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A lu m n ae Q uart e r ly

U.S. Rep. Nita Melnikoff Lowey '59


Summer 2008

Politicos Alumnae in Public Office Find Politics Frustrating, Exhausting ... and Satisfying. Page 14


Dow nshifting


Fighting Fem a le Genocide


Ch a ngi ng Chi na

When Down Leads to Up by E m i ly D i e t r i c h ’ 8 5

Downshifting to a less-stressful career improved the quality of life for alumnae.



by Av i c e m e e h a n ’ 7 7

Alumnae in public office find politics frustrating, exhausting ... and satisfying.


What Everyone Should Know About ... The Rise of China By e va pau s

An economics professor looks at how the Asian dynamo is altering global well being and power.



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On the cover:

U.S. Representative from New York Nita Melnikoff Lowey ’59 is arguably one of the most powerful Democrats in Congress, and she’s not the only MHC alumna in elected office. Cover photo by Scott Suchman

2 viewpoints 4 campus currents 24 off the shelf 28 alumnae matters 38 class notes 78 bulletin board & travel 80 Last Look By Mona Sutphen ’89 A former diplomat argues that the rise of other global powers is actually good news for the United States.

Mount Holyoke Quarterly Summer 2008 Volume 92 Number 2

Ideas expressed in the Quarterly are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official position of either the Alumnae Association or the College.

Editor Emily Harrison Weir

Associate Editor Mieke H. Bomann

Class Notes Editor Erica C. Winter ’92

Designers James Baker Design Design Farm (class notes)

Editorial Assistant Anindita Dasgupta ’08

Quarterly Committee: Linda Giannasi O’Connell ’69 (chair), Kara C. Baskin ’00, Emily Dietrich ’85, Caitlin Healey ’09 (student rep.), Catherine Manegold (faculty rep.), Charlotte Overby ’87, Hannah Wallace ’95, Mary Graham Davis ’65, ex officio with vote Alumnae Association Board of Directors

Fifty Million Missing Women

President* Mary Graham Davis ’65 Vice President* TBA

By e m i ly h a r r i s o n w e i r

Rita Banerji ’90 fights female genocide in India.

Clerk* Julianne Trabucchi Puckett ’91


Treasurer* Linda Ing Phelps ’86 Alumnae Quarterly Linda Giannasi O’Connell ’69 Alumnae Trustee Ellen Cosgrove ’84 Alumnae Relations Mari Ellen Reynolds ’91 Classes and Reunions Susan Swart Rice ’70

Quarterly articles. Discuss.

You don’t have to be on campus to discuss what’s in this issue with other alumnae. Our online “blogazine” provides a quick and easy way to have your say and find out what others think. Go to mhaq and click on “add/view comments.”

Clubs Lily Klebanoff Blake ’64 Director-at-Large Adrienne Wild Skinner ’77 Director-at-Large for Information Technology Elizabeth A. Osder ’86 Nominating Chair Jill M. Brethauer ’70 Young Alumnae Representative Akua S. Soadwa ’03 Executive Director TBA, ex officio without vote *Executive Committee The Alumnae Association of Mount Holyoke College, Inc., 50 College St., South Hadley, MA 01075-1486; 413-538-2300;

Mou n t Ho lyo k e Al u m na e Qua r t e r ly


Published in the spring, summer, fall, and winter and copyrighted 2008 by the Alumnae Association of Mount Holyoke College, Inc. Periodicals postage paid at South Hadley, MA 01075 and additional mailing offices. Printed in the USA by Lane Press, Burlington, Vermont. The Alumnae Association of Mount Holyoke College serves a worldwide network of diverse individuals, cultivates and celebrates vibrant connections among all alumnae, fosters lifelong learning in the liberal arts tradition, and facilitates opportunities for alumnae to advance the goals and values of the College. Comments concerning the Quarterly should be sent to Alumnae Quarterly, Alumnae Association, 50 College Street, South Hadley, MA 01075-1486; tel. 413-538-2301; fax 413-538-2254; e-mail: eweir@mtholyoke. edu. (413-538-3094, ecwinter@mtholyoke. edu for class notes.) Send address changes to Alumnae Information Services (same address; 413-538-2303; ais@ Call 413-538-2300 with general questions regarding the Alumnae Association, or visit www.alumnae. POSTMASTER: (ISSN 0027-2493) (USPS 365-280) Please send form 3579 to Mount Holyoke Alumnae Quarterly, 50 College Street, South Hadley, MA 01075-1486.

Summer 2008



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Artist Joan Edwards Jonas ’58


Science for All

As the science department chair at a charter school in the South Bronx, I was thrilled to read about the developments in science teaching at MHC in “Ripple Effect: Fresh Teaching Attracts the Next Generation of Scientists” (winter). I graduated from MHC as a chemistry and English double major and went on to teach chemistry for several years. I currently help to lead curriculum initiatives and professionally develop teachers. I am a huge proponent of the pedagogical work undertaken in the science departments at MHC to promote science literacy for all, to connect relevance and importance, to integrate other disciplines, to stimulate and address interest, and to give students a safe space to demonstrate what they know and don’t know. While viewed as effective teaching techniques, I find them to be motivation essentials, and my colleagues and I strive to incorporate this work into our classrooms every day. I teach in a community where many students perform below their anticipated grade level due in part to a previous


school experience that did not serve them well. Influencing our students to become scientifically literate citizens is a daunting task when school in the past was more debilitating than foundation building. My colleagues and I are working around the clock to fully prepare our students with the knowledge and skills to not only enter college, but to successfully graduate as well. I am extremely proud to see that MHC is a place where pedagogy is taken into careful consideration and where my students can thrive. With the diversity of students on college campuses today, it is only sound and responsible teaching to offer entry points for all students so that they can, according to Mary Lyon, “go forward, attempt great things, accomplish great things.” Christine Algozo ’97 Brooklyn, New York

Polite Discourse Refreshing

The two articles about more or less government (spring) were absolutely fabulous. It is hilarious to see the politics professor offer the economic

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argument, and the economist refer to a political pundit, albeit a conservative one. Most people want the services of government, but they do not want their paycheck to be affected. This really isn’t a question of government role or size, but who pays. This is why the issue of taxes is such a big one during presidential election campaigns. The Democrats want corporations and the wealthy to pay for a larger portion of services; the Republicans see taxes as a way to minimize investment and quell economic growth. Both Mr. Amy and Mr. Hartley believe there is a role for government, but the discussion is, in many ways, too large. What role does each believe the government should have in specific areas like building roads and providing health care? And what role would other entities play if the government were not able to provide assistance?

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discontinued? And who would pay under Mr. Amy’s view for universal health coverage? I’d like for each professor to seriously consider these questions, rather than argue at such a theoretical level. It’s great to see a thoughtful discussion of an issue without a lot of name calling or shouting. We aren’t able to have a discourse in polite conversation about many of these issues, and yet, our country’s founding really did envision a dialogue of disagreement—polite and respectful disagreement. Go for it, Alumnae Quarterly! Betty E. Walter ’84 Annandale, Virginia

Safer Crossings Were Needed Earlier

Would there really be any incentives for anyone to pave a road if the government didn’t do it?

We are writing in response to the article titled, “Local Highway Safer for Pedestrians,” (spring). We take issue with John Bryant’s statement, “… so far we have been fortunate that no one has been seriously injured.” We beg to differ!

Who in Mr. Hartley’s world would provide health coverage to senior citizens if Medicare were

In November 1988, during my senior year, I (Lynne Stevens) was crossing Route 116 at the junction


of Faculty Lane and College Street to Abbey Hall. While crossing the street, I was hit by two vehicles and gravely injured. I was hit first in the southbound lane by an elderly driver who never saw me and didn’t slow down, and again by a northbound driver after I was thrown into her lane. I was transported to Baystate Medical Center in Springfield for immediate surgery to repair serious internal and external injuries: splenectomy, ruptured colon, two pelvic fractures, a concussion, eye nerve damage, and severe hematoma in my left hip/ leg at the point of impact, and several road burns, cuts, and bruises. I was hospitalized for two weeks, after which time I recuperated at home for eight weeks. I was unable to return to campus and resume my normal student routine until February 1989. To this day, I still suffer from physical consequences related to this accident, particularly the effects of a fractured pelvis and the remaining hematoma in my left hip and leg. In the spring of 1989, Martha Papa Rein ’89, who was walking with me and witnessed my accident,

met with and wrote to college authorities, as well as town and state traffic departments, outlining the details of the accident, and requested that traffic lights be installed along Route 116 in front of the college to ensure the future safety of students crossing the road. Sadly, her efforts were unsuccessful. While we are both glad to hear that lighted pedestrian crosswalks have now been installed on College Street, we wish such work had been done twenty years ago. We felt compelled to inform Mr. Bryant, and remind the college, that someone was seriously injured as a result of poor lighting and unsafe crossing conditions. Lynne Marie Stevens ’89 Haverhill, Massachusetts Martha Papa Rein ’89 Winsted, Connecticut

Unequal Services

America is more than democratic in name. Our citizens have tremendous power to influence the government, and do, but that does not mean that I want more government. While the government may provide the services listed by Professor Amy (“Government: More or

Less,” spring), it does not do so equally—the quality of services which a person receives depends on her economic standing. A poor family will have inadequate access to quality education because the schools in their neighborhood are not as well funded as those of their peers in more affluent areas. The education of these children also suffers because talented teachers are even more unlikely to accept positions in tough schools when they know that an underperforming school or district will not meet the well-intentioned but ill-advised standards set by the government (under No Child Left Behind) which put the teachers’ jobs in jeopardy. Once these kids get a little older, the public university isn’t necessarily within their reach either. When a Republican-led government makes less grant money available, and subsidized loan money does not cover tuition and other costs of attendance for college, students and their parents resort to predatory private lending—in a situation created by government, ironically Name withheld ’96 Chicago, Illinois

Letters Policy We continue to welcome letters for the printed Quarterly. In addition, readers are encouraged to post their comments to the Quarterly’s online “blogazine.” Letters for which we don’t have room in the printed magazine will be posted online. In turn, comments from the blogazine may be published in the printed magazine, as space permits. The editors will edit correspondence for accuracy and clarity and to meet space needs. Three ways to share your thoughts: 1. Post comments on the blogazine (Go to alumnae., click on “current issue,” find the article on which you’re commenting, and click on “add/view comments.”) 2. Send an e-mail to associate editor Mieke Bomann at mbomann@ 3. Mail a letter to Mieke Bomann, Alumnae Quarterly, Alumnae Association of Mount Holyoke College, 50 College St., South Hadley, MA 01075-1486.

Mou n t Ho lyo k e Al u m na e Qua r t e r ly


Summer 2008



Speaking candidly about gender, and transcending the persistent animosities between men and women, are the next steps in the psychological transformation of society that began when Mary Lyon opened the doors of higher education to women, said Carol Gilligan in her commencement address to the class of 2008. “The issues and conflicts have been exposed,” noted Gilligan, a psychologist, author of the seminal work on gender differences, In a Different Voice, and professor at New York University. But there is still


work to do to refashion the remaining structures of patriarchy that yet exact tolls for both sexes, and “take on the creative challenge of redesigning the house and building a new framework.” For many of the 578 women who received MHC degrees on a perfect spring day, including three master’s of arts degrees, eighteen certificates for international students, and forty-five Frances Perkins scholars, Gilligan’s message rang true. Said Anindita Dasgupta ’08, who will attend Boston University’s School of Public Health in

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the fall, “She made a great point that we’ve already heard one great speech about race [from Barack Obama] but that we still haven’t heard one like that on gender.” The evening before graduation, seniors gathered with family and friends for the traditional baccalaureate service. MHC President Joanne V. Creighton expressed hope that the new alumnae would feel “connected to the long line of empowered women who have passed through these gates.” Sarah Binns ’08, runnerup in the 2008 Glascock

Intercollegiate Poetry Contest, read from her poem “What She Grew,” in which Mary Lyon wonders if the class of 2008 will “change the face of the future” in a “landscape she finds unrecognizable.” Alexandra Toomey ’08 spoke to the critical-thinking skills and trust of self that the college had instilled in her and her classmates. And two members of the faculty, John Grayson, professor of religion, and Megan Núñez, professor of chemistry, offered wellcrafted and fond goodbyes.

