Mount Holyoke Alumnae Quarterly Spring 2015

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Mount Holyoke spr in g 2015

Alumnae Quarterly

Fresh Perspectives I N TH I S I SSU E WOM EN IN TH E LEAD

A look at how student fellows are turning the admission process on its head


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President’s Pen A F E W Y E A R S A G O, Anne-Marie Slaughter created a

firestorm when her article “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All” was published in The Atlantic. Slaughter begins her piece by recounting a talk she delivered on “work-family balance” to a group of Rhodes Scholars and reports that nearly all of the women in the room not only assumed but accepted that they would have to make compromises that their male counterparts would not have to make. The question of whether women can really have it all was one of the central issues addressed at the inaugural Mount Holyoke Asian Alumnae Symposium held in Hong Kong last November. I had the privilege of serving on a panel with alumnae from classes in the 1970s through 2008, facilitated by national correspondent Lisa Belkin, that debated the questions raised by Slaughter’s commenThe struggle to find tary. Is it possible to be an executive and also lead a balanced life? How can we make balance is nothing new. work-life balance not just a “women’s problem”? What are the strategies and factors — LYN N PA SQ U E R E LL A ’80 to consider when deciding to leave a career or rejoin the work force? Will there ever be time to go on a date? As I sat down next to the other panelists, I couldn’t help but think of something I’d read recently about the tensions women feel between home and work. “We cannot believe it is fixed in the nature of things that a woman must choose between a home and her work, when a man may have both. There must be a way out and it is the problem

“ ”

John Kuchle

President Pasquerella and her sons Spencer and Pierce in 1994

of our generation to find a way.” That quotation? From the Smith College Weekly student newspaper. In 1919. Certainly the struggle to find balance is nothing new. But during our discussion, one question stopped us in our tracks. What is one thing you won’t compromise on? I had to think a moment and then realized that, for me, it’s dinner. When I was a vice provost at the University of Rhode Island, I often worked late. Given the hour-anda-half commute home, I arrived well after our usual dinnertime. But an evening meal with my husband and our twin sons was critical to our family and our mutual well-being—a chance to slow down and catch up. When he knew I was near, my husband, John, would get the water boiling for spaghetti, prepare ingredients for broccoli melts, or jump in the car with the boys to meet me halfway at a restaurant. Those late-night meals were worth it because they bound our family together. They still do. Today there are even greater pressures on families. I know Bridget Barrett, senior administrative assistant of the College’s Gender Studies and Film Studies departments, maintains the same family dinner tradition. With six people and three generations gathering at Bridget’s table, it can be difficult to enforce. One new rule has been added at the Barretts’ table: no screens. When it comes to texting, Bridget is unequivocal. “Put that away,” she says. Marcella Jayne FP’13 is another woman who frequently wrestles with the issue of compromise. Marcella is a single mother of two who attends Fordham Law School. Committed to a future in public service law, she knows the financial rewards won’t be great, and she recognizes the sacrifices her daughters have already made. “It’s an internal dialogue I have ten times a day,” she says. Yet, Marcella asks, “What kind of a mother would I be if I didn’t show my children how important it is to stand for what I believe?” Standing for what we believe. Until we create a world in which the full range of every person’s existence is valued, we will continue to feel the same tension women experienced nearly one hundred years ago. Until then, we will eat late-night broccoli melts, take away the cell phones yet again, and have that same conversation that we’ve had with ourselves so many times before. The most important stand we take is often the one we make when we’re most depleted. In confronting the empty tank, we remind ourselves what matters most.

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Contents D E PA R T M E N T S

Cover by Meredith Heuer; back cover by Marion J. Ross; bust detail: Laura Weston Shea FP’06, MHC Art Museum; comic book: MHC Archives and Special Collections




16 Fresh Perspectives

Overseen by Barbara Moakler Byrne ’76, the Women in Leadership Index is showing that the market is bullish on companies with women at the helm

28 To Boldly Go

Dr. Mei-Iung Ting, class of 1918, stopped at nothing when it came to improving the health of women and children in wartime China

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35 On Display First comic book 36 Then and Now Pangy Day

College recognized for internationalization and accessibility, data science training launched, Sophomore Institute returns 9 Ten Minutes With Mexico’s Deputy Secretary of Energy Lourdes Melgar ’85


Reconnecting in Ethiopia, Black Alumnae Conference, travel opportunities

38 A Place of Our Own South Mandelle Common Room


10 Insider’s View Studio Theater

on Prospectives

22 Women in the Lead

How Mount Holyoke women pushed for the vote



Mount Holyoke relies on a dedicated group of admission fellows to build the next class of students


Support for The Lynk, transgender conversations, remembering Clara Regina Ludwig ’37, cover critique, praise for a sister alumna


12 Go Figure Mount Holyoke College Art Museum

Khushbu Mishra ’11 on “Stepping Out of My Comfort Zone and Into a Beauty Contest”

13 The Maven Marjory Wentworth ’80 on how to read a poem 14 The Female Gaze Mixed-media artist Christina Zwart ’87; authors Maureen Meister ’75, Priya Parmar ’96, Jenifer Ruff ’92, and Barbara Smith ’69


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Lyons Share PRAISE FOR THE LYNK I am pleased to see the success of

TRANSGENDER SUPPORT Thank you for printing Elliot

and always gives me

The Lynk (“Practical Pursuit,” winter 2015, p. 16) but not surprised. In the 1970s, I was the founding director and national coordinator of the University Without Walls (UWW) at Loretto Heights College in Denver, Colorado. The UWW Consortium began with thirteen institutions around the country. One was UMass at Amherst. Most of our students were “adults,” not traditional-age students. But, regardless of age and life experience, all UWW students were required to have a variety of methods of learning in their bachelor’s degree plans. They constructed learning contracts for each learning experience, even each regular classroom-based course. Combined with the central roles of advising and evaluation, every student learned the skills of planning, “resourcing,” reflection, and evaluation and how to navigate their environment to maximize learning and career opportunities. The Lynk now gives Mount Holyoke students those “real world” opportunities. I am pleased that the College is going in that direction.

the warm & fuzzies.

—Ellie Miller Greenberg ’53 via Association website

Ruggles’ ’06 story (“Uncommon Experience: Being Transgender at Mount Holyoke,” winter 2015, p. 80). I’m proud to call him my Mount Holyoke brother. He sounds like a fine example of a feminist man! The article prompted me to check up on the College’s current policy on admitting transwomen. In the past the College was quoted as saying “we admit women, and we graduate students” when asked about students who transition to the male gender during their undergraduate years. That made me angry because I knew that at the time they didn’t admit all women, only women who were assigned the female gender at birth. I had met women who were turned away because of their male organs, and I found that terribly unfair. I was delighted to read the current policy on the College’s website: “Mount Holyoke College welcomes applications for our undergraduate program from any qualified student who is female or identifies as a woman.” I’m proud of my alma mater for updating this policy and being a part of the solution in the struggle for transgender rights.

My @mtholyoke alumnae magazine often brings me to nostalgic tears,

—Mary Murphy ’05 via email

#MountHolyoke forever shall be! I FEO LUWA O LO KO D E ’ 13 @I FEO LUWAHAN

Join the Conversation



Good for you, Elliot. I’m so glad conversations are evolving and minds are opening. Thank you for being the kind of man I want as a role model for my two sons. The kind of man who is a feminist, loves women, and “gets it.” And thank you for doing the work you do to encourage the truth of experience for the college students you help. The emotional space we are in when we’re in college is so raw and possible and difficult. You probably

make all the difference in the world to the students who are dealing with who they are and who they are becoming. I’m glad to be an alum of MHC alongside you! —Sarah Gustafson Andrade ’95 via Association website

Thank you for sharing Ruggles’ essay in the Quarterly. I found it very interesting and uplifting. We live in a diverse society, and goodness can’t be made cookie-cutter style. I appreciate your emphasis on being “authentic.” Amen! We could all use more authenticity. —Betty Walter ’84 via email

REMEMBERING REGGIE When I looked at Reggie’s smile in

the picture in the winter Quarterly (“Clara Regina Ludwig ’37, In Memoriam,” p. 78), I could hear her laugh. There she was at her retirement, having just been surprised by the announcement that those who had worked as admission representatives from the ’60s through her tenure had raised the endowment for a scholarship in her name. Each year, for many years, she would write to tell us about the young woman who held that scholarship. Reggie built a cadre of admission volunteers around the world. In the years before the Internet, when I traveled abroad, I would carry course catalogs and other materials to alumnae recruiting students in foreign countries. I count a few of those volunteers among my close friends today. Reggie understood the importance of volunteers and used us wisely. She also cared for us. And we returned her caring by working hard for her and for Mount

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Hey there @aamhc sisters, show some love for #SaveSweetBriar and support higher education for women! J U LIA JACK SO N M CCR E ADY ’83 @MAC S M O M

Holyoke. Candidates came home and told me about their great interviews. Students came home and told me how she always remembered them and greeted them on campus. Reggie represented Mount Holyoke’s best in many ways. After she retired, Reggie welcomed our visits in South Hadley and talked with delight about her volunteering in the College archives and what she was learning. And, of course, we heard about the birds and her travels to Italy. I will miss my visits with her as, I know, will others. Her passing has caused me to think, again, about what an important role model she was to me. Thank you, Reggie, for the lessons, the friendship, the opportunity to know you.

