MA • AND MORE! VISIT ALUMNI.MCLA.EDU FOR MORE INFORMATION & TO REGISTER.

2020 Commencement Exercises Save the Date: May 16, 2020

Golden Graduates (1970 and earlier) are invited to participate in the time-honored tradition of leading the procession of the Class of 2020 during Commencement. Lunch is served following the ceremony. Alumni and guests will be invited to RSVP for this event in Spring 2020.

Trailhead

Managing Editor Kate Gigliotti

FALL 2019 | QUASQUICENTENNIAL ISSUE

DIRECTOR OF ALUMNI ENGAGEMENT & DONOR RELATIONS

Lead Writer Francesca Olsen

James F. Birge, Ph.D.

Adrienne Wootters, Ph.D.,

PRESIDENT

INTERIM VICE PRESIDENT OF ACADEMIC AFFAIRS

CREATIVE AND BRAND STRATEGY MANAGER

Robert P. Ziomek ’89

Gina Puc ’07

VICE PRESIDENT OF INSTITUTIONAL ADVANCEMENT

DEAN OF ENROLLMENT MANAGEMENT AND COMMUNITY RELATIONS

Design Julie Hammill

Lawrence R. Behan

Christopher MacDonald-Dennis

VICE PRESIDENT OF ADMINISTRATION AND FINANCE

CHIEF DIVERSITY OFFICER

Catherine B. Holbrook

Barbara T. Chaput

VICE PRESIDENT OF STUDENT AFFAIRS

DIRECTOR OF HUMAN RESOURCES/ PAYROLL OFFICE

The MCLA Magazine is published annually in print and online for alumni and friends of the College.

Bernadette Alden

Address changes: alumni@mcla.edu

DIRECTOR OF MARKETING AND COMMUNICATIONS

To view the digital version, please visit alumni.mcla.edu/magazine

WWW.HAMMILLDESIGN.COM

Editor Amy Krzanik

Reunion Weekend

Save the Date: June 5-7, 2020 Reunion Weekend honors all classes ending in 0 and 5 who are celebrating a milestone reunion. We celebrate the Class of 1970 on their 50th Anniversary Reunion and welcome them as Golden Graduates.

Alumni Class Notes YOUR CLASSMATES WANT TO HEAR ABOUT YOU! Did you get married? Have a baby? Get a new job or move to a new city? Retire? Tell us about your recent travels, career developments, family updates, or anything else you want to share! VIEW OR SUBMIT A CLASS NOTE

at alumni.mcla.edu/class-notes or email your Class Note to alumni@mcla.edu.


CONTENTS

Trailhead FALL 2019 | QUASQUICENTENNIAL ISSUE

FEATURES

6 Human Decoder

How Janine Driver ’92 is changing the conversation on how we translate and decipher body language

13 What is it like to hold the keys to MCLA’s history? 6

College archivist Kate Flower and the power of context

14 What a Difference

New fund aims to reduce student debt

17 Author Q&A

MCLA Assistant Professor of English/Communications Caren Beilin on “Blackfishing the IUD”

18 Living Legacy 12

Supporting the next generation

MORE

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Voices From the Crowd

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Living our Values

10

Paying it Forward

12

In Memoriam

16 MCLA Bookshelf

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VOICES FROM THE CROWD

What’s something you enjoyed as a student here that you would recommend to others? Check out the full list of must-do activities here:

bit.ly/BerkshireMusts

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TOP OF THE WORLD IS PRETTY AWESOME.” —Jason Kaufman ’10

“ARCHITECTURE IN THE AREA

AROUND THE CAMPUS AND DOWNTOWN IS LOVELY!” —Tanya Volff Snyder ’95


HIKE MOUNT GREYLOCK!

I HAVE THE BEST MEMORIES OF DOING THAT HIKE WITH MY FRESHMEN CLASS.... SO GREAT!” —Julie Meader ’00

“VILLAGE PIZZA ‘CHEESY BREAD’” —Ryan Scutt ’09

JACK’S HOT DOG STAND” —Kevin Barrett ’98

—Kaitlin Wright ’17

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ALUMNI PROFILE

J. COTTLE ’13 IS EMPOWERING ARTISTS AND ARTS MANAGERS IN BOSTON J. Cottle ’13 is living at the intersection of supported and supportive. As the founder and executive director of Dunamis, an organization dedicated to training and supporting emerging artists and arts managers in Boston, Cottle pushes his staff and clients to advocate for themselves and to create an arts community that is open, inclusive, and representative. But Cottle, too, has mentors, cheerleaders, and advisors. Just this year, a colleague who leads a major Dorchester, Mass., performance festival nominated him for a National Arts Strategies fellowship—he’ll join a cohort of creators across New England who will engage in deep strategy work in order to make an even greater community impact. When he launched Dunamis nearly three years ago, Cottle was terrified—even with the structure and framework his MCLA arts management degree provided.

An MCLA friend helped put his fears in perspective. “He said, ‘You’re a risk taker! This is what you do!” Cottle said. “I had never thought of myself that way.” “But then I realized that if I failed, I’d do it again,” he said. “Once I realized the worst that would happen is that I’d learn something…now I’m not really scared of anything.”

NO MAP, NO JOURNEY The idea for Dunamis hatched while Cottle was earning his master’s in education at Lesley University. A Boston native, Cottle was teaching high school at the time; one of his students, a singer, proudly told him about her new record deal. “I was like, ‘Oh my god, who was there? What did you sign?!” he said. “I feel like a lot of artists don’t know how to navigate this.” As he continued his work as an educator and freelance music director, Cottle heard plenty of similar stories. “It was important to me to figure out a way to empower and give artists a sense of community—and to navigate their career with intention.” Now, Dunamis offers workshops designed to build these skills, plus dedicated internship programs and a professional development apprenticeship for arts managers. Right away, Cottle realized that young people working in the arts—particularly young people of color—had internalized ideas around being less capable or less worthy than others in their field. Cottle’s goal is to disrupt those ideas. “That has become a part of my core philosophy as an educator,” Cottle said. “Once they understand what they can do— that they can find the resources to make it happen, to unlock that part of them, to teach them to fish, to know they are capable and talented—that is what brings me joy. Watching them believe in themselves.”

