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Mount Holyoke win te r 2014

Alumnae Quarterly



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ou can’t go home again,” novelist Thomas Wolfe tells us. But recently, I did. Last fall I returned to 103 Dickinson House—my old dorm room. It was my first time back in more than thirty years. Like many of you, I have indelible memories of my first Mount Holyoke room. My bed was in a corner, near the window. I brought my old bedspread from home—a white coverlet with tufts of brown. One of those area rugs from Kmart covered the floor. And then there were the media essentials of the day: a turntable for my Meg Christian, Tret Fure, and Jackson Browne records, and a small television complete with a crooked set of rabbit ears. I must confess, I rarely missed an episode of Days of Our Lives or Guiding Light. Becca Faria, a senior from Bourne, Massachusetts, is living in 103 Dickinson now. We arranged a date for me to get a peep at the room. I couldn’t stop smiling when I walked in. At first glance, the room looked the same: the tree outside the window, the painted woodwork, the ample closet. Becca and I agreed we had lucked out. The room has character and is bigger than those in many other dorms.

Becca Faria ’14 and President Pasquerella ’80 in the dorm room they have in common.

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It’s a good place to study, and—being a bit removed from the center At first glance, of campus—the walk back to Dickinson after the room looked a day of classes feels like heading home. the same: the While I have lived in many other places tree outside the since I left that corner room, Mount Holyoke window, the always feels like home to me. There is a sense painted woodwork, of rootedness here that years and distance the ample closet. cannot diminish. Our connection comes from — LYN N PASQ U E R E LL A ’80 the excitement of ideas we encountered, the profound friendships, and that exhilarating glimpse of who we hoped to be when our minds wandered during late nights in our dorm rooms. In 1978 as I whiled away the hours, I never dreamed of being president of Mount Holyoke College. I thought I would become a philosophy professor or maybe a lawyer. Life, of course, takes us in directions we never imagined. One of Mount Holyoke’s greatest strengths is preparing us for what we could not at first envision for ourselves. Being deeply rooted in a community that believed in me gave me confidence and optimism to face the future. It still does. Elizabeth Kennan ’60 was president of Mount Holyoke College when I moved into Dickinson House. She inspired us with her energy, her intellect, and her extensive vocabulary. These days when I’m checking email or sorting through letters on my desk, it is not uncommon to find a note from Liz. The message may be brief, but it is always encouraging. Her words connect me once more to Mount Holyoke’s sustaining landscape. On that morning as I stood with Becca and looked around 103 Dickinson, I thought again about how rooted we are to this wonderful place. Mr. Wolfe, you can go home again—just not with rabbit ears and the Guiding Light.

John Kuchle

President’s Pen

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W I N T E R 2 0 14


VO LU M E 9 8







Reaction to the magazine redesign, #MtHolyokeAtWork, memorable rides on the PVTA, our most liked FB post, and more

Illustration by Davide Bonazzi


Alumnae inducted into Mount Holyoke’s Athletics Hall of Fame, class flags restored, Religion Professor John Grayson’s retirement, and more Ten Minutes With: Fulbright Executive Director Erica Lutes ’02 Insider’s View: Library carrels Go Figure: MHC by the numbers


16 F E AT U R E S

Sororities: Ben Barnhart; WWII: MHC Archives and Special Collections; Kimball: Leslie Hassler

16 Resiliency in

The Female Gaze: Paper artist Sheila Benedis ’58; cabaret performer Sarah Kimball ’86; and authors Holly Thompson ’81, Victoria Patterson ’92, and Holly Grigg-Spall



The rise and fall of Mount Holyoke’s sororities

campus during World War II

On Display: Intricate needlepoint by Nancy Mettler ’38

A look back at student life on

Then and Now: Winter fashion

22 Everything is


Going to Be OK Five reasons for optimism

28 Voices at the Table

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The Maven: Wendy Adler Jordan ’68 on creating storage space

Mount Holyoke leads the way in

providing an education to students from countries around the world


Bonding over socks, alumnae travel opportunities, Reunion 2014, an Irish Thanksgiving A Place of Our Own


News from your classmates


Virginia Lincoln ’82 on “Falling in Love with Mount Holyoke all Over Again”

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Lyons Share THE QUARTERLY REDESIGN It’s a snow day today and school is closed, so I had a chance to really read the Fall 2013 Quarterly. I love the new design and enjoyed the articles, finding many things to pique my interest. I like the paper magazine because it waits for me—sometimes for months—until I have a chance to read it, and it always leads me to further interesting books, thoughts, and ideas.

Is it weird that I rip pages out of my Alumnae Quarterly to put on the wall? @MtHolyoke is so beautiful! @aamhc #inspiration



—Ruth Anne Wolfe ’82 Cincinnati, OH Call me anti-intellectual, but I read a whole lot more of [the Alumnae Quarterly] than I ever did before because I found a lot more of interest . . .in this issue, which I found varied, imaginative, and fun, while still retaining the multicultural element. —Marianne Szidon Stevens ’68 Surrey, England

First dusting of snow on campus. #mhcalums


I confess I found the new Quarterly format underwhelming. Graphically, the magazine is attractive, but the quality of the content leaves something to be desired. Too many snippets—the written equivalent of sound bites— rather than the more substantive and in-depth articles that have been featured in past issues. There seems to be a mismatch between the high intellectual caliber of the Quarterly’s readers (smart MHC alums!) and the level at which the magazine’s content is now pitched. —Hazel Gold ’73, Atlanta, GA MARRIAGE AS SOUL MAKING “In any age where we don’t need to be married, is there a point to marriage?” (“Saying No (or Not Now) to Marriage,” Fall 2013, p. 80). To begin, let me rephrase the question: In any age where we don’t need to be married, is there a value in being married? I was one of the first women (but not the first) in my class to be married— one week before graduation. It had never been my plan. I was going to be on my own for a while to stretch my wings and build my own life before I would participate in an institution that could be so confining. Ours was a different age. We were just beginning to open doors. We had to approach the glass ceiling before we could even begin to crack it. Life is not blissful. In forty-five years of marriage we have buried our parents and grandparents and struggled with infertility, my husband’s clinical depression, my serious fall that resulted in traumatic brain injury, and my diagnosis with breast cancer. We have raised a son who has given us three grandchildren. We have also traveled much of the world. Although I have three graduate degrees and have

always had my own career, it took me several years to really believe that my husband was not threatened and chose out of love to be fully supportive. What we hopefully learn along the way is that at some point the focus on our ego, needs, and self-gratification traps us and can leave us distorted. It is the depth and richness of our souls that open us into fullness of life. The value of marriage is when it nurtures and supports us in that journey of soul making. —The Reverend Mary Louise Thorn Howson ’68, Southbury, CT

High point? 200 new books arrive every day. My heart still skips a beat when I open [the] door and first look at them. #MtHolyokeAtWork @ETAY LO R ETAYO R E LI Z AB ETH TAY LO R ’ 79

tweeting for the #MtHolyokeAtWork, virtual job shadow program. Taylor is the literary editor of the Chicago Tribune.

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12/19/13 6:02 PM



“What was the most memorable ride you took on the PVTA?”

AN ASTONISHING DONATION I read with interest the article regarding a dress donated to the College by Carolyn Chesebrough Foster ’58 (“A Dressed-Up Affair,” Fall 2013, p. 33). You may find of interest articles in the current issue of Bark of the Tree, the Sycamores’ newsletter, regarding an astonishing donation by Foster to Sycamores, where she lived during her sophomore year. —Kenneth L. Williamson, Professor of Chemistry, emeritus, and chair, Sycamores Committee, South Hadley, MA Foster donated to the newly restored Sycamores several personal items that she used when she lived there as a sophomore, including a blotter, fountain pen, instruction book, rug, and gym tunic. All items were used to recreate a student dorm room. EDITOR’S NOTE:

In the Fall 2013 Quarterly, we noted in “Go Figure” that there are two dorms on campus with dumbwaiters. We omitted Mead Hall, bringing the total to three. CORRECTION:


Dis-O 1997. We “hijacked” the bus and the very cool driver drove us around campus while we all shouted “Holyoke, Holeeeeeoke!” The few other passengers were pretty good humored about it all.

Camille C. Malonzo ’16

—Ellen Louise Hart ’76 Portland, OR

Join the Conversation

Camille C. Malonzo ’16

DICKINSON’S MISCHIEF It’s a wonderful issue. And I like the new motto “never fear / change”—very poetic, with a line break rendering multiple meanings. Here’s a correction for the Emily Dickinson quotation in “Mischief Managed” (Fall 2013, p. 22). To the best knowledge of Dickinson manuscript scholarship, she did not keep a journal. The lines are from a letter to her friend, Abiah Root, dated, “Mt Holyoke Seminary, Novr 6. 1847.” The College owns the manuscript. By the way, a Dickinson poem resonates with the new motto: “If your Nerve - deny you - / Go above your Nerve.”

