Mount Holyoke Alumnae Quarterly Spring 2010

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A lu m n a e Q ua rt e r ly

Spring 2010

Looking Backward

Taking Stock of “The Creighton Effect”

• MHC on YouTube 24 • Poetry Demystified 28 • Troubled Trees 4

Taking Stock of “The Creighton Effect” Fourteen years. Two strategic plans. Countless hours of work. In myriad ways, Joanne V. Creighton’s presidency has helped Mount Holyoke transform itself for a new century.


Pioneers of Change: On Being the First Family Member to Attend College By eric go ldschei der

Students who are the first in their family to attend college face challenges others don’t. Find out what it takes to be a college pioneer.


President Creighton chats with students on Founder’s Day.

Seeing Through Rocks, or How to Read a Contemporary Poem By n i gel a l der man

If you’re smart, yet tend to feel stupid when faced with a poem, take heart. English professor Nigel Alderman shows you how to dissect and appreciate one of his colleague’s poems. Hint #1: read s-l-o-w-l-y.


On the cover: portrait of Joanne Creighton by Ben Barnhart; photos on these pages by Joe Lawton (top), Ben Barnhart

Nigel A he helps ldsetruman shows how poem inside dents know a page 28. and out on

Alyssa Nelson ’11 (in green, surrounded by her family) is her family’s educational pioneer.

Moments of Clarity By e r ic g oldsch ei der

Clarity Guerra ’09 (below) makes fun and frank videos about student life at MHC today.


Viewpoints 2 Campus Currents 4 Campus trees in bloom, and in trouble; new boathouse opens; lab equipment heads out the door—legally? Off the Shelf 30 Getting away with torture; eating chocolate for breakfast and vegan for lunch—yum Alumnae Matters 34 Alums honored for early achievement; look who’s up for AA board work; working at Barb’s Bait Class Notes 40 Get your libido in gear; retire virtually; child’s play in Jordan Bulletin Board 79 Portugal is lovely in summer; wine has spiritual benefits (really); students pose for food calendar

Mount Holyoke Quarterly Spring 2010 Volume 94 Number 1 Editor Emily Harrison Weir

Associate Editor Mieke H. Bomann

Class Notes Editor jill parsons stern ’84

Designers ALDRICH DESIGN Design Farm (class notes)

Editorial Assistant cass sanford ’11

Quarterly Committee: Marg Stark ’85 (chair), Emily Dietrich ’85, Jillian Dunham ’97, Charlotte M. Overby ’87, Hannah M. Wallace ’95, Victoria Anderson ’87 (Web consultant), Alison Bass (faculty rep.), Amanda Aultman ’10 (student rep.), Cynthia L. Reed ’80 (ex officio with vote) Alumnae Association Board of Directors President* Cynthia L. Reed ’80 Vice President* Maureen McHale Hood ’87 Clerk* Julianne Trabucchi Puckett ’91 Treasurer* Linda Ing Phelps ’86 Alumnae Quarterly Marg Stark ’85 Alumnae Trustee Susan d’Olive Mozena ’67 Alumnae Relations TBA Classes and Reunions* Susan Swart Rice ’70 Clubs Jenna Lou Tonner ’62 Director-at-Large for Information Technology Elizabeth A. Osder ’86 Director-at-Large for Global Initiatives Sharyanne McSwain ’84 Director-at-Large for Human Resources Joanna M. Jones ’67 Nominating Jill M. Brethauer ’70 Young Alumnae Rep. Akua S. Soadwa ’03 Executive Director* Jane E. Zachary, 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;

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. 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. General comments concerning the Quarterly should be sent to Emily Weir (eweir@mtholyoke. edu or Alumnae Quarterly, Alumnae Association, 50 College Street, South Hadley, MA 01075-1486). For class notes matters, contact Jill Parsons Stern ’84 (413538-3094, Contact Alumnae Information Services with contact information updates (same address; 413-538-2303; Phone 413-538-2300 with general questions regarding the Alumnae Association, or visit www. The Mount Holyoke Alumnae Quarterly (USPS 365-280) is published quarterly in the spring, summer, fall, and winter by the Alumnae Association of Mount Holyoke College, Inc., 50 College St., South Hadley, MA 01075-1486. Winter 2010, volume 93, number 4, was printed in the USA by Lane Press, Burlington VT. Periodicals postage paid at South Hadley, MA, and additional mailing offices. Postmaster: (ISSN 0027-2493, USPS 365-280) Please send form 3579 to Alumnae Information Services, Mount Holyoke Alumnae Association, 50 College Street, South Hadley, MA 01075-1486.

*Lynn Pasquerella ’80


Potential, Unencumbered In response to the letter in the fall 2009 Quarterly, “Are Women’s Colleges Outdated,” I say no, women’s colleges matter. For four years, a woman learns that she has something worth saying. She is taken seriously as an intellectual and a scholar. Her dreams are encouraged and nurtured. She develops friends who have similar aspirations. But MHC is unique among its institutional peers for many reasons. Intellectual curiosity is valued. Multiculturalism is more than espoused at MHC; it is embraced. Civic, social, and academic engagement is expected. MHC produces more female science majors than many other colleges. The college’s role in preparing women for careers and research in the sciences is to be applauded. When I read about the equipment that undergrads have access to, I am proud of MHC. And I am excited for the future of many female scholars and scientists when I read about undergraduate research being conducted. I was encouraged to consider MHC by a female guidance counselor when I thought I wanted to study medicine. She told me MHC would prepare me academically for the challenge. A female who supported my dreams


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encouraged me to consider a women’s college for its ability to support women’s aspirations. All of my friends pursued advanced degrees. They are still supportive of my dreams and I am of theirs. MHC is not just a women’s college; it is a special place. The real world defies the laws of logic and fairness. MHC did not prepare me for the real world and for that, I am eternally grateful. It insulated me and allowed me to imagine my potential unencumbered by others’ stereotypes or low expectations. Women’s colleges matter. Annmarie Merritt ’87 Vernon, Connecticut

That Gal’s Got Cred The current (winter) Quarterly brief about Presidentelect Lynn Pasquerella ’80 prompted my request for more academic insights; the CV was promptly e-mailed by profiler M.H. Bomann. Good gracious, Pasquerella’s credentials are awesome and inspiring, a blessing to those of us more concerned about MHC’s academic standing than the “vogue” of diversity. Kindly run the CV in print— an impressive, monetizing mailer.

• Wi n t e r 2 0 1 0

Discovering MHC’s Hidden Treasures

in print, Lynn Pasquerella’s CV may be found at www. curriculum_vitae.html.

Credentials File Service Questioned On January 22, in response to a routine request to forward my credentials file to a prospective employer, I received a letter from Mount Holyoke’s Career Development Center. This letter stated, in part, “we are in the process of moving all files over to Interfolio and future requests will be denied until you have had your file transferred over to this Webbased service.”

Nada Skerly Arnold ’56 Charleston, South Carolina

Although my credentials were duly forwarded to the employer this time, it gave me great concern about this future policy. I remain very concerned that highly confidential and in some cases historical documents should be turned over to any Webbased, third-party service. Even some of the most solid data storage providers of the past ten or twenty years have failed.

Editor’s note: While we don’t have the space to run it

Companies that have farmed out services in the private

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Named Next PresideNt (p. 2)

sector have experienced significant problems with outsourcing that burden former employees. The cost of upgrading and maintaining systems is exponential and leads to the need to sell data. Many records disappear over time, especially with computerized archiving. It is acceptable that an electronic duplicate archive be kept for posterity on campus or at a safe location off campus, but never should the original documents be destroyed and never should third parties control this “knowledgeware.” Original written letters of recommendation are even more historical, and hence valuable, in this e-based world. There is simply no comparison between original letters of recommendation—written on letterhead with original handwritten signatures—and computergenerated recommendations written in e-mail, as far as historical value is concerned. Legally, letters belong to authors, not recipients. Each author would have to approve having the letter be handled by Interfolio. Privacy and ownership

issues are the same, whether handwritten or electronic. No third party should be de facto “owners” of knowledge regarding any MHC undergrads or graduates as we did not buy into that system; we entrusted the college. Merja H. Lehtinen ’76 Colchester, Connecticut Editor’s note: For context, we summarize information received from Steve Koppi, director of the Career Development Center (CDC) on this topic. • The CDC is not engaged in, nor are they contemplating, any kind of mass transfer of files to Interfolio (a thirdparty credential service). Files are only transferred to Interfolio with the written permission of each individual alumna. • When an alumna requests that her file be sent to a prospective employer or other recipient, the CDC asks her to also establish an account with Interfolio and to give them permission to transfer her file there for all future requests she may have. The CDC currently offers to send up to five files at no cost, before asking the alumna to transfer her credentials to Interfolio. If an alum objects, they will make an exception to the five-file guideline and maintain the alumna’s original (paper) file at the CDC. • If the alumna gives permission to transfer her file to Interfolio, the CDC asks her

to give them permission to destroy the original paper file after the transfer to Interfolio is complete. • Detailed information about this topic is available at http:// The CDC staff is happy to respond to individual alumnae with questions or concerns (413-5382080 or

Postpartum Depression: Still a Dirty Secret Thank you for the article on postpartum depression (winter). I’m a postpartum depression (PPD) survivor, having battled it after the birth of my only child in 2000. It hit me like a brick wall and I just couldn’t figure out what it was. I couldn’t sleep, yet was exhausted all the time. I worried about everything. I couldn’t string a coherent sentence together. Within a few days of my son’s arrival, I began to experience panic attacks and anxiety attacks. Then the diarrhea/stomach cramps and headaches started. I kept all the curtains closed in our house and only left to take my son to his well-baby checkups. I didn’t drive for nearly two months after his birth because I simply couldn’t handle the stress of getting behind the wheel. I felt incredibly alone—my friends and family had no

idea what was wrong with me, and I was afraid to tell them. My ob/gyn literally saved my life. At my son’s two-week well-baby visit, I told her that I had been thinking about hurting myself and “checking out.” I really thought my baby, husband, family, and friends would be better off without me. She immediately got me on an antidepressant and coordinated a meeting between her, my son’s pediatrician, and my immediate family members. She referred me to a psychotherapist. Intensive antidepressant treatment and therapy sessions followed. My son will be ten in April. I now run a successful direct sales and freelance writing business. But it took a long time to become myself again. Still, as horrible as my story was, I was lucky, because I had an ob/gyn who was proactive, and a husband who believed that I had more than the “baby blues.” If there had been information available about PPD during my pregnancy, I wouldn’t have suffered one single day. All these years later, I still feel like PPD is treated like a dirty secret.

Got Opinions? Let Us Know!