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MANY VOICES, MANY ROOMS “In Boston today, we’re having a moment where we’re looking at diversity both in our audiences on stage, and in terms of equity—who are the people in power who make all these decisions?” Cottle said. It’s easy to see that few people of color hold leadership roles in arts and culture in general. But, Cottle says, it’s important to take a step back to see why. Board positions often come with personal fundraising or donation requirements; ticket prices can be prohibitive. For most of our country’s history, black people have been unwelcome—or not legally allowed— to enter these spaces. “There’s a whole cultural thing with people of color—we’re not huge theater-goers. We’re not huge ballet-goers. Those became cultural norms because of systemic barriers placed on us throughout history,” Cottle said. “You also have parents telling their children the arts are not a safe career choice.” Dunamis works to break open that idea—to prove it wrong by connecting people through internships, through researching and interviewing stakeholders about equity and power, through showing them what an audition looks like, what a grant application needs, “a blueprint for how to be in this world,” Cottle said. None of this, of course, can be done in a vacuum. “I believe if we have more experiences where we mesh people together, that shifts something,” Cottle said. “It still feels like there are places we can’t have access to. Because we can’t go into those rooms, talk to those people we don’t even know—that’s the last bastion we have to tackle that not many people are talking about.”


LIVING OUR VALUES

MCLA’s Volunteer Center Expands Civic Learning Opportunities

ALK ABOUT A GOOD PROBLEM TO HAVE— as a response to the MCLA student body’s

interest and passion for civic and community service programming, the College established the MCLA Volunteer Center over the past year, taking on and expanding the work of the Center for Service and Citizenship. Managed by MCLA’s Coordinator of Civic Engagement Christopher Hantman, the Volunteer Center continues to develop student leaders and offers a wide variety of ways students can contribute to their community. All MCLA students can participate in volunteer opportunities, community service activities, and community outreach. In the 2018-19 academic year, the Volunteer Center counted 19 student staff members involved in programming and coordinating (and participating in) these opportunities. Those students helped 474 student volunteers contribute 2,465 collective service hours to their campus and the surrounding community for that year. According to national standards, the economic impact of their time is valued at $62,684.95. This number only represents Volunteer Center service hours—MCLA students log hundreds, perhaps thousands, more hours through other programs, including Athletics and Student Government Association volunteer opportunities. “Students involved with the Volunteer Center graduate with a heightened sensitivity and ability to be engaged members of their community,” said Spencer Moser, director of civic engagement. “The MCLA student leaders, program coordinators, and student volunteers continue to be the energy and backbone behind everything the Volunteer Center does. They’re an inspiration, and they embody the spirit of service and good citizenship at MCLA.”

After school, youth mentoring, and community service outreach programs have more than doubled in the past few years, thanks to MCLA student leadership. Tried-and-true programs serving local youth like Write Stuff, a writing mentorship program for fifth- and sixthgraders, and H.A.L.F. Times, which teaches students in grades 2-4 about how to live a healthy lifestyle, are still going strong. New programs including Girls of the Berkshires, a mentoring program for young female students, a dance program designed to help children feel more comfortable in their bodies and confident in their movements, and Stage Right, a confidence-building theater program for fifthand sixth-graders, have all been developed and facilitated by MCLA student leaders. Community Days of Service events are still extremely popular. Three of these events are offered over the course of the academic year and involve hundreds of volunteers across the MCLA and Berkshire community. Additionally, Alternative Spring Break service and cultural immersion trips are still going strong and offering students profound experiences, as they

SAVE THE DATE! APRIL 18, 2020

have for years.

Learn more about the MCLA Volunteer Center at http://bit.ly/MCLAVolCenter.

Join us on April 18, 2020 for a Community Day of Service in North Adams or plan your own Day of Service in the community where you live. Email alumni@mcla.edu to get involved.

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HUMAN DECODER HOW JANINE DRIVER ’92 IS CHANGING THE CONVERSATION ON HOW WE TRANSLATE AND DECIPHER BODY LANGUAGE

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Watch one of her TED talks, or a video on her YouTube channel, or spend a few minutes talking to her, and you’ll quickly realize that body language expert Janine Driver ’92 is firing on all cylinders. “I’m a Gemini. I have the energy and interests of two people,” she said. But there’s more to it than that. When Driver enters a room, or starts a conversation, she sees more than you do. And you? You say more than you think. THE EXPERT If you’re interested in body language and communication, it’s entirely possible that you’ve already heard of Janine Driver. Her 2010 book “You Say More Than You Think: The 7-day Plan for Using the New Body Language to Get What You Want,” is a New York Times bestseller. You’ve probably seen her break down political candidates’ or celebrities’ reactions on the “Today Show,” or “Good Morning America,” or ESPN. Her YouTube channel has more than 20,000 subscribers. By all accounts, she’s one of the most well-known and prolific body language experts working today. And her journey to mastery started at MCLA.

Janine Driver ’92 and President James F. Birge before the 2018 Alumni Association Awards.

Driver grew up in Waltham, Mass., and came to MCLA (then North Adams State College) because it was the furthest state school from her childhood home. At MCLA, she thrived: She was a residential advisor, a student trustee, worked at The Beacon and interned at the broadcast studio as an English/communications major. She hosted a 5 a.m. news headline show on WJJW. And she interned at the Career Center, helping students with their resumes and giving mock interviews. “What I loved most about MCLA is I always felt seen,” Driver said. She chose her major after taking a course with professor emeritus Harris Elder, who eventually edited her book. “That school changed my whole entire life.” Through her Career Center internship, Driver found out that Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives was coming to campus to interview

prospective employees—and were specifically looking to hire women. “I didn’t know anything about work in law enforcement,” she said. “I thought I might be a DJ, but I know I have a squeaky voice. I thought I’d give it a shot and have fun.” She got the job and moved to Connecticut after graduation, skipping the federal agency’s specialized testing due to her high GPA. She jokes that her father says she “turned her hobbies into a career”—but soon, Driver was fully trained and working as an ATF investigator, specializing in firearms trafficking, going into situations (often alone) where subjects were heavily armed and unpredictable. She knew from her training that she wasn’t going to use fear tactics—she would employ and enhance her own natural charisma. “My approach is to pretend we’re sitting down for a cup of tea together,” she said. “I think my likeability, my storytelling, my genuine interest in human beings—that is my superpower.” She found mentors (including James Cavanaugh, who headed ATF’s Nashville office and was a top official working on the search for the Unabomber, among many other high-profile cases) at ATF and grew in her role, working as public information officer and eventually training more than 100,000 agency personnel from ATF, the CIA, and Scotland Yard, among many other organizations.

