Mount Holyoke Alumnae Quarterly Spring 2014

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Mount Holyoke SP R I N G 2014

Alumnae Quarterly


Access to Education

Expanding opportunities for low-income students in America

President’s Pen

i “

have a confession to make. Until a few months ago, I had never been to the Emily Dickinson Students pore Museum. I know, I know, it’s indefensible. My wobover Dickinson’s bly excuse is that I’m a little like Parisians who’ve manuscripts, never taken in the Eiffel Tower or New Yorkers ponder the influence who haven’t visited the Statue of Liberty: the old of Mary Lyon, “It’s so close; I’ll get there one day” alibi. and survey the But, this winter I finally made it, and I world from couldn’t have enjoyed my visit more. Dickinson’s cupola. Jane Wald, executive — LYN N PASQ U E R E LL A ’80 director of the Emily Dickinson Museum, gave me a tour of The Homestead—the poet’s home for most of her life. Interestingly, Dickinson did not live in this Amherst home in 1847 when she left for Mount Holyoke. The house of Dickinson’s youth no longer exists. (It was located on North Pleasant Street where the Mobil Station next to Zanna now stands.) But the home that fueled Dickinson’s imagination and where she famously penned her “letter to the world,” that home was—in a word—phenomenal. The poet’s upstairs bedroom is being restored to the way it looked during Dickinson’s lifetime. When Jane led me in, the room was down to the studs; restorers had removed plaster, the ceiling, and floorboards to find out as much as they could about the original condition of the space. They discovered fascinating clues through scraps of wallpaper and barely discernible marks on the floor indicating where furniture was placed. Ironically, the bare-bones experience of the room made me feel even more intimately connected to Emily Dickinson. Perhaps it was the shadows cast by winter light that made me keenly aware of the passage of time and how much we all are connected to those who precede us and those who will follow.

John Kuchle

President Pasquerella and Martha Ackmann

For more than a decade, Mount Holyoke College students have been lucky to study Emily Dickinson within these very rooms. Martha Ackmann’s popular Emily Dickinson in Her Times course meets every Tuesday afternoon across the hall from the poet’s bedroom. There students pore over Dickinson’s manuscripts, ponder the influence of Mary Lyon, and—on the last day of class—wind their way to the top of The Homestead, where they survey the world from Dickinson’s cupola. Students say it’s impossible not to imagine the poet standing in that same spot. They also say that looking over the gentle hills of western Massachusetts is a moment they will remember for the rest of their lives. During Reunion II this year, Martha Ackmann and Marty Rhodes Figley FP’03 will be leading a Back to Class session. Marty, the author of seventeen historically based books for young readers, was once a student in the Dickinson seminar. Inspired by the poet’s words and love of dogs, Marty wrote Emily and Carlo, a tender story about Dickinson and her protective Newfoundland. Martha and Marty will talk about how Emily Dickinson has influenced their lives and work. If you’re not due for Reunion this year, come to campus as soon as you can. We’re always eager to see you. And up the road in Amherst? Emily Dickinson’s door is open as well.

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VO LU M E 9 8







Remembering WWII, questioning optimism, and sharing favorite January courses

5 UNCOMMON GROUND Alumnae paddle forward for watershed education, attorney Judith Olans Brown ’62 honored, College debuts Sophomore Institute Ten Minutes With: Public Affairs Chief Bridget Serchak ’84 Insider’s View: Talcott Greenhouse Go Figure The Maven: Eva Goodwin ’08 on genealogy The Female Gaze: Mixed-media artist Kat Cope ’05; oboist Sarah Davol ’81; authors Christine Muhlke ’92 and Mariah Devereux Herbeck ’97




The Great Flood of 1936

16 Building

On Display: Mount Holyoke's original course catalog

Radio Station: MHC Archives and Special Collections; Flower show: Lauren Kodiak

Foundations in Faith

Then and Now: WMHC radio

Guided by their spiritual


beliefs, women lead

Celebrating Mead Hall, Mount Holyoke's first Asian Symposium

the way for their families and communities

22 Access to Education Expanding opportunities for

low-income students in America

28 Everyday


Alumnae making a difference through change


A Place of Our Own


Marcia C. Schenck ’09 on “Returning Home to Say Goodbye—to Mandela”












Lyons Share A REAL PLEASURE The Quarterly has become, for me, a real pleasure. The articles take us abroad with students as they explore, expand, and enrich the earth and its people; and reading them I find affirmation of the compassionate and enquiring worldview, which is something I treasure as a gift from my Holyoke years.