Michael Malyszko

Graduates Challenged to Redesign the House that Patriarchy Built


Michael Malyszko

In addition to Gilligan, the college awarded honorary degrees to Mary W. Gray, a mathematician and author; Charles Ogletree, a Harvard professor of law and prominent legal theorist; and Harriet Levine Weissman ’58, a philanthropist and arts patron (at right in top left photo, with Association President Mary Graham Davis ’65).—M.H.B. Learn More: Read Carol Gilligan’s commencement address at http://www. comm/news/newsfull. shtml?node=5580663 and the address given by Sally Brzozowski ’08 at offices/comm/news/newsfull. shtml?node=5578880

College Reaccredited After completion of a selfstudy last summer, and a visit from an evaluation team in fall, the college was reaccredited in February by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. Said President Joanne V. Creighton, “The reaccreditation process was a real validation of all the college has accomplished over the past decade. The visiting evaluators from our peer institutions

not only recognized the great strength across the college, but they also were truly impressed by how distinctively mission-driven a place Mount Holyoke is. “In a competitive landscape where every college says it’s unique, they saw the substance of what makes Mount Holyoke literally like no other—an outstanding liberal arts college for women, of course, but also, in their words, “a veritable world college.” For details, go to go/selfstudy.

Teacher-Scholars Honored Teaching and scholarship were honored in spring at the annual Celebration of Faculty Accomplishments. Robin Blaetz, associate professor and chair of film studies, and Fred McGinness, professor of history and chair of complex organizations, each received the MHC Faculty Award for Teaching. Wei Chen, associate professor of chemistry, and Daniel Czitrom, professor of history, received the Meribeth E. Cameron Faculty Award for Scholarship.

Mou n t Ho lyo k e Al u m na e Qua r t e r ly


Summer 2008


Blaetz was noted for her ability in getting students to see more clearly “what it is they are looking at.” Blaetz spoke about the growing importance for students to “gain mastery of the visual world that surrounds them.”

Chen, a polymer scientist who has garnered worldwide recognition, was honored for her groundbreaking work “designing and building new molecular architectures.” She also was commended for her willingness to mentor students and actively involve them in her research. Czitrom, a leading authority on the history of New York City, was praised for the many forms his scholarship takes, from textbooks to plays to commentaries to critical works. His citation also acknowledged his role as a resource for junior faculty members.

Interest in Arab Studies Soars Post 9/11 Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the dynamics of the global community have shifted sharply. Mount Holyoke students have responded to this transformation by enrolling in record


This image of an Egyptian street vendor was taken by Naira Nadjimova ’08 during her junior year abroad at the American University in Cairo. For more about the photo, and her Arabic classes at MHC, see alumnae.

numbers in Arabiclanguage courses and in junior-year-abroad programs in Arabicspeaking countries. “Students usually have a variety of reasons for studying Arabic, whether it’s just curiosity and a willingness to learn about the culture, the people of the Middle East, and Islam, or just because they love languages,” observed AnneLaure Malauzat ’09, Mount Holyoke’s Arabic language fellow. Mohammed Jiyad, who has taught Arabic at Mount Holyoke since 1988, noted that it is “in the interests of this nation to understand the language and culture [of the Middle East].” Since 9/11, three of Jiyad’s students have gone on to doctoral programs in Islamic studies, and he can now point students to a host of scholarships available for study in Arab countries. Jiyad is also excited about the “abundance of media” in Arabic now available

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to students through the Internet and the international television network available at MHC, including the Arabic news channel Al-Jazeera. Enrollment in the Five College Arabic-language program—which offers courses at Mount Holyoke, Smith, and UMass—shot from ninety-seven students in 2001–02 to 182 in 2002–03. That number has continued to rise, particularly after the program was expanded to incorporate a mentoring component in 2003. Today, the program includes weekly conversations and mentored sessions with Fulbright tutors along with several hours of independent study. In 2007–08, 215 students from the five colleges were enrolled. “I like being able to understand Arabic media and see other perspectives,” said Elizabeth DumontMcCaffrey ’10, who was in charge of this year’s Arabic film festival. “Since it is such a hard language,

it brings all the students together into a little family.” The study-abroad program at Mount Holyoke has also reflected the rising interest in this part of the world. In the 2001–02 academic year, just three Mount Holyoke students studied abroad in Arabic-speaking countries. In 2003–04, that number leapt to six; in the last academic year, eight students studied in the Middle East. The list of host countries includes Egypt—by far the most popular—as well as Lebanon, Oman, Jordan, and Syria. In addition, in 2005 and 2006 the McCulloch Center for Global Initiatives offered a summer internship at The Daily Star in Beirut, Lebanon. Alexis Tabak ’11 hopes to go into global journalism. “The more I have studied Arabic, the more my appreciation for the eastern world has grown, as well as my desire to correct stereotypes and rumors that exist in the west and in our government in particular.”—Meg Massey ’08

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McGinness’s pivotal role in the complex organizations program for more than twenty years was recognized. In accepting the award, he spoke of the responsibility of historians to “not only remember the past but to do so without distorting it.”

Said Swim Coach David Allen, “Grace has been a leader within the team as a captain, within the department as a StudentAthletic Advisory Committee representative, and within the chemistry department, serving on faculty-selection committees and as a peer mentor. She is a wellspoken representative for the college and our athletic department, and is deserving of the ScholarAthlete Award.”

In Session

In Search of Proust’s Lost Time

Above: L aur a Weston FP ’06 • Below: Andrea Burns

Teaching Marcel Proust’s masterpiece À la Recherche du temps perdu is frequently described as “undeniably daunting” and “notoriously difficult.” A University of

Virginia professor even called the task of teaching Proust to undergraduates “almost an impossible one.” Nevertheless, MHC Professor of French Catherine LeGouis tackled the classic in her spring seminar, and nine intrepid souls signed up for a reading load that makes Anna Karenina look light. Not only did all students cover 1,200 tightly packed pages, en français, but two attempted all seven volumes of the Recherche.

Visibly Invisible In order to see how molecular structure is related to the type of light that a system can absorb—as well as the cool goings-on beneath the surface of an oil painting—students in Atomic and Molecular Structure, an upper-level chemistry class taught by Associate Professor of Chemistry Maria Gomez, examine Joos van Cleve’s The Holy Family at MHC’s Art Museum. Using a modified digital camera, they shone infrared light (very lowenergy light) on the painting and added a filter to block out higher-energy light. The resulting photos show drawings beneath the surface that are remarkable evidence of changes in the artist’s intent over time. And they liked it! “His questions and conflicts about love and sufferance, the numerous descriptions of the subconscious and memories, and his sensationalism make Proust one of the most complex writers I have read, and I find the timelessness of his work inspiring and intriguing,” said Lauren Ray ’09. French language assistant Delphine Reminiac relished the books’ “exquisitely detailed” nature and said “the most rewarding experience in reading this work is the strange and beautiful sensation of living through my own past and memories.” One afternoon, the class was analyzing book four, Sodome et Gomorrhe, and the discussion ranged from the nature of sexual encounters to the intricacies of the French class system. References were as disparate as Tolstoy,

the Bible, and Brokeback Mountain. LeGouis speaks rapidly and precisely, gesticulating with her hands and drumming her fingers on the desk while waiting for students to respond. And they do respond, with thoughtful comments delivered in mostly confident French.


Society in 2006.

In teaching Proust, LeGouis revived a French Department tradition carried on for decades by professors David Ellison and William Bell. LeGouis provides historical context, explains perplexing passages, and helps students notice recurring themes and interconnecting patterns throughout the

Catherine LeGouis’ Proust class featured a tea break featuring Proust’s favored tilleul tea and the memory-inducing pastries, les petites madeleines. Mou n t Ho lyo k e Al u m na e Qua r t e r ly


Summer 2008




No Secrets Here Photos of hundreds of MHC students taken from the Facebook Web site were featured in the well-attended Blanchard Gallery art exhibit The Panopticon: A Facebook Installation. Artist Martha Martinez FP’09 hoped her work would create a critical discourse on how the Internet “tricks users into making compromises with their values,” including privacy in their own life and the lives of others.


The First Muckraker When White House press secretary Dana Perino


admitted last year that she didn’t know what the Cuban Missile Crisis was—let’s review, shall we: the 1962 U.S.-Soviet nuclear showdown—Dan Czitrom was shocked. But the professor of history also found her lack of historical thinking typical of a thirtysomething. “Most young people are focused on the present,” Czitrom admits, “so trying to get them to think about the past is a tough sell.” A proponent of the teacherscholar model of education, Czitrom hopes his own research and publishing projects will help engage his students in the cultural and political history, including American media history and the history of New York City, that is his

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His most recent book may do just that. Rediscovering Jacob Riis: Exposure Journalism and Photography in Turn-of the-Century New York (The New Press) offers a close look at the nation’s first “muckraker,” whose photographs documenting the squalid tenements on New York’s Lower East Side are well known. Less well understood is Riis’s deeply conservative worldview, which held that the goodwill of evangelical Christians, and not the government, would solve the problems of recent urban immigrants. “Riis’s solution was philanthropy plus five percent,” notes Czitrom, who cowrote the book with Bonnie Yochelson, the former curator of prints and photographs at the Museum of the City of New York, which houses Riis’s collection. “Rich Christians would build housing and only take 5 percent profit.” While keeping one foot firmly planted in traditional thinking—his books also are liberally punctuated with the racial and ethnic stereotypes that appealed to the upper classes of the day—Riis also knew the underside of the city from his work as a police reporter. His journalism and

photography contributed to a more social-scientific and less moralistic approach to the crisis of urban poverty. From Riis onward, “every attempt at reform has had a visual component. In terms of muckraking, Riis is ground zero,” Czitrom notes. Riis also inspired the next generation of reformers, including Frances C. Perkins 1902, who read Riis as an MHC undergraduate and went on to become secretary of labor under Franklin Roosevelt.—M.H.B.

Bauer ’08 Named AA Scholar-Athlete Swimmer Grace Bauer ’08

(below) was honored by the Alumnae Association with this year’s ScholarAthlete Award. A chemistry major and swim team captain, Bauer was recognized as a superior athlete within the NEWMAC Women’s Swimming Academic AllConference Team, and set twenty-five swimming records in her fours years at MHC. Bauer also received the Louisa Stone Stephenson Prize in 2007 for outstanding work in chemistry, as well as an undergraduate award for achievement in organic chemistry from the American Chemical

Left: Andrea Burns • Right: John Risley

Professor of History Dan Czitrom takes a surprising new look at photographer Jacob Riis.


Student Edge

The Beauty of Questioning Privilege Some students go through college uncertain about their direction and sketchy about what really turns them on, academically or professionally. Not April Empleo Frazier ’08 (right).

