Mount Holyoke fa l l 2016
An Eye to the Future
The Mount Holyoke College Art Museum celebrates 140 years with an infusion of new acquisitions I N TH I S I SSU E POLICY ADVISOR ANN O’LEARY ’93 AT THE FOREFRONT OF MARRIAGE EQUALITY INSIDE THE PRESIDENT’S HOUSE REMEMBERING THE PEPPER BOX
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President’s Pen I N T H E I R 2 0 1 4 B O O K How College Works,
Acting President Sonya Stephens (third from left) enjoys the company of participants of the Mount Holyoke College Shakti Program in Mumbai, India, in August.
of high school girls in the program MHC Shakti, designed to ignite leadership among young women in India. Alumnae Shoba Narayanaswamy Narayan CG’87, Vijaya Pastala ’89, and Gayatri Rangachari Shah ’94 coordinated panels of alumnae and other leading women to inspire the thirty-nine students, ages fifteen to nineteen, to lead in their way—and, meanwhile, engaged in some “sidelines sisterhood” themselves. These are the moments when the sense of belonging is most visible and energizing, because of a shared focus of attention directly connected to the Mount Holyoke mission and experience. Such instances of connection are the ways in which, collectively, we “shape the available pathways into membership’s inner rooms,” as Chambliss and Takacs write. As we break ground on the new Community Center, and welcome the class of 2020, it seems especially important to honor, foreground, and sustain our sense of belonging.
Photo courtesy of MHC Shakti
Daniel F. Chambliss and Christopher G. Takacs write about the way in which the social world of college “spreads out from a small circle of two or three close friends, to a wider group of routine acquaintances in the dorm . . . or classes, to a much wider, looser network of familiar faces and recognized groups.” I am powerfully reminded of these networks and a sense of belonging whenever I meet and work with groups of Mount Holyoke alumnae. Amid the excited chatter and energetic greetings, there are names of classmates and There are ties that memories of events—ties that bind us to a place, wherever bind us to a place, we may meet, to a time, often wherever we may layered with subsequent visits and experiences, and to the meet, to a time, company of others. Classes just a few years or many often layered with decades apart are united by common experiences among subsequent visits uncommon individuals and by an emotional bond that and experiences, seems somehow written into the ink of the diploma. and to the company I see these connections of others. in the recruitment efforts of alumnae, from giving — SO NYA STE PH E N S flowers to elfing. I see it in volunteer efforts and giving, in the sharing of internships and in other forms of access to professional networks. We all experience it, electrically, at Reunion, and in the intergenerational ritual of scarving, when the fiftieth-reunion class bestows upon graduating seniors a scarf in their class color during Commencement ceremonies, a culmination and a beginning. Most recently, in Mumbai, India, I experienced this Mount Holyoke bond as passion to share education, experience, and opportunity with a group
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Contents F E AT U R E S
D E PA R T M E N T S
16 An Eye to the Future
2 LYONS SHARE
Recognized as one of the best college art museums in the nation, Mount Holyoke’s museum embarks on a new chapter
24 Policy Runner
The visionary work of Ann O’Leary ’93
28 We Are Family
In the legal battles for marriage equality, Mount Holyoke alumnae have formed a formidable (and sometimes unwitting) team
Welcoming Sonya Stephens, remembering a classmate, Fidelia Fiske connections
5 UNCOMMON GROUND
Alumnae fellowships, College appoints new staff, Community Center meets fundraising goal, welcome class of 2020
34 Mo HOME MEMORIES Pepper Box
35 On Display Sundials
9 Ten Minutes With Public health officer Zanethia Eubanks ’94 10 Insider’s View President's House 12 Go Figure Library
Cover: Deirdre Haber Malfatto; back cover: Joanna Chattman; Marriage Equality detail: Davide Bonazzi; sundial: James Gehrt
13 The Maven Joan McIver Gibson ’54 on making your wishes known 14 The Female Gaze Queer gospel singer Mallory Cohn ’08; oil painter Margaret Vanderbeek Barstow ’42; authors Bridget Hodder ’85 and Kathleen Weidner Zoehlfeld ’78
36 Then and Now Laundry
Reunion 2017, alumnae insurance coverage, travel opportunities, PaGE 38 A Place of Our Own Library bridge
40 CLASS NOTES 80 MY VOICE
Katie Wagner ’03 on “Hearing, in Fragments”
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FAC E B O O K
I N S TAG R A M
Lyons Share A SPECIAL GIFT Having an unusually quiet after-
SENDING STRENGTH Nina [Marciano ’15], sharing your
noon and was delighted to read the Alumnae Quarterly for summer 2016. The issue was a positive, enlightening, respectful, engaging, worthwhile, upbeat capsule of Mount Holyoke today, and a special gift to us. —Carol Conron Wilkes ’54 Manchester, Vermont
story is an inspiration in ways you can’t imagine, on so many levels. (“On Finding My Strength and Myself,” summer 2016, p. 80.) Your words will impact girls and women for generations. Thank you for your strength, your courage to share. I, too, spent my junior year in Israel. I did not have your experience, but I feel anguish knowing how true it is that you would experience an assault by men on a beach in Israel. Your speaking about it publicly opens people’s eyes. —Susan Lowenthal Axelrod ’84 via Association website
SUPPORTING A NEW LEADER I first met Acting President Sonya
Stephens in September 2013 at the European Alumnae Symposium in Warsaw, Poland. I’d like to think that I’m one of the alumnae who stayed up late in conversation that she mentioned in her comments about alumnae (“A Degree of Continuity,” summer 2016, p. 16). I’ve been a fan ever since. Stephens is thoughtful, sensitive, and accessible. I am a member of the class of 1965. Mount Holyoke, and the world, were very different then. I have been enriched by my time on campus and the attendance at two European alumnae conferences in the last five years, including a class mini-reunion, preparing for our fiftieth reunion, and the glorious fiftieth itself. Spending time and conversing with Acting President Stephens, past-president Lynn Pasquerella ’80, and many students, especially our granddaughter class of 2015, has assured me that our College is led by some extraordinary people and populated with outstanding, diverse students from around the world. —Jacqueline Berkowitz ’65 via Association website
WE SHARE D
Margaret (Peggy) Brown Cratty ’48 recently celebrated her 90th birthday surrounded by family and friends. This photo is of her shouting “Way to GO for the BIG NINE OH!”
First brunch with friends since graduating #mountholyokecollege #mhc #alumnae @aamhc @E M MAG I NAD E R E M MA G I NAD E R ’ 15
Peggy looking as good as ever!!! —Elizabeth (Betsy) Wagner ’81 Happy birthday, you badass! Love it! —Samantha Tilton ’01 Peggy was my earth science teacher during high school, and her family hosted an annual “tag sale” to raise money for a community art center that everyone in our town attended. Happy 90th birthday! —Margaret Covert ’86 Love this! Happy birthday, Peggy! —Joyce Stavro Vyriotes ’96 I hope I am still that feisty when I turn 90! —Karen Jochimsen ’94 Peggy is now my idol. ♥ —Julianne Trabucchi Puckett ’91
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SPACE CONNECTIONS Thanks for this article (“Moon
FOOD BENEFITS I read with great interest Bryn
Studies,” summer 2016, p. 9). I’ve loved space exploration and astronomy. I took the “baby” astronomy class with Professor [Kenneth] Yoss in 1959, worked for a summer at the Maria Mitchell Observatory in Nantucket, and was a lab instructor for beginning students the next year at Mount Holyoke. But I didn’t have the courage or passion to major in science. I’m so happy to read about someone who did and has had an impact. It was fascinating to read how her work in archaeology led her to the moon. —Catherine Zastrow Onyemelukwe ’62 via Association website
Oakleaf’s ’05 piece about reducing food waste in the summer Alumnae Quarterly (“Minimizing Wasted Food,” p. 13). I live across the country from Bryn in the Portland, Oregon, metro area, where I work for a regional grocery chain, New Seasons Market. The food waste generated by American grocery stores is immense. From over-ordering to equipment failures to inadequate municipal composting programs, the challenges are numerous—but manageable. At New Seasons, one of the most important ways we repurpose food waste is by eating it. Non-sellable but still-edible food is offered first to employees, and also to local gleaners. Tonight, I brought home a cake, organic strawberries and raspberries, whipping cream and yogurt, bananas, almond milk, salad greens, carrots, crackers, fresh pasta and sauce, and—my favorite—about ten pounds of Brussels sprouts. It’s a fantastic benefit not only to the planet, but also [boosts] my paycheck. —Kate Summers ’02 via email
IN LOVING MEMORY I was very touched by this tribute,
remembering Denise as a beautiful young woman, part of our “Sister Class” (“Forever Dancing,” summer 2016, p. 33). I pulled the 1965 Llamarada from my den bookshelf and reminded myself of her lovely smile, from her senior portrait. What a wonderful, fitting gesture by your class. The sculpture is perfect. —Susan d’Olive Mozena ’67 via Association website Anyone who took classes with [Professor Leonard] DeLonga would remember him as an exceptional person. This sculpture is such a fitting tribute. My graduating class got a print of one of his sketches as a parting gift that I still cherish. —Amena Rahman ’90 via Association website
I live and work in town and use Kendall Hall three to four times a week. The sculpture is stunning with an incredible energy surrounding it. Now that I know the story behind it, I will pay my respects to Denise and her loving classmates. —Lori Souder ’80 via Association website
SHARED HISTORY I just read the cartoon story of
Fidelia Fiske, class of 1842 (“Mount Holyoke in Persia: The Life and Work of Fidelia Fiske,” summer 2016, p. 26). The drawing of her gravestone reminded me: she is buried across the street from our former home on Shelburne Center Road [in Buckland, Massachusetts]. I passed that gravestone every day! Given that Mary Lyon was Buckland’s favorite daughter, it is likely that her family and Fiske’s family were acquainted long before Fiske attended Mount Holyoke. I am not sure of the date of construction of the huge barn that still stands on Zerah Fiske Road, but it is exciting for me to think of it as being connected to this fascinating person, whose work would be more than relevant in the present day. —Kim O’Brien Schotte ’78 via Association website
I was so pleased and happy to see the article on Mount Holyoke in Persia. My grandmother and great-grandmother attended Miss Fiske’s seminary in northern Iran. And, one of my relatives was Bishop Mar Yohannan, the first Christian Assyrian to come to the United States. He came in 1842 to Mount Holyoke to hire a missionary. They asked Miss Fiske to come to Iran—or Persia—to open a school like Mount Holyoke for young Christian girls. This was the main reason I attended Mount Holyoke. —Mary Soleiman ’59 via email
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Mount Holyoke Alumnae Quarterly
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M OU N T H O LYO K E A LU M NA E QUA RT ERLY Fall 2016 Volume 100 Number 4
Taylor Scott Senior Director of Marketing & Communications Jennifer Grow ’94 Editor Millie Rossman Creative Director Anne Pinkerton Assistant Director of Digital Communications Jess Ayer Marketing & Communications Assistant CONTR IBUTORS
Kyley Butler ’18 Olivia Collins ’18 Alicia Doyon Maryellen Ryan Elizabeth Solet Nicole Villacres ’18 Amy Yoelin ’18
Beth Mulligan Dunn ’93, chair Katharine L. Ramsden ’80 Carolyn E. Roesler ’86 The Mount Holyoke Alumnae Quarterly is published quarterly
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ALUMNAE ASSOCIATION BOARD OF DIRECTORS
President Marcia Brumit Kropf ’67 Vice President Susan Brennan Grosel ’82 Treasurer and Chair, Finance Committee Tara Mia Paone ’81 Clerk Ashanta Evans-Blackwell ’95 Alumnae Trustee Carrianna Field ’97 Young Alumnae Representative Elaine C. Cheung ’09 Chair, Nominating Committee Nancy J. Drake ’73 Chair, Classes and Reunion Committee Danielle M. Germain ’93 Chair, Communications Committee Shannon Dalton Giordano ’91 Chair, Volunteer Stewardship Committee Charlotte N. Church ’70 Chair, Clubs Committee Elizabeth McInerny McHugh ’87 Directors-at-Large Katherine S. Hunter ’75 Amanda S. Leinberger ’07 Alice C. Maroni ’75
on a cardboard box. Totally worth
Executive Director Nancy Bellows Perez ’76 ex officio without vote
cuz BABY’S STARTING MOUNT
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HOLYOKE IN THE FALL #23days @AM E LIA AR D E N G AM E LIA G R E E N ’20
letters. Letters should run not more
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CORRECTIONS: A tweet in the summer 2016 Alumnae Quarterly
Lyons Share section (p. 4) was incorrectly attributed. The student was Kellyann Cameron ’17. “Insider’s View” (Chapin Auditorium at 100, p. 10-11) incorrectly referred to the clothing on the third floor of Mary Woolley Hall as costumes. The clothing stored in the building is the College’s Antique Clothing Collection. Thanks to Tracy Whelan ’14 for reminding us of this.