—Rose Engel Stephens ’98 Halloween! All the people on the bus all in costume, the checks at Hampshire to be sure you were allowed on campus. … I think one Halloween I was on the bus with some folks, and we all just did a big round trip and had a party with whoever got on. My roomie Shannon and

—Kristin Burger ’94

I could hear tape ripping and

This photo of Bill Cosby, aka “Heathcliff Huxtable,” currently reigns as the post with the most “likes”— more than 700—in the history of the Alumnae Association Facebook page. #1

giggling outside our door one night. It was so funny. Shannie jumped into my bed so we could whisper without them hearing us, and we were giggling, too. Woke up in the AM, and our Elves had covered the door in clear packing tape! —AN NA B E N N ET T RO B E RTSO N ’04


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Winter 2014 Volume 98 Number 1 EDITORIAL AND DESIGN TEAM

Carly Kite Senior Director of Marketing and Communications Jennifer Grow ’94 Alumnae Quarterly Editor Millie Rossman Creative Director Taylor Scott Associate Director of Digital Communications Lauren Kodiak Marketing and Communications Assistant CONTRIBUTORS

Kimberlyn B. Fong ’15 Olivia S. Lammel ’14 Camille C. Malonzo ’16 Stasia Walmsley QUARTERLY COMMITTEE

Susan R. Bushey Manning ’96, chair Amy L. Cavanaugh ’06 Shawn Hartley Hancock ’80 Lauren D. Klein ’03 Olivia S. Lammel ’14, student rep. Shoshana E. Walter ’07 Eleanor Townsley, faculty rep.


President Cynthia L. Reed ’80 Vice President Julianne Trabucchi Puckett ’91 Treasurer and Chair, Finance Committee Lynda Dean Alexander ’80 Clerk Hilary M. Salmon ’03 Chair, Classes and Reunion Committee Danielle M. Germain ’93 Alumnae Trustee Suzanne A. George ’90 Chair, Nominating Committee Radley Emes ’00 Director-at-Large Joanna Jones ’67 Director-at-Large (Global Initiatives) Emily E. Renard ’02 Chair, Communications Committee Sandra A. Mallalieu ’91


We posted this photo from the class of 1979 student handbook and asked, “What were your rude awakenings as a first-year at MHC?” Rude Awakenings Here is a list of a few things you should be prepared for when you enter the mainstream of life, as a poor, unsuspecting, Mount Holyoke freshman: You stumble downstairs for a 3:00 a.m. firedrill, and you are asked to recite those fire rules that you thought were only a formality. . . Walking to the bus stop after having had a great time at the frat parties, you see the last 5-College bus pulling out and realize you’re stranded at Amherst for the night. . . You walk into the bathroom in a daze only to discover you overlooked the “male in the bathroom” sign. . . You turn in an “excellent” effort and get back a “good” paper It’s the end of the month, and you realize just how much you’ve taken advantage of your credit (good at all South Hadley stores). . . You keep putting off studying until tomorrow and suddenly tomorrow is the end of the semester. . . You find that Mount Holyoke really will not graduate you without those gym credits. . . You wake up at 10:00 and discover you’ve slept through your all-nighter and worse, your morning classes. . .

Young Alumnae Representative Tamara J. Dews ’06 Chair, Clubs Committee Elizabeth Redmond VanWinkle ’82

The Alumnae Association of Mount Holyoke College, Inc. 50 College Street South Hadley, MA 01075-1486 413-538-2300 Ideas expressed in the Alumnae Quarterly do not necessarily reflect the views of Mount Holyoke College or the Alumnae Association of Mount Holyoke College. To update your information, contact Alumnae Information Services at or 413-538-2303. POST M AST ER

(ISSN 0027-2493; USPS 365-280) Please send form 3579 to Alumnae Information Services Mount Holyoke Alumnae Association 50 College Street South Hadley, MA 01075-1486

Chair, Volunteer Stewardship Committee Ellen L. Leggett ’75 Executive Director Jane E. Zachary ex officio without vote

Public Safety will not rescue your M&Cs that are locked in Prospect Kitchen unless you “mistake” the pilot light on the gas stove for an actual fire. —Daina A. Agee ’07

Your father will revert to his 1960s-era college experience and repeatedly bellow “Man on the floor!” when helping you move into Buckland your first year. —Amy Smith Sheets ’93 You call security to report a “random man” outside of Porter, only to find out that the random man outside Porter is actually the security guy. —Lisa S. Gray Mastrangelo ’93 I didn’t have any. I loved it from day one and on.


MHC Archives and Special Collections


OUR DRINKS ARE TOO STRONG AND OUR MORALS GONE. . . This past fall Kelly BahmerBrouse ’86 (@KellyBrouse) reached out to the College’s Archives and Special Collections via Twitter to find out if Mount Holyoke has a traditional cocktail recipe. While waiting for a response she came up with one of her own (with a little help from a few alumnae pals). Lynda Brahs Allen ’87 suggested cider, Nancy Baker Fowler ’86 added the cinnamon-sugar rim, and Bahmer-Brouse came up with the doughnut idea. Lisa Popik Coll ’86 tested the recipe after a visit to the Pioneer Valley—the College and Atkins included. Alas, archives was unable to track down whether an official MHC cocktail ever existed, but after recreating the drink in our “test kitchen” the Quarterly staff heartily voted that “The Mount Holyoke” should go down in history.

—Louise Denegre ’80

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Uncommon Ground Beloved Class Flags Restored Upon learning how much the flags have come to mean to students and alumnae, the Alumnae Association donated funds to have them restored, and the theatre department’s costume shop manager, Elaine Bergeron, was appointed to carry out the vital task. With help from students, Bergeron extensively researched the best approach for the flags’ restoration. To fix the “shattering”—or broken—silk fibers, she employed the time-consuming method of applying very thin layers of adhesive and fusing them to the existing backing. After the lengthy repair process is The class flags complete, the flags have helped will be returned to students navigate their rightful spots to the “correct” later this winter. side of the — BY LAUR E N KODI AK

Jim Gipe

In case you didn’t see the buzz on social media or hear about it through the grapevine, the removal of the beloved class flags in Williston Library was a source of great distress for students last fall. For the past two decades, students have referred to the colorful, silk flags—handmade and installed in 1993 by artist Pat Hayes—for guidance on which side of the central staircase to walk up. But after twenty years, the handmade flags were showing their age, each starting to tear under its own weight. The four flags were removed over the summer and, following student protest, were replaced with paper signs in hopes of appeasing the superstitious. Though there is no official record in the College archives, popular legend has it that if a student doesn’t take the side of the staircase with her class flag on it, she won’t graduate.


Mary Stettner

Campaign Celebration The Campaign for Mount Holyoke came to a record-breaking close in June 2013 with $305.4 million in gifts. A celebratory reception for alumnae donors was held at the end of October, during which guests had the opportunity to experience the impact of their giving. Thirteen faculty-led sessions covered topics from the intersection of computer science and electrical engineering to the language of dance to the implications of drone strikes and cyber attacks.

Mount Holyoke Alumnae Quarterly

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12/19/13 5:40 PM

European Alumnae Symposium—“At the Crossroads” in Warsaw Nearly 120 Mount Holyoke alumnae and guests gathered in Warsaw, Poland, in September for the 2013 European Alumnae Symposium. The symposium’s title, “At the Crossroads: Quo Vadis?”, recognized Poland’s geographic location at the intersection of Central and Eastern Europe and paid homage to Polish writer Henryk Sienkiewicz’s Nobel Prizewinning historical novel Quo Vadis (1896), which, translated loosely, means, “Where are you going?” The symposium’s various cultural, religious, and political topics were driven by this central question. Speakers were asked to condense their presentations to seventeen minutes, following the style of TED talks. Special Mount Holyoke College guests President Lynn Pasquerella ’80 and Professor Stephen Jones, chair of Russian and Eurasian studies, gave thought-provoking talks in this short format and facilitated deep discussions. Sessions were held at the Central Agricultural Library, where Nobel Prize-winning scientist Marie Skłodowska-Curie once lectured. In addition to taking part in the symposium sessions, attendees were able to immerse themselves in Warsaw’s cultural offerings, taking a walk through Old Town, participating in a Wycinanki papercutting workshop, and attending a free Chopin concert in Royal Łazienki Park. —BY L AUR EN KODIAK

The twelfth European Alumnae Symposium was held in Warsaw, Poland, in September 2013.

Alumnae Association Treasurer’s Report Online The Alumnae Association treasurer’s report for the fiscal year July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2013 is online at treasurersreport. The Association’s assets, liabilities, and net assets for the year are included in the report as the Statement of Financial Position. To request a paper copy, contact Karen Northup-Scudder, senior director of finance and administration, at 413-538-2300.

Professor Emeritus Explores the Life of a Militant Suffragette On June 4, 1913, Emily Wilding Davison ran onto the racetrack during the final straight of the Epsom Derby in Surrey, England. She stood in the path of the king’s horse and was trampled, dying four days later. In her book In the Thick of the Fight: The Writing of Emily Wilding Davison, Professor Emeritus of English Carolyn P. Collette looks beyond Davison’s defining moment. A suffragette who lived a life of protest, Davison held a deeply rooted belief that the evolution of human progress demands that women become equal citizens—politically, economically, and culturally. Through the lens of Davison’s writing over the last six years of her life, Collette aims to expose the principal motivations behind all of her defiant actions, which include being arrested nine times and being force-fed forty-nine times due to repeated hunger strikes.