Below: Martha Martinez • Above:Fred LeBlanc

Since her first year at MHC, Frazier has worked with low-income youth in nearby Holyoke, and is planning a career in teaching and community development. “I’ve known what I’m passionate about for pretty much the whole time,” says Frazier, who majored in international relations, with a minor in education. “Youth and development found me. I enjoy the honesty the kids present in my life, and I just want to be part of that.” Thanks to a first-year MHC Community-Based Learning seminar, Frazier allied herself with what is now River Valley Academy in Holyoke, working with students who have behavior problems and learning differences. “I fell in love with it,” she says of that experience, as well as the work she later did with the Holyoke Youth Task

Force and the after-school program, Youth Rap. “[I was] able to translate my education into action. It’s not like I went in there expecting to save anyone [but] rather to build a community which I envision for myself.” Many schools in low-income communities like Holyoke lack adequate resources and MHC students can provide all kinds of help, she says. But to be effective, they must confront their privileged status. “You have to constantly analyze your motives for why you’re doing what you’re doing,” Frazier,

who is of Filipino origin, explains. “You have to have a completely open mind, and not be judgmental. The role that the community organization provides for you is a mutually beneficial partnership. There’s no ‘empowerer’ and empowered.” Sandra Lawrence, associate professor of psychology and education, is one of several professors who Frazier says recognized her potential and helped push her forward. “I have no idea how she managed to spend as much time in the community of Holyoke working with urban youth and still achieve high

grades in all of her courses, but she did,” Lawrence recalls. “Her curiosity ...[and] enthusiasm ... are contagious.” This fall, Frazier begins a two-year stint with Teach for America in New York City; she hopes eventually to go to graduate school in community development. Motivated, confident, and a self-described “obnoxious optimist,” Frazier says and does what she thinks is right and then moves on. After all, she points out, “No change has come from people who don’t take a risk once in a while.”— M.H.B.

Fall Online Courses Open to Alumnae Alumnae can continue to learn from Mount Holyoke professors this fall through several online courses and a lecture series. This Mount Holyoke College Institute Informed Voter Series is cosponsored by MHC and the New York Times.

The courses will be: Documentary Cinema and the Political Process, taught by Robin Blaetz (film studies); Foreign Policy in the 2008 Election, by Vincent Ferraro (politics); The Basics of Stem Cell Biology, by Rachel Fink

(biological sciences); and South Asia Challenges to US Policy, by Kavita Khory ’84 (politics). Also, Joseph Ellis (history) will lecture on leadership and the founding of America. The courses will include discussions between the professors and leading New York Times reporters,

critics and editors. Details, including registration information, will be posted around Labor Day on mtholyoke. edu and alumnae. For general information, contact Laurie Boucher (413-538-3517; lboucher@

Mou n t Ho lyo k e Al u m na e Qua r t e r ly


Summer 2008


w hen down leads to up

Downshifting Brings Upsurge in Quality of Life

By Emily Dietrich ’65

In fact, a national poll by the Center for a New American Dream shows that 48 percent of Americans have opted to make less money to get more time and a more balanced lifestyle. Mount Holyoke alumnae are certainly among them, making adjustments within their careers, downshifting briefly to rev up again later, or starting over in a new business or field.


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A da m McCauley

While most drivers leave gear choice to their automatic transmission, some prefer the control offered by shifting their own gears. Similarly, choosing a gear for career development— determining speed, effort, energy output— is a key to happiness, says Ellen Ernst Kossek ’79, author of CEO of Me: Creating a Life That Works in the Flexible Job Age.

Downshifting the Mount Holyoke way rarely involves less effort—just a change in how and where the effort is used. Cori Ashworth, the Alumnae Association’s alumnae career and professional consultant, says that in her experience counseling Mount Holyoke women, downshifting has negative connotations, and she’d rather call it refocusing or re-energizing. Both Kossek and Ashworth assert that such a shift can be made in almost any field with careful planning and negotiation.

managers are ready for downshifters, she days. Since work life lasts longer for baby boomers than for earlier generations, we now have more time for “second acts,” as columnist Ellen Goodman calls them. Our working life is “not a sprint but a marathon,” says Kossek, and employers and employees need to work together to craft a course that keeps passion and endurance alive.

The term downshifting has been around at least fifteen years, since Amy Saltzman published Downshifting: Reinventing Success on a Slower Track. But what was once a marginal movement is becoming mainstream. Kossek, whose doctorate is in organizational behavior, says American companies are realizing that to retain their high-talent individuals they have to start using “underutilized tools”—such as reduced hours or flexible schedules—in managing these individuals. And, she emphasizes, research shows that these arrangements serve employers and employees equally well. “The benefits of employing downshifters need more PR based on the sound research,” Kossek notes.

Mount Holyoke alumnae have taken this trend in their own remarkable directions, for a variety of reasons. Whether composing a life around changes and crises or following a dream, these alumnae were ahead of the curve as they downshifted into self-crafted work lives.

Increasingly, says Ashworth, these high-talent individuals are women, many of whom seek flexibility and work/ life balance. While flexible jobs were once seen as a mommy-track aberration, now, Kossek says, businesses are realizing “flex life is work life.” It is significant that the Wharton School of business published her book, since not all

Mount Holyoke Women Downshift

“In 2000, I had a heart attack from stress and very nearly died,” says Chris Bryce Sass ’77. As a highly paid corporate software saleswoman, Sass had been needing pep talks from her husband to stay with her job despite the pressure. After the heart attack, she had to reduce stress, and this led her to create her own business, a now thriving online and brick-andmortar quilt fabric store ( A different physical crisis, infertility, led Stephanie Ward Chiari ’95 to redesign her career while staying in her chosen profession of teaching. To accommodate the rigorous regimen of infertility treatments, she downshifted to teaching assistant, giving her more time and less stress—and twins in 2004! Sometimes the spur to

downshift is a company’s downsizing. Job loss put Elizabeth B. McDermott ’80 in a position to choose what came next, a situation she now describes as “not a crisis but an opportunity.” She moved from a career in the software industry into library science, and is pursuing a degree in that field. McDermott notes, “leaving the salaried job is difficult—until you get pushed.” Sometimes a change starts a chain reaction. For Sue Fitzgerald ’84, divorce and a move to a small town inspired her to give up the practice of law to teach part-time at two community colleges. “I’d rather be able to go for a walk in the afternoon or volunteer at the community center than worry about billable hours,” she says. Marcia Weed Heath ’74 left a marketing job with an “obscene salary for someone with a B.A. in English” after her divorce, to make “a relative pittance” at her own agency. “I learned how much I enjoyed having no boss,” she says. Kossek cites the birth of a second child as another frequent motivator for career rewiring. For many, neither crisis nor change prompts their downshift. It’s a personal choice, one at which they arrive many different ways. Penny Fillios Billings ’77 turned fifty and realized, “if I did not take the plunge then, I probably never would.” She dove into a professional career as a fulltime artist after twenty-five years as a trial attorney, including fifteen as a federal prosecutor, and particularly values the ability to control her own schedule.

Edana A. Kleinhans ’03 left New York publishing to teach in Germany. She reconnected with an experience she had really enjoyed—mentoring at MHC’s Speaking, Arguing, and Writing Program—and, with help from the Career Development Center’s Katya King, got a Fulbright scholarship to teach in Germany. She’s now in her second year as a teaching assistant there, and is working toward her master’s in education. Finding she needed to see more than a blur of traders’ faces at the New York Stock Exchange, Jennifer Whyman ’84 switched the trading bell for the school bell to teach at a public school in Harlem where she meets “chess champions, musicians, writers, scientists, and mathematicians,” and finds herself “ecstatic” at her good fortune. A Rigorous Process Feeling fortunate can be one result of downshifting, but it’s not easy. Elizabeth McDermott cites lack of health insurance as a major negative. Penny Billings remarks on the solitude of the artist’s life, the lack of collegial interaction. And a change in schedule can bring conflict with a spouse in trying to reconfigure family time, says Chris Sass. Some alumnae encountered incredulity and even resistance from family and colleagues. These difficulties make it important to do some hard thinking and planning before making the change. It’s not always easy to figure out why a particular job or career isn’t making one happy. “You need some data about yourself,” says

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Ellen Kossek. “Talk to those who love and know you best” about your dissatisfaction. Is it the career itself, or the spot you’re in? Is your job or personal life lacking something you need? If, after some soul-searching, you find that you want to stay where you are but to control your schedule more, your most important tool will be negotiating, Kossek and Ashworth agree. “Women are apt to be scared to negotiate,” says Ashworth, but setting your proposal up as a win/win for you and the employer will help. Kossek’s research has shown that companies get the same amount of work for less money when they let employees reduce their hours, so there are clear advantages for the organization. Setting communication boundaries, such as when and how often you can be contacted, can also play into negotiations. “Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want,” says Kossek. This goes for your role in family life as well.

Starting a career change by working with the Alumnae Association’s alumnae career and professional consultant is efficient and practical. Cori Ashworth uses traditional self-assessment instruments such as the Myers-Briggs personality typology, and also serves as a resource and sounding board, and even as a coach. Having her services available through Mount Holyoke allows alumnae to explore possibilities in a safe and comfortable way. To make an appointment with Ashworth, visit career/index.php or call 413-538-2080. The immense variety in alumnae career paths demonstrates that practically anything is possible for those searching for fulfillment in work and life. Downshifting can increase the quality of your own life, and help nudge society to create a workforce encouraged to have both a fulfilling career and a satisfying personal life. Emily Dietrich ’85 is a freelance writer based in Redmond, Washington.

Learn More: Resouces for downshifters are at


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Time Out to Figure It Out Earning a six-figure salary as a negotiator for the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank, M. E. O. ’02 found it easy to think the long hours and corporate politics were worth handling. But she “felt something was missing,” and downshifted to take time to figure out what her high-powered life lacked. She resigned and went to Lake Tahoe, where she taught three- to five-year-olds skiing and snowboarding. Earning $8 an hour with benefits including free hot chocolate, M. E. found “balance and peace.” The sunshine, mountains, and children brought her “tremendous clarity and a fresh perspective.” She’s on the on-ramp again now, working toward becoming a master of traditional Chinese medicine, which includes acupuncture and herbalism. (In her school—Five Branches Institute in Santa Cruz, California—she shares classes with Jessica L. Russell ’05.) She admits that doing without the money was an adjustment, but says, “I am learning how to be happy with less, and that’s a different kind of freedom.” Some family members consider her career change from corporate finance to Eastern medicine—going from stiff suits to flipflops—“completely ludicrous.” But, M. E. says, “I am inspired every day.” Instead of making a huge bank richer, her best efforts will now “make someone’s life better.”

St ua rt G o ld en b erg

If your self-assessment points toward a career change, “identify your greatest fear and make a plan to neutralize that obstacle,” suggests Melissa A. West ’80, who left Web work for artwork. Save up for a safety net, research healthcare, and build support from your family and friends.

From Web Design to Artistic Expression Downshifting from Webmaster for Peet’s Coffee and Tea to artist was a slow process for Melissa A. West ’80. The hardest part, says West, “was just doing it.” She weaned herself from her full-time job over three years, adding safeguards along the way. West continues to work part-time to maintain health benefits, but the majority of her time is spent painting and printmaking. She also followed a dream, one begun in an art-history course at MHC, to walk an ancient pilgrimage route from France to Spain. The trip gave rise to a series of woodcuts, and West says, “I am beginning to feel like I understand and am meeting my artistic vision.” West’s change in lifestyle brought approval and support from many in her life. She even believes many “wish they had the option to step outside of the mainstream as well.” Her downshift has not resulted in less work. On the contrary, she says, “I have never worked harder in my life, but just about every minute of it is a pleasure.” See Melissa’s work at Right: Melissa West depicts the end of her walk across Spain in Following in the Footsteps of Generations, surrounded by the ghosts of previous pilgrims.

Horses No Longer a Hobby

To p : M e l i s s a We s t

The benefits of doing what she loves are balanced with the discovery that competitive riders can be brutal as they vie for students and recognition. “There is no human resources [department] in the equestrian world,” she says, which leaves professionals to navigate the waters of ethics and standards on their own.