We continue to welcome letters for the printed Quarterly. Indeed, we crave them. What’s the use of singing our hearts out to an empty theater? We need your ideas, your opinions, your letters. Of course, we will edit your letters for accuracy, length, and clarity. Please keep your letters to no more than 300 words. You can also post your comments online. Go to www.alumnae.mtholyoke. edu/Q, and use the “click here to comment” buttons found at the bottom of most pages. We especially like hearing from you by e-mail. Send your thoughts to

I hope your article helps bring more awareness to this awful illness. Nobody in this day and age should suffer in silence. Diane Giombetti Clue ’88 Upton, Massachusetts

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


Spring 2010



Trouble in Paradise: Campus Trees Reach Out for Help

What has been called one of the most beautiful campuses in the nation has thawed from the long, winter freeze, and a heart-stopping display of mature trees and earlyblooming shrubs, in their light green finery, offers a preview of perfumey, decorative seasons ahead. To the average student or visitor, the trees at MHC show few visible signs of wear and decay. But the overall tree canopy, as professionals call it, is in decline. Comprising 1,749 trees and shrubs, the campus arboretum is one part of the Mount Holyoke College Botanic Garden, which includes the Talcott Greenhouse collection, and several herbaceous and specialty gardens. Like its botanic peers around the country, the garden strives to maintain a plant collection relevant for teaching and research, and displayed in an engaging way. To a large extent, it works. Students throng to biologist and 1990 alumna Amy Frary’s Local Flora


identification class. Environmental studies students use the arboretum to assess the relationship between humans and the environment. The garden’s small staff, members of the college’s grounds crew, and contracted arborists are quick to point to the rich and varied benefits of this living museum. “It’s magnificent,” says arborist Christopher Frank, who has helped tend to the trees for the last five years. “The whole campus breathes.” But there is trouble in paradise. Ellen Shukis, director of the botanic garden, and Frank recently completed a two-yearlong walkabout of campus, to determine what specific work needs to be done to improve the health of each individual tree. Shukis ten years ago circled the campus to note every tree’s health, design function, and replacement strategy. “There are lots of trees in need of pruning,” says Shukis. Many of the trees were planted after a devastating hurricane in 1938 and are maturing at the same rate. In-

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sects and diseases are taking a toll. Some need new cabling between limbs to keep them safe; others need their roots aerated and soil amended with organic matter because, as with many trees on evolving campuses, the roots are gasping for air. “One pass of a heavy vehicle over the roots of trees, which extend far out beyond a tree’s canopy despite popular understanding, severely compacts the soil and might lead, over time, to a dead tree,” Shukis notes. None of this repair work would be unmanageable if college budgets were healthy and staffing abundant. But

cost savings on campus in recent years have cut the garden staff in half, and Shukis says her budget this year will address the specific needs of no more than about a dozen large trees. There is also some money to control insects and diseases on hemlocks, sycamores, and dogwoods, and two alumnae gifts—the Anne P. and Robert L. Heckel Fund and the Merton S. and Margaret Roberts Yerger Fund—provide additional support. But Shukis and her fellow tree managers essentially are engaged in tree triage: those in trouble but worth saving are treated; those in poor but not dire shape are left alone

illust r at ion by Joseph Ci ardiello

Spring has come to Mount Holyoke and all seems right with the world.

Fun Tree Facts There are 1,749 trees on campus. There are approximately 125 dedicated trees. The most common campus tree is the sugar maple (Acer saccharum); there are 156 of them. The second most common tree is the pin oak (Quercus palustris); there are ninety of them. Unusual trees are the pecan (Carya Illinoinensis), the Magnolia zenii between Clapp and Kendade, and a Franklin tree (Franklinia alatamaha) between the greenhouse and Art Building.

Michael M alyszko (left), William Mercer

for now; those obviously dead or dying are cut down. The beautiful old oak on the southwest side of Wilder, for example, was pruned this year; the oaks at the entrance to Skinner were cabled and had their roots aerated. The soil in the maple grove that surrounds Mary Lyon’s grave, beaten down by folks cutting across the lawn toward Clapp, is being remediated to resemble woodland soil conditions.

The most beloved tree on campus is the 100-plus-year-old copper beech (Fagus sylvatica) in front of Dwight Hall. It has an estimated life span of 130 years. The dogwoods (Cornus kousa) in front of Abbey Hall are considered some of the best of the species anywhere.

Numerous hemlocks, on the other hand, were taken down, as they were beset with hemlock woolly adelgid, an invasive pest from Asia. Liberty elms, once immune

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


Spring 2010


Students show the scale of this huge black walnut tree, which stood in front of Williston Hall until it blew down in the summer of 1917. (Students tended the campus “war gardens” that summer.)

Not all the news is bad. For every tree taken down, Shukis plants another. And there are plenty of lovely trees to go around. Shukis especially likes the maple (Acer triflorum) next to the cement pond near the Art Museum for its beautiful bark and shape. Two flowering almonds (Prunus mume) west of the Rockies are very early flowering trees that are not considered hardy; Shukis notes these beautiful specimen trees are nearly twenty years old.


Another favorite of hers is an unusual flowering pear, Ussurian pear (Pyrus ussuriensis), at the entrance to Torrey parking lot. It has a much better habit (shape) than the common Bradford pear, she notes. A hardy pecan, several unusual ashes, and two stunning dogwoods (Cornus kousa) in front of Abbey Hall are just a few of the notables. At MHC, tree appreciation is not limited to those who care for and study them. “There is also a receptivity between building management, the arborist, and Ellen that is not true in many places,” says Frank, who tends the trees of many area colleges facing similar challenges. “Contractors [generally] are called in without any consultation from the tree people. ”

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One tree that has been especially pampered over the years is the centenarian copper beech in front of Dwight Hall. In anticipation of upcoming improvements to the building, Frank attended a planning meeting with facilities managers to anticipate and forestall any potential impact to the grand, old tree. That kind of attention isn’t often welcome on crowded campuses focused on steam lines, roads, and buildings, he noted.

web link

Everyone agrees the MHC arboretum is a gem in a competitive setting. Both Frank and Shukis hold out hope that with the right attention, it will not only make a breathtaking first impression of campus, but that it will also be the one mature canopy of trees in the area that is always properly stewarded. Then, on every spring day at Mount Holyoke, all will be right with the world. —M.H.B.


What is your favorite tree on campus? Share your tree stories, link to interesting horticultural Web sites, and read what faculty members have to say about the arboretum, at

MHC Archives

to the fungal disease that long ago wiped out many of the elm species, no longer are immune and have been taken out. And numerous sugar maples that died because they are particularly sensitive to soil compaction were hazardous and removed.

The new boat house widens rowing program possibilities.

It’s turning out to be a very good year for admissions at MHC. The college reported the highest number of applications for admission in its history, 3,333, up 10 percent from last year. According to Jane Brown, vice president for enrollment and college relations, earlyadmission applications were also up significantly: 287 this year versus 211 last year. “This outcome suggests that families may feel more confident about the economy this year; last year, families were very reluctant to make financial commitments that early in the year.” The college admitted 138 students through early decision.

The percentage of students applying for financial aid, 82 percent, is consistent with last year, Brown said, and “meeting the financial need of our accepted students will continue to be the biggest challenge for us.” Typically, the college can be more selective with a larger

Save the Dates: Presidential Changing of the Guard

Fred LeBlanc

Alumnae are invited to the MHC community celebration honoring Joanne V. Creighton’s years as president, on Thursday, May 6, at 4 p.m. in Chapin Auditorium, Mary E. Woolley Hall. And save the date for the inauguration of the new president, Lynn Pasquerella ’80, which is set for Friday, September 24. Those who can’t attend can view the event live, online (details will follow in summer Quarterly.)

applicant pool, Brown said, but one of the challenges in admitting the class is the competing goals of academic quality, diversity across many factors, and net tuition revenue. “The composition of the pool is critical to our admit rate,” she added, and in February that was still being examined. There were increases in both the international and domestic applicant pools. International applicants continue to be about 30 percent of applicants, with approximately 100 countries represented.

MHC Boathouse Opens in Spring MHC’s new boathouse is nearing completion and will provide a home for the college’s rowing program and several community-based programs in time for the spring crew season. The $2.1 million boathouse is on college-owned property off Ferry Street in South Hadley. The 4,750-squarefoot facility is a single-story, barn-style building for boat storage, with two bathrooms and a warm-up area. In recent years, the rowing program has been housed at nearby Brunelle’s Marina.

“We are often asked if we know why we have had an increase in applications despite the unfavorable demograph- “The new facility will not only support Mount Holyoke’s ics and the small number of rowing program, it also will students who think about allow the college to continue women’s colleges in the to expand rowing programs beginning of their college to South Hadley, Amherst, search,” Brown said. and Granby,” said crew coach “We are quite sure that there Jeanne Friedman. is no one factor that has Crew became a varsity sport caused the increase, but it in 1979 and has grown into is the synergies between one of the largest varsity aggressive recruiting, a teams. Local programs usnew viewbook, a targeted ing the new facility will electronic communication include The Care Center of program … and enthusiastic Holyoke’s “Rowing Strong, outreach to prospective stuRowing Together” program dents from current students for teenage mothers; Adapand alumnae.”—M.H.B. tive Rowing, a program for disabled rowers; and community rowing for adults.


Admission Applications Hit Record Number: 3,333

Brainstorms Science Packs Itself Up and Heads Back to School You can borrow a book from the library, rent paintings from some art galleries, and now, if you’re a high school physics teacher close to MHC, you can borrow a box full of lab equipment.

DeRunk has filled plastic tubs with all the stuff necessary to carry out two basic physics labs: the mechanics of physics, and electricity and magnetism. Handheld computer data collection systems, motion and force sensors, tracks for rolling the sensors, and pulleys and other bits and pieces of easy-to-operate equipment are included in the mechanics suitcase. It would cost about $1,000 if a teacher had to buy the lab kits. That’s far too expensive for science instructors at public schools, whose annual department budget typically isn’t much more. Christine DeRunk (right) and Reyna Juan ’11 with computer data collectors lent to area schools


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At the Renaissance School in Springfield, where the first suitcases have been sent,

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

Christine DeRunk, the physics laboratory director at MHC, recently expanded upon the idea of a “science suitcase” developed by fellow MHC physicist Janice Hudgings. Thanks to a grant from the American Institute of Physics, she’s established a free lending library of equipment for area schools that offer introductory physics but don’t have the money to buy what’s needed to verify Newton’s laws or investigate velocity, magnetism, or force.

“The hope is that they test them, like them, and then eventually will be able to get the school to buy the equipment,” says DeRunk, who together with Reyna Juan ’11 offers training in the equipment. A former high school physics teacher at the celebrated Horace Mann

School in New York City, DeRunk speaks passionately about the unfairness of a public education system that hobbles motivated students in underserved schools. “Kids in disadvantaged high schools who are just as motivated as kids in private

schools simply don’t have the resources,” or know the people who can get the resources, and yet will be competing with students from well-resourced schools for selective colleges, she says. Her suitcases are one step in overcoming that hurdle.— M.H.B.

Global Photos

Alexandra Williams ’10 comments on her photo Leaping at the Western Wall:

The McCulloch Center for Global Initiatives holds an annual photo contest for students who have studied abroad in the past year. Here’s the winning photo by Alexandra (Sasha) Williams ’10. To see all the photos, go to www.

upon first seeing the Western Wall, otherwise known as HaKotel, in Jerusalem. It was a brutally hot summer day, and the stones of the surrounding plaza radiated the heat. Prepared to photograph the city’s enduring anchor, I caught sight of a Haredi (ultraOrthodox) man and his two sons jogging past, set before the gender barrier of the prayer area and al-Aqsa mosque. I never figured out where they were running.