EDITORIAL AND DESIGN TEAM
“His eyes are blue, and blue eyes up close are a celestial phenomenon: nebulae as seen through telescopes, the light of unnamed stars diffused through dusts and elements and endlessness.” —from Night of Cake & Puppets, by Laini Taylor #Jorge #MountHolyoke #goose #blueeyes
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N E WS
TEN MINUTES WITH
T H E M AV E N
THE FEMALE GAZE
Uncommon Ground Commission on the Relationship Between the College and the Alumnae Association The Board of Trustees of Mount Holyoke College formed the Commission on the Relationship between the College and the Alumnae Association at their meeting of February 2016 as part of the College’s strategic planning process. The trustees appointed as cochairs the then-president of the College, Lynn Pasquerella ’80, and the president of the Alumnae Association, Marcia Brumit Kropf ’67. The Commission’s charge was to find a sustainable model of working together that truly enables Mount Holyoke to have a more unified approach in engaging the large and diverse alumnae constituency. Over several months the Commission deliberated over many meetings— including one with more than forty members of the College and Association staff—and through a rigorous process created a report that envisions a new era of shared work, shared communications, and shared planning. To learn more about the Commission’s charge, joint statement, and recommendations, visit mtholyoke.edu/go/ thecommission.
Alumnae Fellowships Provide Opportunities for Learning “AFTER FORTY YEARS, I recently returned to the small Spanish town that was the site of my doctoral fieldwork on women’s work,” Jenny Masur ’71 says after finishing a three-month visit funded by a Mary E. Woolley Fellowship from the Alumnae Association. Recently retired and eager to return to her anthropology studies after a career as a historian for the National Park Service, she jumped at the chance to apply for funding and was excited to win. Near Granada in a location she declined to specify, Masur was able to stay in the same house she had lived in before and was remembered by many of the townspeople she had met forty years ago. “I stood out,” she says. “There really weren’t any foreigners back then.” Masur immersed herself once again in the rural community to see how the day-to-day work of women had evolved since her first visit. Masur explains that forty years ago the women’s work in this community was mainly housework and handicraft, like sewing, knitting, and crocheting. “Younger women there do not sew their own clothes anymore,” Masur says. “Domestic and agricultural work largely doesn’t exist for women anymore. Many
women have left to look for jobs since there aren’t any in the town.” Masur believes that increased access to mass media and life as migrant workers have influenced the town’s culture as well. Women now seek experiences they may have seen on television or heard about from workers who have traveled to cities and abroad. “It is the generation of women in their fifties and sixties who best understand the sharp contrast between the struggles of their parents and their children,” she says. In the 1970s residents brought money back to pay debts, start businesses, and buy land. “It’s not like the old days where women made their own dowries of embroidered sheets and tablecloths.” “I really was happy to be with the women I knew before,” Masur says. “They have been through so much in the last forty years. Big changes with modernization, technology, and higher standard of living.” Thanks to generous gifts from alumnae, the Association is pleased to provide a number of fellowships to support research, travel, and study. To learn more, visit alumnae.mtholyoke.edu/fellowships. —BY ANNE PINKERTON
Alumnae Quarterly Reader Survey We want to know what you think! We’ve put together a brief survey that will take only a few minutes to complete. All participants will be entered into a drawing to win a $100 gift card to the College bookstore. View and complete the survey at alumnae.mtholyoke.edu/quarterlysurvey. Many thanks!
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Marcella Runell Hall Appointed to Vice President of Student Life In July, Marcella Runell Hall, a social justice scholar who has served as dean of students at the College since 2014, was named the College’s vice president of student life. She will continue to serve as dean of students. Hall’s appointment to the new position comes after an extensive study of the needs and goals of the division of student affairs and was confirmed unanimously by the Board of Trustees.
Welcoming the Class of 2020 “I am delighted that Dean Hall has agreed to further expand her responsibilities at the College,” said Acting President Sonya Stephens. “Her deep commitment to student experience, her enthusiastic interest in the lives and success of our students, and her creative approach to the work will continue to enhance the Mount Holyoke experience on every level.” During her tenure at the College, Hall has enhanced the student experience by launching Living Learning Communities, revamping the orientation program, and creating a diversity peer education program called MoZone. Hall has also taken leadership roles in important college functions, chairing the student experience committee for strategic planning and serving on the Community Center with Dining working group, which she will cochair moving forward. She has also taught courses for the departments of religion and psychology and education. Previously, Hall worked in student activities and multifaith leadership at New York University. She has contributed to journals, edited award-winning books, and has a forthcoming book, Uncommon Bonds, a collection of essays about women, race, and friendship.
Orientation 2016 featured a variety of social, practical, and academic activities to help the newest class of blue lions to build community and feel comfortable right from the start. New this year, incoming students were grouped by their first-year seminar cohorts, and they moved through orientation activities together, guided through the weekend by nine student leaders. “I just love seeing the new students when they first get on campus,” Orientation Fellow Kalyani Kannan ’17 said. “I want them to feel like this is home: MoHome.” While Orientation officially concluded on Labor Day, Welcome MoHome, a series of community-building events for both new and returning students, continued into the fall and included Welcome Back A Cappella Jam, the Student Organization Fair, varsity home sporting events, and Nightfest, an outdoor music and food extravaganza. The culminating event is Family and Friends Weekend in October. Learn more about orientation activities and the class of 2020 at alumnae. mtholyoke.edu/orientation2016.
ACTIVITI ES I NCLU D E D A M IX O F TH E O LD AN D TH E N EW: n Flourishing 101, a series of wellness
programs and activities such as yoga, watercolor, and meditation;
n A social media treasure hunt with
the prize of dinner with Acting President Sonya Stephens and Marcella Runell Hall, vice president for student life and dean of students;
n First Saturday, an event complete
with food trucks, music, and photo booths;
n M & Cs in the library; n A community-wide talk entitled “On
Pop Culture, Race, and Politics: The Way We Talk about Things” by sociopolitical pundit Jay Smooth, the vlogger behind The Ill Doctrine;
n Parent-geared presentations from
offices including Student Financial Services, the Career Development Center, and the Nexus program while students met with their advisors; and, of course;
n The annual outdoor showing of
the movie Dirty Dancing, as usual punctuated by raucous cheers at the line, “Baby’s starting Mount Holyoke in the fall.”
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Couldn’t Stop the Feeling at Convocation
MHC Office of Communications (4)
On September 6, the sky was grey, but the mood at Convocation was anything but somber. Jubilant students dressed festively in their class colors streamed into Gettell Amphitheater for the official kick-off of the academic year. A bursting crowd of faculty, staff, and students—including 580 first-years and more than fifty new transfer and Frances Perkins scholars—were welcomed by Vice-Chair of the Board of Trustees Mindy McWilliams Lewis ’75, who shared her enthusiasum and excitement. Acting President Sonya Stephens, in her first community address since her July 1 appointment, then addressed the crowd, saying, “This is the moment—the opening-of-school moment— when, for each of us, change occurs.” Jon Western, vice president for academic affairs and dean of faculty, congratulated the incoming class of 2020 on their “perfect vision” for choosing to attend Mount Holyoke. “When you come back here in sixty or seventy years you can tell the story of how Mount Holyoke prepared you for a world you couldn’t have imagined when you graduated.”
Mary Lyon thrilled the crowd as she danced across the Gettell stage
Brent Ciszek, a member of staff council, spoke about the work of some of the less visible members of the Mount Holyoke community—staff, who support students and faculty in every way—before introducing Professor of Economics James Hartley. As Hartley launched into a satirical version of a Walt Whitman poem, music poured out of speakers, and faculty and staff onstage and in the audience with the senior class broke into a choreographed dance to Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop the Feeling.” Staff moved through the crowd, shaking pom-poms and dancing, some throwing bags of rainbow-colored Skittles to the cheering students, who joined in Mount Holyoke’s first-ever official flash mob. When the crowd had settled, Student Government Association President Marwa Mikati ’17 shared three lessons she has learned in her time at Mount Holyoke: embrace change, develop resilience, and fight for yourself. View photos and watch a video of the flash mob at alumnae.mtholyoke.edu/ convocation2016.