A da m McCauley •

Hilary K. Moore ’04 worked full-time for the Washington Post Corporation before leaving her newspaper career for a complete change in lifestyle and to follow her dream—being on the Olympic equestrian team. Far from a reduction of hours, Hilary’s change demands a sevenday workweek. She is training and teaching six days a week, with chairing fundraising events and freelance writing filling the rest of the hours. Although Hilary had to leave behind an excellent healthcare-benefits package, she says “I am outdoors, enjoying the fresh air, moving around all day. Not only have I never been more fit in my life, but I no longer have chronic back problems or frequent colds.”

Hilary recommends saving enough money for a safety net in case your change doesn’t work out. Downshifters also need to cultivate support, Moore says. The more your family and friends understand your goals and motivations, she says, “the more they can help support you when the road to your goals gets bumpy.”

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Alumnae in public office find politics frustrating, exhausting ... and satisfying. B y Av i c e M e e h a n ’ 7 7

Call it an epiphany years in the making. In chapter one, Sharon Har ’90 picks up a ringing telephone after putting in a long day as a staff adviser to Hawaii’s lieutenant governor. It’s 3 a.m. and a caller pours out the story of her desperate attempts to get someone in authority to clean out a garbage-filled stream behind her house. Within days, Har has mobilized state officials to clean up the stream and fence it in. Chapter two unfolds five years later: Har is working for a law firm handling complex commercial litigation.

Like many Mount Holyoke alumnae serving in elective office—whose ranks include U.S. Rep. Nita Melnikoff Lowey ’59, arguably one of the most powerful Democrats in Congress—Har made the risky decision of running for office in 2006 because she thought she could make a difference in her community. Today she


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Fort Worth, Texas, City Councilor Kathleen Hicks ’94

Juan Garcia

“I was killing myself working around the clock. I was winning cases and making money for my clients, but it wasn’t like they needed the money. There wasn’t that personal satisfaction of helping people,” says Har, recalling her 3 a.m. encounter as a “deciding moment.”

Hawaii Representative Sharon Har’90

serves in the Hawaii House of Representatives. Mount Holyoke alums are in the mix at all levels of government—federal, state, regional, and local—and their stories provide a vivid picture of the challenges and rewards of life in the public eye.

Michael O’Hara

“Local politics is idealistic because it is an opportunity to make a difference in a community you love, and it brings out the best in people,” says Judy Harris Rawson ’70, who just stepped down after eight years as mayor of Shaker Heights, Ohio. “The glass ceiling is much thinner [in politics] than in other fields.’’ Underscore that for Kathleen Hicks ’94, who was elected to the nonpartisan city council in Fort Worth, Texas, in 2005 after serving as an aide to her predecessor. At thirty-

five and planning to seek reelection, Hicks is well versed in the challenges facing her constituents. The district of 90,000 people straddles the inner city and the suburbs and includes some of the worst streets in Fort Worth— neighborhoods that need positive economic development. The only woman and one of two African Americans on the council, she relishes the work. “Sometimes I lose my battles in council … but it’s not about doing something because it is politically expedient,” says Hicks, who is also executive director of the Sickle Cell Disease Association of Tarrant County. “I am trying to get people to move beyond what they think municipal government can do—fix roads and then we’re done. We have much more of a role to play.”

As a ten-year resident of Hawaii’s 40th District, which encompasses Kapolei, the state’s “second city,” Har believed that the area’s intense development was being handled badly and that her experience as a lawyer could make a difference. She outworked the Republican incumbent by walking every corner of the district three times and stuck with the campaign even after her father was diagnosed with advanced pancreatic cancer. “There were days when I would wake up and think, ‘there is no way I can win.’ Then I would think about my father, think about my constituents, and stop feeling sorry for myself. I would get up and start walking,’’ says Har. Now running for a second term while juggling a law practice—the $35,000 legislative salary doesn’t go far—Har’s life is scarcely

her own. But there are compensations. Her father, who died in February, came twice to the flowerbedecked opening of Hawaii’s legislature; she has secured more than $300 million in infrastructure funding for her district; she has successfully promoted adoption of ignition systems that block intoxicated persons from driving; and she chaired a statewide task force on smart growth that presented five bills in the last session. “We have such limited land in Hawaii, and preservation of open land is very, very important,” says Har. “We have one shot to get it right.” Lowey’s path to power might be summed up this way: Start local, be persistent. As a young mother, Lowey led a PTA in Queens, New York,

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Former Massachusetts Representative Linda Melconian ’70

“What makes the job so rewarding is that so much of the work involving individual problems can lead to remedies through Congress,” says Lowey.

and that activism became the route to broader engagement with the community and politics. Lowey worked on a neighbor’s campaign—a neighbor named Mario M. Cuomo, who ultimately became New York’s governor—and served at the state level before moving to Westchester County to run for Congress. In 1988, at age fifty, Lowey survived a brutal primary and defeated a conservative Republican opponent by the smallest of margins. Twenty years later, she’s a “cardinal”—one of the dozen legislators who control the appropriations process in the U.S. House of Representatives—and her concern for expanding opportunities for women extends well beyond her district because she chairs a subcommittee that focuses on foreign aid. “We [women] are now around the table. We are the important vote in the committee. We are the negotiator. We are the strong advocate and we have gained tremendous


Wanting to be at the table to make decisions motivates Peggy Rotundo ’71 of Lewiston, Maine. Her career in elective office began fourteen years ago with a run for school board, and she has just concluded eight years in the state Senate, four of them as chair of the joint Appropriations Committee. Term limits require her to step down, so Rotundo is running for the state House of Representatives. “I was raised as a Quaker— you put your faith into action and work hard to create a more just world for everyone. Public service becomes another way to give back to your community and help people to improve their lives,” says Rotundo. “I want to be part of crafting good legislation for the state and making good decisions about the budget because it is the most important policy statement our legislature makes.” So when a poor economy forced Maine to reopen its biennial budget and make additional spending cuts, Rotundo wanted to be the one managing the legislative process—even

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when the decisions affected programs about which she cared deeply. “It is important to have people with values, who care, making the decisions,” she says. Just a year behind Rotundo at Mount Holyoke, Linda Melconian ’70 was “bitten by the bug” while working for House Speaker “Tip” O’Neill, a legendary Massachusetts Democrat. First elected to the state Senate in 1982 from a district that included her native Springfield, Melconian broke through the legislative glass ceiling to become the first female majority leader in Massachusetts history. In 2002, after mounting an unsuccessful bid to come the first woman to be Senate president, she lost a bruising special-election campaign for mayor of Springfield. “After nine years in leadership, I felt it was time to move on,” says Melconian. “I did not want to remain in the Senate as a ‘back bencher’ and allow my public-service talents to atrophy.”

thirty-nine-year-old Lynchburg native ran in 2007 as an independent in predominantly Republican Floyd County—population 13,872 as of the 2000 census and covering nearly 380 square miles—after filling the office on an interim basis while her predecessor was deployed in Iraq. Shortt’s appointment as commonwealth’s attorney underwent numerous legal challenges, but she quickly earned the trust of court officers and staff, something that’s particularly important in a one-person office with responsibility for prosecuting all felony and major misdemeanor cases. “Your job is to serve justice,” says Shortt, formerly a criminal defense attorney. “It can be really challenging because you have to exercise judgment … and if you do the job right, you will find yourself struggling [over] the right thing to do. This is a pretty powerful position; you want to make sure it is not abused and yet you feel really able to help people.”

Now on the faculty at Suffolk University, Melconian entered public life thanks to the legendary DC internship program created by the late MHC politics professor Victoria Schuck. Now Melconian is trying to duplicate that experience for her students. “I am passionate about making young people leaders because that is how I got my start,” she says.

Nearly 700 miles away, Elizabeth Scheibel ’77 has a similar balancing act as Northwestern district attorney with jurisdiction over Franklin and Hampshire counties and a staff of about 100 people. A veteran prosecutor, she was appointed the first female district attorney in Massachusetts history in 1993 and ran for election eighteen months later as a Republican.

Justice, writ large in a rural Virginia county, is what concerns Stephanie Murray Shortt ’91. The

Domestic violence and child abuse are major issues in Scheibel’s jurisdiction in western Massachusetts—

Pau l S c h n a i t tac h e r

power,” says Lowey. “So much of the legislation that we work on would not have become law without the leadership of women, because we link our abilities and our talents to our commitment to social progress.”

Women in Politics: Still Behind, But Gaining Ground Women finally won the vote in 1920, yet parity at the ballot box remains a distant dream for women. It’s only been thirty-three years since Ella Tambussi Grasso ’40 became the first woman to be elected governor in her own right. When Nita Lowey Melnikoff ’59 joined the 101st Congress in 1989, she was one of twenty-six women in the U.S. House of Representatives.

US Representative Nita Melnikoff Lowey ’59 greets Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

AP/Gerald Herbert

rural Franklin County has some of the highest rates of both crimes in the state—and she has focused community outreach efforts in these areas, as well as on fighting abuse of the elderly and disabled. “We need to provide victims of crime who are disabled with equal access to the criminal justice system,” says Scheibel. “For the person who is nonverbal [for example], how can we push beyond the traditional means of obtaining information and move ahead with prosecution?” Grassroots activism, coupled with firsthand experiences with crime and municipal corruption, brought Barbara Smith ’69 into the rough-andtumble political process in Albany, New York. After buying a house in the Arbor Hill neighborhood more than twenty years ago, Smith saw the area deteriorate into a “frightening situation of ongoing violence,” but remained focused on her own work as a black feminist and scholar. That changed five years ago when she was asked to sign a petition supporting better public safety in Arbor Hill and started attending neighborhood meetings. In 2009 she will run for a second term on the Albany Common Council.

Her day-to-day goal is “to see [that] the people in my community have access to the city, to increase their sense of empowerment, and to work collectively for justice,” says Smith, who was encouraged to run by Helen R. Desfosses ’65, the first woman elected council president. Smith’s concern about problems within Albany’s police department continues unabated. Along with five other members of the council, she’s now seeking a state investigation of a “disturbing trend of improper behavior.” Says Smith, “My politics are to the left of most people in office. I believe in people organizing from the bottom up … My joke is that now I’m part of the problem. I’m the person who’s elected.” Avice Meehan ’77 is vice president for communications at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and served as press secretary to Connecticut Governor Lowell P. Weicker Jr. from 1990 to 1994. She was a founding board member of the Women’s Campaign School.

The numbers have increased since. California’s Nancy Pelosi made history by becoming speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, and women hold about 16 percent of the seats in the 535-member body, according to data from the Center for Women and Politics at Rutgers University. The picture is slightly better at the state level, where women fill 23 percent of legislative seats and executive-branch offices. “Women feel like they have to get invited to the table to run, but I always say, ‘Consider this your invitation,’” says Maine’s Peggy Rotundo ’71. “Many women do not own their ambition … and hold back, and I think it’s because we don’t yet live in a world where there is an expectation that women will run.’’ Many initiatives are under way to encourage women, and a comprehensive assortment of resources has been compiled by “50/50 by 2020” (, an organization seeking equal representation for women by the centennial of women’s suffrage. These include the nonpartisan Women’s Campaign School at Yale (www.; EmergeAmerica (www., an effort to engage Democrats; and Excellence in Public Service, which targets Republican women. (One example is at

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Fifty Million Missing Women Rita Banerji ’90 Fights Female Genocide According to Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen, there should be millions more women and girls living in India than there are. The acclaimed economist compared the natural ratio of men to women globally with the ratio in India, and twenty years ago had calculated that India was “missing” about thirty-seven million women. That number has escalated to fifty million today. Rita Banerji ’90, whose photographs on these pages bravely document some of India’s least treasured citizens, explains, “Perhaps ‘missing’ is too innocuous a term for what is actually happening—the systematic and targeted annihilation of a group [through] female feticide, female infanticide, dowryrelated murders, an abnormally high mortality rate for girls under five due to starvation and intentional medical neglect, and the highest maternal mortality rate in the world.”