The MHC Alumnae Quarterly makes me excited to

—Susan Bishop ’48 Princeton, New Jersey

graduate in May! I can’t wait to read

MORE REDESIGN FEEDBACK I like the new “square” format and the spine. I especially like how class notes are featured—simple but long-needed changes that reflect the importance of class notes to the Quarterly overall, and to its readers.

about my classmates. They will do great things @aamhc

—Eileen Murray Lyon ’76 Sausalito, California

—Terry Albach Lowenthal ’56 Saratoga Springs, New York

Join the Conversation




Stacks on the second floor #mountholyoke I share Hazel Gold’s ’73 assessment (“Lyons Share,” Winter 2014, p. 2). She found the new magazine underwhelming and said, “Too many snippets—the written equivalent of sound bites—rather than the more substantive and in-depth articles that have been featured in past issues.” I so agree. One of MHC’s greatest assets is that it has been counter-cultural, from its founding as a women’s college through the recent past. It saddens me that the Quarterly has been so compromised by a choice to be “hip” at the expense of being good. For me, the magazine is now indistinguishable from the countless insubstantial publications out there. —Jean Costello FP’05 West Boylston, Massachusetts

Kudos! Finally I read the Quarterly cover to cover. —Joan Williamson Miller ’56 Northbrook, Illinois

LIFE DURING WORLD WAR II Thank you for a terrific article on the US Navy WAVES (“Resiliency in Wartime,” Winter 2014, p. 16)! I so thoroughly enjoyed it, the photos, and the online interview. It was very timely, because I just became a first-time homeowner, and in the process of cleaning out the house of its late owner’s belongings I came across photos, letters, and papers from . . . Mount Holyoke! The owner of the property was one of the WAVES, and your story filled so many gaps in the puzzle I was building in my head reading her letters. I especially enjoyed the sidebar on marriage during leave. —Lina Hristova ’08 Lynn, Massachusetts

“Resiliency in Wartime” was absolutely fascinating! We all have the early history of MHC down pat, but I, for one, never knew anything about its wartime efforts during the 1940s. The Quarterly isn’t usually passed on to my daughter to read, but this issue will be. —Sally Tornow ’75 New Milford, Connecticut “Resiliency in Wartime” helps me to understand more completely a part of both Mt. Holyoke’s history and that of my family during WWII. My mother, Margaret L. Ballard ’32, and father, Knight W. McMahan, met in South Hadley in the fall of 1940, when both were new instructors at Mt. Holyoke. They were married in February of 1941. On December 16, 1941, [my father] wrote to the Commandant of the First Naval District in Boston to ask that he be allowed to “make

Taylor Scott

The content is too dumbed down for my tastes. Were some of the snippets interesting? Yes. But I’d vastly prefer a combination of content— some of the “sound bites” and more substantive articles which explore subjects in greater depth. What I really object to, however, is what you’ve done to the class notes. They are anemic and uninteresting looking.





“January Intersession started this week! Among the courses are ‘What Sort of Insects Do You Rejoice In, Where You Come From?’ and ‘Making a Greek Meal.’ Did you take an Intersession (a.k.a Jan-term) course at MHC?”

Chris Pyle’s J-Term at Plimoth Plantation was one of the best experiences I had in college. —Nadene J. Bradburn ’94 Loved Winter Term (as we called it)! Took Folk Stories and Fairy Tales, Jan ’79, Evolution of the Horse: Form and Function, Jan ’80, and most memorably was part of Coro’s Tour of Spain, Jan ’81. Jan ’82, my senior year, I just spent the weeks on campus, having a blast with my MHC sisters.