It is nearly impossible not to be left speechless


physics teacher Rebecca Jackson is highly motivated to use these technologies, DeRunk says. Her students are naturals in operating both the computers, which resemble cell phones, and the sensors and tracks that make the labs seem more like a live video game than drudgery.

Tidbits Promotions

Books Not Bombs

The MHC Board of Trustees in November approved the promotion of Lois Brown to professor of English, and the tenure and promotion of Martha Hoopes to associate professor of biological sciences, both effective July 1, 2010.

Greg Mortenson, author of Three Cups of Tea, gave a campus reading and book signing of his new book, Stones into Schools: Promoting Peace with Books, Not Bombs, in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

2010–11 Fees Set The board of trustees has set tuition for the academic year 2010–11 at $40,070 and the room and board rate at $11,780, for a total fee of $51,850, a 2.9 percent increase from last year’s fee—the lowest rate of increase in some forty years—while reiterating the college’s commitment to a robust financial aid program. Coaching Minor Da n i e l P i n c u s a n d O l i v e r Pag e / M H C A rt Mu s e u m , To p : R o n P et e r s o n

Prospective teachers looking for an edge and students interested in becoming sports administrators may now opt for an educational studies minor in sport pedagogy and coaching.

Tick Tock

Students Pick the Art Students’ criticism skills were tested when they were asked by the Art Museum to help pick photos for the recent Dance and Dancers exhibit. They favored two images equally—and the museum bought both, including Tae Can Kick. Lesson: there’s more than one right answer!


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What could be more haunting than the campus bells? Check out system manager Ron Peterson’s blog entry (https:// entry/the_timekeeper) describing the college’s keeper-of-theright-time, Ron Zissell (in above photo), as he ascends the Mary Lyon clock tower. Take a Hike We’ve walked MHC’s five trails that slice through bucolic campus fields and forest, and think you should, too. For a map and details, check out www.

Tae Can Kick, one of the student-selected works now in the Art Museum collection.

Student Edge

China has replaced America as the leading emitter of greenhouse gases in the world. To solve its own vexing environmental problems and those of the rest of the planet, the growing Asian powerhouse must embrace the energy and compassion of its young people, says Yiting Wang ’11.

Yiting Wang ’11 seems to ask, “Isn’t it about time to pay more attention to climate change?

Native Chinese and majoring in environmental studies, Wang was in Copenhagen in December for the international climate-change conference meant to fashion a successor to the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012. As coordinator for the China Youth Climate Action Network, she was part of a fifty-student delegation invited by the United Nations to sit in on some of the official sessions and talk to lots of people working to address the planetary crisis. Although the summit accomplished little of what student activists hoped— such as a binding greenhouse-gas reduction plan—Wang remains undeterred. “I think seeing all of these people sharing experiences in one room is the most inspiring and powerful thing for me from Copenhagen,” she says. Everyone can be part of the solution: “We each just need to find our own niche.”

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Wang’s chosen niche is sustainable development, and she stayed on after the climate conference to examine European urban planning and international financial management at the Danish Institute of Study Abroad. The Danes’ remarkable devotion to the bicycle—36 percent ridership in the city—and the fact that 90 percent of the city is heated by industrial waste heat make it a fine model of smart development. When she returns to South Hadley in fall, Wang hopes to organize a campuswide climate-change forum and begin making plans for a career in international development. She is ready to act on her “great sense of responsibility to be part of the decision making that will determine our future.”—M.H.B.


We have seen the future and it is …

Looking Backward: Reflections from President Creighton The following was edited from a conversation between President Joanne V. Creighton and Nancy J. Vickers ’67, president emeritus of Bryn Mawr College.

Joanne Creighton calls the president’s house her favorite spot on campus; she’s shown here in the living room.


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taking stock of

“ The Creighton Effect ”

B e n B a r n h a rt

what a difference fourteen years can make. Since Joanne V. Creighton assumed the presidency in 1996, the college’s mission has stayed the same, but much else has been altered significantly. As President Creighton prepares to hand the administrative reins to President-designate Lynn Pasquerella ’80 this June, the Quarterly asked Creighton to reflect on her time as MHC’s leader. Our retrospective includes a president-to-president conversation, and a quick guide to how Creighton’s presidency changed MHC forever, and for the better.

nancy j. vickers: These questions are interpretations of questions sent by alumnae, asking Joanne to reflect on her tenure at the college. I’m very grateful for the thoughtfulness of the folks who sent in questions. njv: As an alumna, I want to say that I am deeply grateful for what you have done for Mount Holyoke. As you look back on these fourteen years, if you were to single out any particular accomplishment, which gives you the most delight? joanne v. creighton: I’m most pleased with the restoration of institutional self-confidence. That was not being experienced when I came in as president; there was a sense of concern and anxiety. Through The Plan for 2003 and the engagement of the community in the overall sense of moving the college forward, I feel I’ve helped Mount Holyoke to be itself more quintessentially, and to reconnect with its roots and its mission. I don’t think people in the college realized what a strong sense of consensus there was about the college’s fundamental values and roots. It’s remarkably consistent with its historical mission. Many of the things that Mary Lyon said about the college continue to be true, so it was just a matter of articulating that more overtly. I’m very proud that we’re mission centered and that the mission can be stated in a single sentence. It’s about linking academic excellence and purposeful engagement in the world. That core gives the college its intellectual and moral power.

njv: Is there anything you wished to do that hasn’t gotten done? jvc: If there were world enough and time, I would like to have addressed more robustly the issue of revenue enhancement. The college needs to bring in additional revenue. Perhaps this needs to be done outside the core mission of the college; maybe graduate, continuing, and professional education options need to be explored. njv: What do you see as the biggest challenges facing the college? jvc: The big challenge is always money. njv: That is true of most colleges, it has to be said! jvc:

The reason in large part is that the kind of education Mount Holyoke offers, which is the finest I have ever seen, is very labor intensive. We have a very enriched environment that is expensive to maintain. Added to that, we have a comparatively needy population of students, which puts us at a disadvantage in revenue generation in relation to most of our peers. That is compounded by the fact that the college is up against every trend in higher education—large, urban, public, coed, professional, nonresidential. Maintaining the model in the face of considerable financial pressure is the challenge for the future.

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I’ve talked about this with my colleagues, and we all agree that they are smarter, more academically prepared, and without a question more diverse. From the beginning I’ve been impressed with how articulate, engaged, energetic, and idealistic they are. By data measures as well as by one’s impressions, they’re getting better over time.


In what contexts have you come to know students best? They are most impressive when standing forth and delivering. One of the times when I’ve been particularly proud of Mount Holyoke is in the senior symposium, where they are so articulately presenting their research. I have enjoyed the classes I’ve taught or cotaught, and got a sense of their deep engagement with the material.


njv: If you were to leave a note on the president’s office desk for your successor, what advice would you give her? jvc: First I would say, “Enjoy every minute,” because it’s an incredible job, a privilege that very few people get to have. Secondly, I would say, “Consult, consult, consult” and “Communicate, communicate, communicate.” njv:

Did you receive any advice when you arrived? Yes, I received advice from Liz Kennan, when I was the finalist and uncertain as to whether I should accept the position. She said, “Seize it and run with it. Have no doubts.”


njv: The most frequently asked question by alumnae was “How have the women attending Mount Holyoke changed during your tenure as president?”


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And have there been difficult encounters with students? Unquestionably the most challenging experience was the student takeovers that came early in my presidency, the spring of 1997. They came very near the end of the Plan for 2003 process, so those things became entangled. I’d thought that we’d gone through a very inclusive, consultative process in which we tried to engage students as well as the rest of the community in developing the plan, but a group of students, more or less at the eleventh hour, wanted to stop that process. They formed a coalition and presented demands and so on. It was a period of only about two weeks, but it seemed much longer.


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


C l o c kw i s e f r o m t o p r i g h t : Fr e d L e B l a n c , B e n B a r n h a rt, Da i ly Ha m p s h i r e G a z et t e ,

Clockwise from top left: Past MHC presidents David Truman and Elizabeth Topham Kennan ’60 joined Creighton for her inauguration; The president joined students atop Mt. Holyoke on Mountain Day 2007; In addition to presenting work in class (shown here), dozens of students make formal presentations of their research results at the annual senior symposium; In spring 1997, students protested by stopping traffic and holding a sit-in in Mary Lyon Hall. It was an early test of the president’s authority.

being part of what Mary Lyon called “this great intellectual and moral machine.”

Trying to make the right decisions in the heat of the moment was very hard. It was a testing ground of my authority, my presidency, and the planning process itself. But a lot of good came out of it nonetheless: the campus community—including the vast majority of students— rallied around the plan and my presidency. As one colleague said to me, “This is your true inauguration.” njv: What, when you became president, surprised you most about Mount Holyoke? jvc: I was especially bowled over by the moral power of the institution. I’d always been at institutions in the past that were more intellectually focused. What’s powerful about Mount Holyoke is its combination of intellectual and moral. I heard from students the repeated articulation of idealistic thinking about themselves and what they want for the future. This idea of purposeful engagement in the world is deeply embedded in Mount Holyoke culture.

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njv: As you look back, is there a single moment you remember with the greatest fondness? jvc: One thing that’s given me the most pleasure is the sense of camaraderie and team-ness that comes working with senior staff and others. It’s pure pleasure working with people who are so smart and in sync, who individually bring so much to the table and have a commitment to the larger good. That’s what I feel I’ve gained out of the institution—a sense of

njv: Which of these wonderful renovation or building projects that have so transformed the campus is your favorite? jvc: I think of each of them as my children, each more wonderful than the next. The new residence hall is very successful, but the science center may have had the greatest impact by creating a center out of what was a group of buildings. That sense of science being a single enterprise is manifest in the building in a wonderful way. njv:

Do you have a favorite spot on campus? I think of the campus as a walk. Every day, my husband Tom, my dog Maisie, and I walk. We have lots of routes, and I adore the campus and the circumnavigation around it. If I had to choose one spot, it would be this house. When I’m here [the president’s house], I feel both part of things and that my privacy is respected.


njv: If you could study any subject at Mount Holyoke, what would you choose? jvc: I would love to take art history, a subject that I found fascinating as an undergraduate. I would also like to take chemistry because I hated it as an undergraduate, but with instruction from first-class professors, I think I could learn to love chemistry.

MHC students hail from forty-eight states and nearly seventy other countries.

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h a i l and farewell, jvc

Our retrospective of President Creighton’s time at MHC continues online at While you’re there, share your favorite memories of the Creighton years.

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fac i n g pag e : Pau l S c h n a i t tac h e r

web link

Th i s pag e : Pau l S c h n a i t tac h e r ( t o p r i g h t ) , B e n B a r n h a rt ;

Clockwise from top right: The campus community was invited to sign construction beams that became part of the new residence hall; the first new student residence hall in forty years; President Creighton joins students for ice cream last fall in a traditional Founder’s Day ritual; Kendade Hall provides a focal point for all the sciences.