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YOU CAN DECODE AND INFLUENCE HUMAN BEHAVIOR BECAUSE YOU KNOW HOW SOMEONE FEELS BEFORE THEIR BRAIN KNOWS.”

are standing there with their arms crossed. You’re using both sides of your brain, logic and creativity,” Driver said. And what about when someone looks up and to the right as they answer your question, breaking eye contact? Driver debunks this in her book— the person may just be thinking really hard about their answer. You need to establish a baseline before decoding anyone’s gestures—this is the basic idea behind Driver’s New Body Language. How can you tell anything about someone’s behavior if you don’t know what is normal for them? “If you know what to look for, you know your next question,” Driver said. LEARN THE BASICS

She retired from ATF in 2008 and started the Body Language Institute, which she continues to run today, traveling all over the world from her home in Alexandria, Va., to give trainings and keynote speeches on body language and movement pattern analysis for clients like Lockheed Martin, Chase Bank, and Procter & Gamble. THE NEW BODY LANGUAGE “If you’re a human being who communicates with other human beings, you need what I know,” said Driver.

T R A I L H E A D FA L L 2019

Learning to read those cues is like putting on a new pair of glasses, Driver says. Without your lenses, you can see the outline of a stop sign; when you put them on, you can see the message, crisp and clear. “You know it naturally. No one taught you. You have been seeing the street signs, you just don’t know what they’re literally saying,” she said.

There are plenty of myths about body language that sit awkwardly within our culture—you’ve certainly heard the one about crossed arms indicating a person is bored, disinterested, or defensive.

Human beings also show how they feel before they say what they think—about five seconds before their brain can even make sense of it. If you share an idea in a meeting and your boss’s lips narrow and compress, she may really hate your idea. (She may also be worrying about her toddler’s rough morning at day care—you have to evaluate the whole situation and the whole person in order to get an accurate read.) If you’re on a date with someone you really like, watch and see if they point their belly button toward you—we tend to point that area at the person we’re attracted to.

Wrong. Crossing your arms can connect your right and left brain, allowing for enhanced problem-solving. “If you look at a crime scene, 90 percent of the cops on the scene

“You can decode and influence human behavior because you know how someone feels before their brain knows,” Driver said. “You have a fivesecond advantage over everybody.”

Driver’s Body Language Institute goes much further than just training people how to tell when someone is lying. Decoding body language and adjusting your own is about building a rapport and creating space for trust to grow. You can’t do that by just noticing when someone is or isn’t making eye contact with you. That’s too reductive, too transactional.

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Human beings are social animals, and we naturally pick up and put out non-verbal cues. That’s why we sometimes get a “bad vibe” from another person, or leave a conversation confused about someone’s feelings or intentions.


It works the other way, too—you can adjust your own body language, attitude, and selfpresentation to become more influential in a conversation, close a sale, pitch an idea to a new client, or get your kid to go to bed. One tip Driver shared with her audience at TedX Wilmington: Ask positive, reinforcing questions instead of “why” questions. It helps people open up to you. Using words like “what” and “how” will make your subject more receptive; assigning them a “positive trait” you want them to have will help give them confidence and agency as you interact. Instead of “Why are you always breaking the rules at bedtime?” try “I know you like going to school prepared and well rested. How do you think you will feel tomorrow if you go to bed late?” Driver has rhyming rules so her clients remember this approach: “When people feel they matter and belong, cooperation will be strong.” It comes down to kindness, patience, and trust-building. “When we meet someone for the first time, we ask ourselves two questions,” Driver said. “‘Can I trust this person?’ ‘Can I respect this person?’ The problem is, most of us do this backwards.” When we introduce ourselves, we lead with our credentials, which says “you should respect me because of this.” But while respect connects to ideas around competence, Driver says, trust connects to warmth and likeability. You want to start there.

“MARK MY WORDS” The purpose of Driver’s work is to “inspire people to look at the world in a different way”— and through her life, many people around her have helped her see things differently, too.

Afterward, Harris Elder, who was in the audience, stopped Driver in her tracks. “He said, ‘Janine Driver, one day you’re going to be a millionaire. Mark my words.’”

“My mother raised me to know there is always some good if look close enough, in every situation, in every person,” she said. That helped her find common ground and use her own gifts to become a renowned expert.

“That changed everything,” Driver said. “Every time I had the opportunity to take a risk, every time I had to make a difficult decision, I heard Harris saying ‘one day you’re going to be a millionaire.’ It changed my mindset.”

One of Driver’s fondest memories of MCLA centers on this kind of inspiration, too—and as she shares the story, she is taken back to North Adams, to the restaurant connected to the city’s Holiday Inn, when she was about to go up on stage and “roast” a colleague at his farewell party. (“My humor is about healing,” she joked.)

And with that changed mindset, Driver has gone out into the world and changed others’ mindsets. Maybe someday, directly or indirectly, her work will inspire you to look at the world in a different way, too.

Learn More

VIDEO

BOOKS You Say More Than You Think: A 7-Day Plan for Using the New Body Language to Get What You Want Random House, 2010

SELECTED TEDX TALKS: The Cooperation Paradigm: How to Get People to Listen & Cooperate / TEDxWilmington, 2017 http://bit.ly/2P6Xcnq

You Can’t Lie to Me: The Revolutionary Program to Supercharge Your Inner Lie Detector and Get to the Truth HarperCollins, 2014

How Five Simple Words Can Get You What You Want / TEDxHardingU, 2019 http://bit.ly/2Mttlnl

YouTube Channel: youtube.com/lyintamer

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PAYING IT FORWARD

Alma A. Benedetti ’37 “She was a good teacher,” says her sister, Mary Caffrey ’46, who still lives in North Adams. “I always thought she would give to the College.”