Corson to Lead the Miller Worley Center for the Environment
Catherine Corson, associate professor of environmental studies, has been appointed director of the Miller Worley Center for the Environment, which is dedicated to engaging students in the scientific, human, and global dimensions of environmental study. As director, Corson will develop programs for students, faculty, and staff to promote better understanding of the environment and encourage integration of environmental education into all facets of life, on and off campus. Corson will also expand programming to explore the social, cultural, historical, political-economic, and scientific dimensions of environmental concerns. Corson, who has taught at the College since 2010, has published numerous papers in the field of environmental policy and has served on the faculty advisory board for the Miller Worley Center for three years. In addition, she has served on the faculty advisory board for the McCulloch Center for Global Initiatives. Corson succeeds Tim Farnsworth, who served a seven-year term as director. “I will focus on the mission of fostering women’s leadership to address the environmental challenges of the twenty-first century, and build on Mount Holyoke’s commitment to advance women’s leadership in social change,” Corson said. Mount Holyoke Alumnae Quarterly
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Art Museum Names New Director Art historian and curator Tricia Y. Paik, who currently serves as curator of contemporary art at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, has been named the next Florence Finch Abbott Director of the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum. Paik, who has twenty-five years of experience in the art world, was selected after a national search led by a committee of professors, administrators, and members of the museum’s advisory board, said Jon Western, vice president for academic affairs and dean of faculty. She will join the College on November 30. As director of the museum, Paik will be responsible for leading and planning innovative curatorial, academic, and scholarly programs, directing day-to-day operations, and cultivating increased faculty engagement with the museum’s nationally acclaimed Teaching with Art program. She will also oversee
acquisitions and fundraising, as well as new initiatives for community engagement. “I am delighted that Tricia has agreed to lead the museum,” Western said. “She has the expertise in modern and contemporary art, and the vision and the talent to bring the community into the museum and to fulfill our mission of interweaving the arts and the curriculum at Mount Holyoke. This is a key priority for the College.” Paik has held positions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, and the Saint Louis Art Museum. Sophomore During her career, she Institute has curated more than thirty exhibitions and Wins Award installations. A leading The Sophomore scholar on the art of Institute, a half-day Ellsworth Kelly, Paik professional conferis the main author of ence offered every a 2015 Phaidon Press winter at Mount survey of Kelly’s life and Holyoke College, has career, the first monowon the 2016 Career graph published about Services Excellence the artist since 1971. Award from the Paik graduated cum National Association laude with a bachelor’s of Colleges and degree in English and art Employers in the history from Dartmouth small college cateCollege in 1991 and earned gory. Read more both a master’s and PhD at alumnae. from the Institute of mtholyoke.edu/ Fine Arts at New York sophomoreinstitute. University.
Mount Holyoke reached a fundraising milestone last summer as it topped the $25 million goal for the construction and renovation of a revitalized community center, a bold project that affirms the College’s commitment to community as an essential component of an exemplary liberal arts experience. Inspired by an unprecedented commitment from an anonymous donor—including both a $5 million outright gift and a $10 million, dollar-for-dollar matching challenge grant— alumnae and friends of the College stepped forward to secure the College’s philanthropic goal of $25 million toward the $50 million project that will enable a significant expansion of the current campus center into a reimagined hub for campus life. In a thank-you letter to donors, Board of Trustees Chair Barbara McLearn Baumann ’77 highlighted the importance of the project: “The center will be the new ‘heartbeat’ of the campus, serving to amplify Mount Holyoke’s dedication to strengthening community— one that draws its unique spirit from students and scholars from many different backgrounds and perspectives.” The total cost of the Community Center with Dining will be funded through private philanthropy, debt refinancing, and the issuance of new debt. In March, the College secured $25 million through a private market debt placement at the very competitive rate of 2.44 percent, thanks to the College’s status as a tax-exempt institution, low market rates, and the school’s financial strength. Blanchard Hall and Lower Lake Road were closed for the summer as site preparation began for the large addition to Blanchard. This fall, the foundation will be laid for the new addition. Meanwhile, the current campus center reopened for the school year. The expanded center will open in the spring of 2018. The targeted campaign for the Community Center was just one component of what was the most successful fundraising year in College history. Donors gave a total of $58.4 million—including $8.96 million for The Mount Holyoke Fund—this past fiscal year, the largest amount ever given in one year.
Paik: Mount Holyoke College Art Museum
Funding Secured for Community Center Project
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In the Service of Others ZANET HIA EUBA NKS ’ 94 is an active-duty commander in the United States Public Health Service. She is currently stationed in Washington, DC, as the team lead for baseline studies at the US Department of Agriculture. During the past twenty years she has served at several federal agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Eubanks has been deployed several times, responding to natural disasters and disease outbreak. She considers her work to be her purpose, a calling that found her rather than the other way around. On how she decided to go into public service: It was decided for me. Destiny chooses you. Before I graduated from Mount Holyoke I did research at the University of Illinois, Chicago. I wanted to return after graduation, but my grandmother suffered a stroke, and I chose to go back to Atlanta, where I grew up. I took a job as an administrative assistant at a beer distributing company, and one day my boss said, “Z, you are capable of doing more. My daughter works at the CDC and she is going to law school. Maybe you can fill her position.” On getting her master’s degree: I was working on a project for the CDC, gathering details about children with birth defects and developmental disabilities. One day a woman asked about the data we were collecting and if we
Paik: Mount Holyoke College Art Museum
ten minutes with
PUBL IC HE A LT H O F F I CE R
Public health reaches and touches all of us.
had information to share with her. During a meeting at the CDC, I raised my hand and proposed that we create a newsletter. One of the doctors asked me who I was and said anyone who wanted to improve the program needed an advanced degree. So I walked next door to Emory University, applied to the master’s in public health program, was accepted, and completed the program in less than two years. Later I saw the same doctor, updated him about my degree, and reminded him of my proposal. Better communication was established.
On human trafficking: While working in Atlanta I took a training course on services for victims of human trafficking. I later learned that Atlanta ranked number one on the Federal Bureau of Investigation list for trafficking youth. I had to weep, get angry, and share my knowledge with others. As a mother, I saw it as my duty to educate people. I helped to ensure that other officers knew what training courses their agencies offered and how they could become more aware of victims of human trafficking in their communities and during deployment. On how Mount Holyoke made a difference: As a first-year student I was honored to meet President Elizabeth Topham Kennan ’60 when we were both walking across the Green one day. I began to share some frustrations, and she extended an invitation to join her for tea. She took a special interest in me and served as a mentor, teaching me the importance of seeing the gifts, talents, and abilities in others. I have been chosen to advocate for those who cannot speak for themselves, and I am humbled by those who have encouraged me and who seek the best in others. And, thanks to President Kennan, my eyes have been forever opened in appreciation of a “gracious” tea. Mount Holyoke Alumnae Quarterly
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The President’s House Tucked away on the western edge of campus behind Pearsons Hall sits the house where the past eight Mount Holyoke presidents have lived. The pale yellow three-story stucco home was commissioned by the College’s eleventh president, Mary Woolley, designed by Horace Frazer of Boston, and built in 1908. The first floor includes an inviting library—once an open patio, now bathed in natural light—with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves that now house the vast collection of both English- and French-language books of Acting President Sonya Stephens. Next to the library is a wide living room with an enormous fireplace. Under the front window—one of many that features the original leaded glass—sits a baby grand piano, often played by guests during parties. The formal dining room looks more contemporary these days because of Stephens’ inclusion of a long glossy black table and a glimmering row of pendant lights in lieu of a traditional chandelier. Sliding glass doors open to an expansive patio and a tiered backyard. As many as 1,100 people have filled the lush, green space for presentations by speakers, receptions for students and parents, luncheons for faculty and visiting authors, and parties for alumnae. A grand kitchen is outfitted with two of everything—stoves, refrigerators, dishwashers, and ovens—to help caterers from Willits-Hallowell Center prepare food for guests. College carpenters built the cabinets, and the airy space is much the same as it was when the house was first built. The front entryway is one of the favorite spots of House Manager Brenda Adams, who has looked after the house for nineteen years. Distinctive William Morris wallpaper with jewel-toned flowers decorates the foyer and runs the length of the white staircase up into the second floor, which is where the family resides.
Hardwood floors throughout the house are adorned with Oriental rugs, and many paintings from the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum have been borrowed to beautify the walls. President Stephens, her husband John Triggs, their two teenage sons, and the “first dog,” a brown-and-white cocker spaniel named Cleo who lives for belly rubs, moved in over the summer. — B Y A N N E P I N K E R T O N
The third floor, once the quarters of Woolley’s partner Jeannette Marks, now includes two well-appointed guest rooms with private baths, as well as Adams’ cozy sage-green office.
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a place ofview our own insiderâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s
Learn more and take a video tour of the president's house at alumnae.mtholyoke.edu/presidentshouse.
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Originally built in 1905, the Collegeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Williston Library was joined with Dwight Hall in 1992 with the Miles-Smith addition. One of the busiest buildings on campus, the library remains a beloved space for teaching, studying, and learning.
1,600 24 19 Number of periodical subscriptions
130,155 Total square footage
Number of hours per day open to students during reading periods and finals
Number of designated classroom spaces
750,000 Number of volumes held
3 Number of elevators
7Â˝ Number of floors
10 Number of stairwells
Deirdre Haber Malfatto
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THE ADVA NCE D I R ECT I V E MAV E N
Sharing Your Wishes AR E YO U A MAVE N?
J O A N M c I V E R G I B S O N P H D ’ 6 5 is a philosopher, bioethicist, ethics
consultant, and trainer. She founded and directed the Joan Gibson Health Sciences Ethics Certificate Program at the University of New Mexico (UNM), and for twenty years she chaired a hospital ethics committee in Albuquerque. She worked on New Mexico’s living will law in the 1970s. In the 1980s she and colleagues at UNM created the values history form, the precursor to values-based advance directives such as Five Wishes, a legal document that in the event of a patient’s inability to communicate, considers a patient’s personal, emotional, and spiritual needs as well as their medical wishes. Pitch us your area of expertise at quarterly@ mtholyoke.edu.
These days, with apologies to Tina Turner, I’ve been asking myself, “What’s death got to do with it?” You can’t pick up a newspaper or magazine without encountering advice about preparing for death or documenting your end-oflife wishes. Are we starting at the wrong end of life’s stick? Is our preoccupation with legal documents misplaced . . . or at best premature?
Form or Friend? Since the late 1970s, when living wills appeared on the medical landscape, we’ve been pressured to document our end-of-life wishes. There’s even a federal law, the Patient Self-Determination Act, which requires hospitals to ask us, upon admission, “Do you have an advance directive?” They are referring to a legal document that indicates a person’s wishes with respect to future health care in the event that they are unable to communicate. Ask physicians and other health care professionals, “What best helps you when caring for patients who can’t speak for themselves, having a completed set of documents on file or having a person on hand who knows the patient’s wishes, who has discussed over time what matters to them, and (ideally) who is authorized to make decisions?” Hands down they’ll tell you it’s the latter. Above all, each of us needs a health care companion throughout our lives.