MHC Archives and Special Collections

—Jody Phillips Clark ’82 I was on campus for all or part of three J-terms. First year, I took a class on the musicals of Stephen Sondheim and Andrew Lloyd Webber, junior year went to Costa Rica with the Glee Club, and senior year participated in the first Alumnae Choral Reunion! I *loved* J-term, being on campus with much less to do than during the regular semester! — Cynthia M. Krohn ’00

application for a commission in the US Naval Reserve, specifically for work in intelligence.” Through his colleague and friend in the philosophy department, Roger Holmes, my father completed the correspondence course in cryptography. By July 30, 1942, he was stationed in Washington, DC, where he worked in communications intelligence with, among others, the WAVES. He served in the Navy until spring 1946. By the fall of 1946 he had returned to South Hadley and was teaching once again with Holmes. In the summer of 1947 he returned to Washington with his young family and began his second intelligence career at CIG, which soon became CIA. Roger and Louise Holmes remained close friends of my parents all their lives. —Margaret McMahan Kolar ’69 Washington, DC ON OPTIMISM Because I am a glass half-empty kind of person, I admit to being skeptical when I saw your Alumnae Quarterly cover story “Everything Is Going to Be OK” (Winter 2014, p. 22). However, I was pleasantly surprised, at least for most of the article. My main criticism is that while it’s possible to objectively measure such things as childhood obesity, the number of women politicians, or the condition of the permafrost, the criteria used to justify finding optimism in the current economic crisis ring hollow. I live in a pleasant New England suburb, but behind the nice façade are middle-class people who have lost their jobs and homes, not because of poor judgment but of sheer bad luck. For many, the challenge is not having to downscale their expectations and delay retirement but finding and keeping a job that pays a livable wage for them and their families. The US

may indeed be full of economic advantages, but there is a wide gap between the haves and the have nots. I doubt the discrepancy in wealth makes being poor in the US easier but in fact the opposite. While I’m sure Mr. Hartley was just answering the question in the space allotted, I still wish he had replied with more compassion for those caught in this economic crisis and with less judgment. The solution is more complex than simply forcing people to work into their seventies. —Elizabeth M. Bristol ’96 North Attleboro, Massachusetts The “Everything is Going to be OK: 5 Reasons on Optimism” design drew me in. After I pulled out my magnifying glass to read the print, I decided to comment on one: James Hartley’s discussion of Social Security. The United States does have a lot of wealth and opportunities— although I’m among those convinced that the mammoth divide in income and wealth is having an impact on the likelihood of a child in a disadvantaged class moving upward and that a child who is poor by US standards in the US is going to be competing here and at a disadvantage. A family that is “wealthy” by world comparisons might not be able to pay the rent here. Right now, there are many out of work at ages well under sixty-six not out of choice but because of drastic layoffs over the last few years. Furthermore, many are not going to be able to “reinvent themselves.” Some would be happy to work until seventy or eighty—but not at minimum wage. The way people are “employed” is changing. If you are not able to save sufficiently early and regularly in your career, the likelihood that your savings will grow to meet retirement needs shrinks.

There’s nothing better than speaking to a @mtholyoke alum @aamhc about our shared love for women’s colleges. #love #sisterhood


Mount Holyoke Alumnae Quarterly






Carly Kite Senior Director of Marketing and Communications

President Cynthia L. Reed ’80 Vice President Julianne Trabucchi Puckett ’91

Jennifer Grow ’94 Editor, Alumnae Quarterly

Treasurer and Chair, Finance Committee Lynda Dean Alexander ’80

Millie Rossman Creative Director

Clerk Hilary M. Salmon ’03

Taylor Scott Associate Director of Digital Communications

Chair, Classes and Reunion Committee Danielle M. Germain ’93

Lauren Kodiak Marketing and Communications Assistant

Alumnae Trustee Suzanne A. George ’90


Kimberlyn B. Fong ’15 Olivia S. Lammel ’14 Camille C. Malonzo ’16



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

The Alumnae Association of Mount Holyoke College, Inc. 50 College Street South Hadley, MA 01075-1486 413-538-2300