She was a beloved teacher, a dedicated community citizen, and a devoted member of her church. Born in Rowe, Mass., in 1916 to an Italian-American family that would ultimately raise eight children, Alma A. Benedetti died in April 2018—and continued giving back to her community through her will, including a generous bequest to MCLA. Benedetti graduated from MCLA in 1937, when it was still the North Adams State Teachers College, in a time where many were against the idea of women being educated. She taught in Clarksburg and Florida before becoming a full-time teacher in the North Adams School District, and earned her master’s in education from MCLA in 1954. In 1956, she became the art teacher for North Adams grades 1-6, and kept that post until she retired. Known as a serious and diligent educator and a skilled artist, she contributed to her community in too many ways to name here: She served on the North Adams Tree Commission and Garden Club, served on MCLA’s Alumni Association board and volunteered her time to many College

Though Benedetti did not outline her reasons for giving to MCLA, some dots can be connected. “She was a passionate teacher, and the State Teachers College must have been a pivotal experience in her life,” said Robert Ziomek ’89, MCLA’s vice president for institutional advancement. “We know that higher education can open doors that weren’t open before.” Sometimes, individuals give to honor those open doors, or to create pathways for future students, or just because they believe in the power of public higher education. and city initiatives, chaired the St. Anthony of Padua Church’s 75th anniversary committee, exhibited her art (mostly oil and watercolor paintings) in shows throughout the region, volunteered for Hospice, and still made time to spend with her family, taking her many nieces and nephews on trips. MCLA awarded her an honorary degree in 1999.

“We know that her experience meant a lot to her, because she was so involved as a graduate,” Ziomek said. “So whatever her reasons for her generous bequest, we know that MCLA had major significance for her. Her gift, and her presence, has major significance for us—and it will continue to impact our future students for years to come.”

MAKING A PLANNED GIFT

Planned giving is an excellent way for a donor to support the College in a way that leaves an incredible legacy and impact. A planned gift is any gift made through a donor’s estate planning instrument, such as a will or trust; by listing the MCLA Foundation as a beneficiary on a life insurance policy, IRA, or other retirement plan; or via a charitable gift annuity, which provides lifetime income payments to the donor and/or other beneficiary. Planned giving, including life-income gifts and bequests, allow the donor to provide meaningful support in the manner they choose in addition to possible financial and tax benefits to themselves and their family.

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LEARN MORE ABOUT PLANNED GIFTS To find out more about MCLA’s many planned gift options, please contact Marc Morandi ’90, senior director of development & advancement operations, at 413.662.5221 or M.Morandi@mcla.edu.


ALUMNI

2019 HONOREES

The MCLA Alumni Association honors distinguished alumni who have made outstanding contributions in public or community service or in service to the College. Awards were presented during Homecoming Weekend, October 4-5, 2019. Congratulations to each of our distinguished honorees!

CHELSEY BURKE ’11

LARRY GOULD ’71

ANN CAIN ’65

KENNETH MICHAELS ’85

YOUNG ALUMNA AWARD

OUTSTANDING EDUCATOR EMERITUS AWARD

ROBERT COOLIDGE ’65

OUTSTANDING EDUCATOR EMERITUS AWARD

TODD FOY ’12

ALUMNI HUMANITARIAN AWARD

SUSAN GOLD

OUTSTANDING SERVICE TO THE COLLEGE AWARD

OUTSTANDING EDUCATOR AWARD

DISTINGUISHED ALUMNUS AWARD

WOULD YOU LIKE TO NOMINATE AN ALUMNUS OR FRIEND OF THE COLLEGE FOR THE ALUMNI ASSOCIATION’S 2020 AWARDS? Please contact Kate Gigliotti, Director of Alumni Engagement and Donor Relations at kate.gigliotti@mcla.edu.

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IN MEMORIAM

Joseph Zavattaro (1933-2019) Joe Zavattaro Jr. passed away July 24 in Naples, Fla., at the age of 86. Born in Pittsfield in 1933, Zavattaro became one of the greatest athletes to ever come out of Berkshire County. After graduating from Pittsfield High School, where he starred and lettered in baseball, basketball, and football, he was signed to a professional baseball contract by the Pittsburgh Pirates. Working his way up the minor league ladder, he became known as an outstanding catcher with major league defensive and hitting skills. An injury forced him to retire after reaching the Triple A level. He returned to North Adams State, where he starred in baseball and basketball, and earned a master’s degree. He then embarked on a legendary coaching career, one that would prove to be exemplary to coaches not only in New England but around the country. Zavattaro served as baseball coach and athletic director at North Adams State College (NASC) for 31 years. He coached highly successful basketball teams as well. Coach Zav’s popularity in Berkshire County and throughout New England college athletics was iconic and the impact that he made on players was astounding. During his coaching tenure at NASC, he saw an abundance of his players sign professional baseball contracts and be honored with numerous All-Conference,

All-New England, and All-American selections. His teams would go on to win 11 Massachusetts State College Athletic Conference (MASCAC) titles and be invited to the ECAC and NCAA Tournaments countless times. In 1982, he coached internationally in Italy. Coach Zav amassed an amazing 493 wins during his baseball coaching career at his alma mater and would later reach the 500-win milestone while coaching at American International College (AIC) in Springfield. For his coaching

prowess, he was elected into the New England Intercollegiate Baseball Association (NEIBA) Hall of Fame in 2017 and the MASCAC Hall of Fame last year. He was a member of the Pittsfield UNICO Hall of Fame and National UNICO Hall of Fame, as well as Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts’ Athletics Hall of Fame both as a player and coach. Throughout his career, Coach Zav would remain the model of humility. His athletic director’s career was as impressive as his coaching role was. He oversaw the building of the NASC Athletics Complex in 1975. In a fitting tribute years later, the complex would appropriately be named after him. Coach Zav’s immense popularity among his peers led to him being selected to a number of national committees where he served in the capacity of chair or president. A man with a huge, giving and generous heart, he devoted a great deal of his time in retirement to charitable organizations including The Berkshire County Jimmy Fund, The Pittsfield UNICO and the Make-A-Wish Foundation. He was a longtime member of the Italian American Club in Pittsfield, ITAM Lodge #564, and The Sons of Italy. Coach Zav is survived by his wife Sharron of Naples, Florida, his sons Keith and Steven, Steven’s wife Gayle, grandchildren Nathan and Matthew, a great-grandson, his niece Kathy Carmel of Pittsfield, and two great nieces.