Jennifer Grow

—Judy Kramer Stein ’56, Belfast, ME admission representative,

1968–1981; admission liaison to the Alumnae Association Board of Directors, 1974–1978

COVER CRITIQUE My winter 2015 Quarterly finally

AN ADMIRABLE ALUMNA I am a Weston, Massachusetts, neigh-

got forwarded to me here in Hawaii, where I teach second semester. Although the content is as usual terrific, the cover design left a lot to be desired. I’m certainly no graphic design specialist, but I do a lot of lecturing using PowerPoint graphics and would like to offer the following: I understand that you wanted to have the white Q stand out on the left-hand side, but it barely does on such a pale-green background (the color of old nursing home walls), and its placement, along with the “In This Issue” column, forced your (simplistic) graphic so far over to the right that it looks misplaced. The print on your most important words, “Practical Pursuit,” is pale and spare. I would think you’d want those words to jump out at people so they’d want to read the article. Somebody must have decided against using a snappy color and bold font. Why? At least you used bolding in labeling the graphic, but somebody opted for mini-font. Why? Don’t you want people to notice them? I offer this in the spirit of constructive criticism, in light of the facts that your younger-generation readers are used to a lot edgier and more arresting graphics, and your older generation ones are having eyesight problems that make them appreciate print that stands out. Finally, I do appreciate all the effort that goes into making the Quarterly so interesting and relevant, but I bet you folks are capable of designing a much more attention-grabbing cover another time.

bor and strong admirer of Imogene Opton Fish ’55 (“Achieving Great Heights,” winter 2015, p. 9) and her family for many years. Not only was her Olympic skiing impressive, but her life as a leader in the community and her accomplishments professionally and as a mother and wife put her on a pedestal as someone whom I admire wholeheartedly. Having such high standards in every aspect of her life as well as a genuinely friendly personality are attributes to which I aspire as a result of knowing Imogene. —Nancy McAdam Fleming ’62 via Association website

“Tropical Oasis” #2015flowershow #mountholyoke

—Fran Hall Miller ’60 via email

Mount Holyoke Alumnae Quarterly

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Taylor Scott Acting Senior Director of Marketing and Communications Jennifer Grow ’94 Editor

50 College Street South Hadley, MA 01075-1486 413-538-2300 The Mount Holyoke Alumnae Quarterly is published quarterly in the winter, spring, summer, and fall by the Alumnae Association of Mount Holyoke College, Inc. Spring 2015, volume 99, number 2 was printed in the USA by Lane Press, Burlington, VT. Periodicals postage paid at South Hadley, MA, and additional mailing offices. 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 or visit

Rachel Aylward Marketing and Communications Assistant

2014. And you noticed. Read the full story at


Susan R. Bushey Manning ’96, chair Amy L. Cavanaugh ’06 Beth Mulligan Dunn ’93 Shawn Hartley Hancock ’80 Lauren D. Klein ’03 Linda Valencia Xu ’16, student rep. ALUMNAE ASSOCIATION BOARD OF DIRECTORS

President Marcia Brumit Kropf ’67 Vice President Julianne Trabucchi Puckett ’91 Treasurer and Chair, Finance Committee Lyndy Dean Alexander ’80 Clerk Ashanta Evans-Blackwell ’95 Chair, Classes and Reunion Committee Danielle M. Germain ’93 Alumnae Trustee Ann Blake ’85

Director-at-Large Emily E. Renard ’02

Mount Holyoke Alumnae Association 50 College Street South Hadley, MA 01075-1486

Chair, Communications Committee Shannon Dalton Giordano ’91 Young Alumnae Representative Elaine C. Cheung ’09 Chair, Clubs Committee Elizabeth Redmond VanWinkle ’82 Chair, Volunteer Stewardship Committee Ellen L. Leggett ’75 Executive Director Jane E. Zachary ex officio without vote


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Alumnae Information Services

and administrators effected great change in

Stephanie Calas ’17 Alicia Doyon Lauren Kodiak Linda Valencia Xu ’16

Chair, Nominating Committee Radley Emes ’00

Please send form 3579 to

to award-winning undergraduate researchers, Mount Holyoke students, alumnae, staff, faculty,


(ISSN 0027-2493; USPS 365-280)

From full tuition for Frances Perkins Scholars


MHC keeps getting better and better. Thank you Pres. Pasquerella for keeping the College in the forefront of civil liberties and humane principles; thank you faculty for giving so much of yourselves to the students—this is education in the fullest meaning of the word. Thank you students for your seriousness of purpose, your willingness to learn, and the quality of your accomplishments; and thank you graduates who continue Mary Lyon’s example by being women who can change the world. —Harriet Greenberg Berlin ’50 via Association website This list is remarkable and makes me so proud to be an MHC grad! —Rachel Levine Vivanco ’09 via Association website When I was as at MHC in 1999, the endowment was at around $330 million and the 2003 campaign for another $200 million began. I am grateful to everyone who supports the continued fiscal strength of the College—it helps make the other twenty-four items on the list possible! —Courtney Craig Bates ’99 via Facebook

Deirdre Haber Malfatto

Mount Holyoke College, Inc.

Year in Review: 25 Ways MHC Made Change in 2014

Millie Rossman Creative Director


The Alumnae Association of


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Uncommon Ground College Receives Award for Internationalization Mount Holyoke College is one of only five schools to be honored this year with the Senator Paul Simon Award for Campus Internationalization, which recognizes colleges and universities for making groundbreaking, thoughtfully executed progress toward comprehensive internationalization. “At a time when every institution of higher education in the country is concerned with expanding international education to meet the demands of our time, we have been recognized as being on the forefront of these efforts,” said Eva Paus, professor of economics and the Carol Hoffman Collins Director of the McCulloch Center for Global Initiatives. The McCulloch Center, founded in 2004 as part of Mount Holyoke’s strategic plan to internationalize the educational experience of all students, plays a critical role as the hub of and catalyst for internationalization efforts. “Our students constantly interact with peers, professors, and guest lecturers who bring into the conversation experiences and perspectives informed by their different cultural, ethnic, and economic backgrounds,” said Paus. “It’s really the participation of everyone on campus, the collaboration with faculty, students, staff, and partners around the world that has allowed us to weave internationalization into the fabric of the Mount Holyoke education.” The Senator Paul Simon Award is given by the Association of International Educators, the leading professional organization in the US dedicated to international education. For more information, visit internationalaward.

Jim Gipe

Presenters at the McCulloch Center’s 10th anniversary celebration in October.

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Mount Holyoke Committed to Access to Education In February the College was named in a US News & World Report analysis as a “Top Performer” for its successful graduation rates. Talented students from lower-income families graduate from Mount Holyoke College at a rate even higher than that of the overall student body. The data underscore that Mount Holyoke has long been a leader in addressing issues of access and affordability. The College remains committed to expanding college opportunities for all students, including lower-income and underrepresented students. Most recently, President Lynn Pasquerella ’80 took part in a White House College Opportunity Day of Action, where, for the second year in a row, she joined more than 400 other college leaders and President Barack Obama in a daylong summit that announced new commitments to help students prepare for and graduate from college. To learn more, visit

Partnership with MassMutual Supports Data Science Training at Mount Holyoke The Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) has launched a partnership with Mount Holyoke and Smith colleges to nurture future data scientists in the Pioneer Valley. The $2 million, four-year program is to begin in fall 2015 and will fund five visiting faculty positions shared between the two colleges as well as support the development of a data science-focused curriculum. The program aims to help strengthen the educational approach to math and science as they relate to data and will help create a pipeline of qualified women professionals in the rapidly growing field of data science. “A liberal arts college like Mount Holyoke is a wonderful place for this

interdisciplinary exchange,” said Heather Pon-Barry, Clare Boothe Luce assistant professor of computer science at Mount Holyoke, “because students have flexibility in their curriculum to study more than one discipline and faculty members regularly interact with faculty in other departments.” In addition to funding the professorships, MassMutual will fund scholarships for talented sophomores with data science-related majors and will offer conferences, summer research, and site visits to give students the opportunity to explore career interests in the field. For more information, visit massmutual.

Facilities Master Plan Study Released Mount Holyoke has released its Facilities Master Plan Study: Building Community, which provides a set of recommendations for the next ten to fifteen years that will guide decisions related to Mount Holyoke’s physical campus. Visit go/FMPStudy to read an executive summary and FAQ.


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“Big Broadcast” Celebrates Ten Years

Alumna and National Education Advocate to Speak at Commencement

On March 8, for the tenth year, the College’s Big Band, Vocal Jazz Ensemble, and Chamber Jazz Ensemble took center stage to recreate a 1940s-era live radio program. The show is the brainchild of Jazz

Left: John Martins; Big Broadcast: Olivia Lammel ’14; Schneider: Courtesy Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U)

Ensembles Director Mark Gionfriddo, who directed more than thirty students in two performances at Chapin Auditorium that featured wellknown songs, vintage news clips, and commercials from the swing era. President Pasquerella made a guest appearance. To learn more, visit

MHC Welcomes Chief Information Officer In January the College appointed Alex Wirth-Cauchon as chief information officer (CIO) and executive director of Library, Information, and Technology Services. Wirth-Cauchon, who served in the position in an interim capacity from June 2013 until his appointment, has more than twenty-five years of experience in integrated library and information services and teaching. Wirth-Cauchon originally joined the College staff in 2009 to direct research and instructional support. During his time as interim CIO and executive director, he oversaw major planned capital projects, including replacing the wireless network in residence halls and the launch of the College’s new website. Previously he held positions at the National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education and the Midwest Instructional Technology Center and was a technology specialist at Grinnell College, where he also taught sociology. Of his appointment, President Lynn Pasquerella ’80, said, “Alex brings a wealth of experience in management and a commitment to innovation that will be invaluable as we engage in the next phase of strategic planning and position the College for the future.”

Carol Geary Schneider ’67, president of the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) will give the keynote address at the College’s 178th Commencement ceremony Sunday, May 17. She also will be awarded an honorary doctorate of humane letters. Schneider, who has served as AAC&U’s president since 1998, has significantly advanced its profile as the leading national organization for promoting and strengthening an undergraduate education that emphasizes broad knowledge of the wider world as well as in-depth achievement in a specific field of interest. Schneider is widely recognized and published as an authority on higher education and previously taught at the University of Chicago, DePaul University, Boston University, and Chicago State University. After graduating from Mount Holyoke College, she received her PhD in history from Harvard University. She is a past member of Mount Holyoke’s Board of Trustees.