The Young People in Our Lives Many of us may have completed our advance directives and shared them with family and friends. We might even have had conversations about our later-in-life wishes, though some of our younger family members might not share our enthusiasm for such conversations. Yet how many of us know the health care wishes of the young people in our lives? Have we asked? My late husband’s kidney donor was a seventeen-year-old who had been in a mountain-biking accident. He had checked “organ donor” on his driver’s license, but he and his family hadn’t ever talked about what that really meant to him. Throughout our lives, risks and responsibilities around health care change. We should encourage everyone, from mid-adolescence on, to find a health care companion and talk with them about health care values and wishes. Talk. Listen. Now. What we’ve learned since those early days of advance directives is this: 1. The need for health care and quality-of-life decisions can and will arise throughout our lives. 2. Most health care decisions are not end-of-life decisions. They are, however, quality-of-life and lifestyle decisions. 3. If we learn how to make good health care decisions early on, we are better
prepared for later, serious decisions. The emergency room and intensive care unit are poor places to start. Let’s grow a generation of skilled health care decision makers, from mid-adolescence on. 4. The most important planning piece is talking with a health care companion about our health care wishes, throughout our lives, not just as we approach the end. Keep a card in your wallet with your health care companion’s contact information. Urge others to do so as well. — BY J OA N M C I V E R G I B S O N ’ 6 5
For more about Joan and for resources about how to make your own health care wishes known, visit alumnae.mtholyoke.edu/healthcarewishes.
Mount Holyoke Alumnae Quarterly
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the female gaze
P E R FO R MI N G A RTS
AR E YO U AN ARTI ST?
Email your submission to quarterly@ mtholyoke.edu.
A BUNCH OF PHD CA NDIDATES forming a queer gospel group? Sounds unlikely and unusual, but it’s true for Mallory Cohn ’08 and three friends at Indiana University in Bloomington. In 2013 Cohn was invited to join The Anointed, a new all-femme group that was the dream project of one of the founding members who grew up steeped in the Southern gospel tradition. The concept, Cohn says, was “both to parody a certain kind of Christian masculinity and to reclaim some really beautiful songs for queer folks who feel excluded from religious spaces.” The quartet sings largely a cappella with a little banjo, mandolin, or tambourine sprinkled in, performing covers of songs made famous by Mallory Cohn (second from right) performs with The Anointed.
artists such as Elvis Presley (in his gospel phase), the Louvin Brothers, and the Carter Family. “While we generally pick songs that have some innuendo to them—for example, the Gaither Family’s ‘He Touched Me,’” Cohn says, “sometimes we will just sing a song because people know and love it, so we can have a sing-along with the audience—like [the hymn] ‘I’ll Fly Away.’” The four women dress as their alter egos: three in drag (“Mine is Little Jimmy, the youngest member of the group, who wears a bow tie and is often being tempted away from good old-fashioned religion by newfangled things,” Cohn says.) and the fourth as what Cohn refers to as “a wonderfully funny church lady.” Between songs, there are humorous spoken word sketches that are scripted just for fun, but The Anointed’s commitment to the music remains steadfast; they work hard on their harmonies and genuinely love the songs they sing. Cohn spent two years at Mount Holyoke in the Diversions a cappella group, which she says, “was great preparation both in singing harmonies and in being a big hambone on stage. I never thought I’d manage to sneak into a group like this armed with just my voice and a pitch pipe.” The Anointed has gone on some mini-tours but mostly plays to enthusiastic hometown fans in venues ranging from nightclubs to communes. They’ve performed with other left-of-center artists such as Lavender Country, a band that released the first known gay-themed country album in history, and Marlene Twitty-Fargo, a Nashville-based drag queen who performs bawdy versions of country classics. “Sometimes people will laugh because the context really makes it clear how a lot of these tunes were already pretty queer before we ever got there, but it’s important to us to make clear that . . . we’re grinning at a kind of evangelical culture, not sneering at it,” Cohn said. “We also like to think that we can help folks appreciate the lovelier parts of a culture from which they feel [un]invited. After almost every show, someone will tell us how cathartic the show was for them. It’s so fun to make people laugh and even more fun to make them cry, as long as it’s a good, therapeutic cry.” Watch The Anointed perform at alumnae. mtholyoke.edu/anointed.
—BY ANNE PINKERTON
Anointed: Courtesy of Mallory Cohn; Barstow (2): Courtesy of Dan Barstow
Queer Gospel: A Reclamation
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The Rat Prince Bridget Hodder FARR AR , STR AUS AN D G I ROUX
In this middle-grade novel the dashing Prince of the Rats— who’s in love with Cinderella—is turned into her coachman by the fairy godmother on the night of the big ball. And he and Cinderella are about to turn the legend (and the evening) upside down on their way to a most unexpected happy ending! BRIDGET HODDER ’85 began her career in archaeology, translating ancient documents in order to tell the stories of longdead civilizations. She now lives and writes full time in a small New England seaside town. This is her first novel.
How Deep is the Ocean? Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld HARPE RCO LLI NS PU B LISH E RS
With beautiful illustrations by Eric Puybaret and engaging text, How Deep Is the Ocean? will guide young readers into the deepest parts of the ocean. Featuring a find-outmore section with a water-pressure experiment, a lesson in making a sounding line to learn how scientists measure the depth of the ocean, a glossary of new terms, and webresearch prompts, this book will help children begin to explore the deep sea. KATHLEEN WEIDNER ZOEHFELD ’76 was a children’s book editor for more than ten years before becoming a full-time writer. She is the award-winning author of more than seventy books for children, including several in the Let’s Read and Find Out Science series. WEB EXCLUSIVE
See more recent alumnae books at alumnae.mtholyoke.edu/ fall2016books.
O IL PA IN T IN G
For the Fun of It All FI V E Y E A R S AG O, at the age of 90, Margaret (Meg) Vanderbeek
Barstow ’42 decided to attend a twice-monthly oil painting class taught by Connecticut artist Brian Colbath for residents of her retirement community, Avery Heights, in Hartford, Connecticut. It was her first foray into painting with oils, but she decided to have fun with it. “I always loved doing things with my hands, whether it was sewing or gardening, so I thought I would give it a try,” said Barstow. She now has nearly twenty of her own paintings on display in her apartment. While many in the class work from an image shared by the instructor, Barstow, who spent her career as a public school teacher in Connecticut, prefers to draw inspiration from photographs she and her late husband, Robbins Barstow, took during their world travels in their early retirement years. Most recently, using a postcard from the College as reference, Barstow painted an autumn picture of Mount Holyoke’s Upper Lake, an area of campus she often walked around during her college days. As an economics and sociology major, Barstow decided she also wanted to take one of the few art courses the College offered. She enjoyed it so much that she continued to take art classes throughout her time at Mount Holyoke, including a few sculpture courses. Barstow says returning to art and learning oil painting has been a rewarding experience. “You can start off knowing nothing about oil painting and at the end of the class have a beautiful, complete painting,” she says. “It has certainly made my retirement years a lot of fun!”
— B Y J E S S AY E R
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An Eye to the Future
Recognized as one of the best college art museums in the nation, Mount Holyokeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s museum embarks on a new chapter, strengthened by an infusion of acquisitions that takes the institutionâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s mission of teaching with art to new heights
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By Lori L. Ferguson Photos by Laura Shea Courtesy of Mount Holyoke College Art Museum
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Artist unknown Jar with poetic inscriptions, early 13th century (Seljuq Period, 1037–1196). Persian. Stonepaste; lusterpainted on opaque white glaze. Purchase with the John Martyn Warbeke Art Fund. 2013.29.1
Aisin Gioro Hongwu (Chinese, 1743–1811). Landscape in the style of Huang Gongwang, late 18th–early 19th century (Qing Dynasty, 1644–1911). Ink and colors on paper. Gift of Professor and Mrs. Po-zen Wong. 2014.38
he Mount Holyoke College Art Museum’s recently completed 140 Gifts campaign— conceived by former director John Stomberg to solicit 140 new works for the collection in celebration of the anniversary—prompted such an outpouring of objects and acquisition funds from generous alumnae collectors and donors that the museum was able to meet its goal many times over, explains Interim Director and Weatherbie Curator of Education and Academic Programs Ellen Alvord ’89. Equally important, she says, the initiative allowed museum staff a valuable opportunity to think about how they wish to shape the permanent collection and continue integrating the museum into the College’s educational mission. “We’re entering a new chapter in the museum’s history and we’re eager to share,” says Alvord. “140 Unlimited—our yearlong, museum-wide exhibition and calendar of special events that kicked off September 6—is less about the history of the museum and more about the recent evolution of the collection.” The influx of new objects into the collection—a range of gifts and acquisitions that numbers more than three hundred works—bolsters Mount Holyoke’s standing as a teaching museum, a concept that has gained increasing strength over the last few decades at colleges and universities around the country. The premise is straightforward: museum collections do not exist solely to delight; they should also challenge and inform. Since launching the campaign in 2011, staff have delved deep into the museum’s holdings, identifying lacunae in the collection and seeking input from faculty and students as to their educational needs and interests. Former director John Stomberg set the stage for this new chapter on the museum’s 135th anniversary, says Alvord, and its conclusion dovetailed in late summer 2016 with the appointment of a new Florence Finch Abbott director, Tricia Y. Paik, an art historian and curator who has twenty-five years of experience in the art world and was most recently curator of contemporary art at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. “It’s a very exciting time of new beginnings,” Alvord says. “Our faculty has expressed incredible interest in teaching through the use of visual and material culture, and the reinstallation of the museum with so many remarkable recent acquisitions has created new opportunities for engaging our campus and community visitors.”