What’s New at MHC Since 1996 the strategic plans for mhc 2003–2010 njv: How do you think you are different after these fourteen years? jvc: Definitely older … I think I developed more confidence and competence in the job, and I have connected to the female side of myself more. The academic world is very much gendered male, but Mount Holyoke is gendered female in many ways. There is a communal spirit in the culture that I enjoyed being part of. I feel connected to a community, a place, and an idea larger than myself. And all of that you don’t necessarily get out of an aridly intellectual environment, which is most of higher education. njv:

So what’s next for you? jvc: Next year I’m going on sabbatical, during which I will ponder my future. I might return to the college; I hold tenure in the English department and love teaching. I might do something entirely different instead, such as academic consulting. I want to give myself time and space to sort this out. During my sabbatical, I’m going to look at making better known the work of Women’s Education Worldwide. I’ve been particularly impressed with the institutions that are newly emerging in many inhospitable places in the world, and I think their stories should be better known. njv:

Any final thoughts for alumnae? jvc: First, I’d say the college is as strong and robust as it has ever been. Secondly, I’d say it cannot exist without you—quite literally can’t exist without the support of alums. njv: Thank you, Joanne. Most of all, thanks for an extraordinary fourteen and one-half years.

more students choose mhc

50 percent increase in applications 24 percent international students 25 percent African American, Latina, Asian American, and Native American a new generation of faculty-scholars

90 new tenure-track hires 25 percent faculty of color 50 percent female faculty

new centers of global engagement

• Weissman Center for Leadership and the Liberal Arts, established in 1999, offers programming and support for students committed to public service. • McCulloch Center for Global Initiatives engages the campus with global issues and offers study and research abroad and international internship programs. • Miller Worley Center for the Environment, founded in 1998, offers programming on environmental issues and a leadership series, oversees student projects, and is developing a campus interpretive trail. new facilities and campus modernization

• Seven major building projects; three LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified • Campus master plan • Centennial dorm renovations including Safford, Porter, Brigham, Mead, Rockefeller, and the Mandelles record giving to the college

• Alumnae giving during the last campaign: 81 percent • New gifts and pledges: $440 million • Endowment: $247 (07/1/95) to $526 million (10/31/09) • Annual Fund: $6 to $8.6 million

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Young women from fifteen countries gathered at MHC in 2007 for a student leadership conference sponsored by Women’s Education Worldwide.

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Zaida Cutler FP’11 says her mother’s attitude toward her college aspirations was “What’s it going to do for you?”


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By Eric Goldscheider

Pioneers of

Change On Being the First Family Member to Attend College

Katie Pierce’s mother couldn’t understand why her daughter wanted

to go to college instead of developing a talent she identified in high school for doing her friends’ hair. Alyssa Nelson ’11 and her mother both wept for an hour on freshman drop-off day when it came time to part. Miriam Chirico ’91 never skipped a class during her college career, being acutely aware that each session cost between $40 and $60. Brenda Hernandez ’04 worked thirty-five hours a week in retail at the Holyoke mall during her first two years of college. During her first semester on the Mount Holyoke campus, Zaida Cutler FP’11 had a recurring sensation that at any time someone would tap her on the shoulder and tell her she didn’t belong.

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Being part of the first generation in your family to attend college can be as fraught with challenges as it is rich with opportunities, as is borne out by the stories of some alumnae and current Mount Holyoke women. According to Alison Donta-Venman, Mount Holyoke’s director of institutional research, a spring 2009 survey revealed that almost 15 percent of the women at the college come from families where neither parent has a bachelor’s degree. Nationally, about a third of all college students are among the first generation in their families to access higher education, according to numbers compiled by the National Center for Educational Statistics, which is part of the US Department of Education. About a quarter of students seeking a four-year degree fit that category. Becky Wai-Ling Packard, MHC associate professor of psychology and education, studies the implications of being the first in your family to enter the world of higher education. She also has stories to tell from personal experience. Researchers often see a degree of ambivalence among first-generation college students, according to Packard. “You are trying to strive and everybody understands that’s a good thing,” said Packard, but there are many ways first-generation students hold themselves back, sometimes to the point of

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Why am I sitting here pontificating about sociology while my mother is mopping floors?

unknowingly sabotaging their progress. It’s not uncommon to feel either inadequate or like a social climber who is rejecting her past. Questions like these—Is where I am coming from not good enough? Do I think I’m better than other people because I’m getting this education? Will I even understand where I come from after college? and Why am I sitting here pontificating about sociology while my mother is mopping floors?—can subtly eat at working-class students in elite institutions. Packard also notices that first-generation students often exhibit an urgency to become overly involved in community service as a way of “giving back,” because sitting in the library and reading seems like a luxury that they and the world can’t afford.

Alyssa Nelson, a junior majoring in sociology, grew up in

New York City. Her grandmother, who came from Puerto Rico, has a second-grade education and can’t read or write. Her mother graduated from high school and yearned to go to college, but simply couldn’t afford to. So she is determined that her children fulfill that dream. Yet, when Nelson was accepted at Mount Holyoke, her mother “started crying months in advance, asking, ‘Are you sure you want to go so far away?’” recalls Nelson. She now aims to be accepted by Harvard Law School in her quest to become a criminaldefense attorney. At the same time, she is getting her teacher’s licensure. “It’s always good to have a backup plan, in case I don’t do well in the field of law, or I don’t like it, or something happens where it doesn’t work,” said Nelson. In addition to her studies she volunteers at a criminal-detention center in Westfield and works long hours at multiple jobs to make money on her vacations and through work study on campus.

Miriam Chirico ’91 is a professor of English at Eastern

Alyssa Nelson ’11 is fulfilling the educational dreams of her mother (a high school graduate) and grandmother (whose formal education ended after second grade).


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Her response to the opportunities presented at Mount Holyoke was to single-mindedly devote herself to academics, in part because her parents took out a second mortgage on their house to make it happen. She takes pride in having graduated fifth in her class, but in retrospect wishes she’d had a more relaxed attitude toward school. “I could have left campus more often to go on road trips, because that was all part of the college experience,” she said.

Jo e L aw t o n

Connecticut State University. Her parents came to the United States from Italy and France respectively. “They really wanted me to go to community college if I was going to go to college,” she said. A telling moment was when, on a visit to the MHC campus, her mother, commenting on some women playing lacrosse, said, “You’re really at the wrong school.” Chirico said the remark stemmed from the fact that “the game has such a prep-school look to it, with the plaid skirts and the ponytails.” Her mother’s message was that such pursuits were “beyond my economic level,” Chirico said.

Zaida Cutler FP’11 and her parents worked in paper mills along this canal in Hoyoke, Massachusetts.

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Zaida Cutler ’11, a Frances Perkins student who wants to major in English, remembers impressions of Mount Holyoke College from her youth. “I lived in Holyoke all my life. I would drive by the place on Route 116 and look at those gates and say, ‘Oh my God, that is a whole other world. I’m not invited.’” After she was accepted, her first response was to recoil at the risk that going to school represented for her, and she contemplated dropping out almost as soon as she started. A voice inside her head kept asking, “What have I done to myself ? Why am I here? Am I wasting time and money?” Cutler’s deepest fear—“When are they going to figure out that I’m really not supposed to be here?”—stayed with her through the entire first semester. Cutler’s father, who died when she was a baby, was from Puerto Rico, and her mother was the daughter of Italian immigrants. They both worked in paper mills, and Cutler remembers her mother’s distinct unease about Cutler’s early foray into higher education. Mostly an A student in high school, she was accepted at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. She dropped out after two months, in part because of her mother’s misgivings. “What’s it going to do for you? was her way of thinking,” Cutler recalls. Her mother would tell her, “You’re already smart and you can do anything those college girls can do. After four years of college you will still have to get a job, and who is going to pay for that?”

Cutler went to work as a receptionist in a paper mill and was promoted to the accounts department, where it became clear to her that the industry was in decline. After a string of poorly paid jobs, she went to Holyoke Community College, where she got a degree in management in 1997, enabling her to get her current job as a medical records coordinator in a nursing home. Now, as a Mount Holyoke student, she is realizing that she loves literature and poetry. Even though Cutler hopes to major in English, she is setting her sights on becoming an accountant. “That’s a tradeoff I’m happy to make because I think I will enjoy accountancy just as much as anything else I could do to pay the mortgage,” she said. She is struck that, because of her economic circumstances, she doesn’t feel as free to follow her bliss. “I’ve met young ladies who are religion majors, and I think to myself, isn’t that nice to be able to do that, but good luck buying a house with that,” said Cutler. “I would love to go for my MFA, but then what, and how do I pay off the student loan? So I have to be practical.”

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Spring 2010


Now an admissions counselor at Pace Law School, Brenda Hernandez ’04 (right) talks to prospective students about her experiences as a first-generation college student, encouraging them to struggle through the many obstacles to success.

Relive those MHC dinner-table conversations by raising these questions in your own home. You can also comment online. (See “Web Link” on next page.) Being the first in your family to attend college can lead to complex, and conflicted, feelings. Consider for example: 1. If you were your family’s college “pioneer,” were the opportunities you received worth the conflicts that you may have experienced? 2. If earning a college degree was important to you, how would you feel if your child chose not to attend college? 3. Did your parents’ educational backgrounds make it easier or harder to relate to other MHC students, or was it irrelevant to your MHC experience?


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Brenda Hernandez ’04 found being a first-generation

college student a liberating experience. The oldest of five children growing up in Northampton, she was fourteen when her father died, putting her into the role of second parent to her siblings. She worked at McDonald’s and then at a pharmacy all through high school. She also knew that she loved to learn. Hernandez applied to Mount Holyoke early decision and nowhere else. Once in college, she felt good that she got less pressure from home than some of her classmates. “A lot of students whose parents had been through it really pushed them to say, ‘okay, this is the plan for you.’ I had no one saying that. So I could really go in there and just explore,” said Hernandez. “My mom was definitely 100 percent there for me. I could have gotten Ds and just the fact that I was in college made her so happy. For me to be doing well was a bonus.” Hernandez recently graduated from Pace Law School and now works as an admissions counselor there. She often talks to prospective students about experiences as a firstgeneration college student, encouraging them to struggle through the many obstacles to success. The experiences of Katie Pierce ’03 were more typical of what the academic literature describes as issues that firstgeneration college students face. Her mother was “confused” by her decision to pursue higher education. “That divide pulled us apart during my initial college years,” she said. “My mom wanted me to become a hairdresser; she didn’t understand why I wanted to go to college.” Pierce majored in economics and, until the recession, worked in the investment-management industry for a Boston financial firm.

C r i s ta D. S c at u r r o

THREE Burning Questions

“My mom wanted me to become a hairdresser; she didn’t understand why I wanted to go to college.”

web link

it ’s not easy being f ir st . . .

Were you the first in your family to attend college? Share your experiences at

In retrospect, Pierce wishes she had been less focused on a major she thought would guarantee her a job right out of school. “I’m realizing that I spent much of my college years suppressing my creative side. That keeps bubbling up, and every now and then I feel like I should have done something more creative,” she said. Art and anthropology fascinated her during college. “It was difficult to ignore the spark I felt in those types of classes, but my economic situation kept telling me to focus on things more practical.” Pierce, who serves as copresident of the Mount Holyoke Club of Boston, said she remembers feeling embarrassed by her working-class roots during college. “It’s definitely taken some growing up and me getting older to realize that it’s nothing that I should be ashamed of,” she said, “It’s what molded me and made me who I am today.”