Mount Holyoke Alumnae Quarterly

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More than eighty Mount Holyoke sophomores attended Sophomore Institute on campus on January 16. The daylong career conference aims to help sophomores build professional

Assistant Professor of Physics Alexi Arango has garnered attention for building his own zero-energy house, a project that directly benefits his students, who are able to see concepts from class— including renewable energy and innovations in the solar energy field—put into practice. To learn more about his project, visit alumnae.mtholyoke. edu/passivehouse.

skills and become well-equipped to pursue summer internships. Ayesha Yu ’97, CEO and cofounder of Advancement for Rural Kids, gave the keynote address, “Alternative Routes: Focusing on Your Passions and Exploring Many Paths.” Other programs included panels on how to network successfully and with confidence, an overview of start an internship search, and advice on how to budget for living on one’s own. The Sophomore Institute debuted last year as part of The Lynk initiative, which also guarantees funding for one qualified experience for each student at Mount Holyoke.

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Alumnae and students gathered on campus on February 7 for Crafting a Life in the Arts, an event focused on helping students learn how to build a career in the arts. Through a keynote address, breakout sessions, and a networking event, students had opportunities to meet alumnae whose careers spanned the fields of architecture, studio art, art history, creative writing, dance, film, music, and theater. Kristen Collins ’93, associate curator of medieval and Renaissance manuscripts at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, gave the keynote address. Collins studied art history and French during her time at Mount Holyoke and is a specialist in early medieval and Romanesque manuscript illumination. Ellen Alvord ’89, coordinator of academic affairs at the Mount Holyoke Art Museum and cochair of the College’s InterArts Council, a sponsor of the event, is another of the ten alumnae who participated in the small group discussions, which aimed to give students unique views of life beyond Mount Holyoke. “It was exciting to learn how the panelists’ paths evolved, to envision the many ways a Mount Holyoke education can catalyze a life in the arts, and to have such a great community together for the day,” said Liz Lierman, Career Development Center director. The event, now in its fifth year, is part of The Lynk, which fosters career-minded development throughout students’ undergraduate years.

tools and resources available to

summer internship or research


Support for Building a Career in the Arts

John Martins (2); Crafting a Life in the Arts: Ebru Kardan

Going Solar

Sophomore Institute Returns

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ten minutes with


Building a Prosperous Mexico

L O U R D E S M E L G A R ’ 8 5 is Mexico’s deputy secretary of energy

in charge of hydrocarbons. Encouraged by her advisor, Professor Vinnie Ferraro, to attend Massachusetts Institute of Technology, she became the first Mexican woman to earn a doctorate in political science there. In addition to a background in government service, she has worked as a scholar and an independent energy consultant and is fluent in Spanish, English, and French. On her journey to energy expertise: I started at Mount Holyoke as a physics major and ended up studying international relations and romance literature. I was always interested in science, particularly nuclear energy, but I decided to also take courses in history and international relations. Early on I learned that I didn’t want to work in a lab; I wanted to work

with people. At MIT I studied political economy, and, though I didn’t plan to, I focused my studies on Mexico. My first job upon returning to my country was as a speechwriter for the president. I didn’t particularly enjoy this position, but I value it as a stepping stone that allowed me to discover one of my true callings, joining the Foreign Service.

My first semester was

challenging. But I loved it. The education. Quality of life. The opportunity to be creative, express myself,

Susana Gonzalez/Bloomberg

say what was on my mind.

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On why she enjoys her work: In 1938 Mexico was at the forefront among resource-rich countries when it nationalized its oil industry to further economic development. The model that had been successful for decades reached its limits a few years ago. We needed an overhaul of our energy sector. At the end of 2013, Congress approved a constitutional reform that cleared the path for the enactment of twenty-one new energy laws in summer 2014. Mexico’s new regulatory framework aims to develop competitive, efficient, and sustainable energy markets—both in the electric and hydrocarbon sectors. I feel privileged to have been part of the design, negotiation, and implementation of this transformational reform, first as undersecretary of electricity and in my current role. On her biggest challenge: Reconciling the objective of mitigating carbon emissions while developing an energy model that incentivizes investment and contributes to Mexico’s economic development is my main focus and challenge. From 2010 to 2012, as the founding director of the Center for Sustainability and Business at Mexico’s Egade Business School, I worked closely with the private sector to identify opportunities to enhance sustainability. As a policy maker, promoting sustainable development remains a priority. On Mount Holyoke: I was accepted as a February freshman. My English wasn’t great, and I became aware it was a women’s college only a few days before arriving. My first semester was challenging. But I loved it. The education. Quality of life. The opportunity to be creative, express myself, say what was on my mind. And the enormous value of friendships with women who were supportive. My Mount Holyoke friends are still my closest friends.

Mount Holyoke Alumnae Quarterly




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View a slideshow of more photos from the Studio Theater at alumnae.


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a place ofview our own insider’s

Studio Theater performer and audience members a professional theater experience. Student choreographers

Hall is the dance department’s most sacred space, according to department chair Rose

now have a flexible, multi-media workspace that also offers them the valuable perspective of

Flachs. One of three studios in the building, it is the only room exclusively designated for use by

viewing their work in a theater setting. Other updates included the addition of

the dance department. First constructed in 1984 over the College’s

modern lighting, projection abilities, more wing space, and backstage access to the other nearby

original pool when the facility was updated, the space’s history can be seen in the original tile in

dance studios, where dancers can warm up and rehearse before performances. A fifty-foot sky-

the entryway and the stadium seating that once overlooked the pool deck. There is even a pre-

light is a unique feature that can bring natural light to the space or be closed to transform the

served nook where canoes were stored before the Canoe House was constructed on nearby

room into a black box theater. A laboratory for dance students to plan,

Upper Lake. When the building was updated again in 2008 with a new fitness center, the Studio Theater received much-needed improvements. The most significant physical change, says Flachs, was the addition of tiered seating, taking the place of folding chairs placed on unwieldy platforms for audiences during performances. With the addition of these 200 seats the room offers the

create, experiment, rehearse, and collaborate, the Studio Theater is used each year by more than 700 students representing the Five College department. Thousands more enjoy the space as audience members attending the department’s premier performances, including the College’s Faculty Dance Concert, held in the fall, and spring concerts featuring student work.

James Gehrt

Used as a classroom, rehearsal space, and performance venue, the Studio Theater in Kendall

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Mount Holyoke Alumnae Quarterly




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Students enjoy access to the museum’s collection to support classroom work



Number of objects retrieved from storage for use in classes in fall semester 2014 Percent of visiting classes that were not art or art history courses


Number of galleries in the museum


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Number of sculptures in the collection

Number of hours of museum employee prep time for each hour of a class visit


Number of alumnae employees— Ellen Alvord ’89, Jackie Finnegan ’08, Yingxi Gong ’13, Laura Weston Shea FP’06

17,000 Number of objects in the collection


Number of objects on view in the galleries in fall semester 2014


Number of photographs in the collection

Laura Weston Shea FP’06, MHC Art Museum

go figure

go figure

Mount Holyoke College Art Museum

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the maven


How to Read a Poem M A R J O R Y H E A T H W E N T W O R T H ’ 8 0 has been the South

Carolina poet laureate since 2003. A five-time Pushcart Prize nominee, she is the author of four collections of verse. Wentworth teaches at the College of Charleston and The Art Institute of Charleston and is cofounder and past president of the Lowcountry Initiative for the Literary Arts, an outreach organization with the mission to nurture and promote literary arts in South Carolina.

you. Other parts may hold less meaning. That’s okay. The great French lyric poet Stéphane Mallarmé believed that suggestion makes you dream. A good poem has the same quality. It should evoke a memory or connect to an emotion or experience. It should articulate something that is difficult to describe in one sentence. A reader’s immediate associations with a poem are immensely important and need to be emphasized. Every poem should be read with this in mind.

Fall into the experience. Try to think about poetry the way you think about art or music. Are there songs that you love to listen to repeatedly even if you don’t understand the lyrics? Have you seen an abstract painting that you responded to intensely even though you couldn’t explain why? The next time you encounter a poem, read it aloud to yourself. Enjoy the sounds, and then let the language take you someplace new. Let yourself fall into the dream created by a handful of words.

Wentworth: Andrew Allen

Many people are scared of poetry. They say that they can’t understand it and don’t know how to read it, and some simply choose to avoid reading poems entirely. How does this happen? When did poetry become something intimidating and inaccessible?

Start young and have fun. Many of the essential joys of poetry are the first ones we experience with language. Young children delight in the sounds they make and hear. The first words that children speak emerge like a repetitive chant. In that way, a child’s first words are like a first poem. Children

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love to rhyme, and many children’s first books are rhymed books. (Think Dr. Seuss.) Rhyming is fun. Words are fun. In elementary school, a playful approach to language is maintained, but it doesn’t last for long.

Form an emotional connection. We may be put off by poetry because of how it is taught. Students are asked to discern the meaning of a poem and analyze structure and meter when they should first be asked to describe how the poem makes them feel. A poem should work a bit like a dream. Part of it may be very intense and resonate deeply within

Listen beyond the language. AR E YO U A When I was in graduate school MAVE N? at New York University, I Pitch us your studied with Nobel Prize area of expertise at quarterly@ winner and US poet laureate Joseph Brodsky (who also taught at Mount Holyoke from 1974 until his death in 1996). My husband and I went to hear him read his poetry in Russian. We did not understand a word of it, but we experienced the essence of each poem—heartbreak, love, injustice, joy. It was moving and entertaining, and it is an experience we remember and cherish. This poetry reading embodies what I am trying to describe. — BY M ARJORY H E AT H WE NT WO RT H ’80

Mount Holyoke Alumnae Quarterly




4/1/15 4:44 PM

the female gaze


Upon Closer Inspection AR E YO U AN ARTI ST?