John Kuchle

LEFT : Cynthia Reed ’80 and Christine Gora ’98 RIGHT: Janice Abert ’82 and Marcia Mead Lebre ’71



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12/19/13 5:41 PM

Athletics Hall of Fame Honors Inaugural Class of Inductees

Alumnae Around the World Enjoyed a Scoop on Mountain Day Approximately ninety-five Mountain Day mini-reunions occurred around the world on October 1. Alumnae gathered to share a scoop, sundae, or cone at their local ice cream parlor at 18:37 (6:37 p.m.) local time. Meredith Nelson ’11 helped organize these mini-reunions by setting up a website where alumnae could find participating cities on an interactive map. This was the

Bob Blanchard


second year that Nelson played a leading role in helping alumnae celebrate this beloved tradition wherever they live.

Six former student-athletes, a former athletics administrator, and one team were inducted into the Mount Holyoke Athletics Hall of Fame during Family and Friends Weekend in October. Each inductee’s photograph is now mounted in the new Hall of Fame, located in the hallway leading to the women’s locker room of Kendall Sports and Dance Complex. From competing (and medaling) in the Olympic Games to aiding in the funding and development of campus facilities, the span of the inaugural inductees’ personal and professional achievements is impressive. The installation of the Hall of Fame reflects the long history of athletic commitment and achievement at Mount Holyoke College. Mary Lyon, a strong proponent of exercise, required students to walk a mile every day after breakfast. “At times when women were discouraged from physical activity, MHC was reshaping the landscape of opportunity and encouraging students to redefine the boundaries of their physical limits,” says director of athletics Lori Hendricks ’92. Going forward, new athletes will be inducted every other year in an effort to honor and recognize the College’s rich athletic legacy. Learn more at

Hall of Fame Inductees Ann Neuberger Aceves ’56 Alison Hersey Risch ’59 Mildred S. Howard Harriet “Holly” Metcalf ’81 Imogene Opton Fish ’55 Amanda Salb ’99 Kellie Young ’93 1985–1986 Equestrian Team


Mount Holyoke Alumnae Quarterly

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12/19/13 5:41 PM

Pasquerella Seeks to Move Academy Outside of “Ivory Tower” Since 2010—the same year she took office at Mount Holyoke—President Lynn Pasquerella ’80 has hosted WAMC’s The Academic Minute, a daily public radio feature that spotlights innovative research happening on college campuses around the world. More recently she began moderating the monthly public-access television program Difficult Dialogues: Voices from the Valley, which invites academic experts in the Pioneer Valley to discuss important and complex social issues such as the Trayvon Martin case, race relations in the United States, and political unrest in the Middle East. “By having sustained dialogue on issues at the forefront of public discussion and private debate, we model the best of liberal education and counter the notion that such issues can be reduced to a sound bite,” Pasquerella explains. Pasquerella earned a doctorate in philosophy from Brown University, and much of her academic work has been in the fields of medical ethics, public policy, and the philosophy of law. She also draws on this expertise as a frequent guest on radio station WHMP’s The Bill Newman Show, where she has discussed topics ranging from the ethical implications of force-feeding Guantanamo detainees to higher education to abortion rights. Pasquerella considers these projects an integral part of her commitment to education. “We need to move the academy outside of the ivory tower and serve as public intellectuals if we truly want to make the case for liberal education and meet our nation’s historic mission of educating for democracy,” she says. —BY OLIVIA LAMMEL ’ 14

In 1982, five years after joining the faculty at Mount Holyoke, religion professor John Grayson debuted Spirituals, a course that would later become Spirituals & the Blues and his most popular class. Over the next thirty-one years, Grayson taught the course sixteen times, reaching nearly 1,000 students during his tenure. Designed to offer students an alternative to mainstream philosophy courses, Spirituals & the Blues examined and analyzed African American music as a primary textual source for understanding philosophical and religious language within that community. The curriculum excluded texts written by white In oral Westerners. “That literature is for the elite. I understood this,” says Grayson, who led documents his students to analyze slave spirituals as documents containing historical knowledge there’s a richness and philosophical ideas while considering a central contradiction in American life: likely to be lost what it means to be free. Religion majors and non-majors alike explored existentialism because of the through the song “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child.” And classes interpreted [Academy’s] the spiritual “Wade in the Water” both as a religious song and a word-of-mouth directive dependence to fugitive slaves. From the beginning, Grayson prohibited his on written text.” students from taking notes, instilling a respect for the oral tradition. So instead of notebooks or laptops, students often brought knitting projects to class. The winner of the 2011 Mount Holyoke Faculty Award for teaching, who also served as interim dean of religious life in 1997-98 and was faculty lecturer for two alumnae trips abroad, Grayson retired from the College at the end of December, not before teaching the course one last time. “There are generations of alums from this class,” Grayson says. And for the last meeting, he brought one back to campus. On December 6, Grayson and his students met at All Saints’ Episcopal Church in South Hadley, where Funteller Thomas Jackson FP ’94, a Baptist minister from Pennsylvania, shared her life through storytelling and Gospel singing. The class meeting turned into a celebration of Grayson’s career, with former students and colleagues from the religion department turning out to honor him and the music that, Grayson says, is “in my bones.”

Olivia Lammel ’14

Michael Malyszko

The Gospel of “Spirituals & the Blues”



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12/19/13 5:41 PM

ten minutes with


Erica Lutes ’02 Since June 2012, Lutes has led the Fulbright Commission for Educational Exchange between the United States and Belgium. The youngest executive director in the program’s sixty-six year history, she holds three master’s degrees—in European policy and politics, peace building, and international business—from University of Leuven and previously worked on Wall Street.

“ ”

At each stage that an opportunity comes along, I reassess my goals

Deirdre Haber Malfatto

and revise my plan.

On her journey to the corner office: When I arrived on Mount Holyoke’s campus in the fall of 1998 as a prom queen from New Jersey I had very different goals than I do now. I never thought I would work on Wall Street after graduating, and I certainly never thought I would spend almost a decade living in Belgium. At each stage that an opportunity comes along, I reassess my goals and revise my plan. On mentorship and self-sufficiency: It’s easy to take for granted the close connection that Mount Holyoke fosters among students and the faculty and administration. After you graduate it can be difficult to find mentors and advisors who have your best interests in mind. You need to know the difference between people who want to help you and people who might take advantage of you. I’ve learned how important it is to know how and when to stand up for myself. On living in Belgium: Every day I speak three languages, and every day something in Belgium surprises me. Brussels is like the DC of Europe, with more than forty-five headquarters for intergovernmental organizations and 159 embassies. I live in a charming city called Leuven, with cobblestone streets and castles. I teach spinning classes in my spare time, and recently I acted in a Flemish soap opera, of all things. On what’s next: I’m still working out where I will go from here. As I get older it becomes a little more complicated to think about things like, will I live in Belgium forever? Do I want kids? If so, in what country should they be raised? (Don’t forget the generous social welfare state I pay into each month in Belgium!)

Erica Lutes ’02 came to campus in October to speak to students about executing US diplomacy. Mount Holyoke Alumnae Quarterly

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12/19/13 5:16 PM


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12/19/13 5:17 PM

insider’s view

Inside the Library Carrels The Mount Holyoke libraries house

In the past eligible juniors grabbed

Students personalize their carrels

180 carrels—scattered throughout the

the few carrels that remained after

with more than just books. Over the

Williston and Miles-Smith stacks—

seniors claimed the ones they

years, librarians have seen everything

where seniors study, snack, sleep, and

wanted, but in recent years all carrels

from holiday lights hanging from the

store mountains of books gathered

have been spoken for within the first

pipes to shower curtains mounted as

for researching and writing a thesis.

three hours of assignment day.

doors to one memorable space set up

The selection process—once

The most popular carrels are on the

chaotic, according to circulation

sixth floor of Miles-Smith, because the

carpet, throw pillows, and a couch.

manager Karen Mehl—has been

windows open and offer the best light,

Now, fire regulations prohibit such

refined over the years. On a Sunday

the bathroom and water fountain are

elaborate decor, but students still

morning last September seniors—

nearby (but not too close), and, most

adorn their carrels with postcards,

many of whom had camped outside

important, it’s a quiet floor.

posters, photos, and pennants.

overnight—were given a number as

The carrels on level one Williston

to resemble a tiny office, complete with

Once considered property of the

are the last to be claimed, because

seniors, carrels now officially are

made her way to Whiting Alcove,

the floor is underground, and,

deemed library space and may be

where she crossed off her carrel of

students have told Mehl, the space

used by any student when unoccupied.

choice on a large map.

feels a a bit “creepy.”


James Gehrt

they entered the library. Each then

Download inspirational quotes from Mount Holyoke alumnae and faculty to post near your own desk at Mount Holyoke Alumnae Quarterly

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12/19/13 5:17 PM

go figure

MHC by the Numbers Highest elevation (in feet) of the Mt. Holyoke Range, formed approximately 200 million years ago.


55 12


Number of alumnae who celebrated Mountain Day paddleboarding on the Hudson River. Kathleen Hower Munter ’92 and Jessica L. Lawrence ’93 joined Noelle A. Thurlow ’87, who runs a kayak and paddleboard guide service from Pier 13 in Hoboken, New Jersey. Number of family members of Alicechandra B. Fritz ’92 who attended Mount Holyoke—the most on file according to Alumnae Association records. The first of her relatives to attend MHC was Mary Jane Guild, class of 1848.