L e i s e Jo n e s ’ 0 1

Professor Packard, whose research on mentoring and persistence is supported by the National Science Foundation, said administrators across the country are focusing on applicants who are the first in their families to attend college “as part of a broader interest in attracting and retaining a diverse pool of students.” The overwhelming majority of people from lower-income backgrounds seeking higher education “use a communitycollege pathway,” she said. Mount Holyoke, Packard observes, has a history of attracting students from a wide range of socioeconomic backgrounds. “I think it’s partly the Mary Lyon legacy of purposeful engagement and community service,” she said. “That is very attractive to people from first-generation college backgrounds because, if their entire family is making a sacrifice for them to go, then they want to do something very meaningful with that education.”

Katie Pierce ’03 found her mom was “confused” by her daughter’s decision to attend college, since Pierce’s early talent promised a successful career in hairdressing.

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New Alumna Proves MHC Is Ready for Its Close-up

Moments of

By Eric Goldscheider

Clarity Risska Guerra’s first job out of college was

to go back to college—not as a student but as an observer, a chronicler, and a messenger to the YouTube generation.

Since last spring, when she was an MHC senior taking a digital film production course, Guerra has been producing short movies. What started as an academic exercise morphed into a vocation when Patricia VandenBerg, executive director of communications and strategic initiatives at the college, asked Guerra to join her staff and make videos about different aspects of life at Mount Holyoke. “She offered me the job as I was coming back from swim class. I was soaking wet in the freezing cold and in a bad mood,” Guerra recalled during an interview in the cubicle in Mary Woolley Hall that she has transformed into a digital-editing suite.

During the NCAA Division III women’s field hockey championships played on campus last fall, Guerra could be seen haunting the sidelines and stalking the stands with her tripod, buttonholing fans and participants willing to talk into her high-definition camera. She captured not only the excitement of the event, but also the hard work done behind the scenes by a student organizing committee—and the


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contribution that experience made to their education. Guerra knows that her work is helping to shape Mount Holyoke’s image, especially among new media-savvy applicants. Her mandate is not to take that responsibility too seriously. Her marching orders are to have fun, which she says is exactly what she is having. Maybe that is why her affection for the college comes through seemingly effortlessly as she

Ben Barnhart

An environmental studies major, Guerra wasn’t sure if making promotional videos was the career move she was looking for, but the job’s appeal proved irresistible. Since September, Guerra has been posting a steady stream of short videos to the Mount Holyoke YouTube account on topics such as a hip-hop course given by Brooklyn-based dance artist Jennifer Weber. (Did you know that B-boying, aka break dancing, is “the foundation of all hip-hop?”) There is one on a papermaking class taught by Associate Professor of Art Rie Hachiyanagi. Guerra’s lens also captured the introduction of Lynn Pasquerella ’80 to the campus community as Mount Holyoke’s eighteenth president. The video uses the snappy graphics, engaging soundtracks, and impromptu interviews characteristic of Guerra’s work.

explores the rich smorgasbord of activities on campus. Her productions aren’t slick in a conventional sense, which is a good thing. They are serious, yet exude personality and humor. For example, in a video extolling the virtues of the Kendall Sports and Dance Complex, Guerra throws a clip into reverse so that a line of racers magically emerges feet first from the water, landing in a perfect crouch with a

waveless, almost glass-like pool in front of them. In the hiphop piece, silly moments and less than utterly graceful poses are preserved, injecting a sense of authenticity along with a few yucks. “I am very fortunate in that my personal experience of the college is in line with what they are trying to convey. So I

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web link

M HC in m oti on

See all MHC’s video uploads at Here are a few to start with:

Professors Sohail Hashmi and Vinnie Ferraro (left) coteach the course “War—What Is It Good For?” In “Where Is Clapp 501?” a student goes on an epic adventure around campus in search of the elusive tower classroom.

From chemistry to art history to psychology, students eloquently explain their research at the annual senior symposium.

Discover how plant fibers become paper in this papermaking class, which demands patience and reliance on the senses rather than on words.

Her productions aren’t slick in a conventional sense, which is a good thing. They are serious, yet exude personality and humor.

Practitioners of her craft must be ever mindful of copyright issues, so knowing how to use the software is integral to the creative process. “I like some of my images to be cut to the music, so I’ll mix the music first and cut the images to it,” says Guerra, “but if there is a certain sequence of images I like already, I’ll drop that into this program and then edit the sound to it.”


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Recalling the trials and pleasures of rowing as a student, Guerra accompanied the crew team to a workout that got under way at 5:30 a.m. She put a driving beat under interviews, some of which tend toward the bleary-eyed, and action shots that include bench pressing, jumping rope, and putting oars into indoor tanks. Guerra hopes to build a livelihood that combines environmental science with the journalism talent that she is discovering as she hones her communications skills. A native Los Angelena whose father, Cástulo Guerra, is a successful actor who has appeared in hits including Terminator 2, Amistad, and the television series “The West Wing,” Clarity Guerra never considered a career in film. Guerra attended a magnet high school associated with the Los Angeles Zoo. As a senior there, she went on a study excursion to the Virgin Islands Environmental Resource Station, making videos documenting events such as

Clarity Guerra ’09

don’t have to betray myself by saying, ‘Oh, I have to make Mount Holyoke fun, when it’s not really fun,’” said Guerra. Her ideas get green-lighted as fast as she comes up with them. Recently she accompanied Mount Holyoke women on a trip to New York City’s Anthology Film Archives. That became a three-minute piece of cinematography combining iconic moving images of hustle and bustle with thoughtful sound bites from Robin Blaetz, chair of film studies, and her students. Tying it together is music that Guerra crafted on her laptop using SoundtrackPro, an application that allows her to create original soundtracks.

Of muscles, motion, and music: At 5:30 a.m., crew team practice is well under way.

Is chemist Sheila Browne “one of the coolest professors on the planet?” Yeah, pretty much.

MHC women bust a move and see if they have what it takes to be B-girls in this hip-hop video.

Meet MHC’s President-designate Lynn Pasquerella ’80.

See how Barbara McAlister ’11 pursued her interest in ethnomusicology, and had fun, on a grant-funded trip through Africa.

Join students from African and Caribbean countries for their annual evening of sharing dance, song, and food from their home nations.

preparations for a midnight snorkeling expedition. Guerra credits a course at the University of Massachusetts taught by journalist Madeleine Blais with opening her eyes to how to find and convey stories that arise out of real events. Part of the fun of her Mount Holyoke job is featuring her favorite mentors. “I loved my organic chemistry professor,” she said. Now Sheila Ewing Browne can be found on the Internet heralded as one of “the coolest professors on the planet.” Viewers learn that not only did Browne receive a Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Mentoring, but she also has a thing for Cajun zydeco dancing and got

her scuba diving certification on a trip with students to Key Largo in 2007. Guerra’s videos are migrating beyond YouTube to other parts of the Mount Holyoke Web site, such as on departmental home pages. “What I’ve been trying to do with these videos is to re-create for people highlights of my own experience,” said Guerra. The challenge with each new project is figuring out “how to communicate something that’s hard to communicate, like the feeling that you get when you walk onto this beautiful campus, full of intelligent women, in a vibrant and diverse community.”

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What Everyone Should Know About... A Quarterly Series

MHC English professor Nigel Alderman shows how he helps students know a poem inside and out. His subject here is a work by colleague Robert B. Shaw.

Seeing Through Rocks, In my first-year seminar, How to Read a Poem, I emphasize that, in Mallarmé’s phrase, “one does not make poetry with ideas, but with words.” Since a poem’s ideas are produced by the material arrangements of its words, I stress to my students that their crucial resource is the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) and I underline that any poetic analysis depends upon the mutual interaction between what the poem means and how it means. In a world of instant and multiple communicative gratifications—texts, cell phones, Facebook, instant messaging, surfing the Web, and so on—carving out a space for slow rereading is both a privilege and a form of resistance to this world. Patient reading can be a place where, as the Irish poet Derek Mahon suggests, “a thought might grow.” Similarly, poets have always argued that it is through the meticulous attention to detail that the ineffable materializes. Robert Shaw’s poem “A Geode,” for example, celebrates the mysterious nature of a seemingly mundane object that comes to symbolize the creative process itself. In this poem, the poet introduces the geode, a stone that the OED tells us has “a cavity usually lined with crystals or other mineral matter,” by emphasizing how “ordinary” its “appearance” is: it is a “brown” and “baseballsize[d]” “rock” with the “unremarkable” origins of emerging from a “glob.” However, when the poet moves from just looking at it to using his senses of touch and hearing, the stone begins to disclose its extraordinary and secret nature: it has a “pleasant heftiness” and he can hear a “sound / of sloshing” within it. Shaw emphasizes the increasing significance of the stone not only by surprising us with his first rhyme (“size” / “surprise”) that increases both the weight on “surprise” and the pause after it, but also by intensifying his use of alliteration: the insistent hefty “p’s” modulate to the onomatopoeia of the watery “s’s”, before they shift to the hard “c’s” as the “molten mud” “cools” into a “crust.” In other words, the materiality of language—its sounds—echoes the increasingly material description of the rock. By now the poet has noticed that the “unremarkable” geode consists of the four elements that were once thought to constitute all living things: the fire and earth of the “molten mud” and the water and air of the “liquified” “vapors” have combined to produce “a million-year-old vintage.” Here, Shaw alludes to Keats’s “Ode to a Nightingale,” where the Romantic poet longs “for a draught of vintage! that hath been / Cool’d a long age in the deep-delved earth” in order to escape from the world; but Shaw revises this imaginary wine, transforming it into a miraculous “sloshing” empirical fact.


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By N ige l A l derman

Shaw compares the now-revealed singularity of the geode to the “ubiquitous” nature of contemporary commodities: “snowstorm-in-a-glass-globe paperweights” contain no secrets and offer no depth. They provide simply distant and artificial representation of the world’s weather, whereas the geode is a product of the earth’s activity: it is the thing itself. Its revelation, however, paradoxically emerges from the fact that it “offers us no view inside.” This physical “opacity” of the stone provokes larger metaphysical questions, and as the poem moves to its conclusion it becomes rinsed with religious words and idioms (“infant tears,” “reliquary,” “witness,” “higher things,” “mystery,” “elixir,” “enshrine,” and “world without end”). The “opacity” of the geode comes to represent the “hiddenness” at the heart of both the human and spiritual realms—the secret “reticence” of “our kind” and the veiled “mystery” of “higher things.” Shaw strengthens the stress on “reticence” and “mystery” by making them semantically, syntactically, and formally parallel. The geode’s “hiddenness,” then, has generated a series of synonyms that connect the organic, human, and sacred spheres. The geode encloses both “age-old distillate” and “crystal … inner walls,” just as the poem contains both evolutionary and religious narratives. On the one hand, the geode was molded out of mud “in the Pleistocene” when Homo sapiens first emerged, but, on the other, its formation alludes to the Biblical claim that God molded Adam from clay. Similarly, the very word “mystery” contains within it the history embedded in the poem’s language since it means both “a religious truth known or understood only by divine revelation” and “a hidden or secret thing” (OED). With the very word “mystery,” the geode has not only been represented by the poem, but it has also come to represent the poem itself. The poem ends by quoting the final, formulaic phrase of the Gloria Patri, but transforms it from being a ritual and formulaic praise of God, to a secular praise of the mystery of the earth’s creative powers. These creative powers are symbolized by the ability of language simultaneously to make the poem embody the geode’s “unseen” “facets” and to make the geode’s unseen facets embody the poem: both, in turn, bear “witness to the worth of hiddenness.” web link

watch a p oem take shape

See how Emily Yates ’11, winner of the 2009 Glascock poetry contest, creates a new poem. She shares every word change from first idea to finished product at www.alumnae. You can also hear Yates and Robert Shaw reading their work, learn about Professor Nigel Alderman’s favorite poets, and check out unusual approaches to creating and enjoying poetry.