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What is it like to hold the keys to MCLA’s history? COLLEGE ARCHIVIST KATE FLOWER AND THE POWER OF CONTEXT

OURING THE MCLA FREEL LIBRARY

archives with Research and Instruction Librarian Kate Flower is like traveling through time. Flat drawers open to delicately preserved photos of MCLA’s first faculty and students; various antiquities such as commemorative pins and class rings; and architectural renderings of buildings still standing or once standing. This incredible array of ephemera relates to the College’s own history, of course, but also the history of the Berkshires and the history of the people who have come through MCLA’s gates over the past 125 years. Those histories are intertwined, crossing one another over centuries, a world only accessible to us via what’s left and recorded. “You can take these objects and put them in context,” said Flower, who came to MCLA after working as a librarian at Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston, Idaho. “I feel like you’re always learning the narrative—and the narrative we tell ourselves is really important. And larger narratives can sometimes overshadow the details we don’t know about.” With this in mind, Flower and the Freel Library staff have been revisiting these materials, working to contextualize and curate them in new ways, shedding light on College history and on lives lived before our time. For Reunion Weekend in June, Flower pulled historic athletics uniforms from various decades and put them on display. They not only highlight how MCLA’s athletics program has grown—they reflect the attitudes about utility, modesty, and clothing production at the time they were made. Flower routinely helps connect students with materials for their research

projects, or guides classes through the archives, letting them know what’s available and how to begin to interpret it. That interpretation is key. “Adding contextual information is important—as much as you can,” said Flower. It’s easy for an individual to view something, then draw their own conclusions using their own lived experiences and assumptions about history. Flower focuses on providing additional context—or guiding students as they develop their own curated projects—helping see objects and information within a full timeline. It’s not just students who stop by. Members of local historical societies, MCLA alumni, and history buffs have all made appointments to tour the archives or dig up information about a long-lost cousin or the history of flooding in North Adams. Flower is there to open the doors for them all—and she has appreciated the archival access herself as she learns about MCLA. “I’m able to go through the old Beacons and read about what was happening in a given year. I’ve learned so much about College traditions,” she says. “Having that access— and helping people—provides me a chance to go down there and explore. And we stumble across new things all the time.”

VISIT MCLA’S ARCHIVES Local History Collection: Freel Library, first floor College Archives: Freel Library, lower level If you are interested in MCLA’s archives, contact the Freel Library to make an appointment: library.mcla.edu or 413.662.5321.

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WHAT A

NEW FUND AIMS TO REDUCE STUDENT DEBT

In 2020, five graduating MCLA seniors will receive the gift of a lifetime: $5,000 each toward paying off their student loan debt. This generous—and much-needed—gift is thanks to Judith Wilkinson of Stockbridge, who worked with Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation to set up the Make a Difference Student Debt Reduction Fund, which will exclusively benefit MCLA students. In order to receive the funding, MCLA students must meet simple criteria: They have to be among graduating seniors with the highest level of debt. Wilkinson spent much of her career working in corporate finance and communications. Her tenure as chair of the Board of Trustees of her alma mater, Rosemont College in Rosemont, Pennsylvania, sensitized her to the issue of student debt and she began making restricted contributions to Rosemont for the purpose of providing some relief to graduating seniors. “The burden of student debt has been a big issue for me for years,” said Wilkinson. “I wanted to find a way to address it in an efficient, objective, and individual manner. And I wanted a vehicle that would allow others to contribute. Many people care about this issue—this fund provides a way for them to help in this effort.” Wilkinson feels that MCLA is the perfect beneficiary for the Make a Difference Student Debt Reduction Fund due to its size, location, the composition of its student body (85 percent of its students graduate with debt), and its commitment to access, inclusion, and affordability. “I am

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pleased to be working with Berkshire Taconic and MCLA to help make a difference for graduating seniors. I do not believe that a college education should come at the cost of long- term financial viability. This program will help students have a more secure financial footing as they begin their careers and adult lives.”

BY THE NUMBERS Though MCLA students graduate with a lower average level of student debt than at other schools—around $27,000 compared to a national per capita average of roughly $37,000—around 40 percent come from families earning less than $40,000 a year. Student debt at MCLA is also lower than the state average—in 2018, the average debt accumulated by bachelor’s degree completers at MCLA was $27,883 upon graduation. The average debt for graduating students earning a bachelor’s degree at one of the other state university campuses was $30,002. MCLA also attracts a significant number of students who are the first in their families to go to college. Over the past three years, 45 percent of entering first-time, full-time undergraduates have been first-generation students. And in addition to any financial aid award determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), about half of the students at MCLA are eligible to receive a Pell Grant, a federally funded grant for students from lower-income backgrounds.