Graduating class that donated funds to help create the student garden—located on Prospect Hill. Dining Services regularly purchases the garden’s produce and prepares a locally themed Gracious Dinner at the end of the season.


Amount of money awarded to six students by the Alumnae Scholar Program during the 2012 fiscal year for tuition, room, and board.


Square footage of the diving well in the Mount Holyoke natatorium. The well has two, one-meter diving boards and one, threemeter diving board and is thirteen-and-a-half feet at its deepest point.

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12/19/13 5:46 PM

the maven


Creating Storage Space at Home


Pitch us your area of expertise at quarterly@

WENDY ADLER JORDAN ’68 is a former vice president of

Hanley Wood, a media and strategic marketing firm serving residential and commercial design and construction industries. An award-winning journalist and the founding editor of Remodeling magazine, she now runs her own editorial business in Washington, DC. She is the author of twelve books, including Making Room: Finding Space in Unexpected Places and Universal Design for the Home: Great-Looking, Great-Living Design for All Ages, Abilities, and Circumstances. An expert in remodeling, Jordan is trained to see beyond first impressions of a space. In recent years keeping an organized home has become a big business. Do a quick online search for “storage solutions” and you’ll get millions of possible hits. But while answers can be found in every box store and online, some of the most inspired ideas are inexpensive and easy to implement. Whether you need to contain gadgets in the kitchen, magazines in the den, toys in the playroom, or backpacks and soggy mittens by the door, you’d be surprised at the storage “real estate” you can find in your own home.

On the Wall Imaginative wall storage is as good at utilizing space as it is for starting conversations. Try bending oversize serving spoons (think yard-sale finds) into hooks for hanging small pots. Place magnetic strips across the wall for displaying cooking utensils or spices stored in metal containers. Mount small clementine crates as bonus shelving. Gather empty food cans sporting colorful labels, attach them side-by-side on the kitchen wall with a board on top, and you have a oneof-a-kind shelf.

Booking Up Books can quickly take over, but otherwise wasted space—like the area over a doorway—can be used to house volumes. Arrange brightly painted floating shelves—or vintage books supported as shelves—for a whimsical yet practical wall display. Or hang a homemade skirt over a chair seat and slide a bin of your kids’ favorite books underneath. Over, Under, and In-between An extensive variety of commercial cabinet, drawer, and other storage inserts are available to make every inch of space useful. Others can be built. Examples include slim pullouts that offer kitchen shelving in narrow storage areas; rolling racks that bring into reach items that might otherwise be lost in cavernous cabinets; pantry storage systems; and adjustable inserts for drawers. In and Out The entryway is a great place for a storage bench, especially one with a low, slatted shelf (with catch pan beneath) for wet shoes. The mudroom or

porch can be equipped with lockers or stacked milk crates to hold backpacks and equipment. And oversized, colorful hooks at kid height are a quick solution for wet winter coats. Try hanging a three-tiered metal fruit basket for collecting hats and mittens.

Closet Transformed Re-purpose a closet to house a hobby center for you, a playhouse for your kids, or a computer station for teens— with outlets for charging electronics. No more snake’s nest of wires on the living room floor. — BY


View these and other ideas on our Pinterest board at storageboard. Mount Holyoke Alumnae Quarterly

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12/19/13 6:41 PM

the female gaze


Sweetening the Pill: or How We Got Hooked on Hormonal Birth Control Holly Grigg-Spall


Sheila Benedis ’58


While acknowledging the role hormonal contraceptives have played in the advancement of women’s rights, Holly Grigg-Spall, in her investigative book, asks the question, “Why can’t we criticize the Pill?” Citing scientific studies, interviews, and case histories, the author takes a look at the Pill’s negative side effects, including depression, anxiety, paranoia, rage, and panic attacks and advocates for better contraceptive education for women.

An artist and writer based in New York’s Westchester County, Sheila Meyer Benedis ’58 handcrafts homemade and found paper into “collapsible art.” Working as a professional sculptor for more than twenty-five years, she has created artist books that range from accordion-folded collages to complex threedimensional pieces that she cuts and sculpts to create twisted, vertical-helix structures. The pages of her most recent books also are adorned with her original poetry. Earlier in her career Benedis created sculptural baskets from natural materials she found while hiking in the woods. Her work has been exhibited at the Citicorp Building in New York City, at Sarah Lawrence College, and at Westchester Community College.

Holly Grigg-Spall attended Mount Holyoke as a foreign fellow during the 2003–04 academic year and in her acknowledgements thanks the College for “planting a seed in [her] mind.” She has written for Easy Living, the Washington Post, and the UK Independent, among other publications.



Email your submission to us at quarterly@


Sheila Benedis ’58 crafts paper into handmade books.

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Sarah Kimball ’86 Bridges Cabaret and the Corporate World The Language Inside Holly Thompson D E L ACO RTE

The Peerless Four: A Novel Victoria Patterson COU NTE RPO I NT

Set in 1928, the year female athletes were permitted to compete in Olympic track and field events for the first time, this novel tells the story of a Canadian women’s track team. Nicknamed the “Peerless Four,” the athletes— accompanied by their chaperone, who narrates the book—endure mounting pressure as they must overcome unexpected conflicts and are forced to face their fears knowing that the future of female Olympic athletes may depend on their performance.

Written in verse, this young adult novel is told from the point of view of Emma Karas, an American teenager raised in Japan. Returning to the states so that her mother can undergo cancer treatment, Emma has trouble adjusting to her new life. At her grandmother’s urging, she takes a volunteer job at a long-term-care facility, where she helps a patient with locked-in syndrome write down her poems and becomes close to a fellow volunteer. After finally finding a place for herself in the States, when it comes time to decide whether to stay or return to Japan, Emma is faced with a painful choice. Holly A. Thompson ’81 has written or edited four other books for children and adults, and her essays and short stories have been widely published. She teaches creative writing at Yokohama City University in Japan.

When she began studying cabaret, Sarah J. Kimball ’86 vowed she would perform her own show before she reached the age of forty-seven, giving herself about two years to get to the stage. “If you have something you really want to do and it scares you, go do it. That’s what it’s there for,” she says. Kimball succeeded in her goal. In March 2011, the night before her forty-seventh birthday, she stepped in front of an audience in Heart & Home. It was the third performance of her first self-produced cabaret show. Kimball launched her cabaret career in 2009 with a “sort of crash course cum summer camp.” At “Summer in the City,” a five-day intensive program then in its tenth year in New York City, she studied under program directors Rick Jensen and Lina Koutrakos. The following fall, Kimball began training with them in earnest, and just over a year later, they directed her first cabaret show. Her second show, Blue, premiered in May 2013 at New York’s renowned cabaret club, the Metropolitan Room. The theme grew from Kimball’s love of the Joni Mitchell song by the same name. Throughout the show, she explored the color through bluesy tunes and songs reminiscent of the ocean by artists such as Leonard Cohen and Annie Lennox. “It’s blue as interpreted by me,” she says. A theatre major at Mount Holyoke, Kimball decided early on that the Broadway lifestyle wasn’t for her. A career in performance “wasn’t feeding me on a lot of levels,” she says. Now she works in the corporate world and produces her work on the side. “I’m doing something for me,” she says. “It [cabaret] feeds my soul.” — B Y O L I V I A L A M M E L ’ 1 4

Sarah Kimball ’86 performs her own cabaret shows in New York City.

Leslie Hassler

Victoria Smith Patterson ’92 is the author of the novel The Vacant Paradise and Drift, a collection of interlinked short stories. She teaches in the Master of Fine Arts program at Antioch University and is visiting assistant professor at UC Riverside.

To see all recent alumnae books go to winter2013books.


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12/20/13 11:51 AM

During WWII, US Navy WAVES— Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service —trained on the Mount Holyoke campus before going on to serve the country.

The Quarterly takes a look back at student life on campus during World War II—a pivotal time when change was the only constant and students had no choice but to adapt. WRITTEN BY JENNIFER GROW ’94


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earning to drink coffee without sugar. Meatless Tuesdays. “Heat cops” closing dorm windows every morning to conserve oil. Saving tin and rubber for reuse. Rolling bandages for the Red Cross. World War II altered the lives of young women in countless ways. By 1945, the number of women working outside the home had increased by nearly fifty percent, rising to almost twenty million. And during the course of the war, more than 350,000 women joined the US military, serving in official capacities for the first time. But alongside these undeniably sweeping changes, innumerable smaller wartime adjustments occurred as well, especially on the campus of the nation’s oldest women’s college.

Mount Holyoke Alumnae Quarterly

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1/2/14 1:31 PM

Opportunity For Leadership


In 1937 Roswell Ham, the College’s first male president, was inaugurated, much to the disapproval of outgoing president Mary Woolley, who had spent nearly half of her life at the helm of Mount Holyoke during one of its most successful growth periods. Woolley called Ham’s appointment “a blow to the advancement of women,” and his presidency was off to a controversial start. But by 1942, war response on campus quickly overshadowed Ham’s arrival. That year President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed into law a new division of the US Navy,

“We had the WAVES taking over a whole dorm. . . and drilling on the campus,” says Miriam (Mimi) Bobrow Raphael ’47, who graduated from high school a year-and-a-half before Pearl

and Mount Holyoke became one of the handful of colleges where women came to train. The newly established Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES) was an official part of the Navy, with its members holding the same ranks and ratings as male personnel. In November 1942 the first class of WAVES arrived on campus, many having first participated in basic officer training at Smith College’s US Naval Reserves Midshipmen’s School. At Mount Holyoke, WAVES lived in Rockefeller Hall, renamed the SS Rocky and the Good Ship Rockefeller by students, and trained for service in special military communications. Undergraduates soon were living and learning among the military.