Ben Barnhart

or How to Read a Contemporary Poem


Words Worth a Second Look Poetry

Fiction The Walls Come Tumbling Down By Martha Whitmore Hickman (Hummingbird & Heron) Jericho Rhodes arrives in the small town of Licking Creek, Pennsylvania, to serve as the new parish minister. Her work doesn’t stop at tackling the community’s long-neglected social problems, she also has to deal with sexism in the ministry. Martha Whitmore Hickman ’47 is the author of more than fifteen children’s books and books for adults.

Fair Weather by Noon By Karen Chalfen (Trafford) In Chalfen’s first novel, two women meet as college freshmen in the fall of 1960 and form an enduring friendship. After college, they find themselves having to choose between traditional domesticity and a profound new freedom—and neither is sure of which path to take. Karen Anderson Chalfen ’64 lives in Boston with her husband and spends time on Cape Cod, the setting of her novel.

Crucial Time By Elspeth Hughes Benton (iUniverse) Tapiwa Moyo, a young Zimbabwean, moves to the United States with his family to pursue a career in engineering. After an affair with an American woman, Moyo’s life suddenly becomes a dangerous web of murder, kidnapping, and espionage. Taking place at a childcare center in Southern California, Benton’s mystery keeps you on the edge of your seat. Elspeth Hughes Benton ’54 has worked in early childhood education for more than thirty years.


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Stirring Shadows By Polly Brody (Antrim House) Brody explores tragedy, cruelty, and the gentler side of mortality in these poems, with alarming depictions of violence both sanctioned and unsanctioned, but gently transitions “beyond the shadows” to a place where death has meaning. Polly Laszlo Brody ’55 is the author of Other Nations, The Burning Bush, and At the Flower’s Lip.

Nonfiction New Deal Art in Arizona By Betsy Fahlman (University of Arizona Press) Inspired by her westward move to Arizona in 1988, Fahlman chronicles the art that emerged in Arizona during the New Deal. Including more than 100 photographs of art spanning all media, from Ansel Adams photos to Native American sculptures, Fahlman narrates a period of immense artistic innovation in Arizona’s history. Betsy Fahlman ’73 is a professor of art history at Arizona State University and the author of The Cowboy’s Dream: The Mythic Life of Lon Megargee.

SEVEN By Paula Cizmar, Catherine Filloux, Gail Kriegel, Carol K. Mack, Ruth Margraff, Anna Deavere Smith, and Susan Yankowitz (Dramatists Play Service) Performed in The Hague last fall, SEVEN is based on seven award-winning women playwrights’ interviews with seven women from the Vital Voices Global Partnership. The documentary play shows not only the impact of the work of Vital Voices in advancing human rights, but also the extreme challenges the play’s subjects overcame. Carol Klein Mack ’60 is an award-winning playwright. Her most recent is The Visitor.

Frommer’s 500 Places to Take Your Kids Before They Grow Up By Holly Hughes and Julie Duchaine (Wiley Publishing) Despite the well-known whine “Are we there yet?” from the back seat, travel with kids can be fun—so long as everyone reads up beforehand to be engaged with the destination when they arrive; uses the book’s shortlist of paintings at museums to maintain interest; and uses the guide’s animals-to-vistas categories to pick a place everyone will enjoy. Holly Hughes ’75 is the author of numerous Frommer travel guides and edits the annual Best Food Writing anthologies.

Our Clean Waters By Cordia Murphy ( Murphy’s coffeetable book explores the rivers, marshes, streams, and lakes of the Northeast, showing how new laws and environmental activism helped reverse fifty years of damage. Cordia L. Murphy FP’99 is a nature photographer and writer. Check out her book at detail/878563. The Monopoly Guide to Real Estate By Carolyn Janik (Sterling) Janik uses images from the popular board game to help explain its real-world counterpart—the real estate market. This authoritative guide will help new buyers understand the rules and moves it takes to win in the often complex world of property investment. Carolyn Lech Janik ’62 is a former realtor, developer, and landlord.

The Erie Canal: Exploring New York’s Great Canals By Deborah Williams (The Countryman Press) In this guide to New York’s canals, Williams takes us down the wellknown Erie and its three sister waterways: the Oswego, CayugaSeneca, and Champlain canals. She infuses her lively prose with informative sections on local history, lodging, dining, culture, recreation, shopping, and transportation. Deborah Williams ’68 has written four travel guides to New York.

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


Spring 2010


By MHC Faculty ENERGIZE GROWTH NOW: The Marketing Guide to a Wealthy Company By Lisa Nirell (John Wiley & Sons) Sometimes, passion and grit are not enough to keep your business healthy. In her book, Nirell shows entrepreneurs how to develop relationships with their customers, focus on the fundamentals, and set up systems for managing their companies. Lisa Lizotte Nirell ’83 is a business columnist, consultant, and chief energy officer of EnergizeGrowth, LLC.

The Donkeys Postpone Gratification By Corinne Demas (Finishing Line Press) A woman observes the oddly human behavior of her two donkeys through the daily tasks of caretaking, sharing their wonder as they interact with the world. A clementine, an ice storm, and a sheared dog are just a few of the things that evoke moments of tenderness and realization in this collection of narrative poems. Corinne Demas is a professor of English at MHC.

Friday Night Bites: Kick off the Weekend with Food and Fun for the Whole Family By Karen Berman (Running Press) Save the pizza deliveryman a trip with this book of recipes that makes cooking fun for the whole family. Twenty themed meals will keep the kids entertained every weekend, from Dino Dinner (“quesadilasaurus” and “primordial soup”) to Backwards Dinner. (Who says dessert can’t come first?) You can even reminisce about your college days with a Gracious Dinner recipe inspired by every MHC student’s favorite dining hall meal. Karen Berman ’78 studied culinary arts at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris and is a freelance writer and editor.

Getting Away with Torture: Secret Government, War Crimes, and the Rule of Law By Christopher H. Pyle (Potomac Books) When photos of prisoners being tortured at Abu Ghraib were released, the American public responded with shock. But according to Pyle, the most disturbing aspect of these war crimes is that they were sanctioned by the Bush administration. Those officials must be brought to justice in order to restore the rule of law, he argues. Christopher H. Pyle is a professor of politics at MHC.

More Books For descriptions of these books, go to www.alumnae. The Young Families of New York and New Jersey By Marjorie Smeltzer-Stevenot ’31 (CreateSpace) “Nothing But Our Best”: A Holyoke Industrialist and His Company By Richard P. Towne Jr. (Bridgeport National Bindery)


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Icons of Life: A Cultural History of Human Embryos By Lynn Morgan (University of California Press) What is the significance of a dead fetus? In this book, Morgan analyzes cultural attitudes and depictions of the human embryo, as well as the implications of embryonic biology in moral and philosophical questions. Lynn M. Morgan is a professor of anthropology at MHC.

A Closer Look

Chocolate for Breakfast … Vegan for Lunch? Barbara Passino ’69 always thought that American breakfasts were often the worst meal of the day. So when she and her husband bought the classy Oak Knoll Inn in Napa Valley, California, ( in 1992, she vowed to include some “humor and lightness and attention” to what had been a depressing slog through oatmeal and sundry fibers. A garden full of edible flowers, heirloom vegetables, and herbs provides the foundation of her breakfast offerings at the inn, but it’s her creative use of chocolate, inspired by Mexican chefs who use it as both a sweet and a savory ingredient, that gets the most attention. Recipes she has created for guests over the past seventeen years are now available in her cookbook, Chocolate for Breakfast: Entertaining Menus to Start the Day With a Celebration From Napa Valley’s Oak Knoll Inn. Chocolate has been a favorite food for Passino since childhood, when her mother, desperate to hush the wailing innkeeper-to-be, thrust a piece into her mouth. An aunt reinforced the habit by serving brownies for breakfast. At her inn and in the book, Passino offers a splash of chocolate in every menu, including chocolate tacos, a chocolate omelet with blueberries, and chocolate zucchini muffins.

about. A Boston-based blogger, she turned vegan about five years ago and stays away from all animal products— dairy, eggs, and honey as well as meat. But that doesn’t mean she stares green beans and tofu in the face every night. There are lots of substitutions for most traditional ingredients, and the recipes she’s collected in her cookbook Vegan Yum Yum and on her blog of the same name are meant to appeal to nonvegans, too. Honeydew coconut tapioca, caramelized leek and spaghetti-squash polenta, and eggplant Napoleons are a few of the offerings in Ulm’s book, which includes appetizers, main dishes, pasta, and desserts. The photos she takes of her creations are tantalizing—“there’s a huge market out there for food porn”—and her “knitting cupcakes,” featuring amazingly lifelike, mini sweaters and scarves made out of frosting, were adorable enough for Martha Stewart to invite her on her show. “The politics of veganism is not my focus,” says Ulm, whose blog,, gets more than 50,000 hits a month. “There are so many people out there that shove veganism in your face. I don’t want people to feel judged or that I’m saying you’re a terrible person; just that good food can be vegan.” —M.H.B.


Accompanied by 260 full-color photos by Marc Hoberman, a publisher of luxury coffee-table books, Passino’s recipes are the result of years of overseas travel and tweaking Italian, French, Asian, and Mexican recipes for the breakfast menu at home. Tweaking recipes is something Lauren Ulm ’05 also knows a lot

L auren Ulm

Marc Hoberman

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alumnaematters Experts in Climate Change and Global Governance Honored with Mary Lyon Award Maria Ivanova ’96 is an assistant professor of government and environmental policy at the College of William and Mary. She teaches classes in global environmental governance, climate change, and environmental diplomacy,

which lie at the heart of her work as director of the Global Environmental Governance Project. A joint project of the Yale University Center for Environmental Law and Policy and William and Mary, the Governance Project works to strengthen environmental policy making at the global level. Currently a Woodrow Wilson scholar on leave from William and Mary, Ivanova is examining the international environmental policy of the United States in the last forty years. She also represented the civil sector to the governing council of the United Nations Environment Program this past winter. One of the more pressing issues that global governing bodies now face is geo-engineering. Individual nations are becoming more adept at finding ways to cool the planet, but their unilateral efforts will likely have unintended consequences globally. “Geo-engineering is the most serious governance concern that we’re going to be facing in the next couple of decades,” Ivanova told a science journal. Ivanova is a native of Bulgaria and earned her PhD in international environmental policy at Yale in 2006.