Email your submission to quarterly@

Christina Zwart ’87 is not afraid to walk into a pizza joint and ask for a few hundred boxes. When given 4,000 individual packets of wasabi from a distributor, she won’t hesitate to reach out if she needs 3,000

Not Included). The piece—installed directly on the wall—connected the annual cost of a Harvard education to the quintessential student meal. An English major at Mount Holyoke and a lover of

more. Zwart is a visual artist whose installations aim, she says, “to produce things that appear to be one thing from afar, and upon closer inspection become something else entirely.”

word play, Zwart found herself pulled toward the term “Wabi-sabi,” meaning “finding beauty in something imperfect.” She began doodling and at the same time came across packets of wasabi in a grocery store. An

Take the pizza boxes. Approached to do an installation in a building in Harvard Square, Zwart, whose work often has both a political component and “a take-away message for viewers,” she says, decided she wanted to produce a piece that somehow con-

idea began to form, and she contacted the distributor of the wasabi. What followed was Wabi-Sabi, 7,000 individual wasabi packets hot-glued to a wall for a solo gallery show at Regis College in fall 2013. Zwart has been working as an artist since 2011, when

nected to the cost of education. The space that she was working in was owned by Harvard University, and the piece she would be creating was to be part of a Pop Art show. She began to brainstorm. Students.

during a summer walk she snapped a photo of a dead rabbit that inspired her to eventually produce Rosekill, which she completed to enter in a Cambridge Art Association show. The piece—a photomosaic of many other dead ani-

Pizza. Tuition. She found herself one day in nearby Pinocchio’s, a popular place to get a slice. After explaining her project, she walked away with the 260 boxes she needed for an installation titled

mals that from far away form the image of a rose—was her first and defined the way she would work. “I find comfort in breaking the work down into small, more manageable parts,” Zwart says. “I think about grids and patterns, and

Tuition, Room & Board, Miscellaneous Fees (Pizza

there is familiarity in seeing repetition.”


Tuition, Room & Board, Miscellaneous Fees (Pizza Not Included), 2013, mixed media, 10 ft x 26 ft; (detail) pizza boxes OPPOSITE PAGE

Wabi-Sabi, 2013, mixed media, 10 ft x 8.5 ft; (detail) wasabi packets


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See more recent alumnae books at spring2015books.

Vanessa and Her Sister Priya Parmar After Rosekill, the work started “pouring out,” says Zwart, who has a background in public relations, fundraising, and special events. Her previous professional experience, she says, has helped her not only to make quick progress when she is tracking down wasabi, for instance, but to promote her work as well. Zwart’s most recent project is a spring 2015 show at the Boston Sculptors Gallery, where five original pieces are on exhibit and explore topics including the persistence of the wage gap and colony collapse disorder of the bee population. More of her work, including installations for local businesses, can be viewed at —BY JENNIFER GROW ’94


Set in 1905 Bloomsbury, this historical novel explores the intense relationship between sisters Vanessa Bell and Virginia Woolf, both part of the legendary Bloomsbury Group. Told from Vanessa’s point of view, Vanessa and Her Sister follows the time in their lives just before they became well-known and captures both the champagne-heady days of prewar London and the threat of tragedy and betrayal. PRIYA PARMAR ’96

graduated with a degree in English from Mount Holyoke College before studying at the University of Oxford and the University of Edinburgh. She has worked as both a dramaturg and a freelance editor. She is the author of one previous novel, Exit the Actress.

Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around: Forty Years of Movement Building with Barbara Smith Edited by Barbara Smith, Alethia Jones, and Virginia Eubanks

Greg Case Photography (4)


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Barbara Smith’s contribution to social justice movements introduced the idea that oppression must be fought on various fronts simultaneously. Through historical documents and interviews with fellow activists, Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around uncovers the roots of “identity politics” and “intersectionality” and serves as a primer for practicing solidarity and resistance.

MAUREEN MEISTER ’75 has devoted her career to BARBARA SMITH ’69

is an organizer, writer, publisher, scholar-activist, and elected official. Her activism played a key role in multiple social justice movements. She received a master’s in literature from the University of Pittsburgh and is a public service professor in the School of Social Welfare at the State University of New York at Albany.

Arts & Crafts Architecture: History and Heritage in New England Maureen Meister U N IVE RSIT Y PRESS O F N EW E NG L AN D

Anyone who has spent time in New England will recognize the century-old buildings that are the subject of this extensively illustrated book. These landmarks, admired for their exquisite ornament, reflect the influence of the English Arts and Crafts movement as well as the rich intellectual culture that flourished in New England at the turn of the twentieth century. Several architects who contributed to the Mount Holyoke College campus are discussed, and Skinner Hall is illustrated.

teaching at Boston area universities, including Lesley, Northeastern, and Tufts. She holds a doctorate in the history of art and architecture from Brown University. She is the author of Architecture and the Arts and Crafts Movement in Boston: Harvard’s H. Langford Warren.

Rothaker Jenifer Ruff WO RLD CASTLE PU B LISH I NG

In this psychological suspense novel Brooke is a firstyear medical student at Rothaker. Willing to do whatever it takes, she’s committed to winning a coveted scholarship for future surgeons. Brooke’s plans are rolling along smoothly, until her integrity is questioned. Readers of this mystery will find themselves wondering how well they know their friends, neighbors, or classmates. JENIFER BISAILLON RUFF ’92 earned a master’s

in public health from Yale and is a former healthcare management consultant. Rothaker is the second novel in her Everett series. She lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, with her husband and three sons.

Mount Holyoke Alumnae Quarterly




3/30/15 9:45 AM


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Mount Holyoke relies on a dedicated group of admission fellows to build the next class of students

By Beth Dunn ’93 Photographs by Meredith Heuer

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Mackenzie Libbey ’15 loves a good story. And as a Harriet Newhall Fellow—one of a handful of students carefully selected and rigorously trained by Mount Holyoke admission staff to interview prospective students for the next incoming class—she knows that everyone has a story to tell. Even if sometimes it takes the family dog to help them tell it. “I was doing a Skype interview once with a prospective student who was really nervous,” Libbey recalls, “and she mentioned that her dog was basically her best friend.” Sensing an opening, Libbey asked for an introduction. “The long and the short of it is that I ended up meeting her dog via video chat,” she says. After that, Libbey says, the rest of the interview was a breeze. It’s all just part of the job for a Harriet Newhall Fellow, a program that is crucial to the success of the Mount Holyoke Office of Admission in identifying and connecting with prospective students amid an impossibly competitive college admissions landscape. It’s a job that Libbey adores. “My mother believed that our stories make us who we are,” she says, “and so do I: the stories we tell other people, the stories we tell ourselves, and the stories we hear.” And when it comes to crafting the next class of Mount Holyoke students, it’s these stories that reveal to the admission office what a transcript


can’t. What drives the student to succeed? What passions does she most want to pursue? What might she bring to the Mount Holyoke community that no other applicant could?

KEEPING IT PERSONAL Admission to Mount Holyoke has always depended on how successfully a prospective student can present her story to the admission staff. And at a time when many of Mount Holyoke’s peer institutions are relying more and more on letting a student’s grades and test scores tell that story for her, the College has put extra emphasis on making a personal connection. Mary Lou Wirene Bates ’72 is vice president and dean of admission and financial aid at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York, and has worked in admission for more than forty years. Her career in higher education began when she took a job after graduation as a field representative at the Mount Holyoke Office of Admission. “When I worked for Mount Holyoke I traveled a lot,” Bates recalls, “and mostly I stayed overnight with alumnae. Some-

STO RY SE E KE RS From left, Newhall

Fellows Rebecca Matwijkow, Emma Murphy, Hannah Thornton, and Rachael Smith enjoy some down time from their admission duties.

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times with a different alumna each night.” Most of the admission staff in those days stayed on campus, filling their days with interviewing students and poring over paper applications. Bates spent her time on the road visiting schools and talking to prospective students. “Now we all travel,” Bates says. “In the fall we might travel five to six weeks at a stretch. Some schools have to work harder to recruit, so they might be out the whole fall.” The logistics of today’s college recruiting travel need to be managed with exquisite care. Shrinking budgets, increasing travel costs, and heated competition among schools have all raised the stakes. A relentless travel schedule has become all but required for a school to compete in the increasingly crowded landscape of college recruiting. And so much time spent on the road puts an enormous strain on the resources of even the most wellstaffed college admission office. As a result, the personal college interview can be the first part of the application to be left behind. “Many colleges aren’t doing personal interviews at all anymore,” says Bates. Although Skidmore isn’t among them— her team relies on a trained group of part-time workers drawn from the local community to help with the personal interview process—it’s definitely a growing trend. Bates says there are a handful of schools that might offer applicants an


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LEADIN G TH E WAY It’s this vital piece of the story that Mount Holyoke manages to capture with the Harriet Newhall Fellows program, says Karen Osgood, the College’s director of admission and senior associate dean. Established in 1999 and named for Harriet Newhall, class of 1914, who served as the College’s director of admission from 1928 to 1958, the Newhall program each spring recruits a small group of students to interview applicants throughout the upcoming academic year. Fellows are seniors and must undergo a rigorous application and training process themselves before they’ll face their first prospective student. A Fellow might interview dozens of students over the course of a year, and each conversation will be carefully written up and added to the prospective student’s file. And yes, confirms Osgood, these reports are absolutely taken into account during the final decision-making process.