While the College is able to distribute a significant amount of financial aid—millions of dollars, in fact—there is still a gap. “To meet everyone’s need—how could you put a dollar amount on that?” said Bonnie Howland, MCLA director of student financial services. “We do stretch every dollar, but it wouldn’t be feasible for a college of our size, relying on state and federal and foundation funding, to meet that need. It would just be exorbitant for the school.” “Financial literacy is also an important part of our job as an institution, and we work with students so they are not taking on more debt than absolutely necessary,” Howland added. The College works to keep its tuition and fees low and maintains an ever-expanding network


IT’S ABOUT PEOPLE WHO HAVE LIMITED FAMILY RESOURCES NEEDING AN EXTRA LITTLE BIT TO PUT THEM ON A MORE LEVEL PLAYING FIELD.” Make a Difference The Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation Make a Difference Fund is open to others’ tax-deductible contributions.

of scholarships and grants—there are currently more than 100—but as a public institution dedicated to elevating its students’ lives, need generally outweighs available funding. While some students can rely on parental assistance, others are paying their own way 100 percent, from books to car repairs to laundry. “Not everyone can get 100 percent of their need met,” said Howland. “You have to try to maximize the aid the student is getting, and balance that throughout the rest of the population.” “This is not just about education. It’s also about inequality,” said Wilkinson. “It’s about people who have limited family resources needing an extra little bit to put them on a more level playing field.”

“We hope to grow it,” Wilkinson said. “Our goal right now is five students at $5,000 each, but everything is correlated to the amount we are able to raise.” Learn more and donate at www.berkshiretaconic.org/studentdebt.

PAY IT FORWARD There’s another important piece of the Make a Difference Fund—students receiving the funding are given a letter encouraging them to pay it forward and help someone else once they are able. “That was a very important component for me,” Wilkinson said. “I want to suggest to these students that we owe something to each other. I want them to understand, ‘You are getting something from somebody you don’t know. If you are ever in a position to do the same thing for someone else, please do it.’”

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MCLA BOOKSHELF 16

THE GRITTY BERKSHIRES: A PEOPLE’S HISTORY FROM THE HOOSAC TUNNEL TO MASS MOCA Professor Emeritus Maynard Seider White River Press As The Gritty Berkshires makes clear, Massachusetts’ westernmost county is not just art museums, music festivals and beautiful scenery. For generations of working class families who have lived in the northern part of this county, the reality looks more like Rust Belt America.

I CANNOT PLAY WITH YOU Dana Biscotti Myskowski ’87 Black Rose Writing While Lyme disease won’t kill her, the man who infected her just may. Sick with a disease that doesn’t officially exist, a state director for a U.S. senator struggles to make sense of her boss’ suicide as she investigates the suspicious activities of the state’s other U.S. senator and his sidekick, a nefarious rheumatologist—all while her best friend helps her manage her new and confusing symptoms of chronic Lyme. When she begins to suspect that her home, workplace, and car are littered with listening devices installed by some evildoer, she wonders if she’s crazy. After all, her best friend seems to think she is.

T R A I L H E A D FA L L 2019

SPAIN Professor Caren Beilin Rescue Press

INSIDE THE FORTRESS: A SOLDIER’S LIFE IN THE GREEN ZONE

Caren Beilin’s travelogue lays out a new path for the genre. SPAIN is sly cultural criticism, feminist wink, post-breakup corrective, and portrait of the artist as a young mansplained woman. Our narrator finds herself, skeptically, at an artist residency in Spain, rendering her life into vivid fragments that pop and sting. With acerbic flair, Beilin swings an axe into the stuff of memoir.

Steve Valley ’88 American Book Publishing

REPRESENTING AGENCY IN POPULAR CULTURE: CHILDREN AND YOUTH ON PAGE, SCREEN, AND IN BETWEEN

WELCOME TO THE BERKSHIRES

Professor Ingrid Castro, editor & contributor Lexington Books

Welcome to the Berkshires is 146 pages of lush photography covering all four seasons in Berkshire County.

Here, childhood is considered far from homogeneous and the dominance of neoliberal models of agency is questioned by intersectional and intergenerational analyses. This book posits there is vast power in popular culture representations of children’s agency, and interrogation of these themes through interdisciplinary lenses is vital to furthering knowledge and understanding about children’s lives and within childhood studies.

This is not a traditional “blood and guts” wartime book. It is a personal perspective of war, told from the written journal kept by author Steve Valley throughout his tour of duty. Valley looks at this project as a modernday M.A.S.H., examining the good, bad, brilliant, and sometimes illogical decisions that took place in the public affairs–media spectrum during his tour.

Ben Mancino ’14 Bookmobile

DISCOVER MCLA AUTHORS bit.ly/AlumniAuthors19


IF YOU’RE IN PAIN, BUT YOUR DOCTOR SAYS IT’S NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT,

DOES THE PAIN GO AWAY? AUTHOR Q & A :

MCLA ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF ENGLISH/COMMUNICATIONS CAREN BEILIN ON “BLACKFISHING THE IUD” MCLA Assistant Professor of English/ Communications Caren Beilin’s new book homes in on reproductive health and how women’s pain is interpreted by doctors—particularly related to the copper IUD, a popular form of birth control that comes with demonstrated health risks. Set to be published in October 2019 by Wolfman Books of Oakland, Calif., “Blackfishing the IUD” is part memoir, part anthology, using Beilin and others’ shared experiences to show that the copper IUD has sickened many women—and that doctors often ignore or minimize symptoms described by those women. Additionally, Beilin worked on a companion podcast, also titled “Blackfishing the IUD,” with radio producer Claire Mullen, a journalist and audio engineer who has worked for Public Radio International and was a producer on NPR’s “Reveal” podcast. Several MCLA students worked with Mullen and Beilin on the podcast, crafting Beilin’s two-hour interviews with authors and activists into 30-minute episodes, which are interspersed with messages that female, trans, and nonbinary patients left on a call-in line about their own experiences in the medical system. “Their work is artful and technical,” Beilin said of her student interns, Brianna Macnamara, Symantha Kehr, Emily Sienkowictz, Allison O’Keefe, Madeline McConnell, and Hannah Snell. MCLA Associate Director of Academic Technology Gerol Petruzella closely advised the interns on sound production and is listed as a podcast producer. “I gave them a ton of responsibility for the direction of the show. It’s been beautiful for me to trust them and give it up.”