A Rich History From its earliest incarnation, Mount Holyoke has viewed its museum as an integral and dynamic player in student education. The College’s collection began to coalesce in the 1840s, when an assortment of a few hundred items from Africa, Asia, and the South Sea Islands arrived in South Hadley, sent by graduates of the Mount Holyoke Seminary for Women who were serving as teachers and missionaries in these far-flung locales. These objects were displayed in
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a cabinet in the original Seminary Building for students to study and enjoy. The administration’s actions were prescient; at the time, only a handful of other US colleges and universities—Dartmouth College (1769), Bowdoin College (1811), and Yale University (1832)—had already established an art gallery or museum. In 1876 Mount Holyoke’s trustees officially established the art museum, and in the years following it continued to occupy a place of importance in the College’s educational mission. For the museum’s 1876 inaugural celebration, trustee wives Mrs. E.H. Sawyer and Mrs. A. Lyman Williston purchased Hetch Hetchy Canyon, a sweeping landscape painted the previous year by the renowned artist Albert Bierstadt. “In choosing a work of contemporary art, these donors were making a clear statement about what they thought was critically important for a museum within an institution with a rapidly expanding liberal arts curriculum,” notes Wendy Watson, the museum’s curator of forty-one years, who retired in June of 2015. As the years passed, the collection continued to grow. Originally housed on the top floor of Williston Hall, in 1902 the museum moved into a dedicated space, the Dwight Memorial Art Building, and in the early 1970s, it moved once more to its current home, a designated building that also houses Gamble Auditorium and the art department’s offices and studios. By 1976, the museum’s centennial year, the collection contained 4,000 objects and was managed by the art department. It was around that time that Watson was hired as the first curator for a one-year term, tasked, says Alvord, with “getting things organized.” Instead, Watson guided the collection for the next four decades, overseeing a quadrupling of objects and setting the stage for teaching with art at a whole new level. “The ideal academic museum is a place where everyone is a student, where every visitor is engaged in the delight of looking, learning, and enjoying works of art from across the great span of cultures and time periods,” Alvord says. “It is a place for the production of knowledge, the exchange of ideas, and the expansion of consciousness—a place where you can exercise your eyes, your mind, and your creative sense, and when you leave, experience the world from a changed point of view.”
Étienne Aubry (French, 1745–1781). Les Adieux de Coriolan à sa Femme au moment qu’il part pour se rendre chez les Volsques (Coriolanus Taking Leave of his Wife to Join the Volscians in their Attack upon Rome), ca. 1780. Oil on canvas. Purchase with funds given in honor of Helen Leidner Chaikin by her daughter Joyce Chaikin Ahrens (Class of 1962). 2014.32 Albert Bierstadt (American, 1830–1902). Hetch Hetchy Canyon, 1875. Oil on canvas. Gift of Mrs. E. H. Sawyer and Mrs. A. L. Williston. 1876.2.I(b).PI
A Meaningful Expansion This view has reaped great rewards. Today Mount Holyoke’s museum is recognized as among the finest college art museums in the country and contains some 24,000 objects thoughtfully gathered through a combination of acquisitions and generous gifts from alumnae, friends of alumnae, and other collectors who appreciate the museum’s commitment to teaching with art. “We’re recognized for having a broad, encyclopedic collection,” says Associate Curator Hannah Blunt, “but we’re also known for our significant ancient art collection as well as our extensive holdings of works on paper.” The collection is likewise distinguished by the fact
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Artist unknown Aureus of Faustina the Elder, ca. 155–161 CE. Roman (minted under Antoninus Pius). Gold. Purchase with funds from Susan B. Matheson (Class of 1968) in honor of Wendy Watson. 2012.56
Artist unknown Guanyin (Avalokiteshvara), 960–1368 (Song Dynasty or Yuan Dynasty). Chinese. Wood with traces of gesso, paint, and gilding. Gift of the Arthur M. Sackler Foundation. 2012.40.2
John Beasley Greene, (American, 1832–1856). Funerary Temple of Ramesses II at Western Thebes, 1853–1854. Salted paper print photograph. Gift of Jennifer Vorbach (Jennifer Josselson, Class of 1978) in honor of John Varriano. 2015.11
that it’s a ‘collection of collections,’ Blunt points out. “We have a number of autonomous collections within our collection—the Joseph Allen Skinner Museum with its nearly 7,000 objects is the largest—but the early missionary gifts, the Fellows Collection of Silver and Snuff Bottles, and the Richter Collection of Netsuke are very important as well.” In response to the 140 Gifts campaign, generous donors have strengthened the collection significantly, enabling the museum to add depth to virtually every facet of its holdings, Blunt notes. Among the many wonderful additions: a gold coin of the Roman Imperial period depicting Faustina the Elder, a purchase with funds from Susan B. Matheson ’68 in honor of Wendy Watson; an eighteenth-century French pastoral landscape given by Renee Scialom Cary ’48; a grand Neoclassical history painting, a purchase with funds from Joyce Chaikin Ahrens ’62; a collection of early-twentieth-century Pueblo ceramics from Juli Shea Towell ’55 and Gil Towell; major postwar sculptures from Shelby Baier White ’59, Linda Taft Litton ’58, and Astrid Rehl Baumgardner ’73; a number of marvelous works of contemporary photography, given by Jeffrey and Julie Lavin Loria ’86, Renee Conforte McKee ’62, Susan Abert Noonan ’82, and Jennifer Josselson Vorbach ’78; and a group of approximately two hundred vernacular photographs from Ann Zelle ’65. Important works were added in Asian ceramics and sculpture, fifteenth- to seventeenth-century European art, and contemporary printmaking as well. Emma Kennedy ’16, who hopes to pursue a career in the arts, was a curatorial intern at the museum, working to catalogue Zelle’s photography collection, and is thrilled with the opportunity for hands-on experience with original objects. “My involvement with the museum has been hugely influential in the way I think about museums and art history,” says Kennedy, “and the exposure to original works of art has developed my analytical skills.”
A Renewed Commitment The success of the 140 Gifts campaign ensures that the museum is well placed to continue the College’s tradition of teaching with art, a commitment that has deepened significantly within the last decade. In 2009, explains Interim Director Alvord, Mount Holyoke received a $500,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to “strengthen the academic role of the museum’s collections and programs.” Although the museum already enjoyed a reputation as a resource for innovative and interdisciplinary teaching on campus, the Mellon grant enabled the institution to enhance its offerings by funding the hiring of two additional full-time staff: a coordinator of academic programs and a curatorial assistant. When John Stomberg assumed the position as the Florence Finch Abbott Director in 2011, he continued the museum’s forward progress, lobbying enthusiastically for continued objectbased learning initiatives within the Mount Holyoke
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community. “Wendy Watson was instrumental in securing the Mellon grant for the museum and really focused the staff on teaching with art, then John arrived and added even more energy to the initiative,” says Alvord. “John was passionate about teaching with art and quite a visionary. During his tenure, he built a strong following and reconnected with many of our alumnae, as well as helped secure two important grants from the Pierre and Tana Matisse Foundation to fund creativity and diversity initiatives. Our staff is committed to carrying out the mission that Wendy and John fostered.” By all accounts, the return on this investment has been tremendous. In recent years, thousands of students have traded the traditional classroom for the gallery, conducting research on pieces in the museum’s archives and curating exhibitions. This year the museum’s assistant curator of education, Kendra Weisbin, also introduced a new Student Guide Program, enabling student volunteers to lead “Sightlines Tours,” which introduce visitors to the collection through individually created, theme-based tours such as “Seeing the Light” and “Visualizing the Sacred.” English and sociology major and Frances Perkins scholar Chrissy Barney ’16 was among the students in the inaugural class of guides and says that her affiliation with the museum enhanced her time at Mount Holyoke immeasurably. “Creating and presenting my tour, ‘The Artist’s Perspective,’ was an incredibly rewarding experience. Speaking in public built my confidence, and working with original works of art kept me engaged in visual culture and helped me to think more creatively.” Numerous faculty members—seventy-six in the 2014–2015 academic year—representing disciplines from English and religion to chemistry and mathematics have likewise turned to the collections to provide experiential learning for their students. “When I taught a standard biology course, I always included a laboratory component because hands-on experience is essential for mastering the subject,” observes emerita professor of biological sciences Susan Barry, who retired from the College in 2015 after twenty-three years of service. “Similarly, the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum served as my laboratory for teaching students about the neurobiological underpinnings of art, and the presence of the real items engages the students in a way that a PowerPoint display never could. At Mount Holyoke, we encourage our students to integrate the ideas they learn across many disciplines, and this partnership of art and science at the Museum has been a resounding success.” Museum staff couldn’t be more delighted with the student engagement. “The Teaching with Art program has changed the way we think about the collections,” says Alvord, “not only in terms of subject matter but also in terms of transferable skills such as writing and critical thinking. It’s incredibly fulfilling to watch students thinking with objects.”
Kenneth Snelson (American, b. 1927). Wing 1, 1992. Stainless steel and wire. Gift of the artist. 2012.53
Zwelethu Mthethwa (South African, b. 1960). Untitled, from the Hope Chest series, 2012. Digital C-print. Gift of Susan Abert Noonan (Class of 1982) in honor of her sister, Janice E. Abert (Class of 1982), for all she does for MHC. 2013.7.1
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L E F T: Kara Elizabeth Walker (American, b. 1969). Exodus of Confederates from Atlanta, from the series Harper’s Pictorial History of the Civil War (Annotated), 2005. Offset lithography and silkscreen on Somerset textured paper. Purchase with the Susan and Bernard Schilling (Susan Eisenhart, Class of 1932) Fund and the Belle and Hy Baier Art Acquisition Fund. 2012.14.9
B E LOW : Christopher Wilmarth (American, 1943–1987). Gnomon’s Parade (Late), 1980. Etched glass and steel. Gift of Shelby Baier White (Class of 1959). MH 2014.18
Alec Soth (American, b. 1969). Misty, from the NIAGARA series, 2005. Digital chromogenic print mounted on Dibond. Purchase with funds from Julie Lavin Loria (Class of 1986). Photograph Laura Shea. MH 2012.9
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Chantal Joffe (English, b. 1969). Megan in a Green Coat, 2012. Oil on canvas. Gift of Jeffrey and Julie Lavin Loria (Class of 1986). 2012.47
Mary Lee Bendolph (American, b. 1935). Mama’s Song, 2005. Color aquatint etching. Gift of Renee Conforte McKee (Class of 1962). 2012.52.1
Blunt agrees. “Last year we had a class of first-year students in the museum studying entropy, which is a complicated subject. They examined a series of prints by Julie Mehretu—an Ethiopian-born, New York-based artist whose large-scale gestural paintings are distinguished by the ways in which they layer and compress time, space, and place through references to landscape, the built environment, diagramming, and mapping—and then gave presentations. Watching the students dig into a difficult mathematical concept through the study of art was just incredible.”