It’s this personal connection that often provides key insights into a prospective student’s application. Scores of students apply for the fifteen Newhall Fellow positions offered each year. The positions are posted each spring on the College’s internal job board, and juniors are invited to submit a simple resume and letter of intent. Essay questions, much like those demanded of college applicants each year, are designed in this case to highlight students whose academic achievements, extracurricular activities, and passion for Mount Holyoke make them strong ambassadors for the school. Next comes a series of small group interviews, out of which a handful of applicants are invited back for one-on-one sessions with members of the admission office staff. “It was almost like applying to college all over again,” laughs Newhall Fellow Dominique Mortimer ’15. Libbey recalls being interviewed for the Newhall program via Skype while she was studying abroad in Spain. “It was a pretty involved process, coordinating times and schedules with so many people,” she says. “But it was worth it.” Senior Emma Murphy also remembers interviewing for the program during her junior year abroad, when she was studying in Nagasaki, Japan. But members of the admission office seemed to take it all in stride, working with her schedule half a world away to help usher her through the process. She thinks it’s no coincidence that so many of her fellow Newhalls are studying abroad, are pursuing double majors, or are excelling as student athletes. “They’re looking for students who are accomplished and charismatic,” she says, but


also “students who are determined to take advantage of every opportunity Mount Holyoke offers them.” Once the new class of Fellows is chosen, they’re expected to return to campus in mid-August to take part in some intensive training. They’ll spend time honing their listening skills, public speaking abilities, and improvisational finesse. “They need to be able to think on their feet,” says Osgood, “and to listen for other people’s stories.” They’ll start by listening to each other’s stories first. They will spend a good deal of time sharing their own personal experiences at Mount Holyoke—what led them here, and what happened next. And, to the surprise of many Fellows, it’s this part of the training that comes in handiest of all. Fellow Rachael Smith ’15 explains: “If I’m interviewing a prospective student, and she has an interest in or a question about something I don’t know a lot about, I can share with [her] part of another Newhall Fellow’s story that I learned about in training.” She’ll likely then try

to get that prospective student in touch with the Fellow who can answer her question, and will follow up later to make sure the connection was made. If all of that sounds like a lot of effort to go to for just one prospective student, “It is,” confirms Osgood. “But it’s worth it.” She says that while the program has paid considerable dividends to the College in terms of better recruiting and a stronger incoming class, it also offers rewards for the seniors who serve as Fellows. The ongoing training that they receive throughout the year does a great deal to prepare them for the professional world. Mortimer agrees, saying, “This job has given me a more solid sense of what an office job would look like, how I might be a more effective employee, and what I need to do to invest in my own training and career.” While the training she received in another Mount Holyoke-supported internship provided her with valuable skills, Mortimer believes that the skills she’s honed as a Newhall Fellow have been the ones she’ll rely on the most as she launches her career. And the job can offer a surprisingly calming effect during a stressful senior year. Newhall Fellows frequently reflect on how energizing it is to interact with aspiring Mount Holyoke students. “It’s definitely refreshing work,” Mortimer agrees. “It’s allowed me to reflect on the reasons I chose to come to Mount Holyoke in the first place.” She also strongly believes that her experience on the other side of the interview desk has given her a distinct advantage as she applies to law schools for next year. “It’s strengthened me,” she says. “No doubt.”

Matwijkow, Murphy, Smith, Thornton: Meredith Heuer; Khan, Mortimer, Mukulu: MHC Office of Communications

optional interview, but they’ll be upfront about the fact that they won’t take it into account when it’s time to make a decision. No details from the conversation will be added to the prospective student’s file. No record of the interview will ever exist. Instead, the admission decision will be based on transcripts, essays, test scores, and recommendations alone. And a vital piece of each student’s story might be lost.

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EM MA M UR P H Y ’ 1 5 third-generation Mount Holyoke

student; DJ; interned at Africa’s Gbowee Peace Foundation

HANNAH TH O RN TO N ’ 15 Spanish major;

equestrian team member; studied abroad in Spain; interned at Nike Communications RAC HA E L S M I T H ’ 15 VP and social

D OMI NI QU E MO RTIME R ’ 1 5 POSSE scholar; member of

chair of 2015; orientation leader and board member; politics major; interned at Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders

Mount Holyoke College Democrats; plans to attend law school



To learn more about all fifteen Harriet Newhall Fellows, visit JAVA RI A K H A N ’ 15

journalism, communications, and film studies special major; president of Pakistani student organization; plans to attend grad school

REBECCA MATW IJ KOW ’ 1 5 international relations major;

French department liaison; member of crew team; interned at House Committee on Foreign Affairs

Osgood says that the program is getting noticed by other admission offices now, too. The Harriet Newhall Fellow program is fast becoming a model for colleges and universities that want to bring the personal interview back into the application process, and who want to encourage current students to take a more active role in crafting the character of a future class. It’s a virtuous cycle, she says, in which students are remembering the reasons they came to Mount Holyoke, refining and relating their experiences as Mount Holyoke women, and recruiting those who will take up the reins once they’ve graduated and moved on.

ZI SI GA MU KU LU ’ 15 industrial and

sustainable design major; involved with international student orientation and swim and dive team; studied abroad in Denmark

Newhall Fellows aren’t the only members of the Mount Holyoke community that prospective students have access to during the application process. Candidates chat with current students and staff during informal group discussions on campus, share lunch with students in a dormitory dining room, schedule an overnight visit, or attend classes with students during the day. Candidates who can’t make it to campus can attend one of several group Skype chats offered throughout the year, or interview with a volunteer alumna nearby. Every point of contact provides an opportunity for a candidate to hear another side of the Mount Holyoke experience, and to imagine how her story might play out here. For Dianna Tejada ’15, that’s what she enjoys most about her job as a campus tour guide, another key role played by current Mount Holyoke students who go on to influence future classes.

“It’s all about representation,” she says. “It’s about showing prospective students that there’s a place for them here.” She particularly enjoys talking to prospective students who have concerns about what it’s like to be a minority on campus, or a member of any traditionally underrepresented group. By sharing her own experience as a queer Dominican woman of color, she says, “I get to show them that Mount Holyoke truly values and supports diversity.” Those conversations carry more weight, she believes, than any statement you might scan on a website or read in a brochure. “It’s different when you can offer them your own personal story. When you can bear witness to the truth of who you are, and to the person you’ve become in this place.” “So many of our students find their passion here,” says Osgood. “They believe that Mount Holyoke helped make them into the women they’d always wanted to be. And by working to shape the next generation, they’re reenacting that part of their own stories, and passing it on.”

Beth Dunn ’93 is a writer and editor at HubSpot, a marketing software company based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She lives on Cape Cod and blogs at


Watch a video for a glimpse of what it takes to put on a campus tour at alumnae.

Mount Holyoke Alumnae Quarterly

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Overseen by Barbara Moakler Byrne ’76, the Women in Leadership Index is showing that the market is bullish on companies with women at the helm

Mount Holyoke Alumnae Quarterly

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hortly before taking her company public in January 2014, Sheila Lirio Marcelo ’93 went on the road to get feedback from institutional investors—financial organizations that invest large amounts of money and wield considerable influence over markets. Sleep deprived from near-constant travel, she entered one meeting and went straight for the coffee pot. To be polite, she offered coffee to the other participants, too. After her male colleagues had introduced themselves, Marcelo was about to shake hands with the investors when they made a telling assumption: “You,” they told her, “must be the assistant.” Marcelo smiled and corrected them. “I’m the founder and CEO of” It wasn’t the first time that Marcelo— who heads the world’s largest online venue for finding caregivers—had been underestimated because of her gender. And her experience isn’t unusual in the business world, where most companies are run by men. In March 2015 fewer than 5 percent of chief executive jobs at leading US companies were held by women, and last year women filled just less than 20 percent of all board seats. Yet women make up nearly half the US labor force and earn more than a third of the MBAs awarded in this country.





Women, in particular, may bring qualities to a board that result in better corporate governance. MICHAEL ROBINSON, CHAIR M O U N T H O LYO K E E CO N O M I C S D E PA R T M E N T


“The United States in particular has been slow in getting more women in leadership positions at publicly traded companies,” says Barbara Moakler Byrne ’76, vice chair of investment banking at Barclays Bank. “We are still significantly underrepresented.” It’s a situation she is working to change. Named the fourth most powerful woman in finance by American Banker, Byrne is overseeing a new market-based approach to increasing the number of women in senior management. The initiative, Barclays Women in Leadership Index, consists of US-based public companies that have either a woman CEO or a board of directors that is at least 25 percent female. The index drives the performance of Barclays Women in Leadership Exchange-Traded Notes—unsecured debt obligations that trade on the New York Stock Exchange. The index was inspired by three younger female colleagues, who suggested launching a product for investors interested in making a statement about the value of gender diversity. “We’re seeing a trend of people wanting to invest their money in a socially responsible manner,” says Byrne, who chairs Barclays Social Innovation Facility. “This index is creating a vehicle for that, if you’re a believer that women in leadership matters.” The index includes major companies such as General Motors, PepsiCo, General Electric, Google, AT&T, and Monsanto. Its launch last July was covered by media outlets ranging from Bloomberg Business to Politico to Fortune. If it had existed in 2009, over the next five years it would have outperformed Standard & Poor’s 500 index, the leading indicator for the US stock market. That’s partly because the Women in Leadership Index is skewed toward consumer-product companies, Byrne says, with less representation from the energy sector, which has been hit hard by falling oil prices. But that may not be the only reason. A growing body of literature suggests that

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companies are more successful when their leaders include women. In its Women Matter research, published over the past seven years, the management consulting firm McKinsey found that companies with at least three women in senior management positions (a so-called critical mass) scored higher on measures of organizational excellence than those with no women in high-level roles. McKinsey also determined that the companies with the greatest gender diversity at the top generally had above-average financial results. Catalyst, a nonprofit organization that works to support women in the workplace, reported that from 2004 to 2008 the companies with the most women board members over time outperformed their least-diverse counterparts on multiple financial criteria. And a 2013 Thomson Reuters study concluded that companies with mixed boards did slightly better on the stock market than companies with no women serving on their boards. A 2012 Credit Suisse analysis provides more evidence for the correlation between gender diversity and performance. It reveals that companies with female representation on their boards had higher stock prices and superior financial performance—including growth and return on equity—which is linked to profit. One possible explanation is that companies that are already doing well may be more inclined to appoint women to high-level positions. But there are likely other factors at play, too, according to the report. Among the most intriguing is that diverse teams tend to come up with stronger solutions, in part because those in the majority put more effort into examining issues when they know that they will be faced with a broader range of views. Women, in particular, may bring qualities to a board that result in better corporate governance, says Mount Holyoke Economics Department Chair Michael Robinson, who teaches a course on women in business. “There seems to be a fair amount of evidence that women

Companies with female representation on their boards had higher stock prices and superior financial performance— including growth and return on equity— which is linked to profit. CREDIT SUISSE*

* Gender Diversity and Corporate Performance, 2012

10 TOP

The companies in the Women in Leadership Index that exert the most influence over its performance are: 1



Procter & Gamble


Wells Fargo




General Electric








Verizon Communications



have different leadership styles and that a board with more women on it will behave differently.” For instance, women tend to be less hierarchical and to reach out to all stakeholders, including workers, which may help them make effective decisions. The importance of gender-diverse leadership comes as no surprise to Mount Holyoke alumnae who are at the helm of companies. “Without it, you’re depriving yourself of half the world’s thinking, of half the world’s ability to solve problems,” says Maria Cirino ’85, cofounder and managing director of .406 Ventures, which invests in technology companies. “It’s like having half a brain.” That’s especially crippling in a business environment that has become increasingly international. “If we’re going to keep up with the changing nature of markets and connect with our global client base, we need to be able to think beyond the classic white male banking structure,” says Fizzah Jafri ’99, global chief operating officer for fixed income research and economics at Morgan Stanley. “We need to hire women and people of different ethnic groups.” Jafri notes that women often make strong managers because of their ability to multitask and build teams. In her own case, she tries to get to know employees on a deeper level, to understand what motivates

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T H E BARC LAYS WOM EN IN LEADERS HI P IN DE X P URP O S E : To enable investors to send the message that they want to see more women in leadership positions at major companies.