Chair, Nominating Committee Radley Emes ’00

The need to have something like full employment, or maximum workplace participation, also requires well-educated/trained people, so there’s a need to include educational reforms in considering the future of Social Security contributions. The US has some of the best institutions in the world—as well as some of the worst. Prof. Hartley says the government cannot deliver the promises it made for Social Security benefits. I hear the same from Gen Xers and Millennials: They assume it won’t be there when they retire. While they see this as having to do with politics, they don’t see their own political apathy as at all related. —Cheryl Gajowski ’69 Yorktown Heights, New York

Director-at-Large Joanna Jones ’67


Director-at-Large (Global Initiatives) Emily E. Renard ’02

As someone who is routinely called a cynical curmudgeon, I was amused when the Alumnae Quarterly asked me to talk with them about reasons for optimism about the future of Social Security. It was a pleasant challenge. As Elizabeth Bristol and Cheryl Gajowski point out, it is also quite possible to write a “Reasons for Pessimism” article on

Chair, Communications Committee Sandra A. Mallalieu ’91 Young Alumnae Representative Tamara J. Dews ’06 Chair, Clubs Committee Elizabeth Redmond VanWinkle ’82 Chair, Volunteer Stewardship Committee Ellen L. Leggett ’75


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



Executive Director Jane E. Zachary ex officio without vote

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.

the economy. Should the Alumnae Quarterly decide to run that cover story, I would also cheerfully contribute. After all, being an economist means always being able to say “On the other hand . . .” That being said, both Ms. Bristol and Ms. Gajowski are raising an issue quite different from the one I raised in the piece. A question I routinely ask in my classes is whether it is relative or absolute income which matters. It is objectively true that the poor in America are vastly wealthier than the poor in India. But, it is also objectively true that the poor in America are vastly poorer than the wealthy in America. So, which is the right comparison group? The optimist would make the comparison to someone living on the streets of Calcutta, the pessimist to Bill Gates. In this case, cynical curmudgeon though I am, I think the optimist is right, that the relatively high absolute living standards of the poor in America is something that can be celebrated, even while acknowledging that simply because there are some things to celebrate does not mean that this is the best of all possible worlds.



President Lynn Pasquerella ’80 has announced that the College will fund one qualified summer internship or research experience for every student during her sophomore or junior year at Mount Holyoke.

In response to the essay in the Winter 2014 Quarterly (p. 80), I have so many similar memories and thoughts. Especially the fact that I never regretted my choice of MHC for my undergrad education. I think that I would have done things a little differently had I known then what I know now. I would have pushed the envelope further and taken more risks, not worrying about what people expected or what others were doing. So, too, I enjoy Reunion for the chance to feel, for a moment, what I felt as I first walked on campus— the freedom to explore, to grow, to discover, to become—and the environment that fostered such personal growth. —Wendy Betts Lyon ’82 Dryden, New York












Uncommon Ground

Sarah Schaefer

Two Alumnae Join Paddle Forward Project In the fall of 2013, Sarah Schaefer ’11 and Sami Pfeffer ’10 set off in canoes to travel down the Mississippi River with nine other young adults as part of the Paddle Forward initiative. The 2,320-mile trip—set in motion by parent organization Wild River Academy, a Minnesota-based nonprofit dedicated to engaging communities in watershed education and outdoor recreation—took seventy days to complete. Traveling from the river’s headwaters in Lake Itasca, Minnesota, to New Orleans, Louisiana, the crew explored and documented the social and environmental history of the Mississippi. Through blogs, videos, and discussion questions, students in thirty-five schools across the nation followed along with the paddlers as part of WRA’s adventure-learning model. Schaefer, who taught high school English for two years prior to joining the Paddle Forward team, developed the corresponding K-12 curriculum over the course of two months before embarking on the trip. When she realized there was a need for someone to film the experience and document the journey, she reached out to Pfeffer, who left her seasonal job as a Segway tour guide in Minneapolis early to join the project, saying she’d “always wanted to take a grand river adventure.” Back on land, Pfeffer processed more than fifty hours of film for a documentary entitled Voices of the Mississippi River, which aims to inspire national conversations about community resource use and communicate the sadness, injustice, and beauty found on the Mississippi. A production date has been set for June.