Maria Ivanova ’96


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Katey Walter Anthony ’98

Katey Walter Anthony ’98 is an aquatic ecologist and biogeochemist and assistant professor in the Water and Environmental Research Center at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks. Interested in the processes that govern greenhouse gas emissions, Anthony conducts research on methane and carbon dioxide emissions from Arctic and temperate lakes and wetlands. In particular, she has examined how methane, a greenhouse gas far

K .W. A . p h o t o b y P e t e r A n t h o n y

Two alumnae whose professional promise and early achievement exemplify the humane values of MHC founder Mary Lyon received the prestigious award named in her honor in a campus ceremony in February.

Clubs Corner Alumnae Clubs in South Florida and Northern California Were Busy This Winter. The year-old South Florida Club welcomed biologist Amy Faivre ’92, who offered a lecture on the history, botany, processing, and uses of chocolate and coffee. (Now that’s a lecture we can get behind.)

Ivelisse Berio LeBeau ’87

more powerful than carbon dioxide, is being released from thawing permafrost in the world’s coldest reaches. The earth’s frozen soil holds vast amounts of carbon—an estimated 950 billion tons—that, with the earth’s rising temperatures, are being converted into methane and “burped” out of lake bottoms. Methane in the atmosphere traps heat efficiently, effectively contributing to more warming

to buy a fall 2009 recruit a new laptop, and rooted for the Lyons basketball team at their playoffs in Key Largo during winter break. Over on the West Coast, Californians attended a panel in San Francisco featuring alumnae experts in various financial fields that included Andrea Starrett ’98, a tax and estate attorney, Lori Friedenberg ’00, a retirement plan educator, and Maureen Kennedy ’79, a residential realtor.

One of their members, who imports coffee from Honduras, provided the beverages; others baked up a storm. Students from the area admitted to MHC early decision for fall 2010, their parents, current students on break, and others from local high school science clubs rounded out a gathering of some forty attendees.

Members of the East Bay Book Club discussed My Stroke of Insight, by Jill Bolte Taylor. And in Menlo Park and San Francisco, Mary Lyon’s birthday was celebrated at teahouses, complete with scones and clotted cream.—M.H.B.

Seven decades of alums in Florida also funded five book awards for high school juniors; raised funds

Crystal Reed ’14 (left) and Ariel Hicks ’13 at the South Florida Club event

and so more methane. Anthony’s research in part may lead to capturing the methane as a fuel for Arctic native peoples. Anthony, who is fluent in Russian and has spent considerable time living and working in Russia since 2001, also helps to network Russian and US Arctic observatories for long-term monitoring of climate change in cold regions. —M.H.B.

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


Spring 2010


Opening Acts Looking back on our first and near-first jobs can be fun, painful, even hilarious. They sometimes are the obvious first step in a related career; more often they are unrelated to anything but a chance to earn some cash and think about the years’ work ahead. Paula Alekson ’90, now working at one of the nation’s leading theatres, recalls with great fondness her first job out of MHC, working at a bait shop and tackling—the puns here are endless— the challenges at what she calls “testosterone central.” We’ll feature another account of an opening act in an upcoming issue. (Think goldfish.) But first, here’s Paula. —M.H.B.


A Real Fish Story I began working at Barb’s Bait in Southwick, Massachusetts, not too far from Mount Holyoke, in the summer of 1990. The bait shop was owned by Barbara Carpenter and managed by her daughter, Sherrie, who was a few years ahead of me in high school. Barb’s husband, Les, and I had done some community theatre work together (he played Tevye to my Yente the matchmaker in Fiddler on the Roof) and so he was my connection into the business, which was like a family. Barb’s Bait offered just about everything—bait and beyond!—for the outdoor sportsperson, 95 percent of whom were male. I often thought it ironic that I went from an all-women’s college to “testosterone central,” although it was the women— Barb and Sherrie—who were in charge. I used to fish with my father in my childhood, so I knew a little bit about bait: earthworms and mealworms/maggots, shiners/ minnows, artificial lures, fish eggs. In fact, we used to buy our live bait and tackle at Barb’s. But working there introduced me to wide world of outdoor sporting equipment.

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I sold ammunition (although I never sold a gun) to hunters; fletched arrows for archers; sold cold-weather gear and augers to ice fishermen; fly-tying products and paraphernalia to purist flyfishermen; deer scents and tree stands to buck hunters; and mosquito repellant to everyone. I even weighed and tagged the fish, deer, turkeys, and one heartbreakingly beautiful bobcat brought in by competitive hunters. This was the aspect of the job that I found the toughest to take and the easiest to leave when I went on to pursue a graduate degree in playwriting in 1991. Now, I have a PhD in drama and work for the McCarter Theatre Education Department in Princeton, New Jersey ( education). My fondest memories of Barb’s Bait revolve around the family. Barb Carpenter was a kind, strong, and quiet woman who made a huge pot of soup for us every Friday night during the busy spring and summer weekends. Sherrie was a wonderful woman who made me proud when she

called the game warden to report illegal fishing activity; some callous fishermen were snagging shad and bragging about it. And they were proud of me: When I got into graduate school, the local paper wrote a story about me and Barb or Sherrie cut it out and mounted it near the register with a sign that said, “Our Paula.” The tag line of the store was “Quit wishin, go fishin” and the ditty still plays in my head. Barb’s Bait is no longer in operation. However, if you drive through Southwick on Route 57 you might see it just off the road across from Calabrese Farm stand. I’ve wanted to write a play set in a bait shop similar to Barb’s, and actually started writing something years ago called Big Fish Story, but I never completed it. —Paula T. Alekson ’90

The following slate has been prepared in accordance with the bylaws of the Alumnae Association of Mount Holyoke College for election at the annual meeting to be held on May 22, 2010. Unless otherwise noted, terms are for the three years ending June 30, 2013. Each candidate has been fully informed of the responsibilities and rights of the position and has indicated consent to serve if elected. Alumnae may submit additional nominations as outlined in the bylaws. For Election to the Board of Directors: Vice President: Jennifer A. Durst ’95, New York, NY. Director of development, Financial Women’s Association of New York. MIA, School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University. Alumnae Association: Clubs Committee member 2006–09. New York Club: honorary board member 2008–present; former president 2006–08, vice president, Vespers concert, vice president of programs, membership chair, corresponding secretary Chair, Classes and Reunion Committee: Erin L. Ennis ’92,Washington, DC. Vice president, US-China Business Council. MA, international relations, Catholic University of America. Alumnae Association: Classes and Reunion Committee 2006–09. Class: former president 2002–07, reunion booklet chair, reunion nametag chair, Nominating Committee, reunion dinner chair Chair, Nominating Committee: Antoria D. HowardMarrow ’81, Bloomfield, CT. Assistant attorney general, state of Connecticut. JD, University of Connecticut. Alumnae Association: Nominating Committee 2007–present; director-at-large 2003–06, Black Alumnae Steering Committee 1990–2005. Class: current vice president

For Election to the Committees: Alumnae Honors Research Committee: Yakut Z.

Akman ’80, Darien, CT. Executive vice president, Citigroup, operations and technology. Certificate of economics with distinction, MHC. Certified information system auditor. Class: former vice president, reunion cochair, miscellaneous reunion chair. Fairfield Villages Club: officer 2008–present. College: ALANA Committee member 2007–present, foreign fellow 1976–80. Fay R. Trachtenberg ’82, Philadelphia, PA. Associate university counsel, Temple University, and codirector of the Higher Education Law Clinical, The Beasley School of Law, Temple University. JD, Temple University School of Law. Class: current class agent; former reunion gift caller, coscribe, Nominating Committee member, cornerstone representative. Philadelphia Club: current alumnae representative book award sponsor, former program chair, alumnae representative Alumnae Quarterly Committee: Cynthia L. Carpenter ’83, Minneapolis, MN. Independent consultant

specializing in corporate and organizational change communications. MS in journalism, Northwestern University. Class: former class agent, reunion gift caller. Mary Elisabeth “Missy” Schwartz ’97, New York, NY. Senior writer, Entertainment Weekly. MA in French, Harvard University Alumnae Relations Committee: Alison Tarleau Bourey ’69, St. Louis, MO. Director of research, ABM Management Group; adjunct faculty member, Maryville University School of Allied Health. PhD in sociology, Florida State University; MA in sociology of education, Teachers College, Columbia University. Class: former reunion questionnaire chair, reunion gift caller, class agent. St. Louis Club: former president 1988–90, Nominating Committee, recording secretary, chair of leadership award. Secretary of Race Walk Club of St. Louis. Kathleen “Katie” Glockner Seymour ’79, Lake Mary, FL. Assistant director of admissions, Trinity Preparatory School. MBA, Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Northwestern University. Member, Florida Executive Women. Alumnae Association: Young Alumnae Task Force chair 2000–02, Strategic Planning ad hoc chair 2003–05, Enrollment Task Force chair 1998, board second vp 1995–98. Class: former reunion gift caller, Nominating Committee chair, president 1989–94, scribe, miscellaneous reunion chair, class agent, special gifts volunteer. Central Florida Alumnae Region Club: current alumnae representative assistant and book award sponsor. Medal of Honor 1999. Active volunteer for nonprofits


Nominees as Alumnae Association Directors and Committee Members

Classes and Reunion Committee: Maria Sherry Murphy ’82, Manassas, VA. Community volunteer. Class: current Nominating Committee; former reunion dinner chair, reunion chair, reunion cochair, vice president, president 1992–97, class agent, reunion gift caller, scribe. Boston Club: former area coordinator. Loyalty Award 2007 Clubs Committee: Jacqueline Duvivier Castillo ’91, Los Angeles, CA. Director of business and development, Partnerships to Uplift Communities. MS, education, College of New Rochelle. Southern California Club: president 2006– present; former communications chair, secretary. College: member of the Campaign for 2011 major gifts, Los Angeles, CA, committee. Trisha L. Tanner ‘00, San Antonio, TX. Manager, corporate, foundation, and government grants, Artpace. San Antonio Club: current officer; former copresident 2007–09, alumnae representative, vice president, and program chair Finance Committee: Mary Ellen Mullen, ’73, Bellevue, WA. Principal, Bridgebay Consulting. MBA, University of Washington. Member, CFA Institute. Class: current class agent; former reunion gift caller. Member, Investment Committee, Pacific Science Center, city of Bellevue; Treasurer, Western Pension and Benefits Conference Board, and member, Association of Financial Professionals. Active volunteer


Nominating Committee: Virginia Radley Emes ’00, Washington, DC. Property manager. JD, Catholic University Law School. Alumnae Association: Young alumnae representative 2002–05; Programs Ad Hoc Committee 2003–04, Reunion Ad Hoc Committee 2004–06, Young Alumnae Task Force 2000–2002. Class: current Nominating Committee; former class agent, reunion gift caller. Washington, DC, Club: former officer. Young Alumnae Loyalty Award 2007 Nomination of Alumnae Trustee and Awards Committee: Linda Renasco Cadigan ’68, DeSoto, TX.