CO N TE XT : As socially responsible investing continues to grow in popularity— appealing to those interested in making a positive impact through their investments—the Women in Leadership (WIL) Index has focused increasingly on specific areas such as alternative energy and fair labor practices. Investment products intended to promote gender-diverse leadership, while still limited, are part of this trend.

P EERS : Barclays’ WIL Index joins the Pax Ellevate Global Women’s Index Fund, a mutual fund launched last year that invests in companies worldwide where women are well-represented in management positions, and firms such as Morgan Stanley, which only includes companies with at least three women board members in its Parity Portfolio, aimed at wealthy clients.

and frustrates them, and to express interest in what’s happening in their lives. “I think we have a little more empathy. I think we’re good listeners, and that’s the basis for having a strong relationship,” Jafri says. Marcelo, who is founder, chairwoman, and CEO of, says leaders must embrace both the analytical qualities traditionally viewed as male and the interpersonal strengths once considered traditionally female. “The blend of these skills is redefining leadership,” she says. “I think a lot of the leadership books are emphasizing the competencies that were formerly labeled women’s traits.” Even today, however, those traits can be undervalued or misunderstood. In particular, women may respond more emotionally to situations, which some view as inconsistent with strong leadership. Jodie Pope Morrison ’97, president and CEO of Tokai Pharmaceuticals, has a different take on the matter. Early in her career at a drug company where Morrison worked as a researcher, a clinical-trial participant came in to talk about the impact of a medication the company had developed. One vice

DETA I LS : The WIL Index is unique in that it is linked to the performance of exchange-traded notes—unsecured debt obligations issued to investors by Barclays Bank. Compared to other investment options, exchange-traded notes offer certain advantages, such as lower taxes, but they may also be riskier, because buyers can lose the money they have invested if the issuer goes bankrupt.

P ERF O R M A NC E : When the WIL Index was established, there was no way to provide information to investors on its long-range performance. To give investors a broader picture, Barclays calculated how the index would have performed over the previous five years. While past performance isn’t a predictor of future performance, the calculations were promising: If it had been in existence, from 2009 through 2014 the WIL Index would have outperformed the S&P 500, considered the leading indicator for the US stock market.


The blend of these skills is redefining leadership. I think a lot of the leadership books are emphasizing the competencies that were formerly labeled women’s traits. S H E I L A L I R I O M A R C E LO ’ 93

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president was so moved that she became teary. Morrison and others in the audience viewed her reaction as showing how much passion she brought to the mission of improving people’s lives. “Seeing that showing emotion was acceptable was important,” Morrison recalls. “It was freeing.” But many junior employees see no— or very few—women above them. Mary Francis ’86, who in May will become corporate secretary and chief governance officer of Chevron, says her colleagues have been supportive and helpful during her thirteen years with the company. Still, she says, “I can’t say I really had a mentor. Having more role models would have helped me visualize the position I wanted to be in and think about how to get there. I’ve kind of had to figure things out myself.” Francis is most concerned about the dearth of women in the senior ranks of companies. While more women are being hired, they often drop out before attaining an upper-level position. That means fewer role models for the women who come after them. “It becomes harder and harder for women to pierce that ceiling,” she says. Francis says companies need to take a hard look at what might be preventing women from advancing, including family obligations and lack of mentorship. Sometimes the barriers may be subtle. For instance, Francis’s path at Chevron included an assignment in Singapore, where she served as general counsel for Chevron Asia Pacific Exploration and Production Company. But taking such an assignment might be impossible for some women, resulting in limited advancement opportunities for them. “Expectations or requirements that look neutral may not be,” Francis says. “But is there a way that enables women to get valuable experience through other means so they can stay in the game?” Byrne, for one, maintains that the Women in Leadership Index empowers investors who believe in the need for such questions. Their investments tied to the index could encourage changes in workplace policies and help foster a corporate culture

Having more role models would have helped me visualize the position I wanted to be in and think about how to get there. I’ve kind of had to figure things out myself. M A RY F R A N C I S ’8 6


The industries most represented in the index are information technology, consumer staples, financials, and healthcare. 84 US-BASED COMPANIES



that supports women’s advancement into leadership roles, thereby narrowing the gender gap at the highest levels of business. Although the index can include up to one hundred companies, only eighty-four qualify so far; Byrne is hoping the number will increase as more companies see that investors value gender-diverse leadership. Her own belief in its importance comes partly from thirty-five years as an investment banker, which has shown her that diversity leads to better-informed decisions and more desirable outcomes. Yet the seeds for her work were planted before she began working on Wall Street. “Mount Holyoke was a tremendous education for me,” says Byrne, an economics major. “It was very expansive and broadening. It allowed me to ask the question ‘what if?’—what if we were to measure what matters by creating this index? And ‘what if’ is the most powerful question women can ask.”

Sonia Scherr is a freelance writer based in New Hampshire.


Learn tips on how to build a career in business at leadershipadvice.

Mount Holyoke Alumnae Quarterly

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Dr. Me-Iung Ting, class of 1918, stopped at nothing when it came to improving the health of women and children in wartime China

Mount Holyoke Alumnae Quarterly

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As a physician and administrator, you have shown able and vigorous leadership in the improvement of medical treatment and hospitalization in Tientsin. You have saved the lives of countless Chinese women and children. More than that, you have not hesitated, even at personal sacrifice and risk, to serve the needy regardless of nationality. One of twenty-nine Mount Holyoke alumnae honored at the event, which brought more than 700 guests to campus, Ting was in the company of other groundbreaking women in science—researchers, scholars, a medical missionary, a specialist in infectious disease. She spent her lifetime overcoming obstacles that included financial limitations, bloody wars, and communist takeover. Through it all her mission remained: to improve the lives of women and children. As a young child in pre-revolutionary China, Ting watched in horror as her mother died in childbirth, an event that not only terrified her but later defined her life’s work. Healthcare was purely tailored toward men, and as a result women were dying in childbirth in great numbers due to a lack of medical resources. Female doctors were rare, and male doctors were not interested in women’s health, nor were female patients comfortable in their presence. Watching women and girls endure the suffering that came with being

Pursuing an American Education In 1914 Ting began her studies at Mount Holyoke. Almost eighty years into its history and under the leadership of Mary Woolley, the institution had already made its mark in graduating women in the sciences. The College was also an institution committed to educating students from abroad, with its first international student arriving on campus just two years after Mary Lyon founded her seminary. As a member of the first group of Chinese students at the College, Ting pursued premed studies under zoology professor Cornelia M. Clapp, class of 1871—a revolutionary academic who taught at the College for nearly forty-five years—and

Map of China by

AT THE Mount Holyoke Convocation of Science and Human Values in the fall of 1952, Dr. Me-Iung Ting, class of 1918, was honored by the College for distinguished achievement in her career as a physician and administrator. The citation, presented by President Roswell G. Ham, captured her life’s achievements well.

considered second-class citizens propelled Ting into a career that would quickly establish her as a trailblazer in women’s health during a time when women were seen as nothing more than property. Ting began her education at Shanghai’s McTyeire School for Girls, a missionary school established in 1892 to educate the daughters of China’s wealthy. An older schoolmate, Li Tsuin Tsao—who went on to become a doctor herself—encouraged Ting’s interest in medicine and became her mentor later in life. But before Ting could fully devote herself to medicine she had to escape the marriage contract her father—a doctor trained in traditional Chinese medicine—had secured for her. Arranged marriages would be the norm for another thirty-five years and defined a woman as the property of her husband with the only expectation being that she produce a son. Ting had a greater vision for her life’s purpose, one that couldn’t be accomplished without an education. She refused the marriage, finishing her high school education without her father’s support. Opportunities for pursuing higher education were limited at the time, especially for girls. After working with her former schoolmate Tsao for a year after high school, Ting traveled to the US for medical training as her mentor had done. More than 6,000 miles and several months later, Ting arrived in America.

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physiology professor Abby Turner, class of 1896, who later became her close friend and confidante, and to whom she would write dozens of letters over three decades. While studying in the United States, Ting longed to put her training to use in China, which in 1910 had fewer than 500 modern physicians and a population of approximately 400 million. It is estimated that at that time, infant mortality rates were as high as 250 per 1,000 live births. Babies were delivered at home exclusively by midwives, a practice that had been around for centuries but that offered caregivers only informal training and provided patients no prenatal or postnatal care. Ting would fundamentally change the conditions under which women were cared for during pregnancy and birth, and she wrote and secured funds to publish Care of Infants and Children Baby Record Book, an early resource of its kind for new mothers in China. Ting earned her medical degree from the University of Michigan. She gained obstetric experience at Woman’s Hospital and Infants’ Home in Detroit and completed a second internship at West Philadelphia Hospital for Women. Reluctant to pass up the opportunity for additional practical training, she accepted another internship, at Willard Parker Hospital in New York City focusing on infectious diseases, a particularly devastating problem in China. In a letter to Professor Turner, Ting wrote, “I expect to take up public health work after a few years. I think preventative medicine is the only modern medicine. I am much concerned of the preventative diseases in China. You must have heard of the pneumonic plague last winter. It makes my heart ache to see thousands dying because of ignorance.”