“We used to make home videos at Mount Holyoke together,” says Schaefer, “so this was a fun and surprising way to come full circle. It felt meant to be.” —BY LAUR E N KODI AK

Mount Holyoke Alumnae Quarterly




Attorney Judith Olans Brown ’62 Honored In November Judith Olans Brown ’62 received the Lelia J. Robinson Award from the Women’s Bar Association at a gala celebration in Boston, Massachusetts. Since 1994, the award has been given annually to women whose trailblazing approaches to changing the legal landscape and greater community echo that of Lelia J. Robinson, the first woman admitted to the Massachusetts bar. Brown, a 1965 graduate of Boston College Law School, was one of the first women to serve as a clerk to the Supreme Judicial Court in Massachusetts, be appointed to the Board of Directors of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, and achieve the position of tenured professor at Northeastern University School of Law.

Her scholarly focus at Northeastern, where she taught for thirty years, was equality in the workplace, and her efforts to expand legal and civil rights for women and minorities defined her professional life. Retired from Northeastern since 2001, Brown teaches constitutional law courses in continuing education programs at Dartmouth and the University of Arizona. She attributes her pursuit of a career in law to her undergraduate experience. “Going to Mount Holyoke really taught me that being smart was a good thing,” she says, “Women in the workforce were oddities, but Mount Holyoke gave me the impetus and courage to go for it when I realized what I wanted to do.” — BY LAUR E N KODI AK

College Debuts Career Conference The weekend before spring semester began, more than 100 sophomores returned to the College early to attend Sophomore Institute, a half-day career conference tailored specifically to second-year students to begin building personal and professional skills needed for success after graduation. Jenny Watermill, the Career Development Center's (CDC) internships manager, says, “While typically students begin to approach the CDC in their junior, even senior year, they often find that there is a great deal of work to be done, from learning how to articulate themselves clearly through resumes, cover letters, and interviews, to building relationships with professionals in their field of interest and gaining practical experience.” The January 17 event featured workshops on topics such as the value of networking and offered advising on

researching and applying for funding for internships through The Lynk as well as a presentation by the theatre department’s Susan Daniels ’79 entitled “Speaking with Confidence.” The experience, one sophomore said, “reminded me that I am capable of talking about myself in a way that is interesting and meaningful to others.” In partnership with several of the College’s departments and offices, the dean of the college and the dean of faculty have led development of the College’s new “sophomore focus” programming—of which the Sophomore Institute is one part—designed to support second-years during a pivotal year of their undergraduate experience, when they are faced with several important milestones, including declaring a major, deciding whether or not to study abroad, and planning how to spend upcoming summers. — BY CAM I LLE M ALON ZO ’ 16


Sophomore institute

Discussing Dance

Alumna Leads Online Component of Dance History Class

Credit tk

Last fall when chair of the dance department Rose Marie Flachs reached out to Mount Holyoke dance alumnae asking for news and updates, she received almost thirty responses from graduates around the world. Yet, it was her husband and fellow MHC dance professor, Charles Flachs, who took a special interest in the accomplishments of one alumna in particular: Lucy Albert Bermingham ’74, an associate professor at St. John’s University in New York City. After completing a degree in dance at Mount Holyoke, Bermingham earned a master’s degree in dance studies from the City University of London. Since then she’s done everything from choreographing more than a dozen musicals to owning a dance shop in New Jersey to writing the children’s book The Rascally Reality of Rosie B. Aside from her illustrious and wide-ranging career, Flachs noticed that Bermingham currently teaches History of Dance,

a course similar to one that he’s been teaching for the past eighteen years at the College, Studies in Dance History. While the similarity was intriguing, the fact that Bermingham teaches her course completely online is the detail that piqued Flachs’s interest. In recent years Flachs had been struggling to initiate lively dialogue in his class due to time constraints. When Flachs learned that Bermingham was adept at facilitating online discussion he approached her about collaboration, hoping to add a new component to his own curriculum. Bermingham was happy to lend her expertise, and since mid-January she has been facilitating the online discussion portion of the class. Each week, she and Flachs choose an article for students to read, and together they craft several pertinent discussion questions that they post in the class’s online forum space. There, students are expected not only to post their responses but also are required to respond to the thoughts of at least two of their classmates. Participation in this online forum accounts for 25 percent of their final grade. “I find that students are so used to using social media to express themselves that this is a logical transition for them,” Bermingham says. “They are more comfortable in this cyber-setting and express themselves beautifully.” Flachs agrees, noting, “It has been a wonderful vehicle to allow a whole new means of communication that carries on outside— and in some ways independent of—the classroom.”