LEARN MORE: bit.ly/BlackfishingBook

Learn more about the inspiration behind “Blackfishing,” in Beilin’s own words: What motivated you to examine this issue? I wrote “Blackfishing the IUD” after my own health crisis, perpetuated by the copper IUD. In the month I had this device inserted I was floored by a completely novel and incredibly intense joint pain (and anxiety, depression, heart palpitations, a whole gamut). The conventional medical community does not recognize these serious side effects, so when I was sick I turned to communities of women on the internet—there I learned that I was far from alone. Tens of thousands of women report a myriad of effects from the copper IUD. There is also a burgeoning set of research that is beginning to support the anecdotal evidence. My initial impulse, in writing the book, was to warn others about the potential complications of this device. Are there any details of these women’s stories you find yourself thinking about often? What is one detail or vignette that sticks with you today? A story that sticks out is one I wasn’t able to ultimately use. This was from a father of a college student who had become incredibly depressed, suicidal, and fatigued, out of nowhere. He was determined to find the cause as this was so atypical of his daughter. He asked her about her birth control (covering all bases) and then joined these support groups that are full of tens of thousands of women. He educated himself and passed on information to her—and then defended her when her doctor dismissed her concerns and nearly refused to remove the device. When his daughter had her IUD removed, she made a full recovery! Feminism needs men, fathers, all people, to be listening to women and caring deeply (and doggedly!) about their safety and dignity. What’s something surprising you learned through gathering information and perspective for this book? I went into this book saying, “The IUD is dangerous and I must warn other patients.” How could I not, after what I’d been through? After conversing with some awesome activists and scientific researchers and feminists for the podcast, I was able to nuance. I’d say now, “We don’t know everything about this and for some people, it’s really not going well. We demand more research and in the meantime, let’s all listen to our bodies, make some connections between the IUD and our symptoms if necessary, and stay aware that this is not for everyone.”

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Living Legacy

SUPPORTING THE NEXT GENERATION In the details of MCLA’s scholarships, in the foundation of its infrastructure, in every breath and bone of the institution, are stories, people, visions, values perpetuated. It can be easy to see the forest and not the trees, but look a little deeper: You will see the memories and missions behind the donors that make it possible for the College to distribute more than 100 scholarship opportunities, break ground on new buildings, and support its 125-year mission of access and affordability.

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VALUES THAT LIVE ON Buffy Lord ’98 loved her grandparents, Angie and Roscoe Smith, known to her as Bocky and Benny. She has many fond memories of time spent with them on their boat, Blue Chip, which docked in Westbrook, Conn. Now, every time she attends a meeting at MCLA, she brings a check for the Blue Chip Scholarship, which she established with her mother after her grandparents passed away in 2006. “I’m not one who can write big checks,” she said. “I’m the person who will give you $20 or $50 every time you see me.” Lord, an attorney at Donovan O’Connor & Dodig, has an office in North Adams and has remained involved at MCLA, including spending several years on the MCLA Board of Trustees and the MCLA Foundation Board of Directors. (She currently serves on the MCLA Alumni Association Board of Directors.) When she was researching her options, she was surprised to find out MCLA’s minimum to endow a scholarship is $10,000. “For many other scholarships, the buy-in is so high it’s nearly inaccessible,” she said. “I remember being shocked you could start one for $10,000— something that will live forever.” The Blue Chip Scholarship presently grants $540 to an MCLA student annually (this amount

will increase through continued donations and planned giving). The Blue Chip has a preference for veterans (Lord and her grandfather both served) and those who grew up in Berkshire County. Though it was established in the memory of Bocky and Benny, “we didn’t want it to just be named after my grandparents. We wanted it to be a family vehicle,” Lord said. “It builds a legacy that lasts. It [represents] family ties . . . if someone in my family passes, I can give money in their name to the scholarship and increase our family’s impact on the world.” “This is a way for the world to remember things,” Lord said. “Every year that passes there are fewer people alive that would have known my grandparents. This is a small way to keep them present.” Michael F. Avis ’90, a brother of Kappa Delta Phi, established the Jane P. Avis Memorial Scholarship to honor his mother after she passed away in 2013. “She absolutely emphasized the importance of education,” he said. “She instilled it in me from grammar school. I was going to get a college degree—it was non-negotiable.”

young women of academic achievement in the metro New York City area, where Avis now resides, working as a managing director at Empower Retirement. “Our family is pleased to support continued education in this way, while honoring her memory,” Avis said. The conversation began when members of the MCLA Alumni Office paid a visit to New York in 2014. The strategy shifted from an annual gift to a program that would celebrate his mother’s positive influence. Losing a parent or loved one is never easy, and there are always regrets. “Often times, people spend time thinking about what could have, should have, would have been,” Avis said. “Rather than dwelling on what I had no control over, I wanted to make sure we did something deliberate and positive that reflected her values. Working closely with the team at MCLA, we were able to customize a solution that did exactly that.” “When we made the decision to recognize her in

Though she lived much of her life in the Springfield, Mass. area, Mrs. Avis was born and raised in the Bronx, New York. Paying respect to her roots, the scholarship is designed to support

IT BUILDS A LEGACY THAT LASTS. IF SOMEONE IN MY FAMILY PASSES, I CAN GIVE MONEY IN THEIR NAME TO THE SCHOLARSHIP AND INCREASE OUR FAMILY’S IMPACT ON THE WORLD.” —BUFFY LORD ’98

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Donald and Armand Feigenbaum

MCLA STUDENTS USE THE SCIENCE CENTER TO BUILD VIRTUAL REALITY LABS STUDY MICRO VERTEBRATES, LEARN HOW TO USE THE EQUIPMENT IN THE CHEMISTRY LABS, EXAMINE LASERS, COUNT LOCAL BIRD POPULATIONS, AND OTHER SCIENTIFIC ENDEAVORS.

this way, MCLA was a great and understanding partner in advancing this idea,” Avis said. “We hope this endowment is a lasting tribute to the importance of a college education.”