Committing to Women and Children In 1922, after eight years of education abroad and ready to begin her work back home, Ting joined Dr. Tsao, her childhood mentor, at Peiyang Woman’s Hospital in Tientsin, a heavily populated port city in northern China. But a mere two months into their partnership, Tsao died suddenly,

leaving Ting to take over the hospital’s management in addition to treating patients and doing her own lab work. Ting was devastated by Tsao’s death. In a letter to Turner on September 26, 1922, she wrote, “Her sudden death has been more than a shock to me. Often I blamed myself for not coming home a year earlier.” She continued, “She certainly was too young to leave this earth. Oh, I miss her and I feel that I have no more energy to carry on her unfinished task. Sense of loneliness overwhelmes [sic] at times.” But in the same letter, Ting also wrote of her professional accomplishments. “Within three months I have seen three thousand patients at clinic, delivered forty-five babies, operated ten times, made sixty calls outside,” she wrote. Over the next several years, Ting’s obstetrical practice continued to emphasize the importance of prenatal care, and she included in her letters to Turner the often sad details of her cases. In an October 1925 letter, she wrote, “Within a week we had two maternal deaths and two fetal deaths. As I reviewed our cases I felt no other doctor could have saved them either. . . . The saddest part of our work here is that cases come to us too late and our people fail to understand that we are humans and we are not in position to do wonders.”

Gaining Ground In 1935 Ting was appointed by Tientsin’s mayor as the first woman director of the Tientsin Infants Asylum, home to about one hundred girls who were orphans or whose families could not care for them. Under the previous administration unwanted girls lived in unsanitary buildings and were threatened by disease. Ting had no patience for such ineptitude. Without hesitation, she reorganized the institution from top to bottom. Immediately she fought to eradicate measles, diphtheria, and meningitis in the home while also completely overhauling the staff. “I cleared the place of useless men and women who were there good for nothing,” she wrote in a July 15, 1935, letter to Turner, “I actually fired thirty-nine people within these two months.”

Soon, she wrote, without an “increase of household expenditure,” she had the main building torn down and a new one constructed that provided healthier living conditions, including windows that could be opened to allow fresh air in, helping Ting to fight and treat tuberculosis, her “greatest problem.” Ting’s letters to Turner surged during this period, giving great insight into her life in pre-war China. She wrote of medical cases, politics, and the challenges of operating a hospital in an area plagued by poverty. On a more personal note, she wrote of her own health and of the two nieces she adopted, one of whom she named Abby after Professor Turner, and one, Mary Jean (now Jean Ting Margolis ’47), who would go on to graduate from Mount Holyoke with a chemistry degree. In a 2012 ceremony with President Lynn Pasquerella ’80 Margolis was presented with a plaque honoring her aunt.

Persevering Through Conflict Ting’s work in China coincided with a period of near-constant war, the height of which was Japan’s invasion of China in 1937. In the first year of the Second SinoJapanese War alone, Japanese soldiers killed 300,000 civilians and raped at least 80,000 women. By the end of World War II and Japan’s defeat, there were an estimated 10 million to 20 million Chinese civilians dead and entire villages decimated. On August 26, 1937, Ting first mentioned the Japanese attack in her letters: “The actual fighting started July 28th at Tientsin in Chinese city. For two afternoons aerial bombings did damage to most important places.” In a letter one month later Ting describes the lengths that the Japanese went to in order to completely destroy nearby Nankai University. “Bombardment did not destroy all the buildings, so oil was used to do further destruction. Concrete work could not be destroyed by oil, so dynamites were used to do the finishing touch. The total destruction only took a few hours.” Ting was distraught. “For days we could not utter a word—we only looked at each

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others but uncontrolable [sic] tears would run down our cheeks,” she wrote. In the destruction of the nearby university, Ting saw her own life’s work threatened. “We are experiencing suffering day to day,” she wrote. “We are not afraid to die. Our hospital was hit also by bombs. We did not move excepting moving our patients to basement at the time of bombardment.” The Japanese, who wanted to occupy the hospital and gather information on powerful citizens of Tientsin, harassed Ting. In an effort to protect herself, she gave her house deed, money, and

possessions to a trusted nurse along with pills necessary to kill herself should she be tortured. But while martial law ordered everyone off the streets, Ting demanded that the head of police grant her a pass so she could travel at any time to deliver babies. Returning to America Ting continued in Tientsin through eight

more years of upheaval. On December 16, 1945, she began a letter to Turner, “I could hardly realize that this war is over and that we can resume normal living again.” But normalcy proved a near-impossible task,

with destruction all around and resources limited. Yet Ting’s main concern continued to be her work. “I do not need material things,” she wrote, “But I do need medical journals.” As Mao Zedong came to power in 1949, she wrote in her letters of the increasing limits on her freedom. “I long for a change,” she wrote to Turner in September. After months of petitioning, the United States granted Ting a special travel permit, and in 1950 she returned to America and spent the rest of her life working and teaching at hospitals in Florida, Mississippi, Connecticut, and

Against the Tide Me-Iung Ting’s unsinkable journey through a time of turmoil

Ting born in Shanghai


Boxer Uprising: From June to August rebels try to drive foreigners out of China; international forces gain control on August 14; China required to pay reparation to countries involved


United States agrees to return part of the reparations to be used for education of Chinese students in the United States


Xinhai Revolution: Qing dynasty overthrown ending imperial China; Republic of China is formed



Enters Mount Holyoke funded by the Boxer Indemnity Scholarship Program


Begins medical school at University of Michigan as a Barbour Scholar


Serves as delegate to International Women’s Physicians Conference in New York City


Completes internships at Woman’s Hospital and Infant’s Home in Detroit, Michigan; West Philadelphia Hospital for Women; and Willard Parker Hospital in New York City

MHC Archives and Special Collections

c. 1891

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Massachusetts, continuing to provide obstetrical care to women most in need. Just as Ting left China, the country was launching a public healthcare system, making available many of the services Ting had devoted her life to providing. Twenty years earlier, Ting had written to Turner, “The rough estimate is every year two million babies died below one year of age. This statement is also true of preschool children.” By 1948, the infant mortality rate in the regions of the country where modern medical practices were used had fallen to 11 percent, and maternal mortality was at


Returns to China to join Dr. Li Tsuin Tsao at Peiyang Women’s Hospital in Tientsin; Tsao dies; Ting takes over as medical director of Peiyang


Opens first of five substations to provide medical care to people in villages without doctors Establishes first of several schools to provide education to poor children


Serves as chair of the Chinese delegation to the Pan-Pacific Women’s Conference in Honolulu, Hawaii


Returns to US for pediatrics fellowship at University of Michigan

less than one percent. It would take decades more for the villages where Ting made her mark to reflect these same improvements. But Ting’s work had been essential in beginning to create this change. She spent her life helping Chinese women and children obtain adequate healthcare, calling upon the knowledge and confidence that was instilled in her in the classrooms of Mount Holyoke’s Clapp Hall.

Learn more about Me-Iung Ting’s work as the head of the Chinese delegation to the Pan-Pacific Women’s Congress in Honolulu, chairman of the International Relief Committee in Tientsin, and more at

Sara Barry ’94 is a freelance writer in Massachusetts.


Challenges martial law ruling of 6 p.m. curfew, demanding police grant her a pass to attend to women in labor at any time


Appointed first female director of Tientsin Infants Asylum


Second Sino-Japanese War


Serves 6,000 refugees in camps Held in Japanese prison for nineteen days


Penicillin manufactured for distribution



Serves as chair of the International Relief Committee, providing medical care to thousands of refugees





Civil war between Nationalist and Communist forces in China

Mao Zedong’s “Great Leap Forward” leaves the country in an economic crisis

People’s Republic of China established; Mao Zedong comes to power

Flees to the US via Hong Kong and the United Kingdom

Mao Zedong declares China’s Cultural Revolution to reassert his authority over the government, an effort that had the opposite effect of many citizens losing their confidence in the government; as many as 1.5 million Chinese citizens are killed and millions more are imprisoned or tortured and forced to abandon all personal property




Serves as chair of the United Nations Emergency Fund for Children (now known as UNICEF)


Marriage Reform Law introduced banning forced marriages China enters Korean War supporting North Korea

Becomes an American citizen Suffers a fatal heart attack while attending a medical conference in New York City


Honored at Mount Holyoke Convocation

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MoHome Memories From Mock Elections to Rally Cries How Mount Holyoke women pushed for the vote “A WOM A N’S COLLEGE IS not generally thought to be the place to go for political excitement,” begins an article from the November 13, 1904, Philadelphia Press newspaper, which goes on to describe an amusing and “elaborate” tradition at Mount Holyoke College: that of mock presidential elections held every four years since just before the Civil War. These elections were a complex affair and included national committees for the running parties, caucuses held


in each residence hall, campaign dinners, state conventions, and vibrant political signage displayed around campus. Participating students went to great lengths to accurately play the roles of the vying candidates. This tradition reveals the extent to which Mount Holyoke students yearned for the right to be part of the political process outside of the gates. In a place where young women were encouraged to express their opinions, participate in

Students—perhaps members of the Suffrage League— wear “Votes for Women” sashes and march through campus playing instruments in 1916.

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Women’s Liberation First comic book

It Ain’t Me Babe, 1970, 36 pp, Last Gasp Eco-Funnies

I N T H E SPR I NG of 2014 Mount Holyoke

MHC Archives and Special Collections (3)

A flyer by the Massachusetts Woman Suffrage Association distributed on campus during Suffrage Day on April 24, 1915, lists twelve reasons why women should be given the right to vote.

student body. That same year, the student organization held “Suffrage Day,” during which students protested, held debates, and distributed pro-suffrage literature. Yet, it would be five more years before the first women would cast their votes in a presidential campaign after the Nineteenth Amendment was ratified on August 18, 1920. — B Y T AY L O R S C O T T

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on display

intellectual debates, and excel in academics every bit as rigorous as those at men’s colleges, the right to vote became more and more important. In the early 1900s, as the suffrage movement gained momentum, the Faculty Committee passed the constitution of the Mount Holyoke branch of the National College Equal Suffrage League on May 4, 1912. The chapter quickly sent a delegate to the annual council meeting and began to hold lectures on campus. One notable lecture, held in May 1914, featured Caroline Galt, associate professor of archaeology, who stated, “After all ‘arguments’—socalled—against equal suffrage have been met, the old objection is raised, ‘But the majority of women don’t want to vote.’ Looking back in our evolution when education was the passionate goal of women, did Mary Lyon wait to found her seminary till all women wanted to go to college?” By 1915, the membership of the Suffrage League numbered 350 students, nearly 45 percent of the

College acquired a first edition of It Ain’t Me Babe, the first American comic book to be created entirely by women, published in 1970. “When we looked at our collection in terms of curricular usage, we realized that there was a shortage of material from the modern women’s movement,” says Leslie Fields, head of Archives and Special Collections. “This was our first purchase toward rectifying that discrepancy.”