President Pasquerella Attends White House Summit On January 16 President Lynn Pasquerella ’80 and other selected college leaders joined President Obama for an all-day White House summit to discuss issues surrounding accessibility for lowincome, disadvantaged, and underrepresented students. The summit was called as part of the administration’s efforts to expand educational opportunities for more Americans.


Mount Holyoke Alumnae Quarterly




David Brooks Praises Frances Perkins New York Times columnist David Brooks’s speech at the Council of Independent Colleges’ 2014 Presidents Institute in January paid homage to MHC alumna and first female US cabinet member, Frances Perkins, class of 1902. His presentation, “Fostering a Life of Inquiry, Virtue, and Social Commitment,” praised the College for firing Perkins “with this passion to live a life of service, but also of steadfastness.” Watch a video of David Brooks’ speech at


Surviving in Numbers This semester Ali Safran ’14 is managing a nonprofit from her dorm room in South Mandelle. Incorporated in June, Surviving in Numbers raises awareness about sexual assault and domestic violence, in part through displaying a collection of anonymous submissions—photos of survivors holding up posters with accounts of their experiences. The stories are often distilled into a list of powerful statistics written boldly in permanent marker on white poster board. “8 years since the assaults. 10 countries visited. 2 sisters I taught about consent. 1 college degree. Countless # of friends and loved ones who support me,” reads one sign. The idea for the project came about in October 2012 after Safran revisited the spot of her own attack, where she hung a poster with sexual assault statistics on a nearby fence. Initially Safran displayed these collected posters in gallery format on college campuses in Massachusetts, including in the Student Art Gallery at Blanchard last fall. A year ago she also began posting the submissions online at, and she has plans to expand her campaign to more colleges, with spring 2014 displays and talks scheduled at UC Berkeley, Temple University, and Emerson College. During her first year of college, which she spent at Boston University, Safran was immersed in the legal process against her own assailant, a process that didn’t result in the justice she had sought. “I felt like I wanted to do more to solve the problem, and I wanted to help other people through similar situations,” she says. She turned to activism and became a rape crisis counselor, and soon after Surviving in Numbers was formed. Originally, she aimed to show the pervasiveness of sexual assault on college campuses. So far Safran has received almost 400 submissions, from as far away as Turkey and Italy and as nearby as dorms on campus. The project has helped survivors, who have written to her to say the poster-making process prepared them to tell their stories to the police or family members.

In December, Together for Girls, a global partnership, listed Safran as one of fifty heroes ending sexual violence against children, a list that includes Hillary Clinton, Eve Ensler, and Queen Noor of Jordan. In April 2013, Gov. Deval Patrick of Massachusetts wrote to Safran, congratulating her on her efforts and wishing her well in continuing them. The project has been featured in The Daily Mail, The Huffington Post, and Buzzfeed. A year-and-a-half into her original campaign, Safran’s goal has shifted from awareness of the prevalence of sexual assault on campuses to prevention. Since last summer she has been developing a high school curriculum that focuses on preventing sexual assault. The program launched in February at Newton North High School, Safran’s alma mater in Newton, Massachusetts. If successful, she hopes to expand the curriculum to other schools in the area. A politics major, Safran will continue her work with Surviving in Numbers post-graduation. She also hopes to work professionally “in some type of legal setting where I can help with policy-making around sexual violence, whether that’s within the justice system, education system, or elsewhere,” Safran says. — BY OLI V I A L A MME L ’ 1 4

ten minutes with


Bridget Serchak ’84 A self-described “Army brat,” Bridget Serchak ’84 moved twelve times and attended eight schools before enrolling at Mount Holyoke. A politics major, she interned at the Pentagon and was a research assistant for Texas Sen. Lloyd Bentsen before earning a master’s in integrated marketing from Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism. After working in public relations at Amtrak, she spent five years on the nationwide accident investigation team at the National Transportation Safety Board. Since January 2012, she’s been chief of public affairs for the inspector general (IG) of the US Department of Defense.