A New Chapter 140 Unlimited opened as a museum-wide exhibition in early September and will remain on view for the next year. “The infusion of new objects has provided an invaluable opportunity for us to freshen our permanent collection galleries and also think carefully about the ways in which we integrate recent acquisitions into our exhibitions,” says Blunt, “and recently acquired objects are highlighted through graphics, many with extended labels.” At least one special exhibition will also be built around a new holding in the collection. In the spring of 2017, Art Museum Advisory Board Fellow Taylor Anderson ’15, who majored in mathematics and art history with a concentration in Ancient Roman art and architecture, will curate an exhibition built around a recently acquired Roman Imperial bronze from the first- to second-century CE—Lar Holding a Patera and Cornucopia—a purchase with the Susan (Susan Eisenhart ’32) and Bernard Schilling Fund. The exhibition will focus on the lararium—a small room within the Roman home where the gods were worshipped and where the lar, a small domestic god, would have resided—and will include loans from nine prestigious collections and scholarly contributions by faculty in classics, history, and art history. Exhibitions such as this are profoundly important to the museum’s mission, which encourages direct engagement with remarkable objects and works of art as key to pedagogical innovation. Says Paik, who will join the College in November, “I am truly honored to serve as the next director of the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum. It will be a privilege to work with faculty and museum staff in shaping dynamic and engaging programming for students, to inspire them to think originally and critically about art and material culture.” Lori L. Ferguson is a freelance writer based in southern New Hampshire. She enjoys writing on creativity in all its guises. Visit her website at writerloriferguson.com. WEB EXCLUSIVE
Learn more about the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum’s 140 Gifts campaign and exhibitions, including a list of all of the art donors, at alumnae.mtholyoke.edu/museum140.
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★ ✓ p ★ ✓ p ★ ✓ p ★ ✓ p ★ ✓ p
Policy Runner The visionary work of Ann O’Leary ’93
By Tom Kertscher Photo by Nancy Rothstein
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The national press has taken to calling Ann O’Leary ’93 a wonk (Politico and Fortune magazine), and even a wonk and
a nerd (Elle). Of course, the fact that they talk about her in the context of an historic presidential campaign is something special. In fact, in both 2015 and 2016 Politico Magazine named O’Leary to its list of top fifty “thinkers, doers, and visionaries” who are transforming American politics. That’s a heavy-hitting wonk. So, for the senior policy advisor in Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, the gentle slights are actually badges of honor. “For me, those are huge compliments,” she says, convincingly. “I’m a bookish, ideas person, so I see those as wonderful compliments. I’m lucky to be part of the Nerd Squad.” O’Leary, a mother of two young children, has played a major role in shaping policy. Her focus is her passion—children, family, and women’s issues—in a campaign that aims to elect the first woman president of the United States. It would be a singular achievement, capping O’Leary’s years with the Clintons, both Bill and Hillary, in the White House and the United States Senate. And O’Leary attributes a good measure of her success to her Mount Holyoke education. One of the first to graduate with a major in critical social thought, and a member of a championship cross-country team, O’Leary also learned from being part of a diverse community for the first time in her life.
Learn more about Ann’s work as cofounder and vice chair of the Opportunity Institute at alumnae. mtholyoke.edu/opportunityinstitute.
Undergraduate Days The daughter of a union leader and a social worker, O’Leary found herself fascinated with politics and philosophy soon after arriving in South Hadley. For a future policy leader, her timing was fortuitous. Led by Joan Cocks, now professor emerita of politics, Mount Holyoke was developing the critical social thought major, designed for students “who want to interrogate cultural and social phenomena outside the confines of traditional disciplinary boundaries with the goal of analyzing relations of power embedded in knowledge production and social life.” “Critical thinking, writing, thinking hard about ideas really is something I’ve carried on my entire career,” O’Leary says. Mount Holyoke’s diverse student body was a revelation to O’Leary, who had grown up in a mostly white community. In describing her first year in Brigham Hall, she says, “Our group of friends included two women whose families had immigrated from India; another who was African American from Houston, Texas; an Asian woman from the Philippines; along with a woman from Wisconsin, another from Chicopee, Massachusetts, and me from Maine. . . . So we ended up having this very tight bond with this group of people who were very diverse, from very different perspectives, and we’ve remained lifelong friends. We still get together every couple of years. We stay in very close touch.” Another discovery, distance running, served as a healthy complement to all the deep thinking. O’Leary was a member of the 1992 cross-country team, which was the first at MHC to win a Seven Sisters Championship. (The other championships were in 1999 and 2007.) Her teammates included Lori Hendricks ’92, the Lyons’ current athletic director. “One of the things about Mount Holyoke is you get this amazing intellectual atmosphere, but also you get a real well-roundedness in terms
of being a whole person,” O’Leary says. “And I think as I have gone through my life, running is the thing that always grounds me and centers me. I feel like it’s such a gift that I was able to do that at Mount Holyoke and then literally continued for all the years since.” O’Leary still aims to run daily. “Especially when you’re on a campaign, it’s literally 24/7, not a lot of opportunity to take a deep breath,” she says, “and so I think getting away from the computer and the email and just having a moment to organize your thoughts and also just to relax a little bit, it’s good for your physical and mental health.”
The Clintons O’Leary’s time with the Clintons started almost immediately after graduation from Mount Holyoke. (She later earned a master’s degree in education policy analysis from Stanford University and a law degree from the University of California, Berkeley.) The work stemmed from her activism with the College Democrats. As a student O’Leary had worked on campus to get women to support Bill Clinton during his successful 1992 run for president. Then after graduation in 1993, while holding a job, she would get up at 4:00 a.m. to work as a volunteer at the White House, cutting up newspaper clippings (yes, pre-Internet) to keep Clinton and his senior advisors on top of national issues. That soon led to a staff position at the White House. Later, O’Leary became a policy advisor to Hillary Clinton as part of the first lady’s staff. O’Leary recalls first encountering the first lady indirectly. “I was working on the second floor of the West Wing of the White House one day and I remember hearing this amazing laughter coming from around the corner, and I said to somebody, ‘Who is laughing like that?’ And it was Hillary Clinton,” O’Leary says. She describes the hearty laugh as infectious, even if Clinton’s political opponents and Saturday Night Live sometimes mock it.
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Their first meeting was several years later, at The White House Conference on Teenagers in 2000. O’Leary consulted with Clinton as she put together the agenda. “I remember being very nervous and beginning to brief her and to tell her what was going on, and I remember being so impressed by how sophisticated she was in the research and understanding of youth development and what adolescents were facing,” O’Leary says. “I, of course, had read a lot about it and thought a lot about it. And I remember thinking how much she substantively added and made better what I had put forward.” Two years later, in 2001, after Clinton was elected to the US Senate, O’Leary became her legislative director for two-and-a-half years before leaving for several new positions over the coming years. O’Leary reconnected with Clinton in 2008, volunteering on Clinton’s first presidential campaign, and again in April 2015, when she took on her role as Clinton’s senior policy advisor.
that emerged was a collaboration on an initiative called Too Small to Fail, which promotes research on the science of children’s brain development and then helps identify ways that parents,
O’Leary attributes a good measure of her success to her Mount Holyoke education. One of the first to graduate with a major in critical social thought, and a member of a championship cross-country team, O’Leary also learned from being a part of a diverse community for the first time in her life.
Early Childhood Education “We both care so deeply about how kids in America are doing,” O’Leary says. “Even when there’s an issue that, frankly, may not poll well, but we know that the science really supports it, she’ll always really just back up how much we need to do something. “I always say to people, I’m very lucky because I get to work on Hillary Clinton’s favorite policy issues.” After Clinton left her position as secretary of state in early 2013, O’Leary wrote a long memo urging her to get involved in children and family issues in the US again. One of the things
businesses, and communities can utilize what the research finds. The initiative was launched by the nonprofit policy organization Next Generation, where O’Leary served as vice president and director of its children and families program. Next Generation later partnered with the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation on Too Small to Fail. O’Leary spent three-and-a-half years at Next Generation, then in April 2015 she cofounded the Opportunity Institute. The Berkeley, Californiabased nonprofit advances “pragmatic, evidence-based solutions that will combat inequality and build stronger, more equitable ladders to success.” Until August, when she was named codirector of the Clinton-Kaine Transition Project, O’Leary worked on the Clinton campaign from her home in Oakland, California, frequently flying to headquarters in Brooklyn.
She now spends much of each week in Washington, DC, flying home Thursday night or Friday morning to be with her kids and working remotely during weekends. The New Republic said Clinton’s choice of O’Leary meant the campaign wanted to make central to its platform the right to take time off work to recover from birth, care for a new baby, or tend to a sick relative without losing wages. Paid-leave advocates were “giddy” about O’Leary’s appointment, “believing that her position in the upper echelon means the campaign means business about this issue,” the magazine said. O’Leary says her advocacy for paid family and medical leave is among her proudest accomplishments. She began writing on the issue at Mount Holyoke. But she has also helped develop Clinton’s positions on issues such as childcare, debt-free college education, and the Zika virus, which affects pregnant women and unborn children. And she made speeches as part of her campaign work. That’s a lot of policy. Nirvana for a nerd. But it’s too soon to say whether another Clinton presidency would put O’Leary back in the White House. “I think we’re all so focused on just getting through the election,” she says. “I, of course, care deeply about the agenda that Hillary Clinton’s put forward, and I want to support her in whatever way it makes sense. But right now we’re just so focused on getting there and doing everything we can.”
Tom Kertscher is a PolitiFact Wisconsin reporter for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and the author of books on Wisconsin sports figures Al McGuire and Brett Favre. Follow him on Twitter @KertscherNews and @KertscherSports.
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W E A RE
FAM I LY In the legal battles for marriage equality, Mount Holyoke alumnae have formed a formidable (and sometimes unwitting) team
W R I T T E N BY
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On an August afternoon in 2014, attorney Mary Hackett ’84 was at her laptop in her Pittsburgh home when a Facebook post from a classmate caught her eye. KC Maurer ’84, who had been president of their class at Mount Holyoke, had posted about her sister, Sabrina Maurer ’90. She was clearly upset.