Harbor and went on to become a sergeant in the Civil Air Patrol. “We learned to sing the WAVES song in counterpoint to ‘Anchors Aweigh.’” Raphael and her classmates watched the WAVES “drill on campus and shared the gym locker room with them,” but, she says, “We had little or no social contact. . . It was just a part of our college experience, and, as freshman, we had never known any other.” Over the course of the war more than 10,000 WAVES—or about ten percent of the total number of wartime WAVES trained— went through the programs at Smith and Mount Holyoke before serving across the country in positions including language specialists and radio technicians.

TOP LEFT: A Marine is pinned on the bars at a commissioning ceremony

on campus ABOVE: US Marines campus headquarters in 1943

“Free a man to fight” was the slogan of the US Marines Corps women’s reserve, and in March 1943, with the WAVES still occupying the Rockies, the first female Marine recruits arrived. They were on campus for just a short time, consolidating their training programs by the end of the year. Ernestine Stowell ’43, who recalls watching the WAVES and Marines marching drills while she was an undergraduate, enlisted and completed her training on campus. She soon was called to active duty and, after more than 40 years in the Women’s Reserve, retired as a full colonel in 1977.

A War Education

While officers trained in full sight, undergraduate classes continued with the same academic rigor that Mount Holyoke had come to be known for. College faculty and staff altered the curriculum in various ways to accommodate war-related activity, with a new focus on preparing graduates for war production work. For the first time, students had the opportunity to take classes year-round. Mount Holyoke undergraduates as well as students from more than a dozen other colleges and universities took summer session courses

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for credit to accelerate their education and graduate as soon as possible in order to join the work force, where they were badly needed. Academic courses were offered across departments, and for the first time students could enroll in new courses specific to wartime training, learning how to build shortwave radios or navigate at night by the stars and studying the economics of war. A few specially selected students even learned how to crack code. Professor Roger Holmes taught legendary cryptography courses under the strictest secrecy, demanding that students study behind closed doors. Approved by a faculty unaware of the subject matter, the courses did not exist to the outside world and never appeared in the College catalog. Students who completed the courses were sent directly to Washington, where some went on to help break Japanese code just before the June 1942 Battle of Midway. Patricia Ryan Leopold ’43 remembers learning that she was selected to take one such secret cryptanalysis course, hearing about it through “markers in [her] post box, to be in a certain building at a certain time, early in the morning and not to tell anybody.” Leopold was also among forty students in her graduating class sworn into the Navy after mastering cryptanalysis at MHC. For others, the war meant changing a planned course of study or adapting to unexpected circumstances. Mount Holyoke began offering admission in the winter and summer as well as the fall. Barbara (Bobbie) Scherlis ’46 was one student who entered the College halfway through the 1942-43 academic year as part of the flexible admission program. Having graduated early from high school, she arrived on campus as one of only four January admits.

“War was on, and everyone was in a rush,” she says. And entering into an already established class “was not an easy entrance. The class had become organized— friendships were formed.” Beyond the social hardships, Scherlis realized she could not pursue math as intended because she had missed the first class in a serialized curriculum. “On hearing that no math would be available,” she says, “I was ready to leave. But my mother was there and sent me back to fulfill my admission.”

Scherlis stayed, and to make up her missed credits she enrolled in the College’s new summer program. She took classes she had never considered before, became “hooked into zoology,” and worked. “Instead of physical education,” Scherlis says, “I coached baseball for a group of boys in Holyoke. Their dads were at war, and their moms were working.” She led her team to win the regional championship, “in spite of the fact,” she says, “that I knew little about baseball.” And her team of ten-,

eleven-, and twelve-year-old boys taught her “a bit of street education” as a result. Many Mount Holyoke undergraduates worked in Holyoke factories, where they were taught to operate automatic drill and milling machines to fulfill war contracts. And still others established a Victory Garden—a nineacre plot of land located behind the athletic fields—for “gym” credit. They grew crops that the College purchased directly, donating the earnings to a number of different wartime causes. Students work in the Mount Holyoke Victory Garden

Enigma deciphering machine

Women working in a machine shop in Holyoke, Massachusetts

Mount Holyoke Alumnae Quarterly

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12/19/13 6:39 PM

The Little Things

Wartime also meant large-scale charitable efforts on campus and a willingness to sacrifice the small luxuries that previously had been the norm. Maid service for students in the residence halls was eliminated. Students made their own beds, set tables, washed dishes, and cleaned rooms. When it came to housekeeping, as many as 500 students—about half of total enrollment—joined work

“We watched B-24 bombers fly low overhead as their crews trained at nearby Westover Field. When the war ended, civilian flying was restored, and a small

PICTURED, COUNTERCLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Students go without maid service; sell war bonds and stamps; prepare relief packages at war’s end; collect “waste paper for victory” to be used in shipping supplies to soldiers overseas; and play cards with Navy officers on leave.

crews. Many earned twenty to forty-five cents per hour as part of a work-study program, but some volunteered their time as a way to contribute. A group of undergraduates formed a campus War Service Committee, arranging for toys and clothes to be sent to children overseas. They also organized paper drives, book drives, and blood drives, and they visited soldiers hospitalized at Westover Air Force Base. Members of the student Red Cross organization gathered regularly to roll surgical dressings—20,000 in all. And in March 1944, during a Red Cross drive, students raised more than their goal of $3,000, with eight residence halls achieving 100 percent participation. Students also

group of us formed the Mount Holyoke Flying Club and spent our free time out at LaFleur Field in Northampton to pilot little J-3 Piper Cubs and Aeronca Champions.” —MIRIAM (MIMI) BOBROW RAPHAEL ’47

Watch a video of Patricia Ryan Leopold ’43 talk about her time as a student code breaker at codebreaker.


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BELOW: The original V8s formed in 1942 as a group to accompany a dance number in junior show.

sewed hundreds of hospital gowns, and the knitters on campus united to knit hundreds of items of clothing, including warm clothes for child evacuees. Still others offered help in the form of entertainment, most notably the oldest continuing female collegiate a cappella group in the country. In 1942 a group of student singers convened to accompany a dance during junior show. Immediately successful, they named themselves the V8s—after the World War II phrase “V for Victory”—and soon were performing at nearby Westover Air Force Base and, later, at New York City’s Stage Door Canteen, a popular destination for GIs headed off to the war. In the end, wartime meant immediate and drastic changes, and like everyone at the time, Mount Holyoke women had no choice but to accept these changes and move forward. “My entire life was during the war years, and so I knew nothing else,” says Scherlis. “Doing homework reading in a canoe on Upper Lake is as good as it gets.”

Married on Leave Before World War II, higher education was an acceptable goal for a woman to pursue, but those who went to college were also expected to meet a husband. “Most of us spent time writing to many boys we knew who were overseas,” Barbara (Bobbie) Scherlis ’46 says. Some students dated men from Westover Air Force Base. Martha Stifler Waller ’41 met her future husband as an MHC student and shared with us the story of her wedding, not unusual for the time. In 1943 preparing for a wedding did not involve engraved invitations and planning ahead. Instead, writes Waller, “time depended on when both bride and groom could be present; travel plans depended on availability of space on crowded trains. . .and rationed gasoline. And what to wear depended on what was there.” Martha and her fiancé, George Macgregor (Mac) Waller, became engaged in June 1943. He was a US Navy Reserves ensign at the beginning of his four-month course at Harvard, and she was working as a civilian for the Army Signal Corps in Arlington, Virginia. They planned to wait until the war was over to get married. But, “like many another couple, we changed our minds,” writes Martha. They decided to marry just three weeks after their engagement, when Mac would be on leave for a weekend before being commissioned at the Brooklyn Naval Yard. She writes, “I had once envisioned an elegant trailing white satin gown with a billowing veil. . . Such clothing was clearly out of the question.” Instead, she wore her grandmother’s wedding dress, first worn in 1875. “A two-piece affair, white silk taffeta, now ivory with the years,” she writes, the dress had been preserved in “a large trunk in the attic” and consisted of a skirt that reached Martha’s ankles instead of its intended floor length. As for shoes, “In 1943, they were rationed,” writes Waller. “I hastily purchased a pair of white satin, midheeled bedroom slippers, ration-free.” The groom and his attendants wore their Navy blues and arrived the morning of the ceremony. A friend arranged the music and played the organ. And on a cool, rainy day in October 1943 the couple walked down the aisle of the chapel at Amherst College, where Martha’s father was a professor and where she had long felt she belonged. The marriage lasted the war years and then some. “Has everyone heard that wartime romances were fly-by-night affairs, doomed to early crack-up, even if they made it until peacetime? Mac survived the wedding with me, readied USS Uhlmann (DD-687) for its commissioning and shakedown cruise, saw it through a collision and heavy action in the Pacific, and served aboard until his replacement arrived after the surrender. “Reunited at last, we became the parents of five children; we spent sixty years as man and wife.”