BUILDING ON A LEGACY It is fitting that MCLA’s Feigenbaum Center for Science and Innovation bears the name of the legendary local innovators Armand and Donald Feigenbaum. Made possible via a $5 million pledge from the Feigenbaum Foundation, the largest in College history, the building is a stateof-the-art, LEED-certified Gold hub for science and technology on campus. After the Feigenbaum brothers passed away (Donald in 2013 and Armand in 2014), Emil George, president of the Feigenbaum Foundation, and Bernard “Bud” E. Riley, the brothers’ accountant and a Foundation board member, worked to identify funding opportunities that would fulfill the Feigenbaum Foundation’s mission of supporting “education in technologies, engineering, and management.” The science center, with ground already broken, was a good fit. (The Feigenbaum Foundation has pledged its support to many other projects that represent other parts of the mission, including support for the Berkshire Museum and Colonial

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Theatre in Pittsfield, other local arts and culture institutions, and scholarships at other colleges and universities.) “We especially wanted to do something for MCLA,” George said. “We wanted to establish their legacy in Berkshire County by having this wonderful facility named after them—it just seemed so appropriate to do.” Shortly after signing the paperwork for the $5 million pledge, Riley passed away. “Bud was a member of the Feigenbaum Foundation from the beginning, in 1988,” George said. “He was the trusted friend and accountant to Armand and Donald, and to their business, General Systems, for all those years. I learned a lot from all of them.” When the Feigenbaum Center for Science and Innovation held its grand opening, George was there to announce another pledge: the Bernard “Bud” E. Riley scholarship, which makes available four $4,000 scholarships each year for qualifying students in MCLA’s undergraduate business programs, as well as a $4,000 scholarship for students in the College’s Master of Business Administration program. “It was Bud who suggested we do the pledge at MCLA—so I wanted him to be remembered as well,” George said.

Now, MCLA students use the science center to build virtual reality labs, study micro vertebrates, learn how to use the equipment in the chemistry labs, examine lasers, count local bird populations, and other scientific endeavors. “The brothers would be delighted to know that,” said George. “That’s exactly what they intended the foundation to do—to advance science, technology, math, and management in Berkshire County. It’s right in the mission’s wheelhouse.”

INTERESTED IN LEAVING A LEGACY OF YOUR OWN? Contact Robert “Bob” Ziomek ’89, MCLA’s vice president of institutional advancement, at Robert.Ziomek@mcla.edu or 413.662.5229.


125 years. 19,000 alumni. A lasting legacy.

125 YEARS OF MEMORIES, STORIES, AND FRIENDSHIPS.

Learn more: bit.ly/MCLA125

Connect with us at a regional or on-campus event this year. Regional Alumni & Friends Gatherings CAPITAL REGION, NY • PLYMOUTH, MA • NYC, NY • BERKSHIRES, MA • WORCESTER, MA NASHUA, NH • PIONEER VALLEY, MA • BOSTON, MA • AND MORE! VISIT ALUMNI.MCLA.EDU FOR MORE INFORMATION & TO REGISTER.

2020 Commencement Exercises Save the Date: May 16, 2020

Golden Graduates (1970 and earlier) are invited to participate in the time-honored tradition of leading the procession of the Class of 2020 during Commencement. Lunch is served following the ceremony. Alumni and guests will be invited to RSVP for this event in Spring 2020.

Trailhead

Managing Editor Kate Gigliotti

FALL 2019 | QUASQUICENTENNIAL ISSUE

DIRECTOR OF ALUMNI ENGAGEMENT & DONOR RELATIONS

Lead Writer Francesca Olsen

James F. Birge, Ph.D.

Adrienne Wootters, Ph.D.,

PRESIDENT

INTERIM VICE PRESIDENT OF ACADEMIC AFFAIRS

CREATIVE AND BRAND STRATEGY MANAGER

Robert P. Ziomek ’89

Gina Puc ’07

VICE PRESIDENT OF INSTITUTIONAL ADVANCEMENT

DEAN OF ENROLLMENT MANAGEMENT AND COMMUNITY RELATIONS

Design Julie Hammill

Lawrence R. Behan

Christopher MacDonald-Dennis

VICE PRESIDENT OF ADMINISTRATION AND FINANCE

CHIEF DIVERSITY OFFICER

Catherine B. Holbrook

Barbara T. Chaput

VICE PRESIDENT OF STUDENT AFFAIRS

DIRECTOR OF HUMAN RESOURCES/ PAYROLL OFFICE

The MCLA Magazine is published annually in print and online for alumni and friends of the College.

Bernadette Alden

Address changes: alumni@mcla.edu

DIRECTOR OF MARKETING AND COMMUNICATIONS

To view the digital version, please visit alumni.mcla.edu/magazine

WWW.HAMMILLDESIGN.COM

Editor Amy Krzanik

Reunion Weekend

Save the Date: June 5-7, 2020 Reunion Weekend honors all classes ending in 0 and 5 who are celebrating a milestone reunion. We celebrate the Class of 1970 on their 50th Anniversary Reunion and welcome them as Golden Graduates.

Alumni Class Notes YOUR CLASSMATES WANT TO HEAR ABOUT YOU! Did you get married? Have a baby? Get a new job or move to a new city? Retire? Tell us about your recent travels, career developments, family updates, or anything else you want to share! VIEW OR SUBMIT A CLASS NOTE

at alumni.mcla.edu/class-notes or email your Class Note to alumni@mcla.edu.


FALL 2019 Non-Profit Org. U.S. Postage Paid Permit No. 9 North Adams, MA

375 Church Street North Adams, MA 01247

MCLA.EDU

QUASQUICENTENNIAL ISSUE

Trailhead THE MAGAZINE OF THE COMMONWEALTH’S LIBERAL ARTS COLLEGE

REUNION SAVE THE DATE

JUNE 5–7

2020

Celebrating classes ending in 0s and 5s! Currently seeking Reunion Class Committee volunteers. Contact Kate Gigliotti, director of alumni engagement & donor relations at alumni@mcla.edu or call 413.662.5224 to get involved.

BLAZING TRAILS FOR THE NEXT 125 MCLA CELEBRATES ITS PAST, LOOKS TO THE FUTURE

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Trailhead - Fall 2019  

The MCLA Magazine is published annually in print and online for alumni and friends of the College.

Trailhead - Fall 2019  

The MCLA Magazine is published annually in print and online for alumni and friends of the College.