“Normally Facebook and I are strictly social,” KC says. “I like seeing postings of people’s families, and their happy events, and dog and cat videos. I very rarely use Facebook as a bully pulpit.” This time, though, she felt she had no choice. In the 2013 death of Kimberly Underwood ’91, Sabrina had lost the love of her life. Now, as if to add insult to injury, the bank where Sabrina and Kim had kept a safe-deposit box wasn’t allowing Sabrina to access it because—legally, at least—she wasn’t family. Sabrina and Kim had met as undergrads at Mount Holyoke and met again by chance in 1996 when Sabrina, who is now a medical writer with a doctorate in clinical pharmacy, was doing her residency at the University of Pennsylvania. Working over the Labor Day weekend, Sabrina had noticed Kim’s name on a patient list and stopped in to say hello. They reconnected, and after Kim left the hospital, the two spent more time together. “We both remembered what we liked about the other person,” Sabrina says. “And she made me laugh.” They fell in love. When Sabrina took a job in New Jersey, Kim, who would later earn a doctoral degree in medical humanities, went with her. In 2001, they committed themselves to each other in a church ceremony in front of one hundred friends and relatives. A year later they moved together to Doylestown, Pennsylvania—“sort of the Northampton of Pennsylvania,” Sabrina says. Their families embraced their union. When Kim died from complications related to a congenital heart condition in November 2013, they had been living together for seventeen years. “One of the things that really struck me,” KC recalls, “was the fact that even though Sabrina and Kim had been together for seventeen years and had
had a commitment ceremony, powers of attorney and wills naming each other, and advance health care directives, and all the legal stuff they thought they needed, Sabrina in many cases was not considered next of kin.” Sabrina had already been denied survivor benefits and life insurance. She had been forced to pay a stiff inheritance tax. Seeing her face yet another hassle was the last straw. In a posting her sister affectionately describes as “a little rant,” KC let fly: Friends, if you are in a committed relationship, but not married, whether gay or straight, please know that if your partner dies, things financial[ly] will be very difficult, if your assets are entwined. Kim and Sabrina were together for 17 years, but PA wouldn’t let them marry before Kim died. So my sister has been dealing with these complicated financial issues for 8.5 months now and the state of PA has been wretched. The latest indignity wrought by the state of PA is that she was not allowed to inventory the contents of a joint safe deposit box today, despite her lawyer having notified the PA dept of revenue not once but twice. . . They made her specify a date and time, which was today, but when she arrived at the bank, it was a no-go. . . And yes, she and Kim had wills, powers of attorney, advanced directives, etc etc etc. But none of that matters because the one piece of paper the state of PA wants is the one that they would not grant to this committed, loving couple. It just isn’t right. That is all. “That’s basically where this whole thing started,” KC says. “I just didn’t want it to happen to anybody else.”
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In Pittsburgh, Mary Hackett, a partner at the law firm McGuireWoods LLP, read KC’s post and had an idea: What if Sabrina’s marriage could be declared valid by the state, even after Kimberly’s death? Hackett thought it might be possible. She keyed in an Internet search for “common law marriage in Pennsylvania.” “My recollection was that if you entered into a common law marriage before 2005, Pennsylvania would recognize that marriage as valid,” Hackett says. “And sure enough, you just pull up the statute, and there it is.” She sent a message to KC, who connected her with Sabrina. Soon they were discussing next steps.
T H E R I GH T T O PA R E N T Although Sabrina Maurer’s case would break new legal ground, her battle was made easier by the efforts of fellow Mount Holyoke alums on the front lines of the fight for marriage equality. For example, in 1993, Ellen Wade ’70 and her wife, Maureen Brodoff, joined a case in Massachusetts to argue for Wade’s right to adopt their daughter, Kate. “Maureen was the birth mother,” Wade says. “Kate was born in 1989, and at that point I had no legal relationship to our daughter at all. That was worrisome and felt a little unsafe. Fortunately nothing ever happened that raised any kind of problem about my not having a legal relationship with her. But it was a concern.”
Hackett photo courtesy of McGuireWoods LLP; Maurer and Underwood courtesy of KC Maurer
Mary Hackett ’84
TOP: Sabrina Maurer ’90 (left) and Kimberly Underwood ’91 at their commitment ceremony in September 2001; BOTTOM: The couple's wedding party, including Sabrina’s sister KC Maurer ’84 (left).
They connected with now-prominent civil rights attorney Mary Bonauto, who was then a young lawyer with GLBTQ Legal Advocates and Defenders (GLAD), and joined their petition to a similar adoption case filed in the Massachusetts Probate and Family Court. When a judge denied the petition, GLAD appealed, and the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court heard the case. On September 10, 1993, the court ruled that Wade could adopt Kate, joining Brodoff as her parent and expanding the state’s definition of family. That victory was only the beginning. Eight years later, Wade and Brodoff were back in court. They made history again—this time with an assist from their daughter—as plaintiffs in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health, the Massachusetts court case that would be the first in which a US state’s highest court found that same-sex couples had the right to marry.
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TO P: Ellen Wade ’70 (left) and Maureen Brodoff celebrated their marriage in 2004; BOT TO M : Wade
(right) with fellow plaintiffs in the case that legalized same-sex marriage in Massachusetts.
Though the legal landscape has shifted in recent years, in April of 2001 it seemed highly unlikely that a court in Massachusetts would conclude that samesex marriage was allowed by the Massachusetts constitution. “It even seemed farfetched to us when we were talking about getting involved,” Wade says. “It seemed like a worthy cause, and a good thing to do, but I wouldn’t have bet very much money on the chances of success.” As the case progressed and the decision drew nearer, though, their hopes grew. When the court finally issued its ruling, Wade says, “it was a very joyous moment.” Unfortunately, political opposition remained fierce, and the court stayed its ruling for six months, “to permit the legislature to take such action as it may deem appropriate in light of this opinion.” It was during this waiting period, when the lobbying on both sides was most intense, that Wade’s daughter, Kate, decided to make a stand. In March of 2004, she spoke on the floor of the Massachusetts State House in Boston, registering the suburban normalcy of life with her moms—“softball, volleyball,
karate, movies, mall”—and the frank bewilderment of a fifteen-year-old trying to understand why her parents couldn’t get married. She spoke of her realization that her parents weren’t considered equal to other parents, even though they “love each other and care for each other and me,” she said. “We’re family. Why doesn’t the state see that?” A few months later, the state officially upheld the original ruling. Wade and Brodoff were married in Massachusetts on May 17, 2004, the first day same-sex marriage was legal there—or anywhere in the US. A Boston Globe photo from the ceremony shows them beaming, hand in hand, surrounded by news photographers. The Massachusetts decision would be a game changer. In state after state, same-sex marriage was legitimized through legislation or legal challenge. In 2013, the US Supreme Court declared the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional. Exactly two years later, in Obergefell v. Hodges—with Mary Bonauto one of three attorneys presenting oral arguments for plaintiffs to the US Supreme Court—the right for same-sex couples to marry was enshrined in US law. Of the Goodridge case, Wade says, “I think we helped to mold public opinion in Massachusetts. . . . Of course, to some degree, the court is going to make its own decision, regardless of public opinion. But I think we were able to help create the climate in which it was a little bit easier to decide the case the way that it did.” Without the pioneering legal forays of couples like Wade and Brodoff, someone like Sabrina Maurer—working before the Obergefell decision, to validate her marriage after her wife’s death—might have faced a far thornier challenge. But Wade wasn’t the only Mount Holyoke alumna to have laid groundwork for Maurer’s lawsuit.
When Sheila Vennell O’Rourke ’07 entered law school at Roger Williams in Rhode Island in 2009, she had already had some practice as an advocate. After graduating from Mount Holyoke, she had volunteered at a domestic violence hotline and with a social-justice organization in Northern Ireland. She decided to study law because she wanted to gain the skills to allow her to contribute on a broader scale. In 2013, about a year before Mary Hackett saw KC Maurer’s Facebook post, O’Rourke was hired as a clerk for Judge John E. Jones III of the US District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania. She soon learned the judge had been assigned a case in which the plaintiffs were challenging Pennsylvania’s statutory ban on same-sex marriage.
Top: Jim Rogash; bottom: Marilyn Humphries
A RELAT ED CASE
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“I needed the judge to grab hold of the recent decision and say, ‘I’m not going to follow that prior case.’”
Maurer and Underwood courtesy of KC Maurer
–ATTORNEY MARY HACKETT ’84 referring to Whitewood v. Wolf, a case on which Sheila Vennell O'Rourke ’07 clerked and which struck down Pennsylvania's ban on marriage for same-sex couples
“I was excited,” O’Rourke says, “just to know that would be going on in chambers. I had no expectation that I would be working on it because I would be the junior clerk at that point.” As it turned out, O’Rourke was one of two clerks assigned to Whitewood v. Wolf, and she became a key member of the judge’s team. “An opinion that issues from a judge’s chambers is a collaborative process,” Jones says. “The thought process is mine, and I own it in the end, but it’s a very collaborative process in the drafting. . . . Sheila was an uncommonly bright and good clerk and so she was a real force during her two years in chambers, and this case was no exception.” As she studied the case, O’Rourke was deeply moved by the plaintiffs’ stories. Among them was a woman who had lost her wife to cancer. Though legally valid in Massachusetts, the couple’s marriage wasn’t recognized in Pennsylvania. Despite the fact that the plaintiff had left her job to care for her spouse, the official death certificate listed the deceased as never married, and her widow was forced to pay the inheritance tax levied on single people. On the death certificate, she was listed simply as “the informant.” O’Rourke found that detail heartbreaking. “The majority of my friends are in same-sex partnerships,” she says, “so it was close to home.” She was gratified when Jones classified the plaintiffs as members of a group that had historically been subject to discrimination. “Our court had to go through the analysis of determining what level of scrutiny to apply to classifications based on sexual orientation,” O’Rourke says, “and Judge Jones decided to apply intermediate scrutiny, which was a little bit going out on a limb. That was a proud moment for me.” Jones’ ruling also meant that, about four months later, when Mary Hackett filed a petition in Pennsylvania to have Sabrina Maurer’s marriage to Kimberly Underwood recognized by the state, the way had been cleared for a sympathetic hearing. Whitewood v. Wolf is cited near the beginning of Hackett’s petition to the Bucks County court of common pleas. “I had to have that,” Hackett says. “If I had not had [Whitewood], Pennsylvania’s statutory ban on samesex marriages would still have been in place. So I had to have that decision, both to knock out that statute and to
give the court here, in Sabrina’s case, grounds to ignore a prior Pennsylvania decision, years earlier, that had banned common law, same-sex marriage in the state. I needed the judge to grab hold of the recent decision and say, ‘I’m not going to follow that prior case.’” Still, they didn’t expect to succeed. On July 29, 2015, when the ruling in her case was handed down, Sabrina was incredulous. “I’m standing there, and we really didn’t know which way the judge was going to go,” she says, “and Mary had already prepared me. She said, ‘Look, we may not win with the trial court, and if we don’t we will appeal.’ When he ruled for us, I almost fell over. It didn’t seem real. And then the press started to call.”
Kimberly Underwood ’91 (left) and Sabrina Maurer ’90 at home in 2011.
But she had one more appointment to keep. “After we got the decision,” Sabrina says, “I went up on the hill. Kim’s ashes are in three different places. She wanted them on her grandparents’ grave, she wanted them at Mount Holyoke, and she wanted them on our hill. So I went up the hill and told her. I’d like to think she’s proud of me.” Abe Loomis is a freelance writer based in western Massachusetts. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. WEB EXCLUSIVE
Read the 2004 Quarterly article "Altared States: How the National Same-Sex Marriage Debate Affects Alumnae" at alumnae.mtholyoke.edu/altaredstates.
Mount Holyoke Alumnae Quarterly
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O N D I S P L AY
T H E N A N D N OW
MoHome Memories A Place for The Pepper Box
Learn more about the Pepper Box, which is also featured in a fall Mount Holyoke College Art Museum exhibition, at alumnae.mtholyoke.edu/pepperbox.