Jennifer Grow ’94 is editor of the Alumnae Quarterly. Mount Holyoke Alumnae Quarterly

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12/20/13 11:36 AM

Five Reasons for Optimism TEXT BY ERIN PETERSON


Whether you’re reading the paper or watching broadcast news, getting pinged with breaking updates from your smartphone or clicking on a link from an outraged Facebook friend, one thing is almost certain: you’re probably seeing plenty of bad news. No matter where you get your information, you’re likely hearing the same things: Political progress has ground to a halt thanks to unending gridlock. Social Security is on the brink of catastrophe. Climate change threatens to destroy the planet. It’s enough to make even those who see the world through rose-colored glasses despair. But within the seemingly endless stream of negative updates, there are bright spots. To find those silver linings, we talked to five alumnae and faculty experts in fields ranging from economics to journalism to medicine to talk about what’s going right in the world.


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Susan Lynch ’76 is a pediatric lipid specialist at the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock in New Hampshire.


Obesity rates are plateauing among adolescents, and better habits are on the rise. “Those of us who work in childhood obesity use the expression 5210: five or more fruits or vegetables a day, no more than two hours of screen time, one hour of exercise, and zero consumption of sweetened beverages. A September 2013 study published in Pediatrics looked at thousands of adolescents over eight years. Results showed that among eleven- to sixteen-year-olds, there was a significant increase in the number of children getting sixty minutes of exercise every day. There also was an increase in the total daily servings of fruits and vegetables eaten and decreases in the amount of time watching television and the number of sweetened beverages consumed. In the same time period, the percentage of overweight children declined. That’s real progress. Although there’s no obesity study that can link cause and effect, there have been some significant changes in programs across the country. Through the Department of Agriculture, for example, there are new guidelines to decrease portion sizes and add fruits and vegetables to school lunches. Schools are taking junk food out of vending machines. At the community level, there’s been an increase in farmers’ markets. And there are more recreational opportunities, like the Rails to Trails program. The overall numbers are still cause for alarm: nearly 30 percent of adolescents are overweight or obese. But sometimes, we get almost to the brink of disaster, and then we figure out how to turn the ship around. And we might be getting there. When you start looking at all these changes, community by community, from the federal government down to the local level, this makes me and many scientists in this area guardedly optimistic that obesity rates will continue to decline.”


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Susan Lynch ’76 is a pediatric lipid specialist at the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock in New Hampshire.


Obesity rates are plateauing among adolescents, and better habits are on the rise. “Those of us who work in childhood obesity use the expression 5210: five or more fruits or vegetables a day, no more than two hours of screen time, one hour of exercise, and zero consumption of sweetened beverages. A September 2013 study published in Pediatrics looked at thousands of adolescents over eight years. Results showed that among eleven- to sixteen-year-olds, there was a significant increase in the number of children getting sixty minutes of exercise every day. There also was an increase in the total daily servings of fruits and vegetables eaten and decreases in the amount of time watching television and the number of sweetened beverages consumed. In the same time period, the percentage of overweight children declined. That’s real progress. Although there’s no obesity study that can link cause and effect, there have been some significant changes in programs across the country. Through the Department of Agriculture, for example, there are new guidelines to decrease portion sizes and add fruits and vegetables to school lunches. Schools are taking junk food out of vending machines. At the community level, there’s been an increase in farmers’ markets. And there are more recreational opportunities, like the Rails to Trails program. The overall numbers are still cause for alarm: nearly 30 percent of adolescents are overweight or obese. But sometimes, we get almost to the brink of disaster, and then we figure out how to turn the ship around. And we might be getting there. When you start looking at all these changes, community by community, from the federal government down to the local level, this makes me and many scientists in this area guardedly optimistic that obesity rates will continue to decline.”


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The US has economic advantages that no other country in the world can match. “First, we should be clear about one thing: while a lot of problems in Washington are purely political problems, Social Security isn’t one of them. It’s a demographic problem. Soon we won’t have enough workers to support all of the people who are retired. But so much of that problem is the result of good news: we’re living much longer than we used to. When you think about it, it doesn’t really make sense that in our society we plan on spending twenty or twenty-five years in retirement. Historically, that’s just bizarre. And though the problem with Social Security is serious, we couldn’t have a better starting point: we are currently the richest country in the history of the world—we have double the wealth of the second-highest country. While it’s true that there are going to be real consequences [when we can’t pay promised benefits to retired workers], it’s not as though these choices are going to cause us to regress back to some sort of medieval society. Even poor people in America are phenomenally wealthy by both world and historical standards. There may not be any good option on the table, but if you bump the retirement age back far enough, the problem goes away. When Social Security was devised, the retirement age and life expectancy

were about the same. Today, there are lots of healthy people in their late sixties who could continue to work until they were, say, seventy-two or seventy-five. We’ve developed a mentality that [our current benefits are] what we deserve, but it was a false promise that never should have been made. The world has changed. It’s a promise we can’t keep anymore. Eventually, we’re going to bite the bullet. We’ll readjust. We may work longer than we thought, and our benefits may not be as good as we thought. And that will make people unhappy. But it’s definitely not the end of the world. When we compare ourselves to almost anyone else, we’re still doing pretty well.”

James Hartley is a professor of economics at Mount Holyoke who specializes in macroeconomics.

Mount Holyoke Alumnae Quarterly

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12/20/13 11:40 AM


More than ever before, we have the will to make environmental changes that matter. “Much of the Arctic is covered by permafrost—soil that’s below the freezing point of water. When permafrost thaws in the bottom of lakes, methane gas, caused by decomposed organic matter, bubbles up out of the lakes and enters into the atmosphere as a greenhouse gas. You can actually light this methane on fire—we’ve created enormous fireballs on frozen lakes from the methane coming up out of the permafrost. If permafrost thaws, it has the potential to be a significant contributor to climate warming. Now, permafrost is always warming and thawing. And one bright spot is that we know that 10,000 years ago, this warming and thawing happened a lot more than it does today. And there are even some natural processes to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, like lake draining. When lakes drain, they turn into wetlands that absorb carbon. It’s actually a cooling effect.

That doesn’t mean we don’t need to be paying attention. Even though we don’t have a catastrophic situation now, we could in the future. The media may have [stoked] fears a little bit. But that’s captured people’s attention, and that’s a really good thing.” Katey Walter Anthony ’98 is an associate professor at the University of Alaska–Fairbanks. She studies methane emissions in environments where the permafrost beneath lakes is thawing.

Watch a video of student changemakers and how they’re making the world a better place at


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The best journalism isn’t behind us, it’s ahead. “I’m extremely optimistic about journalism— and I’m almost a lone voice in the wilderness on that. It’s true that the business model, which was trustworthy and phenomenally profitable, collapsed rather dramatically. But there are many interesting things happening around the fringes. For example, a lot of seasoned journalists have founded independent startups. Some are running media institutions or teaching. They’re out there, in a major way, revitalizing the profession. For example, there’s Round Earth Media, which links [novice and experienced] journalists who work in tandem to produce stories overseas. Even if organizations like these haven’t hit prime

time, they’re out there, they’re growing, and they’re becoming more viable. And in the mainstream press, there are so many journalists who are maintaining and improving the standards we’ve had. A September 2013 story in the Detroit Free Press, for example, used thousands of documents to reconstruct why Detroit went bankrupt. It tells a really complicated story based on reams of research—but even more than that, it’s freely available to anybody in the country. It’s accessible; it’s sophisticated; it’s detailed. Mayors, city managers, and government officials can read this story. I can sit here in South Hadley and read it front to back, with all the graphics, all the links, everything. Work of that caliber is still happening. We’ve got reporters who are still doing the traditional shoe-leather reporting, getting out and talking to human beings, but they’re also augmenting the work with [the Internet and online databases]. Journalists have access to phenomenal quantities of data and information. When you consider WikiLeaks and Edward Snowden, journalists have become the translators of this unfiltered well of information. What do we need to know? Why do we need to know it? For that reason, journalism isn’t going to go away. It’s probably never been more compelling. What’s going to save these institutions, in the long run, is doing this work really well over and over and over.” C.S. Manegold is a visiting senior lecturer in the Mount Holyoke English department. In 1993, she was part of a team of reporters from the New York Times awarded a Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

Erin Peterson is a freelance writer who lives in Minneapolis and writes for colleges and universities across the country.


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You’re not alone in this experience.

I’ve never viewed myself as American.

You have to educate people about where you’re coming from. First it was overwhelming.