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R ita Baner ji ’90

Numbers tell the story in chilling detail: • Some one million female fetuses are aborted each year. • Midwives in some regions regularly kill the infant girls they deliver for as little as $1.50. • Dowry-related murders of women stand at about 25,000 cases a year. • A UNICEF report found that the mortality rate for girls under five is more than 40 percent higher than for boys the same age. • WHO and UNIFEM estimate that one pregnant woman dies every five minutes in India. These conditions persist due to a deep-rooted mind-set Banerji describes as “unresisting acceptance of female genocide. It’s almost like ‘this is cultural, normal, how it is and will always be.’”

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So the first challenge for the “Fifty Million Missing” campaign, which Banerji founded in 2006 and that aims to eliminate “the ongoing female genocide” in India, is overcoming the public’s doubt, denial, and apathy. “Acknowledgment is crucial before action can be taken,” she admits. “And people are starting to listen and to discuss this. While it may take more than a century for mind-sets to change, we cannot in the meantime allow this genocide to go on unhindered.” Banerji set up the campaign with an online ( photo gallery that now has close to 10,000 images of Indian girls and women, information galleries full of facts, and discussion galleries to promote debate about problems and possible solutions. A petition drive aims to pressure India’s government to hold accountable those who currently get away with murder.

R ita Baner ji ’90

As chief administrator and campaign coordinator, Banerji monitors the Web site, speaks at workshops and seminars, and spreads the word about the organization’s goals.


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P h oto o f B a n er ji b y L a r s- Gu n na r Svä r d ; ot h er p h otos b y R i ta B a n er ji ’ 9 0

Plans include getting what’s happening in India formally declared as genocide under the United Nations Convention; a sweeping survey of gender relationships and roles in India; workshops in schools and communities to redefine gender concepts, attitudes, and behavior; and setting up resource centers with medical and legal aid, counseling, and rehabilitation for women who are victims of domestic violence and/or attempted murder. Raised with “the same unresisting acceptance of female genocide in India as the rest of educated, middle-class India,” Banerji says she wonders “if I would have viewed the issue of genocide here the same way my family does had I not spent those very crucial years of development at Mount Holyoke.” Self-taught photographer Banerji loves to shoot images “out of a pure sense of aesthetics,” but also consciously uses the medium to make “a statement on the society I live in.” She hopes that her images won’t be all that remains of India’s female population.—Emily Harrison Weir

Rita Banjeri ’90

Learn More: To read our complete conversation with Banerji, please visit alumnae. Mou n t Ho lyo k e Al u m na e Qua r t e r ly


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What everyone should know about ... A Quarterly series

The Rise of China B y E va P a u s

When the twenty-ninth Olympiad opens in August, the eyes of the world will be on China. The country’s phenomenal economic growth will impress some observers; others will see the dramatic increase in inequality and environmental degradation that have accompanied it; and others still will be deeply disturbed by the government’s poor human-rights record, most recently the crackdown in Tibet and China’s support of the Sudanese government. But whichever element of the Chinese story we might find most salient, all of us must recognize that China, for better or worse, will alter profoundly the global geography of wellbeing and power in the twenty-first century. How the Chinese government deals with its growing internal challenges, and how the rest of the world understands and responds to China’s rise, will shape the world’s future stability and prosperity. To promote a better understanding of these critical questions, the McCulloch Center for Global Initiatives focused this year’s Global Challenges Conference on the rise of China. [For more information, see] Leading up to the conference, five faculty members team-taught a course on the subject for more than 100 students from across the disciplines. Here are some of the key characteristics and implications of the rise of China we explored and the vexing questions we need to answer. Inside the Chinese Dragon In 1978, Deng Xiaoping initiated a set of economic reforms that unleashed high economic growth and a vast


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improvement in the standard of living for many Chinese. In twenty-five years, output per person increased more than eightfold, and hundreds of millions of Chinese moved into the middle class. The percentage of the population living on less than $1 per day dropped from more than 60 percent at the time of Mao’s death in 1976 to less than 20 percent today. At no time in history has a large country grown so much for so long, reducing the number of destitute so quickly. An incredible achievement! On the flip side, the distribution of income has deteriorated substantially, generally in favor of the city versus the countryside, coastal areas versus the interior, and the South versus the North. The Gini coefficient, a common measure of income inequality (with ‘1’ capturing perfect inequality and ‘0’ perfect equality), rose from .32 in 1980 to .47 in 2004. An incredible increase! China’s high economic growth has also resulted in dramatic environmental deterioration. Indeed, economic growth would be much smaller—some think negligible—if we factored in environmental costs. Because China meets 70 percent of its energy needs with coal, and because much of its production is extremely energy inefficient, China now emits as much carbon dioxide as the United States! (See chart.) This is simply not sustainable. Political change has lagged far behind economic change in China, as the Communist Party has maintained control over political decisions. But demonstrations in China have been increasing rapidly, with rising demands for greater government accountability, workers’ rights, human rights, rule of law, and environmental protection. Will the Communist Party be able to maintain its authoritarian stance in light of rising protests? Can it become open enough to accommodate the genuine demands for participation?

China–US Comparisons China


Population, 2006, (million) (1)



GDP per person, 2006 (constant 2005 $) (1)



Cumulative inflow of foreign direct investment, 1980-2006 (billions of current $) (2)



Share of world exports, 2006 (3)



Population & Economy

Energy & Environment Renewable water supply per person (cubic meters) (4)



Total energy consumption, 2006 (million tons oil equivalent) (5)



Total oil consumption, 2006 (million barrels/day) (6)



Coal consumption, 2006 (million tons oil equivalent) (6)





Total carbon dioxide emissions, 2007 (billion tons) (5)

Military Spending Military spending, FY 2007 (billion $) (7)



Sources: See

China’s Economic Impact Huge foreign investment and strategic development policies have made China the manufacturing powerhouse of the world, producing both cheap, labor-intensive products such as toys and clothing, and more technologically sophisticated products such as computers and cars. Between 2000 and 2006, China’s share of US imports increased from 8.6 to 16 percent and in the European Union from 2.6 to 5.1 percent. Consumers in developed countries are gaining from China’s competitiveness because it results in lower import prices. But workers are losing as their wages fall. Little wonder then that a Harris poll in April 2008 found that 35 percent of

respondents in Italy, France, Germany, Spain, and the U.K. saw China as the number-one threat to global stability. But citizens everywhere have to understand how closely China’s export prowess is intertwined with the globalization of the world economy, where multinational corporations produce parts and products wherever it is most advantageous and then sell them all over the world. After all, it is the Dells and the Wal-Marts and the Siemens that import from China. Developing countries are winning and losing as well. China’s rapid economic growth has fueled the demand for natural resources worldwide. The ensuing price increases are good news for developing countries that are net exporters of these commodities, but they are bad news for everybody else. And China’s dynamic competitiveness in manufactured exports is bad news as well, as many developing countries find themselves between a rock and a hard place—with wages too high to compete with China and productivity too low to compete with the developed countries. The question for both developed and developing countries is what the success of China tells us about how global capitalism needs to be regulated and how social contracts among capital, labor, and governments can be rethought nationally and internationally to make globalization more inclusive. Geostrategic Implications And what does China’s rise mean for the United States and its status as sole superpower? There is widespread agreement that US unipolar power is coming to an end. But what will replace it, and how will the transition to a multipolar order be achieved? There is no historic precedent for a dominant world power ceding power peacefully. But one can argue that today’s world is different, where much greater economic interdependence makes China increasingly a stakeholder in the current system. There are many areas of potential conflict between China and the United States. The race to secure access to basic resources, especially oil and natural gas, is one example. But the two countries also share common concerns and problems, which can and need to form the basis for collaboration rather than confrontation. Both countries want global economic stability. And both need to find ways to reduce energy consumption and protect the environment. China’s unsustainable path toward development mirrors the unsustainability of our own path, and it is in all our interests to change it. Eva Paus is MHC professor of economics and Carol Hoffmann Collins Director of the McCulloch Center for Global Initiatives. Mou n t Ho lyo k e Al u m na e Qua r t e r ly


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Words Worth a Second Look fiction Despite Gravity By Marjory Wentworth ’80 (Ninety-Six Press) South Carolina’s poet laureate presents a collection of her poems that consider topics from college students affected by 9/11 to her son’s diagnosis with Asperger’s syndrome. The title poem was written for the dedication of Charleston’s dramatic Cooper River Bridge and in honor of a young Mexican man who died during its construction. This is the second collection of poems by Marjory Heath Wentworth. She also teaches poetry to cancer patients and writes a poetry column for the Charleston newspaper.

Valentine Surprise By Corinne Demas (Walker & Company) Teach the child in your life about shapes and the days of the week with Corinne Demas’ newest children’s book, Valentine Surprise. Follow a little girl named Lilly as she spends a week trying to make her mother the perfect, heart-shaped valentine. Adults and children will appreciate Lilly’s sweet solution to her valentine challenge. Corinne Demas teaches English at MHC. She is the author of two collections of short stories, a novel, a memoir, and numerous other children’s books.

Guinevere’s Gift By Nancy McKenzie ’70 (Knopf ) Marked at birth by a prophecy of greatness, Guinevere, the future wife of legendary King Arthur, is remarkable only for being awkward and tomboyish. But a chance meeting in the forest sets in motion a series of events that force Guinevere to accept the power of the prophecy. Nancy Affleck McKenzie is the author of several novels based on Arthurian tales. This is her first novel for young adults. Mariam’s Wedding Gift and Other Offerings By Louise Thunin-Domaratius ’66 (Lulu Enterprises) This “coat of many cultures,” which brings together multiculturally themed short stories, some of which were previously published in literary journals, introduces the reader to characters from France, Iran, Iceland, and America who are involved on voyages of conflict and discovery. Louise Demarest Thunin is also the author of La Nokriyah, a psychological thriller written in French. She has lived in France since graduation.

A Page Out of Life By Kathleen Reid ’86 (Berkley Trade) Four women share their lives on paper in Kathleen Reid’s newest novel. Each woman’s life story emerges as the group gathers for meetings of their scrapbook club. The women join to “figure out their futures while artfully commemorating their pasts.” Their interaction illustrates the powerful exchange of ideas that happens when women come together. Kathleen Flood Reid is also the author of Paris Match. She lives in Richmond, Virginia.


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nonfiction Thinking on Screen: Film as Philosophy By Thomas E. Wartenberg (Routledge Taylor & Francis) Film enthusiasts and students of philosophy will find Wartenberg’s book a thought-provoking examination of the ways specific films, including Modern Times, The Matrix, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind address complex philosophical ideas. Thomas E. Wartenberg is professor of philosophy at MHC and author of Unlikely Couples: Movie Romance as Social Criticism.

Visiting the Shakers 1778–1849 Edited by Glendyne R. Wergland FP’92 (Richard W. Couper Press) This work brings together ninety-eight accounts by visitors to four Shaker villages in New York and Massachusetts, written by varied guests, including Charles Dickens and Horace Greeley. The entries provide insight into both the Shaker way of life and the key issues and cultural ideals of mainstream society of the time. Glendyne Beemer Wergland is an independent scholar and author of One Shaker Life: Isaac Newton Youngs, 1793–1865.