Acquisition of the volume coincided with the 2014 publication of The Secret History of Wonder Woman by historian and Harvard history professor Jill Lepore, who spent a lot of time on campus researching Sadie Holloway, class of 1915, said to be the inspiration for the character of Wonder Woman. “It seemed like a serendipitous acquisition,” says Fields, especially considering Wonder Woman is depicted on the comic book’s cover.

It Ain’t Me Babe includes comics from early comic artists and writers Trina Robbins, Lisa Lyons, and Michele Brand, members of the Berkeley-based Women’s Liberation Basement Press. Initially these women came together to create an alternative comic in a male-dominated industry. In just a few years, however, the collaboration led to the creation of Wimmen’s Comix, an influential all-female underground comics anthology published from 1972 to 1992 that dealt directly with feminist concerns, homosexuality, and politics. The comic book contains stories including “Queen of the Jungle,” which follows a wildspirited woman who fights injustice and is bookended by sketches of secretaries drudging through their work. Perhaps most intriguing to Mount Holyoke scholars, who can view the book in the College’s archives, the comic includes an account of the feminist awakenings of the marginalized heroines of mainstream comics. — B Y T AY L O R S C O T T


Take a closer look at It Ain’t Me Babe at alumnae.mtholyoke. edu/comics.

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Pangy Day was conceived by a group of students who wanted to recreate the spirit of the forgotten tradition of May Day— during which students arranged numerous theatrical productions and elaborate pageants on Prospect Hill—as well as the enthusiasm felt on campus during President Elizabeth Topham Kennan’s ’60 inauguration, two years earlier.

Today, Pangy Day is much less structured and begins with the traditional all-College picnic on Pageant Green, the one Pangy Day event that has held up through the event’s various iterations over the years. After a “fun free-for-all,” which includes music, games, face painting, and ice cream on Skinner Green, the climax of the day is the ritual maypole dance, resurrected by the Pagan/ Wiccan Collective in 2001. Also in the spirit of the May Days of yore, all participants receive daisies, handed out by the Environmental Action Coalition.

When Mary Lyon refused to have the institution named after her, one of Mount Holyoke’s founding trustees, Edward Hitchcock, suggested naming the seminary “Pangynaskean,” compounding three Greek words meaning “whole woman making.” The name was met with much derision on all fronts. In 1980, students re-adopted the name as part of a new celebration they were planning. The first Pangynaskeia Day on April 25, 1980, featured a parade of dozens of marching units and floats, lectures and presentations by faculty and alumnae, an all-College picnic, softball, volleyball, Frisbee games throughout the campus, and songs and entertainment in the Gettell Amphitheater.



In recent years, organizers of both Pangy Day and Earth Fest have collaborated, and now the day incorporates a celebration of the environment as well as the history of the College and its traditions.

The highlight of the inaugural celebration was the afternoon parade, during which scenes from Mount Holyoke’s past, present, and future were depicted by various student groups from across campus.


Watch a video to learn how to pronounce Pangynaskeia and view a slideshow of Pangy Day through the years at alumnae.

Some of the newest freefor-all offerings reflect this collaboration: the Pangy Day Thrift Store—a “mega free bin” full of donated items; a shredding event, at which personal documents are shredded for a small suggested donation that goes toward replacing trees on campus; parachute play; and locally raised bunnies available for petting and stress relief as students prepare for final exams looming on the horizon. — B Y TAY L O R S C O T T

1980: MHC Archives and Special Collections; 2015: MHC Office of Communications

then and now


Pangy Day

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Class and club contacts are available online at or

Connections Travel Abroad with Sister Alumnae We invite you to join one or more of the Alumnae Association’s travel opportunities this year. Visit

Traveling Trio In January, Judy Shepherd DeBrandt ’66, Marty Lyman ’66, and Marion Colton Inglis ’63 traveled together in Lalibela, Ethiopia, spending ten days reminiscing and reconnecting with one another. “Marty mentioned that she was traveling to Ethiopia, and I took it as a challenge,” says DeBrandt, whose friendship with Lyman dates back to their undergraduate days at Mount Holyoke. “I knew little about the country but thought it would satisfy my need for something different,” she says, noting that she has traveled extensively on her own. Inglis and Lyman first met in Walla Walla, Washington, where Lyman still lives. During a class of 1966 fiftieth planning meeting in New Haven, Connecticut, last June, Inglis, now living in Deerfield, Massachusetts, met up with her friends, and the idea for the joint trip began to take shape. Traveling together strengthened the friendships among the three Mount Holyoke sisters and even reminded them of their time on campus. “I remember the silly moments of Jeep transition— almost as complex as picking dorms,” says DeBrandt. The trio hopes to reunite again later this year in Rhode Island, where DeBrandt and Inglis spend their summers.

November 13 –15




Trio: Courtesy of Judy Shepherd DeBrandt ’66, Travel: Wikimedia Commons


FOUNDER’S FUND Your gift to the



ASSOCIATION HELPS US SUPPORT the activities of alumnae around the world.



From left, Judy Shepherd DeBrandt ’66, Marty Lyman ’66, and Marion Colton Inglis ’63 enjoy the view from a rooftop in Lalibela, Ethiopia.


Mount Holyoke Black Alumnae Conference From November 13–15, 2015, alumnae will return to campus for the Black Alumnae Conference. The event will feature engaging lectures, cultural events, networking, and conversation. Alumnae will have opportunities to reconnect with their sisters and leave campus recharged and ready to go forward. Learn more at alumnae.

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The South Delle common room is my favorite place on campus! I spent hours there every week at M&Cs a cappella rehearsals. Home sweet home! —LINLEY BECKBRIDGE ’11


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James Gehrt

a place of our own

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Mount Holyoke Alumnae Quarterly




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my voice


Stepping Out of My Comfort Zone and Into a Beauty Contest


Pitch your topic at quarterly@

IT WAS THE BE GINNING of summer, and I was busy writing my second-year doctoral paper for the applied economics program at The Ohio State University. Procrastinating on Facebook, I came across the call for participants for the Miss Nepal US 2014 competition. The winning prize was $5,000 and No matter how a round trip ticket to Nepal— very attractive. My youngest good we are at sister wanted to go to medical school; this was a significant our work, if we amount to put toward her education. I had always been cannot sell it— active in sports and academics but had no knowledge of fashand ourselves— ion and beauty. I was interested in the contest because we will find it participating would add to very difficult to the diversity of my experiences, and I also might have succeed. the chance of breaking the South Asian stereotype of fairskinned beauty queens. Most important, I thought, I could use the platform to connect

Khushbu Mishra ’11 upon winning the title of Miss Nepal US in 2014


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my academic research world to non-academicians and spread the word on the importance of gender equality and economic development. After filling out the application and participating in a Skype interview, I was chosen as one of the twenty finalists. With the help of family and friends I was able to raise the funds needed to participate, and soon I committed myself to giving the contest my full dedication. I needed to identify a talent first. So, I wrote a poem on domestic violence inspired by an incident with my neighbor, who was beaten to death by her husband in Nepal in 2011. For my cultural round, I reviewed recordings of previous contests and worked with my mother to put together the perfect lehenga—a traditional long, embroidered skirt. I was confident that I could handle the question-and-answer rounds, as I kept up to date with world news, including Nepali news. It was the catwalk part that I found most challenging. I practiced and learned to walk in two-and-a-half-inch heels only to realize, once I arrived in New York City for the contest, the other contestants were wearing shoes with five-inch heels. During the training period I learned how to sit properly while trying not to feel as if my self-esteem were being questioned, and I helped other contestants feel more comfortable speaking publicly. We all practiced our skills together, and together our individual self-confidence grew. Was it annoying to spend half an hour every day putting on makeup? Yes. But it was also satisfying to spend more time working out and living a healthy lifestyle. Did I feel uncomfortable conforming to the societal portrayal of women as objects of beauty? Yes. But it was also rewarding to hear the audience cheer when I talked against discrimination based on gender and skin color. At the end of the contest I walked away with the title. Proud to have succeeded in achieving my goal and helping my sister add to her medical school fund, I immediately began planning my trip to Nepal, where I conducted a workshop on empowerment among rural women. In winning, I demonstrated my own thesis: in today’s world, no matter how good we are at our work, if we cannot sell it—and ourselves—we will find it very difficult to succeed. To those who see beauty contests only in a negative light, I say we can put aside the criticism and work together to give voice to women and bring a positive change among us.


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What impact do you want to have? When Julie C. Van Camp ’69 majored in philosophy at Mount Holyoke, it never occurred to her that it was a male-dominated field. After two decades as a professor of philosophy, Julie, now retired, remains passionate about encouraging women in her discipline. The Julie C. Van Camp Fund for the Advancement of Women in Philosophy will be created from five charitable gift annuities that she established with the College, supplemented by a gift from her estate.

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Change takes planning. Start now. You can make a gift that pays you income and offers a tax deduction. To learn more, contact Anne Vittoria FP’05 in the Office of Gift Planning, 413-538-2754 or 800-642-4483;

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50 College Street, South Hadley, MA 01075

Tracie M. Gardner ’87 New York State Assistant Secretary of Health, overseeing mental health agencies. Public policy advocate. Spokesperson. Mother of two sons. Always asking questions and seeking answers. Engaged in the fight for social justice.

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

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