Diversity helps break down those stereotypes. WRITTEN BY C H R I S T I N A B A R B E R -J U S T M O D E R AT E D B Y D O N N A VA N H A N D L E ’ 7 4 , D E A N O F I N T E R N AT I O N A L STUDENTS


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Voices at the Table

When it comes to diversity, Mount Holyoke leads the way in providing an education to students from countries around the world, fostering an academic environment that not only gives opportunities for students to learn from one another in the classroom but prepares them to graduate and become citizens in an increasingly global world. “No student ever speaks or should be asked to speak for her country,” says Eva Paus, professor of economics and the Carol Hoffmann Collins Director of the McCulloch Center for Global Initiatives. “But students inevitably bring to [classroom] discussions experiences and perspectives from different cultural/political/economic contexts, and as a result all the students develop a much more complex, nuanced, and deeper understanding of the issues at hand.” Paus, an expert on economic development who has published widely on the topic, fosters cultural exchanges around the table of the senior seminar that she teaches each year. “The impact of international student diversity on learning outcomes can be profound,” she says. Last spring her twenty-three students represented fourteen nations, an impressive number and yet only a fraction of the eighty-three countries represented by the current student body. Mount Holyoke has valued diversity since its inception, long before bringing international students to campuses became the trend in higher

education. The College’s commitment to educating students across nationalities has set it apart, even among women’s colleges, known historically for supporting diversity over their peer co-educational institutions. According to the Institute of International Education’s 2012–2013 Open Doors Report, five of the original Seven Sisters made the list of the top forty ranked institutions, but it is Mount Holyoke that has the single highest percentage of international students among elite US liberal-arts colleges, with 664 international students accounting for more than 25 percent of this year’s student body. To learn more about the value of the international experience at MHC today, we asked Dean of International Students Donna Van Handle ’74 to convene a group of students—four international seniors, three international first-years, and two domestic seniors with study-abroad experience— for a roundtable discussion at the Blanchard Campus Center. Van Handle moderated the discussion and was assisted by Paus. Edited excerpts of the group’s conversation follow.

Mount Holyoke Alumnae Quarterly

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12/20/13 3:20 PM

Q. Let’s start with a first-year international student. What are your initial impressions of Mount Holyoke?

Jasmine Tham ’17 (FRANCE) First it was overwhelming. But I just thought it was such a beautiful campus, a place where community and sisterhood was. I was just enchanted, under the impression that I can do really great things here. Everyone’s so supportive.

Q. International seniors, what advice do you have for inter-

Tebo Molosiwa ’14 (BOTSWANA)

national first-years?

Don’t only challenge yourself academically but also challenge yourself socially. I think it’s very easy for us as international students to gravitate toward what we know, what is comfortable, and so you find yourself staying within those groups. But try things that you never tried before. Immerse yourself in totally different cultures. . . In the beginning, I’d be like, “I cannot do any of these things.” But you can’t speak about these things until you try them. You can have an opinion about something after you’ve tried it. One of the saddest things for me, I think, would’ve been me leaving Mount Holyoke the same way I entered it.


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Q. For the domestic seniors who studied abroad, how does it feel to be back?

Alyssa Mohamad ’14 (UNITED STATES) Coming back to Mount Holyoke felt like coming home. I think it was helpful having been abroad to be able to tell what kinds of services international students might need. As a domestic student, you might not automatically think, “When international students come here, they’ll need help figuring this out or figuring that out,” because it just seems natural. But after being abroad, it helps to give perspective of some of the services that they might need that Mount Holyoke really does help provide.

Q. International seniors, have any of you experienced “reverse culture shock” when you’ve gone home?

Sin Seanne Ng ’14 (MALAYSIA) I’m here as an international student, and I hold an identity that I am from Malaysia. But going home, people question that: “So, you’re American now?” I’m like, “No, I’m still Malaysian.” I’ve never viewed myself as American. And then people have told me things like, “You’ve been abroad; you have no idea what’s going on at home,” which is also not true. Just because I’m studying in the US and given the privilege and the opportunity to pursue an education in the United States does not make me forget where I come from or be ignorant of what’s going on at home. I may be seeing things from a different perspective now, but that doesn’t change my identity as a person, as a Malaysian, or as an Asian.

Q. What other challenges do international students face when returning home?

Fardina Fuad ’14 (MALAYSIA ) Mount Holyoke is pretty liberal in a lot of things, and when you go back home, you tend to have a lot of frustrations. “Why aren’t they doing it this way? Why are they thinking this way?” My biggest advice for international students is do not form a superiority complex. Try to understand. Our education here is to form opinions and to critique but also to realize what our position is back home. Don’t think, “I had a wonderful education abroad and therefore I’m frustrated, I’m giving up on my country.”

Mount Holyoke Alumnae Quarterly

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12/23/13 11:57 AM

Read about the accomplishments of Mount Holyoke international alumnae through history at internationalalumnae.

Q. Do cultural differences affect your interactions here at Mount Holyoke?

Ifeyinwa Arinze ’14 (NIGERIA ) As a Nigerian I didn’t really expect this, so it hit me even harder when I heard some stereotypes or preconceived notions that people had about thinking Africa’s a country [rather than a continent] or thinking that everybody in Africa acts the same or dresses the same or thinks the same. Mount Holyoke is a great place, but still you have to educate people about where you’re coming from. Come in knowing that you might get these questions, and it’s offensive, but the person who you’re talking to might not be malicious; it’s just coming from a place of ignorance. . . Sometimes diversity is hard, but I think that’s why Mount Holyoke emphasizes dialogue and being inclusive.

Aurian Eghbalian ’14 (UNITED STATES ) I’ve made so many connections beyond my wildest dreams in terms of being able to, say, practice Japanese with someone who’s from Zimbabwe or learn how to tango from a girl Q. Domestic students, how have you been impacted by the College’s international diversity?

from Spain. All these connections that you have on a day-today basis can ultimately lead to something greater in life. Diversity helps break down those stereotypes you previously had. Having a place like Mount Holyoke bring so many people from all around the world to help broaden your senses is just really amazing.


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Farah Rawas ’17 (LEBANON ) In high school, I was in the scientific section, so all the subjects I took were in math, physics, chemistry, biology— Q. First-year international students, how are your classes going? Is the pedagogy here different from what you’re accustomed to?

all science. When I came here, I had in mind that I wanted environmental studies or something with engineering. But my advisor wanted me to take this seminar in music, take this class of philosophy. He encouraged me, and I did it. I have now a hip-hop class, a first-year seminar in music, and a philosophy class. It felt so nice. I learned so much about myself that it made me consider a minor in humanities, even though I’m so much into science.

Q. How has Mount Holyoke made a difference for you as an international student?

Nour Al Hasanat ’17 (JORDAN) I have friends who went to American schools with fewer international students, and they say it’s hard to get immersed in the American culture because most of the time you don’t get the jokes they’re making or the stuff they’re referring to. When you have other international students who are going through the same thing, it makes it much easier. When I came here for pre-orientation, it was all

MHC’s International Firsts 1839

Susanna Major, class of 1843, of Ontario, Canada, becomes the first international student to study at Mount Holyoke.


The tenth annual conference of the International Student Service is held at Mount Holyoke, attracting 200 delegates, faculty, and students from thirty-seven countries.


The Faculty Committee on Foreign Students is formed at Mount Holyoke. It awards fellowships and scholarships to international students and paves the way for the College’s Foreign Fellowship Program.


Mount Holyoke becomes one of two-dozen American colleges and universities to participate in a $2.5 million program to provide full scholarships to select African students.


Mount Holyoke’s first internationalstudent handbook is published.

international students, so it was easier for me to get to know people, to have more friends. Having the diversity, and having international students who come from different backgrounds, makes you feel like you’re not alone in this experience. Christina Barber-Just is a writer from western Massachusetts. She last wrote for the Quarterly about connecting curriculum to career.


The McCulloch Center for Global Initiatives is founded at Mount Holyoke. The center encompasses study abroad, international internships and research, and services for international students, including orientation, advising, and information about immigration regulations.

Mount Holyoke Alumnae Quarterly

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12/23/13 11:59 AM




MoHome Memories Secret Sororities The rise and fall of Mount Holyoke’s sororities

More than 130 student organizations exist at Mount Holyoke, and most students belong to at least one, whether it’s the Renegades—a “nerd-centric” role-playing club—or Love Across the Coast, which promotes education for children in rural China. But what about sororities at MHC? Mount Holyoke itself is a united sisterhood, right? Not so around the turn of the twentieth century. When Mount Holyoke transitioned from a seminary to a college in 1893, five secret sororities were established—“secret” only because no one was allowed to speak of them, though everyone knew they existed. Each year, a select group of first-year students was asked to join and once initiated was given access to the sorority’s alumnae, special songs, members-only banquets, and designated space for socializing. When President Mary E. Woolley took office in 1901, she found the sororities undemocratic, stating, “a college life in which we are trying to give equal opportunities to all girls who enter, is not the place for any exclusive organization.” She initially prohibited the formation of new societies, but after pressure from students who felt left out of the current groups she disbanded them altogether in 1910. In place of the sororities, an all-inclusive organization called the Social Club was formed, and traditions intended to bring classes together— such as “elfing” and class colors—began and still exist today. —B Y T AY L O R S C O T T


Sigma Theta Chi (1887) Xi Phi Delta (1896) Psi Omega (1897) Gamma Kappa (1898) Chi Delta Theta (1902)


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on display

An alumna’s needlepoint portrays her rich life, including her time at Mount Holyoke. ARTIFACT

Stitched Together

e Ben Barnahrt (6)

Intricate needlepoint by Nancy (Nan) Mettler ’38 very time Gretchen Mettler paid a visit to her aunt Nan at her home in Akron, Ohio, she was greeted by a vibrant needlepoint on the wall of the living room. Entitled Autobiography, the piece showcases Nancy H. Mettler’s ’38 rich life experiences—from the houses she lived in and the church she attended to her beloved pets and her time spent at Mount Holyoke. In fact, the College had such a profound impact on Mettler (she remained best friends with her freshman roommate, Sara L. Milner ’38, throughout her life), that her niece generously donated the needlepoint to the Mount Holyoke Archives and Special Collections after Mettler passed away in 2011 at the age of ninety-four.