The Culture of Obesity in Early and Late Modernity: Body Image in Shakespeare, Jonson, Middleton, and Skelton By Elena Levy-Navarro ’87 (Palgrave Macmillan)

Women’s Experimental Cinema: critical frameworks Edited by Robin Blaetz (Duke University Press) This book brings to light the work of fifteen avant-garde women filmmakers, many of whom are currently working. It examines the social and political roots and cultural impact of their films, and touches on the female, feminine, and feminist practices of an exceptional group of artists. Robin Blaetz is associate professor of film studies at MHC and is also the author of Vision of the Maid: Joan of Arc in American Film and Culture.

Elena Levy-Navarro examines the concept of body image in a time before the word “obesity” stigmatized fatness. She argues that major figures such as Shakespeare and Jonson understood that a thin aesthetic consolidated the power of the elite and chose to align themselves with their fat characters, offering a model of defiance that has continued relevance. Elena Levy-Navarro teaches English at the University of Wisconsin, Whitewater. She has published numerous articles in cultural and literary studies.

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American Creation: Triumphs and Tragedies in the Founding of the Republic By Joseph J. Ellis (Knopf ) The last quarter of the eighteenth century proved a creative one in American history, and Ellis undertakes in this book to explore both the triumphs and tragedies of the time. Described as “masterly and ironic” by reviewers, the book is one of a number of books by Ellis that takes a fresh approach to America’s early history. Joseph Ellis, professor of history at MHC, received a Pulitzer Prize in 2000 for Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation.

Rome: Ten Literary Walking Tours By John Varriano (Chameleon Books) In this revised edition of Varriano’s guidebook, first published in 1991, eleven notable writers passionate about Rome treat tourists and armchair travelers alike to their praise of and outrage about it. Virginia Woolf, Oscar Wilde, and Goethe are among those whose insights Varriano includes to help visitors discover the vistas, intimate streets, and timeless monuments of this extraordinary city. John Varriano is professor of art history at MHC and author, most recently, of Caravaggio: The Art of Realism.

Haunted Halls: Ghostlore of American College Campuses By Elizabeth Tucker ’70 (University Press of Mississippi)


Writing on Stone: Scenes from a Maine Island Life By Christina Marsden Gillis ’60 (University Press of New England) As she wanders around Maine’s Gotts Island, Christina Gillis describes the “rock-bound belt” where her family has spent more than forty summers as a source of consolation after the death of her son. She explains how a location of loss is ultimately also a place of life. Christina Marsden Gillis served for sixteen years as associate director of the Townsend Center for the Humanities at the University of California–Berkeley.

Marie-Thérèse, Child of Terror: The Fate of Marie Antoinette’s Daughter By Susan Nagel ’76 (Bloomsbury USA) Marie-Thérèse had large heels to fill as the daughter of one of the mostwell-known members of French royalty. Nagel tells the story of Marie Antoinette’s only surviving child, from her childhood years in a revolutionary prison to the throne of Restoration France, where she reigned for just twenty minutes. Susan Nagel is also the author of Mistress of the Elgin Marbles: a Biography of Mary Nisbet, Countess of Elgin.

Singing with Angels: Liturgy, Music, and Art in the Gradual of Gisela von Kerssenbrock By Judith H. Oliver ’69 (Brepols Publishers)

Though Elizabeth Tucker never heard any ghost stories as a student, she and her friends talked about the spooky atmosphere of the Mandelles, featured on the cover of Haunted Halls. In addition to recounting the myth of MHC’s “Wailing Woman,” who cries to get students’ attention after jumping off a roof, the author includes stories from more than fifty colleges.

Lowered expectations for women date back to medieval times. In this manuscript, Oliver examines the story of Gisela von Kerssenbrock, a nun in the convent of Rulle, Germany, whose artistic work in a gradual (a music book that contains all the chants sung at Mass) is rarely attributed to her because of its high quality. Oliver notes the way the gifted artist interwove words, images, and music with chant texts, and turned musical notes into artistic embellishments.

Elizabeth Tucker Gould teaches English at Binghamton University. She has also written Campus Legends: A Handbook.

Judith H. Oliver ’69 is a professor of art history at Colgate University.

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Closer Look

Ultramodern Liz O’Brien ’83 is honoring a man whose accomplished work many have overlooked. Ultramodern: Samuel Marx; Architect, Designer, Art Collector (Pointed Leaf Press) celebrates this architect and furniture designer of the first half of the twentieth century, whose work has been called “quintessentially modern” but grounded in the Beaux-Arts tradition.

Liz O’Brien ’83 signs a copy of her new book, Ultramodern: Samuel Marx; Architect, Designer, Art Collector. A leading force in discovering the work of mid-century designers, O’Brien also wrote Class Act: William Haines, Legendary Hollywood Decorator. Her decorative arts gallery on Fifth Avenue in New York specializes in furniture, jewelry, lighting, and textiles from the 1940s to the 1970s.

Note: Mount Holyoke alumnae and faculty members are prolific authors. To reduce the lag time between a book’s printing and its mention in the Quarterly, all books are briefly noted either in the printed Quarterly or the online edition. The most significant and/or interesting books will be highlighted in the magazine.

Often compared to the architect and designer Frank Lloyd Wright, Marx, who was not wed to one particular style, was hired to design both the exterior and interior of homes, clubs, and hotels, as well as furniture. Chateaux, villas, synagogues, railway cars, tables, andirons, and stairway runners were all part of his repertoire. Unlike Wright, his works were not reproduced and are tough to find. (O’Brien has carried a few in her decorativearts gallery.) With more than 200 photographs, O’Brien’s book captures the creativity and unorthodox use of space of Marx’s diverse designs. Some of that can be found at Chicago’s famous restaurant and movie-star hangout, the Pump Room, as well as the rotunda in Manhattan’s Pierre Hotel, which is being renovated. “I hope they keep the beauty of the room,” said O’Brien, whose gallery is a stone’s throw from its domed ceiling and pastoral paintings.— Anindita Dasgupta ’08

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photo credit

A b o v e : M i c h a e l M a ly s z ko â&#x20AC;˘ B e l ow : Pau l S c h n a i t tac h e r




n Above:Andrea Burns â&#x20AC;˘ Below:Michael Malyszko

photo credit

Reunion 2008 The faces change every year. The mood remains the sameâ&#x20AC;&#x201D; celebratory.

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are similar to those I give in class, but I can always assume that the alumnae will have a deeper historical memory and a better sense of contemporary events. Alumnae bring a wealth of information and a willingness to ask questions, which makes for lively and interesting conversations.”

said of both lecturers and attendees. “We try to include [relevant] classes as times change and needs change.”

Alums Look Forward to Back-to-Class Some of the titles are irresistible, such as “The Milky Way Is a Cow Path: Science in the Poetry of Robert Frost.” Apparently, America’s premiere poet of the bucolic scene considered the principles of thermodynamics as well as the road not taken. Or how about, “No Prior Experience Necessary: Bungee Jumping Into Direct Sales.” Who knew that selling lip butter in other people’s living rooms could be fun and earn you $100,000?


These classes and thirtynine truly varied others were on the slate of this year’s Back-to-Class program, organized by the Alumnae Association both Reunion weekends. Maya D’Costa, associate director of campus programs, has tackled the project for the last nine of its ten-year history. She pointed out that, since its inception in 1998, Back-to-Class has swelled from five offerings and 180 alumnae to thirty classes with nearly 800 alums filling up seats last year. “As the program has grown, we have been getting a good response,” D’Costa

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Back-to-Class was developed in response to a push from alumnae interested in adding an academic feature to Reunion, remembers Karol Cooper, the former director of classes and reunions who organized the program its first year. That year, all instructors were faculty members or college staffers. In 2000, alumnae presented six of the sixteen sessions and received rave reviews, said D’Costa. Attendance levels jumped 86 percent. Inviting seniors and their guests in 2001 further increased attendance to almost 800 participants. One of the most popular classes, offered regularly, is Vincent Ferraro’s session on American foreign policy and world affairs. The MHC professor of politics and international relations finds his adult learners engaging. “I truly enjoy the back-to-class experience,” says Ferraro. “My lectures

Offerings for both technical newbies (Internet for Beginners) and techsavvy alumnae (Video 101: The Basics of iMovie) were available this year. For the first time, a full-day class in Spanish immersion was organized, as well as a Saturday session for kids, and a tour of the Art Museum. Back-to-Class owes its success to numerous individuals, but there is one group without which the program would fall flat. Notes Ferraro, “Every alumna carries with her an insatiable thirst for education. The intellectual excitement I experience when I interact with alumnae is delightful and profoundly substantive.”— M.H.B.

Alumnae Medalists Strengthen MHC Community Seven alumnae, including the outgoing executive director of the Alumnae Association, were awarded medals of honor during Reunion. Each alumna was lauded for her ongoing service and commitment to MHC. Margaret E. Broadbent ’38 has helped maintain the strong bonds among members of her class for

Ben Barnhart

Curator Wendy Watson gave alumnae a behindthe-scenes look at the Art Museum. Below: Naveen Balkhi ’98 spoke about escaping abusive relationships.


R e u n i o n 1 : Pau l S c h n a i t tac h e r • R e u n i o n I I : A n d r e a B u r n s •

Reunion I medalists (left to right) W. Rochelle Calhoun ’83, Leslie J. Gianelli ’83,  Margaret E. Broadbent ’38, Sandra Klamkin Schocket ’58, Carolyn Bump Marsh ’58

seventy years. Her many volunteer roles include class president and vice president, sixtieth-reunion chair, class agent, and reunion gift caller. She also served on the Alumnae Development Committee and the Nominating Committee of the association. She has been an active member of the Cape Cod Club, organizing class reunions and events for more than twenty years. W. Rochelle Calhoun ’83 began her long career at the college in 1986 as assistant dean of students, and then went on to make her mark as ombudsperson, director of diversity and inclusion, and associate dean of the college/dean of students. Five years ago, she became executive director of the Alumnae Association and has worked to respond to the needs and wants of alumnae with judiciousness and empathy. Always

willing to go the extra mile to strengthen and honor the growing membership of the association, Calhoun moves on to Skidmore College as dean of student affairs. Leslie J. Gianelli ’83 began serving her class and the college before she graduated, assuming leadership as class president in her sophomore year— and stuck with that job for the next twelve. She also served as a class agent, reunion gift caller, and Nominating Committee member. She has been active in the Hartford Club, and the Washington, D.C. Club, and held the positions of Ways and Means Committee chair, second vice-president, and assistant admissions representative, as well as Clubs Committee chair for the Alumnae Association. Gianelli served two years as a member of the

Reunion II medalists Arax Simsarian ’43 (left) and Suzanne Lenz Janney ’68

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Carolyn Bump Marsh ’58 has served the Alumnae Association on a number of committees, including the Sesquicentennial Auction Committee, Bylaws Committee, Alumnae Development Committee, Council Committee, and Nominating Committee. In addition, she played a major role on the Alumnae Association board, serving as director of alumnae development. For her class, she served as class agent, reunion gift caller, reunion chair, regional team chair for the Northeast, and most recently, class vice president. For the Western Suburbs Club, she has acted as Ways and Means Committee chair and as a leadership gifts volunteer.

Exemplary Professional and Volunteer Work Celebrated Achievement Awards were presented to two alumnae at Reunion for “achievement and service to society that exemplifies the values and virtues set forth by the college.” Faith Wilson LaVelle ’43, a Phi Beta Kappa member and Mary Lyon Scholar, went on to earn a PhD in biological sciences from Johns Hopkins University and subsequently won the distinguished Mary E. Woolley Fellowship, the Harriet Allyn Fellowship, and the Alumnae Association Medal of Honor. A frequent speaker for the American Association


Sandra Klamkin Schocket ’58 has served the association and college in a variety of volunteer roles. An active member of the Northern New Jersey Club, she acted over the years as club president, vice-president, Nominating Committee chair, and Career Alumnae Network chair. She volunteered as reunion gift caller and gift chair, class agent, and Nominating Committee member for her class. She served a distinguished five-year term as president of her class, and gave of her time and energy as a Program Committee member for the association, and on the Alumnae Association board, a position to which she brought her considerable knowledge and expertise in the area of education.