Senior consultant, Cadigan Associates. MA in philanthropy and development, St. Mary’s University. Alumnae Association: President 1991–94; Strategic Planning Ad Hoc Committee 1997–98; Structure Committee 1991. Class: current class agent; former president 1978–83, Nominating Committee, reunion gift caller. Dallas-Fort Worth Club: president 2008–present. College: trustee 1991–94. Medal of Honor 1988 Rebecca “Becky” Clarke Foster ’82, St. Joseph, MI. Student services academic advisor, Lake Michigan College. MA, education, Michigan State University. Alumnae Association: Alumnae Relations Committee 2005–07, Program Committee 2004–05. Class: former reunion gift caller, reunion chair, vice president, class agent, miscellaneous reunion chair. Detroit Club: former young alumnae chair, board member-at-large. Western Michigan Club: president 2005–present; former vice president, president 1992–2002, alumnae representative. Medal of Honor 2007

Proposed Change to the Alumnae Association’s Bylaws The following bylaw amendment, concerning the composition and responsibilities of standing committees, will be considered at the annual meeting of the association on May 22. The full text of the current bylaws is at about/governance/bylaws.php. The proposed change to the bylaws concerns Article VII, Section 4, paragraph 6b, and the proposed text is below. b. Responsibilities. The Finance Committee shall recommend financial and accounting policy and an annual budget to the Board; shall be responsible for the supervision of the assets of the Association in accordance with the financial policies set by the Board; shall have authority to act on behalf of the Association with banking institutions; and shall have such other responsibilities as may be designated by the Board.

Recent Appointments to Board and Committees: The following term has been extended: The Board of Directors has extended the term of Linda Ing Phelps ’86, treasurer (2007–10) by one year, to June 30, 2011, to bring the term of the treasurer into concurrence with the rotation of the officers as outlined in the bylaws. Cynthia L. Reed ’80, Alumnae Association president, has appointed the following: Director-at-large (focusing on human resources) (term to June 30, 2012): Joanna MacWilliams Jones

’67, Waldoboro, ME. Vice president, human resources, Education Development Center, Newton, MA. MLS, Simmons College; MAT, Harvard University. Alumnae Association: Director-at-large 2003–06, 2009–present; Executive Director Search Committee cochair 2008–09; Personnel Committee 2004–07. Central Maine Club: current alumnae rep book award sponsor for 2 schools. Class: former reunion gift caller, class agent, president 1982–87 Director-at-large (focusing on global initiatives) (term to June 30, 2012): Sharyanne McSwain

’84, Brooklyn, NY. Director, finance and administration, StoryCorps. MBA, INSEAD. New York Club: former alumnae rep. assistant, secretary, committee member, 2008 “Mount Holyoke College in NYC” event


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The following alumnae have accepted appointments to fill committee vacancies: Classes and Reunion Committee (term to June 30, 2011): Lindsay E. Theile ’04, Cambridge, MA. Com-

munications manager, General Electric. Class: class agent; former president, vice president, reunion gift caller. Boston Club: current event planner, alumnae rep. assistant; former newsletter editor. Cincinnati Club: former young alumnae chair, alumnae rep. assistant Nominating Committee (term to June 30, 2012):

Julia Doig Wilcox ’87, Fredericksburg, VA. Chief regulatory coordinator, US Citizenship and Immigration Services, Department of Homeland Security. JD, Louisiana State University. Class: current cornerstone chair; vice-president, former head class agent, class agent, reunion gift caller. Maryland Suburbs, Virginia Suburbs, Baton Rouge Clubs: former alumnae representative. College: Annual Funds Committee, 2007–present Nomination of Alumnae Trustee and Awards Committee (term to June 30, 2012): Avery B. Ouellette

’98, Washington, DC. Private sector alliance advisor, US Agency for International Development. Master’s in city and regional planning, Cornell University. Class: Former reunion gift caller. College: Young alumnae trustee 2000–03, Student Government Association president 1997–98. Former non–governmental organization representative for the UN Commission on the Status of Women

bulletinboard techniques employed by the artists is included.

Nearly Nude Move over, Calendar Girls! MHC students have posed tastefully, and nearly nude, in “Bare Nutrients 2010,” a local/seasonal foods calendar to benefit the MHC Food Justice Society. To order the $16 calendar, e-mail them at fjscalendar@ A 2011 calendar also is being planned.

The Art of Devotion … Connections … and, Yes, Wine

Crossing Boundaries/ Making Connections runs to June 13, and examines how culture, medium, and time period influence the depiction of a subject. For example, containers used for basic shared activities, such as food preparation and storage, take very different forms in diverse cultures. Arranging objects into thematic groups brings new insight and suggests alternative ways of interpreting a variety of subjects, including the natural world, perceptions of war, and hybrid creatures. Wine and Spirit: Ritual, Remedies, and Revelry is the featured exhibit September 2 through December 12.

The Art Museum has three exhibits slated in upcoming months. The Art of Devotion: Panel Painting in Early Renaissance Italy runs to May 30. At heart a collaborative venture, early fifteenth-century panel paintings in Italy depended upon a tight network of connections among patrons, painters, woodworkers, and gilders. Shown at Middlebury College in the fall of 2009, the exhibition is itself collaborative and includes six works from the MHC museum and fourteen others from national and international collections. A display of the materials and

Louis Philippe as a jailer straddling three cages, Ste. Pélagie, La Force, Blaye by Auguste Desperret (courtesy of Laura Weston)

This is a cross-disciplinary exhibition examining the historical importance of wine in western culture. The evidence from which it will draw is primarily art historical, but written sources—both literary and scientific—will also be used to chart the flow of ideas. Wine and Spirit will be the first exhibition held in the United States to examine the beverage’s spiritual benefits in light of its psychological, physiological, and alleged pharmacological effects. The story is timeless, beginning in the Neolithic period and continuing to the present day, and will be told through a variety of works of art, including paintings, sculpture, ceramics, and graphic works.

MHC Art Hits the Road Saint Elizabeth of Hungary and Saint Anthony of Padua, attributed to Lippo d’Andrea (courtesy of the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum)

The pen—in this case, the lithographic pen—is mightier than the sword,

or something like that. Political criticism directed against King Louis Philippe of France by a coterie of artists including Auguste Desperret resulted in a profusion of graphic satire—and its censorship. Forty of these terrific caricatures from the MHC Art Museum will travel to the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, this spring to hang alongside the cartoons of contemporary artists Gary Trudeau and Jeff Danziger in Lines of Attack: Conflicts in Caricature.

Class and Club Products Lots of MHC-related class and club products are for sale. For details and photos of many items, visit www.alumnae.mtholyoke. edu/shop/alumgifts/php or phone the Alumnae Association at 413-5382300 to request a printed copy of the information.

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


Spring 2010


travelopportunities June 25–July 2, 2010 The Canadian Rockies: A Family Learning Adventure

With Smith College and Achilles Professor of Geology H. Robert Burger Treat your children or grandchildren (ages seven– seventeen) to a magnificent learning adventure in the spectacular 
Canadian Rockies. Stay at the legendary Banff Springs Hotel and the lovely Chateau Lake Louise. Explore 
glaciers and lakes, see thundering waterfalls, and search for wildlife. Ride horseback, hike, canoe, and stand 
on a glacier 1,000 feet thick. Then embark on one of the most scenic train rides in North America as we 
travel from Jasper National Park to Vancouver. The trip includes a comprehensive Young Naturalist Program 
led by a professional children’s educator, and concludes with two days in beautiful Vancouver. Cost: $4,995 per adult (double occupancy); $3,995 per child (double occupancy); $2,995 per child (triple occupancy). For reservations or for more information, please contact Siemer & Hand Travel at 1-800-451-4321 or at Interested? To request a brochure for any of these trips, please call the Alumnae Association at 413-538-2300 or visit our Web site at For additional information, please call the travel company sponsoring the trip.


June 24–July 5, 2010 Portugal’s Douro River

With MIT, Smith, Williams, and Dartmouth Discover the sights, sounds, and flavors of Portugal on this twelve-day river cruise and tour. Your trip begins in Lisbon, Portugal’s vibrant capital, before traveling north to Oporto to embark on your seven-night cruise along the scenic Douro River. Stops include walking tours of a fourteenthcentury former Benedictine monastery in Bitetos; the famed Wine Academy in Pinhão (where we will enjoy a wine tasting); the sixteenth-century House of Shells in Salamanca; and the medieval, almond-

August 10–17, 2010 Wild Alaska

With Vassar College and professor of anthropology Lucille Lewis Johnson Explore real Alaska on this adventure to the “last frontier.” Trek under rainforest canopies in the mountain town of Girdwood. Ride a tram above 2,000 feet to

w w w. a l u m n a e . m t h o lyo k e . e d u

tree-lined city Figueira de Castelo Rodrigo. The trip concludes with two hotel nights in Lisbon to explore the city and historic Sintra and Queluz nearby.

the top of Mount Alyeska for unparalleled glacier views. Journey through the spectacular Chugach Mountains and learn about native flora and fauna. Dip your toes in the clear, turquoise waters of the famed Kenai River, and scan the riverbanks for abundant moose populations and the occasional black (or brown)

Cost: From approximately $3,250 per person plus airfare. For reservations or for more information, please contact Avalon Waterways at 877-303-7735. bear fishing in the river. Raft, explore, and relax in private wooded wilderness settings. Cruise through Kenai Fjords National Park and encounter an array of wildlife (whales, sea lions, puffins, seals, and more). Savor delectable fine dining and unwind at upscale wilderness lodges. All guided activities are available in casual, moderate, or challenging options—a perfect trip for any level of adventure-seeker. (Limited to sixteen travelers.) Cost: $4,195 per adult, double occupancy; $3,595 per child (sharing room). For reservations or for more information, please call Alaska Wildland Adventures at 1-800-334-8730.

thank you

President Creighton for your leadership and many contributions.

Please make your contribution to the College today, and insure that talented young women have access to a Mount Holyoke education. Nearly 70 percent of our students receive financial aid from the College—alumnae support of the Annual Fund makes this possible. Thank you.

Mary Lyon Dreamed Big. So Do We. For more than 100 years, the Alumnae Association has proudly continued Mary Lyon’s tradition of helping talented women realize their potential—and their biggest dreams. One way we help alumnae is through the FOUNDER’S FUND. The FOUNDER’S FUND helps support the day-to-day work of an independent Alumnae Association, and also directly supports alumnae endeavors in the world. Graduate study, independent projects, and educational initiatives alike are made possible by the Founder’s Fund in the form of individual alumnae grants.

Dream big. give to the Founder's Fund today. For more information on the FOUNDER’S FUND and how you can contribute, please visit our Web site at or make a check out to the Alumnae Association and send it to: Alumnae Association of Mount Holyoke College, Mary E. Woolley Hall, 50 College Street, South Hadley, MA, 01075.

When the desire to do the greatest possible good becomes firm and unshaken, I know not what may not be attempted. –Mary Lyon

Network in your nightgown. Just like you used to. Remember planning your future brilliant careers over M&Cs? Keep the conversation going on our LinkedIn group for MHC alums. It’s the best place to seek and share success stories since M&Cs.

Give yourself a treat. Join today.