A lifelong resident of Akron, Mettler returned to her hometown after earning a degree in zoology at Mount Holyoke. She taught high school English for thirty-five years and in 1975 received a fellowship from the Martha Holden Jennings Foundation, which supports the advancement of Ohio teachers. After retirement Mettler served as a full-time volunteer at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, where she was a founding member of the Needlework Guild. It was during this period that she created Autobiography, among many other pieces. Perhaps hearkening back to her zoology days, she found cats to be ideal companions, surrounding herself with them and even including them in her needlepoint. — B Y L A U R E N K O D I A K Mount Holyoke Alumnae Quarterly

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12/19/13 6:56 PM

then and now



Winter Fashion

Women of the Depression era typically had one

From wool pea coats to down-filled “puffy” jackets to long, rainproof overcoats, there are countless winter outerwear options available today, and many students own more than one coat to get them through the coldest season.

evening and one day coat that would last them several winters. Students stayed warm during the cold Massachusetts winters by wearing long overcoats, most often made of wool. Fur was a luxury item worn by the wealthy, although collars and cuffs of fur were commonly added as trim to spruce up a drab coat.

To stay warm on walks across campus, students wear brightly colored winter hats made from fleece, cashmere, faux fur, or wool— some even hand knit in class by the students themselves. Most popular on the Mount Holyoke campus is the “slouchy beanie,” a knit hat that sags in the back.

While this was the beginning of the age of ready-towear fashion, most women were still making their own clothing due to the lasting economic effects of the Great Depression. Yet, even in these lean times a student would have two coats, one for daytime wear and, for more formal occasions, an evening coat made from velvet or satin, typically more stylish than practical.




Students wear winter coats in a variety of styles, lengths, and colors.

See more images of fashion through the years on the Archives and Special Collection’s Pinterest board at

1933: MHC Archives and Special Collections; 2014: Ben Barnhart

The 1932 Mount Holyoke student handbook advises students, “Don’t bring a great array of hats. We never wear them except for week end [sic] trips or special occasions. An old rain hat (to preserve your wave) is a good thing to have on hand for damp weather,” and includes the seemingly out-of-the-blue exclamation, “We wear socks!”

Winter boots also come in a variety of styles and fashions, but waterproof material is key for staying warm and dry during the cold, snowy, wet days of winter in South Hadley. The trendiest boot to sport is a “Bean boot,” an insulated leather and rubber boot made by L.L. Bean.

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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 or

Connections Megan F. Haaga ’15 and Carol Sweeney Benson ’61 in front of Mead Hall, where Benson knit the famed pair of socks.

Travel Abroad with Sister Alumnae We invite you to continue your lifelong journey of learning in the company of sister alumnae by joining us in one or more of the travel opportunities available this year. To learn more, visit

U P CO M I N G T R I P S Cruise from Scotland to Denmark President Lynn Pasquerella ’80 will be joining this trip. June 13–21, 2014

Reunion 2014

Musical Cruise on the Danube September 13–25, 2014

May 16– 18 FPs, 1944, 1964, 1974, 1989, 1994, 2004, 2012

Coastal Iberia October 3–11, 2014


Reunion I

Reunion II

May 23–25 1939, 1949, 1954, 1959, 1969, 1979, 1984, 1999, 2009

Sweeney and Haaga: Taylor Scott

Alumna-Student Connection Made by Way of. . . Socks? Megan F. Haaga ’15 was researching the Presidential Papers of Richard Glenn Gettell for a summer job as student assistant to Archives and Special Collections when she came across a unique item—a pair of hand-knit socks. Each sock featured a red beer mug and the initials ‘RG.’ After some digging, Haaga’s research led her to Carol Sweeney Benson ’61, who originally knit the socks for a boyfriend, Robert Graham, but had given them to President Gettell when the couple called it quits. Finding the story fascinating, Haaga wrote an article on the Library, Information, and Technology Services

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blog and began an email correspondence with Benson. After two months of virtual exchanges, Benson drove from her home in Morrisville, Vermont, to meet Haaga in person. They enjoyed a meal in the North Rocky dining hall, where Benson gave Haaga her own pair of socks from a famed sock store near Benson’s home. The two talked about their favorite MHC traditions, Haaga’s dream of becoming a children’s librarian, and Benson’s own career path— from banker to writer and actress. “It’s funny,” said Benson, “to think that a pair of socks brought us together.” The new friends have vowed to stay in touch.

An Irish Thanksgiving Junior Year Abroad students studying at University College Galway traveled to Dublin by bus on November 16 and were met by Elisabeth F. D’Agosto ’07 and Ashley M. DeFlumere ’09, who took them to Ireland’s National Museum and Natural History Museum. After running into the Irish rugby team, they went for a bite and a pint. The next morning the students met up with six of the ten alumnae living in Ireland for an early Thanksgiving lunch. FROM LEFT: (FRONT) Annemarie Mosca Lambe ’93, Rachel J. Roder ’15, Caitlin F. Hughes ’15, Siri L. Rosendahl ’15 (BACK) Barbara Schmidt Kelly ’69, DeFlumere, Jenny Rowland ’72, D’Agosto, and Kathleen O’Toole-Brennan ’93

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I think that when I die and travel to the great beyond, my heaven will take place on campus. And, yes, there may be snow involved, but I won’t be cold. And every dinner will be gracious.


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1/2/14 1:05 PM

Ben Barnhart

a place of our own

Mount Holyoke Alumnae Quarterly

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1/2/14 1:05 PM

my voice



Pitch your topic to us at quarterly@


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Falling in Love with Mount Holyoke All Over Again By VIR GINIA LINCO LN ’82 ogether with all Mount Holyoke alumnae, I am part of a sisterhood born of living and learning among women for four years. Ours is a bond that lasts despite our separation and the passing of time. During our years as undergraduates, it was not the classes we took in beautiful old buildings that changed our lives. It was the girls I entered with and the women I graduated with that made the difference to the person I became. As students, we ate breakfast in our nightgowns. We climbed Mount Holyoke on Mountain Day. We gave gifts to the freshmen as Secret Santas and made popcorn in the hallway. We sang in the Glee Club, performing in NYC each December. We agonized over the dorm lottery. We selected and changed our majors and then changed them again. We rode the bus to Amherst and ate popovers at Judie’s. We posted grad school and job rejection letters on the walls of our dorms like wallpaper. And we graduated outside in a magnificent amphitheater in a magnificent rainstorm, holding umbrellas that made for colorful photos and that masked our tears of joy and of sadness for the parting that was soon to come. Then, every five years, we gathered at Reunion. At each one I pulled through Field Gate and parked my car,

wandering our beautiful campus and taking pictures before heading to registration. Due to a family commitment, I was unable to attend our twenty-fifth. And when it was time to start thinking about the thirtieth, I questioned whether old friendships would endure in the years since I had been back. It was only after reconnecting with friends through a class of 1982 Facebook page started by a classmate that I decided to make the trek from New Jersey to South Hadley. We were, Mount Holyoke was exactly as I remembered it, from the campus almost, I fell in love with on my tour as a high school senior to the women I girls again, had not seen in ten years. I rekindled old friendships and made new reliving ones. We laughed about college exploits and despaired over lost the wonder classmates. We were, almost, girls again, reliving the wonder years years of of college while celebrating the accomplishments of the women college. we had become. We discovered that we were not alone in the adventures and misadventures of our lives. We discussed what would come next as our children moved on, as we became caregivers for elderly parents, as we approached retirement, or as we considered or were forced into new careers. These shared experiences were oddly comforting, a feeling I did not get from the sound bites of our social media exchanges. Being at Reunion again reminded me not only of the fun and carefree days of my youth but of the gift the College gave me. Those four years and those girls— now women—were my turning point. They made me who I am. They inspired me then and inspire me now never to fear what may come, to follow my dreams, and to believe in myself. Given the chance, I would probably change a great many of the choices I have made, but the spontaneous decision to apply to Mount Holyoke as my father drove up Route 116 in the fall of 1977 will never be one of them. And I will never again wonder if attending Reunion is the right thing to do.

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What impact do you want to have? Heather Tyrie Wilcauskas ’64 is thrilled. Her bequest will impact the next generation of Mount Holyoke changemakers who, in turn, will change the world. “I am keenly aware of what a gift it is to have a Mount Holyoke degree,” says Heather. Heather documented her bequest in honor of her 50th reunion so that “the College knows what’s coming and can make plans to support our students.” Change takes planning. Start now. Make Mount Holyoke part of your estate-planning strategy. To learn more, contact Anne Vittoria FP’05 in the Office of Gift Planning, 413-538-2637 or 800-642-4483,

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Alumnae Association Mount Holyoke College Mary Woolley Hall 50 College Street South Hadley, MA 01075

Sara Errington ’92 History major at MHC. PhD in Early American History from Brown. Moved from covering fires as a journalist to fighting them as a volunteer. Appointed first woman fire captain for the city of Syracuse. Loves the physicality of the job.

STRONG. Find an Alumna | Connect to Your Class | Find a Local Club | Career Network | Volunteer

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Mount Holyoke Alumnae Quarterly Winter 2014  

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