Suzanne Lenz Janney ’68 has served in a variety of significant volunteer roles: class agent, reunion gift caller, and, for the past five years, president of her class. In addition, she has been instrumental in the success and vitality of two regional alumnae clubs. For nearly twenty years, she was active in the Westchester County Club, volunteering as director-at-large and board member, program chair, Nominating Committee chair, leadership gifts volunteer, and president. For the Southwest Florida Club, she gave generously of her time as secretary, vice president and program chair, and now, president—a role she fulfills simultaneously with her role as class president. Arax Simsarian ’43 began work as a volunteer for

the Alumnae Association nearly forty years ago when she stepped up to serve on the Finance Committee. She went on to serve on the association board as director of finance and as a key member of the Founder’s Fund Committee. As the years progressed, she continued to play a crucial role in helping the association, the class of 1943, and the New York Club grow and prosper. She also contributed a generous amount of time and energy helping organize reunions for her class and serving as reunion gift caller and Nominating Committee member. Finally, she served as a major-gifts volunteer and member of the Campaign/Legacy of Leadership New York Celebration Committee.

of University Women and a member of Who’s Who of American Women, her research in the development of the nervous system is highly regarded. She conducted breakthrough scientific research in the study of mammalian nervous systems and earned numerous significant grants from the U.S. Public Health Service. In addition, she was a professor of anatomy at Loyola University in Chicago. LaVelle also has contributed considerable time, expertise, and energy to the MHC board as alumna trustee, and to the Office of Development as a member of the Leadership Donor Committee. Judith Gedney Tobin ’48 graduated Phi Beta Kappa

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Achievement Award winners Faith Wilson LaVelle ’43 (left) and Judith Gedney Tobin ’48

Andrea Burns

association’s Outreach Committee.

She continues to work as assistant to Delaware’s chief medical examiner. For her nearly fifty years of contributions to the discipline of modern pathology, Delaware’s Division of Health and Social Services named the southern office of the chief medical examiner building in her honor, the Judith G. Tobin, MD Building.

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Together with the demands of raising six children as a widow while working full time, Tobin served as a board member for the Boys and Girls Club of West Sussex, the Turnabout Counseling Center, and the Delaware-American Cancer Society. She also sits on the board of directors for Children and Family First, and has been made an honorary board member at the Blood Bank of Delaware.

Calhoun, “Tireless Contributor to the Common Good,” Moves On Talk to almost anyone and the first thing mentioned about W. Rochelle Calhoun ’83, who resigned this summer after five years as Alumnae Association

executive director, is her brilliant storytelling abilities. Whether you caught her in the hallway, around campus, or in an otherwise dreary meeting, Calhoun could be counted on to interject levity wherever it was justly deserved. Which was pretty much anywhere.


from Mount Holyoke with a degree in zoology, earned a doctorate in medicine from Columbia in 1952, and began a distinguished career as a medical examiner in Delaware. When she started in her profession, a state Department of Health and Human Services did not exist. She was a pioneer, making bold strides in a medical field that, during her tenure, grew exponentially in stature and significance.

“She uses her theatrical background and her sense of personalities to convey a very vivid picture of the subject matter at hand,” says Alumnae Association President Mary Graham Davis ’65. “At a board meeting we had in New York at my house this year, she had us in stitches, describing different events in her life and her travels. It creates an immediate sense of comradeship and lightens the atmosphere of a meeting. It allows people to have a personal relationship with her, which then you can use to do business.” For Calhoun, the business at hand from her appointment in 2003 until her departure for Skidmore College in July was inclusivity and member service. “Goal number one was to become a global organization,” says Calhoun, who now serves the Saratoga Springs, New York, college as dean of student affairs. “And really being committed to the old cliché, ‘ask alums what they want and give it to them.’” During her tenure, a strategic plan was formulated; the association was “re-launched” to embrace its new global goals, and programs carefully assessed, questionnaires mailed, and surveys of alumnae completed. As leader of

an Alumnae Association independent from the college, which presents unique organizational challenges, Calhoun was recognized for her ability to see every side of an issue. “She has the ability to take a topic and turn it like a Rubik’s Cube,” notes Davis. “To look at it from many different angles, which enables discussion and dialogue from new points of view and enlarges the conversation to find room for consensus and decision making.” Calhoun began her more than twenty-year

career at Mount Holyoke somewhat serendipitously, in 1986, as assistant dean of students. Dissatisfied with her graduate program in theater at Columbia University (she earned her MFA in 2001), she returned to western Massachusetts when her husband, Robert, was offered a job in landscape design. A conversation with then dean of the faculty Joseph Ellis gelled her thinking on what had been most meaningful to her at Columbia—her work with students at the Playwrights Horizons Theatre School— and she began work in student affairs.

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That makes sense to MHC President Joanne V. Creighton, who says, “In each of Rochelle’s many roles at the college, she has been a trusted friend and colleague to me, and a tireless contributor to the common good.” A theater and politics double major at MHC, Calhoun remains a passionate advocate for issues that touched her heart as a student: equity, representation, and access and social justice for people historically underrepresented. In addition to helping create an educationalservice travel trip for alumnae and working to improve conferences and programs for women of color and international graduates, she was a consultant outside the college for multicultural organizational training, diversity, and conflict resolution; a board member of Girls, Inc. in Holyoke, and an elected member of the South Hadley School Committee.


Stephanie Gonthier, director of finance at the Alumnae Association and its interim executive director, called Calhoun “an exceptionally skilled leader. Her self-deprecating style has us all in stitches— but she’s not just amusing. She is also so skilled and grounded in solid, effective management techniques.” Before settling comfortably into her new rental house in Saratoga Springs, Calhoun assured her staff that she would not forget them. A day at the racetrack was organized; silly hats required.— M.H.B.

Sophomores Surprised by Alumnae Elves Picture this: a couple of older women, large trash bags and flashlights in hand, creeping around a dimly lit MHC dorm in the wee hours of a February night, securing smaller bags to doorknobs. Agatha

Christie likely would have followed this escapade with a series of unnerving events. But the only blood in the hallways that night was pooled in the tired eyes of members of the class of 1960 as they “elfed” the sophomore class.

in a note sent to fellow classmates. “I am just surfacing with multiple body aches and pains and a head buzzing with the juggling of logistics,” Whyte relayed to her pals only slightly tongue-incheek.

That’s right. The venerable MHC tradition wherein sophomores, their identities a secret, place little gifts at the doors of first-year students over the course of a week in fall, was co-opted by these fun-seeking alums in the spirit of, well, more spirit. And while the entire sophomore class takes a week to accomplish the task, two alumnae and a few students managed to elf nearly all 593 sophomores in just one very long night.

To wit, 600 Chef Jeff cookies were picked up and secured in a room safe from her dogs; extras Kasha Duffield Kingsbury, Heidi Keller Moon, and Joan Corcoran Steiger (all 1960 alumnae) stuffed hundreds of red plastic bags with a cookie, a friendship bracelet, a letter from the class, a brief biography of and poem by fellow alum Emily Dickinson, and a history of the Odyssey bookstore—deemed essential to a well-rounded MHC education. Dormaccess cards were secured from the college.

The project, which resembled a Monty Python skit in its nuanced organization and delivery, was outlined in surgical detail by retired anesthesiologist and chief elf organizer Dana Feldshuh Whyte ’60

With student helpers working other dorms, Dana Feldshuh Whyte ’60 and Nancy Zone Bloom ’60, stifling the

Sara Martin ’10 (left) and Tanya Thompson ’10 delight in a goodies bag from Dana Feldshuh Whyte ’60 in a re-creation of an “elfing” scheme designed to bring the two classes together.

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Calhoun went on to serve the college as ombudsperson, director of diversity and inclusion, and associate dean of the college/dean of students. “There is some way in which my career has been opportunistic,” Calhoun explains. “If I felt [a job at the college] matched my skills, I would pursue that. It was only later that I felt clarity and a drive about what I wanted to do.” That turns out to be an upper-level administrative position in academia where she can think broadly about the future of education for young people.

The class of 1960 started connecting with the class of 2010 earlier, too: they accepted an invitation to attend “More for Sophomores” last October, where they staffed a table with memorabilia from their days on campus. Bloom initiated a 1960/2010 e-mail group that by winter had connected fifty-eight sophomores with fortyeight 1960 alumnae to correspond based on interests, careers, and where they’re from. Elfing the class seemed like a fun next step. “We thought, okay, in the depth of winter a lot [of the students] are sick and have too much work to do, so we’ll pull this surprise,” Whyte recalled. Their good deed was not ignored. Sara Martin ’10 wrote to Whyte that the bag helped relieve some of the stress and exhaustion she felt during a long night of studying. “Knowing that the class of ’60 was thinking of us, and that you guys had made it through MHC successfully, really put things in perspective and made me feel reassured and cared about.” She may find herself doubly relieved and cared for next fall, when the elves plan to host a dessert reception for the class of 2010 during a mini-reunion. —M.H.B.

Seeking Awardees So that the Alumnae Association may honor deserving alumnae, please share names to be considered for the recognitions listed below. Please include documentation on the strength of your candidate(s), and names, addresses, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses of references. Send nominations to the Alumnae Association of Mount Holyoke College, 50 College St., South Hadley, MA 01075-1486; 413-538-2300; fax 413-538-2254; or alumnaeassociation@mtholyoke. edu. You can also use our online form at www.alumnae.mtholyoke. edu/go/awards to submit nominations. Alumnae Honorary Degrees: Awarded to alumnae of genuine achievement and distinction who have contributed to learning in the arts and sciences or who have contributed to society in some service, career or otherwise, distinguished for both intellect and character. Alumnae Medal of Honor: Awarded for eminent service in promoting the effectiveness of the Alumnae Association, for signal service in completing definite projects undertaken by the college, or for other noteworthy services that strengthen the position of Mount Holyoke College. Deadline is August 15, prior to Reunion year. Alumnae Trustee: Selected for willingness and ability to involve herself actively in the workings of the college, participate in the policy-making discussions of the Board of Trustees, and use her expertise in special areas to enrich those discussions. Deadline is January 15, annually. Mary Lyon Award: For young alumnae who have been out of

the college fifteen years or fewer, who demonstrate promise or sustained achievement in their lives, professions, or communities consistent with the humane values that Mary Lyon exemplified in her life and inspired in others. Loyalty Award: The Loyalty Award recognizes an alumna who has demonstrated consistent effort and active involvement in one area of service over an extended period of time. Volunteer effort can be on behalf of a class, club, affinity group, the Association, or the college. Nominees should be from classes that will hold reunions in the following spring. Deadline for submission: December 15.


occasional giggle and no doubt secretly thrilled to be up past their regular bedtimes—delivery was scheduled to begin at 11 p.m.—hung the gift bags on the outside door knobs of sophomores in Dickinson House.

Young Alumna Loyalty Award: The Young Alumna Loyalty Award honors an alumna who has demonstrated consistent effort and active involvement in one area of service over an extended period of time. Volunteer effort can be on behalf of a class, club, affinity group, the association, or the college. Nominees may be from any class that has graduated ten years or fewer from the date of the upcoming reunion. Deadline for submission: December 15. Achievement Award: For alumnae whose achievements and service to society exemplify the ideals of excellence of a liberal arts education; who use their talents with professional distinction, sustained commitment, and creativity; and who reflect the vision and pioneering spirit of Mary Lyon. Elizabeth Topham Kennan Award: Given periodically to an outstanding alumna educator, honoring the service former President Elizabeth Topham Kennan ’60 has given to the college and to higher education in general.