LOST TO TIME , the Pepper Box was once a highlight of campus. Built in 1884, this small, twelve-sided building had two nicknames: The Pepper Box, for its resemblance to pepper shakers of the time; and the Spoon Holder, a rare oldtimey nod to the “spooning” done beneath its burgundy roof. Witty student remarks at the time tell us that “spooning” (and “stargazing”) was a euphemism for something terribly improper among unmarried persons! While some Mount
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SU N D IA L
Counting the Bright Hours A Wife Remembered
C L O SE OB SE RV E R S walking
Holyoke students would bring their male dates from Amherst and other colleges to the Box, subtle references are made to its popularity with lesbian couples as well, as seen in the song “There’s a Famous Old College” by 1899 graduate Marie Matson Hofmann, which cheekily says, “To the Holyoke maidens, the Pepper Box surpasses all, / As a place in which to linger, when the twilight shadows fall.” During daylight hours, the Pepper Box was also a popular spot for picnics. Situated on the top of Prospect Hill years before the gentle slope was covered in trees, picnickers could see across campus and beyond. Special performances were often hosted at the Pepper Box, including May Day celebrations and costumed parades. Alas, the beloved Box was removed in 1917 after a time of disrepair. An article from a local newspaper reported that “outsiders began using it as a target for sand and pebbles. The windows of the bandstand-like structure were frequently shattered and finally the college authorities decided . . . to tear the building down.” Pepper Box: MHC Archives and Special Collections; Sundial: James Gehrt
— BY OLIVIA COLLI NS ’ 18
through campus may notice several unique sundials. Some are situated on pedestals, some on the sides of buildings. All offer an opportunity to pause and reflect, and none has stood the test of time more than the sundial found in the garden beside Abbey Chapel. In 1938 the College was developing plans for landscaping around the newly dedicated Abbey Memorial Chapel. These plans called for a garden complete with various plant life, benches, birdbaths, and a sundial at its heart. With a gift from Edward Payson (E.P.) Bullard in memory of his wife, Mary Deacon Bullard, class of 1896, who had recently passed away, the garden came to life. After the garden was completed in 1940, the sundial was at the center of a series of mysterious events. In 1949 it functioned as a sort of wishing well, with coins regularly appearing on the sundial’s face. A few years later, in 1953, the sundial disappeared from its stone pedestal. According to local newspaper reports, College officials urged for the sundial’s safe return, and eventually it was, though the details of its return are still unknown. Then, in 1993, the original garden had to be demolished to allow for repairs to underground infrastructure, and a new garden was constructed in its place. Its centerpiece? The original Mary Deacon Bullard sundial, which remains peacefully undisturbed, serving as a touch point of campus life and history. — B Y J E S S AY E R
View more images and learn how to read a sundial at alumnae.mtholyoke.edu/sundial. Mount Holyoke Alumnae Quarterly
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1968 In 1908, The College Laundry business opened, repurposing a residential home where Torrey Hall now stands. A note from its manager states, “Fine articles are washed in net bags to prevent any possibility of tearing, and lace, net, and embroidered shirt waists are laundered entirely by hand.” The construction of Torrey in 1949 caused this service to be shut down, and students were instead encouraged to use the Highland Laundry Company in Holyoke, “contract launderers to the Mount Holyoke faculty and students.” After a while, students switched to primarily using the washing machines and driers in their dorms or the Village Commons, saving up their quarters to power them. Eloise Prescott Killeffer ’68 remembers that some wealthier students still
Today, the all-powerful One Card allows students to use washers and driers in every dorm. The machines are Energy Star rated, using less water and energy in an effort to be green. Students swipe their One Cards, paying $1.50 per load, then select the machine they want to use. Starting in 2007, an online laundry room monitoring system has made it easy to check for open machines without making the trek down to a dorm basement. Students can sign up for email alerts to be sent when a machine finishes a load or when a new machine becomes available. —B Y O L I V I A C O L L I N S ’ 1 8
used a laundry service, but learning to do her own laundry was a “good life lesson. And besides,” she adds, “My mother, Evelyn Dorr Prescott ’32, would have been taken aback more than a little, thinking she hadn’t prepared me adequately (or that I was spending my hard-earned money frivolously).”
1968: MHC Archives and Special Collections; 2016: Millie Rossman
then and now
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C L A S S A N D C L U B I N FO J U S T K E YS T R O K E S AWAY
Class and club contacts are available online at alumnae.mtholyoke.edu/classes or alumnae.mtholyoke.edu/clubs.
Connections Discounted Insurance Did you know that the Alumnae Association of Mount Holyoke College sponsors an alumnae insurance program? Visit meyerandassoc.com/ mtholyoke.
Register for PaGE Mount Holyoke’s Professional and Graduate Education (PaGE) offers alumnae the opportunity to continue their Mount Holyoke education online and on campus through courses taught by Mount Holyoke College professors and guest instructors. Learn more and apply online at alumnae.mtholyoke. edu/page.
We invite you to join one or more of the Alumnae Association’s travel opportunities this year. Visit alumnae.mtholyoke.edu/travel. UPCOMING TRIPS Cruising Tahiti and French Polynesia February 9–19, 2017 Village Life around the Italian Lakes May 11–19, 2017
Deirdre Haber Malfatto
The Great Journey through Europe June 14–24, 2017 Circumnavigation of Iceland August 1–9, 2017
Reunion 2017 Reunion I
May 19–21 1947, 1967, 1977, 1992, 1997, 2007, 2015
May 26–28 1942, 1952, 1957, 1962, 1972, 1982, 1987, 2002, 2012
SUPPORT Travel Abroad with Sister Alumnae
SAV E T HE DAT E
FOUNDER’S FUND Your gift to the
FOUNDER’S FUND at the
ASSOCIATION HELPS US SUPPORT the activities of alumnae around the world.
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Deirdre Haber Malfatto
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a place of our own
The first time I crossed from the library to Dwight I was struck by the sense that the bridge served its purpose, both literally and figuratively; it gracefully connected the two buildings, bridging the gap between the past and the future. — N I CO L E R AT T É G U T T O R M S E N ’ 9 1
Mount Holyoke Alumnae Quarterly
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On Hearing, in Fragments G ROW IN G U P, I never knew what was happening
HAVE AN O PI N I O N TO S HAR E?
Pitch your topic at quarterly@ mtholyoke.edu.
onscreen when I went to the movies. As I sat beside my friends, I would mimic their reactions—laughing when they laughed, calling up a tear at the moment in My Girl when I finally realized the boy had died. I was at the theater because that’s what we did together in the small town where I lived. But while I could sense what characters on screen were feeling through the actors’ body language, The option of I could never fully participate, because I am profoundly deaf and passing as rely primarily on lipreading. I was diagnosed at just over hearing had a year old. This was 1981, and schools for the deaf had not yet provided me gained attention as a source of education or community. When with a sense it came time for me to enter kindergarten my parents were of privilege. encouraged to mainstream me into the public school system. I was given hearing aids and taught sign language so I could follow the
interpreter at the front of the classroom. Despite my obvious difference, I strove to fit in, quickly learning that “yes” or “mmm” was the answer to most things. In real life and at the movies I learned how to develop the correct response to situational cues without knowing the content of what was happening. At the time that was often enough for me. Attending Mount Holyoke, with its focus on intellectual growth and feminism, made it easier for me to seek out friends who were accommodating of my deafness. But even then, I did not ask much of them or of myself. I continued to perform as hearing, often unconsciously. At various points during college, I halfheartedly attempted to integrate into the world of American Sign Language, where members of Deaf Culture have created their own history, beliefs, and understandings of disability. But I never quite fit in, because I still preferred speech to signing. I saw my deafness as an impairment rather than as an identity. After graduation I pursued a master’s in creative nonfiction writing. In the hot desert of Arizona, I began to write about my experience of deafness; about sounds just outside of my reach; about deep isolation; about the intersection of queer and deaf identities. Yet I began to understand that my writing was unconsciously geared toward making hearing people feel comfortable about my difference. It wasn’t until my early thirties, when I entered a doctoral program in clinical psychology, that I was finally able to confront the tensions inherent in being a person with a disability. I focused less on overcoming and more on charting my own path. The option of passing as hearing had provided me with a sense of privilege, because others often forgot I was deaf. But passing had also created deep internal dissonance and unhappiness; in fact, I know now, trying to pass as hearing further disabled me. I saw my last movie without subtitles about ten years ago, realizing it was no longer enjoyable to get only part of the story. My daily world was already one of filling in the blanks when only able to lipread part of a sentence, of getting Bs in a course because I had studied the wrong material. I didn’t need to add to my world of already missing out. Today, I continue to live mainly in the hearing world, and missing out on conversations is still difficult. But I no longer experience my deafness as a loss that is suffered. Rather, I feel a kind of comfortable ambivalence, and it is in this ambivalence that I’m able to help my therapy patients sit in uncertainty while cultivating a relationship with their own visible and invisible identities. I have come to realize that there is beauty in the fragments, as it creates space to delight in the imagination, to create a different, more interesting story than the one in front of me.
By K ATIE WAGNER ’03
9/21/16 3:58 PM
Stand with every student. Sustain the chain. Become a sustaining donor today.
You set the amount you would like to contribute each month, and your gift will automatically renew at the start of the next fiscal year (July 1).
Regular gifts, over time, really add up—and have a significant impact on the experience of every Mount Holyoke student.
1. Visit mtholyoke.edu/go/sustaining. 2. Select “I would like to make a sustaining gift.” 3. Enter your monthly gift amount. 4. Select your desired payment date.
Sustaining gifts maximize your support of Mount Holyoke and enable the College to plan for the future with confidence.
How to become a sustaining donor:
You can make changes to your gift at any time by contacting The Mount Holyoke Fund at 1-800-642-4483. In recognition of your sustaining commitment to supporting our students, we will send you a Mount Holyoke window decal to show your MHC pride!
9/21/16 3:58 PM
50 College Street, South Hadley, MA 01075
Leslie Smith Green ’94. Nada Al-Thawr ’19. In 2014 Leslie began an informal program of matching incoming international students with alumnae. Alums provide advice, emotional support, and, often, a well-stocked shower caddy—a luxury students don’t think to pack. In fall 2015 Leslie “adopted” Nada, who is from Yemen. The two have formed a close bond, often texting each other daily. Discover what the power of the network can do for you. Update your information and start connecting.
Nada Al-Thawr ’19 Leslie Smith Green ’94
Read more about this Mount Holyoke connection at alumnae.mtholyoke.edu/findyourpeople.
9/20/16 12:36 PM