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Join the Conversation Advance Our Legacy of Diversity The Legacy of Diversity initiative honors the historic role of our African American, Latina, Asian American, and Native American (ALANA) alumnae at Mount Holyoke. This $2 million initiative is an important priority of The Campaign for Mount Holyoke and will support our ALANA students in all their efforts. “Your contribution will continue Mount Holyoke’s support of ALANA students and help frame the discussion about how to increase the opportunities for our young women of color.” —Chau Ly ’97, Legacy of Diversity cochair






For information: or

• Outreach coordinator for a medical school • On top of children’s health issues • Knows her way around a community meeting

• Senior vice-president of a Fortune 18 company • Spends her free time snowboarding • Knows her way around the executive suite

• Reporter for a news daily • Relaxes by rock climbing • Knows her way around a news bureau

Q: WHAT DO THESE THREE ALUMS HAVE IN COMMON? a) Pride in their Mount Holyoke degree b) Passion for their work c) Profiles on LifeNet ✔ d) All of the above But they aren’t the only ones who would answer “d.” Ann Berkey ’70, Kimberly Dedam ’82, and Brittany McCrary ’04 are just three of hundreds of alums who have updated their profiles on LifeNet—the Alumnae Association’s online career and social networking tool. Interested in interviewing C.E.O.s? Curious about careers in journalism? Or how about joining a few alums for a hike up a mountain (or down the street to a cafe?). LifeNet is where it all begins. To get started, go to and click on “LifeNet.” In minutes, you’ll be connected to a powerful network of alums—MHC women who really know their way around.

LifeNet. A networking site for every part of your life.

bulletinboard Announcements

Conference for MHC Alumnae in Education Slated for October 10—12 “Teaching, Learning, Leading: A Mount Holyoke College Summit on Education” for K–12 and college educators will be held on campus this fall. Sponsored by the Alumnae Association, the Department of Psychology and Education, and the Harriet and Paul Weissman Center for Leadership and the Liberal Arts, it promises to be an intellectually enriching weekend.

The weekend also will feature distinguished guest speakers; networking opportunities with alumnae, students, and MHC faculty; and a special evening performance. Invitations with additional details and registration information were mailed mid-summer and posted on the Alumnae Association Web site. You will also receive a reminder e-mail, but mark the dates on your calendar now!


Calling All Teachers: Save the date for the MHC Alumnae in Education Conference this fall.

Welcome to WillitsHallowell Center Alumnae, faculty, staff, students, emeriti, and parents: Do you need overnight accommodations while in the South Hadley area? Are you looking for a beautiful facility for a luncheon, banquet, wedding, conference, or retreat for up to 175 people? Willits-Hallowell Center, by the rushing waterfall of Stony Brook on the college’s campus, can accommodate you. Call 413-538-2217 for information or reservations.

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the Alumnae Association at 413-538-2300 to request a printed copy of the information.

MHC Class and Club Products Lots of MHC-related class and club products are for sale. For details and photos of many items, please visit http://www. shop/alumgifts.php or phone

Ben Barnhart

Workshops and panels on current issues in education will include “Curricular Reform: Who Owns the Curriculum,” “Diversity and Equality: Global and Local Communities,” “Networking: Teaching and Learning from Each Other,” and “Critical SelfReflection: Professional Possibilities and Responsibilities.”


October 16–27, 2009

Remarkable Women of Antiquity and Their Times A Seven Sisters trip

December 26, 2008 –January 4, 2009

Mayan Kings and the Great Pyramids: A Yucatán Voyage With Amherst College and the Metropolitan Museum of Art Ring in the new year under the open Yucatán sky. Following two days in the colonial city of Mérida, embark the ninetypassenger French motor yacht Le Levant for a seven-night cruise around the Yucatán peninsula. The voyage includes visits to spectacular Mayan sites including Chichén Itzá (above), Uxmal, and the Temple of the Five Storeys. Also included is an optional post-tour to the Mayan city of Tikal, Guatemala. The cost of this trip is approximately $6,690 per person. Please call Academic Arrangements Abroad at 1-800-221-1944 for more information. January 28–February 7, 2009

Costa Rica: Aboard the Wind Star With Vassar College Sail aboard the intimate, seventy-four-cabin yacht

Wind Star on an elevenday voyage featuring visits to the highland rainforests in the center of Costa Rica and a cruise along the Pacific coast. The trip begins in Puerto Caldera, Costa Rica, and continues on to San Juan del Sur in Nicaragua, then back to Playas del Coco, Corcovado National Park, and Tortuga Island. Highlights include a walk along a suspended catwalk in the rainforest canopy, snorkeling among colorful tropical fish, exploring mangrove swamps, and learning from local wildlife experts about the stunning biodiversity of Costa Rica. The cost of this trip is approximately $4,995 per person. Please call Siemer & Hand Travel at 1-800-451-4321 for more information. March 15–23, 2009

Tahiti and French Polynesia Enjoy a seven-night cruise though the island paradise of French Polynesia aboard the intimate clipper ship SY Star Flyer. Sail from Papeete, Tahiti, with port calls at the islands of Huahine, Raiatea, Tahaa, Bora Bora, and Moorea. The cruise includes excursions with expert local guides who will enlighten travelers about the treasures of the ancient Polynesians, the natural history of the islands, traditional culture and society, local mythology, and the rich

environmental diversity of Polynesia and Tahiti. The cost of this trip is approximately $3,595 per person. Please call Gohagan & Company Travel at 1-800-922-3088 for more information.

July 25–August 1, 2009

The Great Lakes Join us for a luxurious Great Lakes cruise aboard the 100-guest Clelia II. Sail between American and Canadian ports with stops at Niagara Falls; Manitoulin Island, home to Native American culture; Mackinac Island (above), with its Victorian architecture; Thunder Bay, site of the British settlement Old Fort William; and the unspoiled Keweenaw Peninsula. Additional highlights include transiting the scenic waterways and locks that connect the Great Lakes, and sailing the vast expanse between Lake Ontario and the western shores of Lake Superior. The cost of this trip is approximately $5,595 per person. Please call Travel Dynamics International at 1-800-257-5767 for more information.

Sail aboard the all-suite, 114-guest Corinthian II on a voyage in search of the history of antiquity’s most powerful women. Beginning in Athens with a visit to the Acropolis and an excursion to the Sanctuary of Artemis, we will board the ship for a cruise across the Aegean Sea to arrive in Bodrum, Turkey, where Queen Artemisia commanded a naval vessel during the famous Battle of Salamis. The cruise will continue to Rhodes, home of Kallipateira (the only woman to have attended the ancient Olympics) and then to Fethiye, Turkey; Tartus, Syria; and Alexandria, Egypt, as we visit ancient shrines dedicated to goddesses, magnificent museums and churches, and famous archaeological sites that shed light on the lives and deeds of antiquity’s most fascinating women. The cost of this trip is approximately $7,395 per person. Please call Travel Dynamics International at 1-800-257-5767 for more information. To request a brochure for any of these trips, please call the Alumnae Association at 413-538-2300 or visit our Web site at www. For additional information, please call the travel company sponsoring the trip.

Mou n t Ho lyo k e Al u m na e Qua r t e r ly


Summer 2008


we might wish, neither are Russia or China aggressively promoting an alternate ideology, as during the Cold War.

How America Can Thrive as Others Powers Rise


By Mona Sutphen ’89

he rise of other global powers is most often posed as a sorry tale, full of threats to American primacy, prosperity, and way of life. The potential loss of our #1 status implies a blow to our safety, economy, and prestige.

But this is a rare moment in history— none of the world’s big powers is our adversary. The “pivotal powers”—China, Europe, India, Japan, and Russia—seek greater influence, but each also has an enormous stake in global stability and the world economy. As a result, they share our desire to combat the “rotten fruit” of globalization—terrorism, pandemic disease, the climate crisis, and nuclear proliferators like Iran and North Korea—which pose the greatest threats to America’s way of life. India is a key ally in tracking Pakistani extremist groups like the LeT (Lashkar-e-Taiba), which now targets the United States. A strong Chinese public health infrastructure is what stands between us and the next pandemic triggered on a rural farm in China. Russia is coleading an effort to keep nuclear technology out of terrorist hands. Some Americans owe their lives to Scotland Yard’s tracking of terror plots in the London suburbs. Japan is our model for reducing America’s carbon footprint. None is a direct military challenger. And while not all are liberal democracies as


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Washington should welcome the pivotal powers into a vigorous international order to share the burden of solving pressing global issues of peace, climate, health, and growth. The world order desperately needs retrofitting to address the problems of a globe that now has 150 nations, not the fifty we had at the end of World War II. We need to give the rising powers a seat at the table—and convince them to pay for the privilege. But we must build a table first. Amazingly, today there is no single venue for the world’s six biggest powers to come together as a group to discuss a shared agenda. The UN Security Council is missing Japan and India. The G-8 is missing India and China. The OECD is missing India, Russia, and China. Yet together with the United States, these six powers represent two-thirds of global GDP and half the world’s population. If we can chart a course together to tackle some of the critical problems facing us, we can move the needle in a meaningful way. Will we have conflicts with these powers? Definitely. Some will be serious. And while America must be prepared for the possibility that a hostile superpower may one day emerge, it has to be careful not to turn a distant, uncertain threat into an immediate one. By and large, these powers want what we want: a stable world and better lives for their citizens. The avenue to a truly safer and more prosperous world runs through the pivotal powers. Together we can build a world where Americans will thrive, today and tomorrow, if we are brave enough to let them. Former State Department diplomat Mona Sutphen ’89 is managing director at Stonebridge International, an international business strategy firm, and is coauthor, with Nina Hachigian, of The Next American Century: How the U.S. Can Thrive as Other Powers Rise. For more, visit

R a l p h A l s wa n g

Rise & Shine

Even economically, their growth creates new opportunities for American workers and consumers—and to the extent there are downsides, the prescription is often America’s alone to administer. Rising numbers of Indian and Chinese engineers and scientists is not bad for the United States. If an Indian researcher finds a cure for Alzheimer’s, that is great news for everyone. What is problematic is failing to educate our own children and letting our innovation lead slip—the very innovation that has been a key driver of US economic growth. And if we want to keep US jobs here at home, we need to fix our healthcare system so it is possible for an entrepreneur to leave her job to start the next Microsoft.

Campaign tops $150 million Thank you! We’re halfway there. Together, we accomplish great things. President Joanne V. Creighton; Campaign Cochairs Leslie A. Miller ’ and Barbara M. Baumann ’; Board of Trustees; Campaign Steering Committee, Legacy of Diversity Committee, and Annual Funds Committee ·  ,  ·




Playing soccer at MHC has been a truly enriching experience. Your teammates become your family, your

lifeline; I’ve made friendships that will last a lifetime. I will greatly miss those many hours of hard work, tears, and laughter on and off the field. —Arden J. Hemstreet ’08 • Photo by Michael Malyszko

Profile for Alumnae Association of Mount Holyoke College

Mount Holyoke Alumnae Quarterly Summer 2008  

When Down Leads to Up: Downshifting Brings Upsurge in Quality of Life Politicos: Alumnae in Public Office Find Politics Frustrating, Exhau...

Mount Holyoke Alumnae Quarterly Summer 2008  

When Down Leads to Up: Downshifting Brings Upsurge in Quality of Life Politicos: Alumnae in Public Office Find Politics Frustrating, Exhau...


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