On the responsibilities of the job: A key mission of all seventy-three federal inspectors general is to uncover fraud, waste, and abuse within their respective agencies. IGs also have an opportunity to identify best practices and promote economy and efficiency in the federal government. In my daily work with the national, local, and trade media, I like to emphasize our preventive efforts that come in the form of our recommendations for improvement. I also work closely with our hotline investigators and our whistleblower protection ombudsman to educate our stakeholders.

Matt Mackowiak

On making connections: One of the best parts of my job has been connecting with other communications professionals within the IG community. After just a

Sitting in classrooms with professors Penny Gill, Joe Ellis, Chris Pyle, Tony Lake, and Michael Burns, I remember being invited to share my views—no matter

how contrary.”

few months on the job, I reached out to my counterpart at Health and Human Services IG. Together we formed a network across the federal IGs—now totaling more than 100 members. We communicate regularly via a listserv, hold quarterly meetings featuring outside speakers—such as the government rep for Twitter—and spotlight great work done by our members.

On how Mount Holyoke prepared her: My career path has taken me in many industry areas dominated by men. I never saw being the only female in a meeting or on a project or at a company as an obstacle

to overcome. Probably the most significant legacy MHC gave me is the ability to speak up without fear and express my views. I have been in countless situations where I am not only the only woman asking questions or offering comments but also the only person—male or female—to challenge a proposal or brainstorm new ideas. At Mount Holyoke I was encouraged to engage in debate as part of creating a more complete discussion of the issue at hand. It’s a skill that comes in very handy in a town like Washington, DC, where differing opinions on just about every subject are a fact of life.

Mount Holyoke Alumnae Quarterly




Inside the Greenhouse Built in the years immediately following the fire of 1896, which destroyed the original seminary building on campus, Talcott Greenhouse displays a living collection of plants from around the world. First-years can stop by to collect a complimentary plant—most often a jade or spider. The plants are produced by student workers, who work in the propagation division, making cuttings in the spring so they will grow and be ready in September for the new class. n

Learning in the greenhouse happens across disciplines, from biology classes studying species to art students practicing drawing and sketching techniques. n

Open to the public year round, one of the greenhouse's busiest times is during the Annual Spring Flower Show, which is months in the making and features thousands of flowers timed perfectly to bloom during the first two weeks of March. n

This year the College will be represented in Holyoke's St. Patrick's Day Parade, with a float decorated by greenhouse staff with flowers grown on site. n

Watch a video featuring this spring’s annual flower show at


Deirdre Haber Malfatto

insider’s view


go figure


Number of Mount Holyoke spring admits that Caitlin Kidder ’13 helped organize to volunteer for the annual South Hadley Food Drive in January.

1 — 3

Year baseball became the first organized team sport on campus.

Fraction of Mount Holyoke student body majoring in science or mathematics.

Number of students studying abroad in spring 2014.


$1 million Amount that President Lynn Pasquerella ’80 has committed to fund full tuition scholarships to all new Frances Perkins Scholars.

May 25 Kick-off day of the 2014 Women in Public Service Institute, held on the campuses of Mount Holyoke, Smith, and Simmons.


Food drive: Western Massachusetts Breaking News

go figure

MHC by the Numbers

the maven


Telling Your Family’s Story EVA GOODWIN ’08 is a professional genealogist in Oakland, California,

and founder of Family Archeologies (, a family history research firm. She is a member of the National Genealogical Society, the New England Historical & Genealogical Society, and the California Genealogical Society, and she serves on several committees and working groups of the Association of Professional Genealogists, including the Young Genealogists Working Group. Her areas of special expertise include California, New England, the Mid-Atlantic, and Nova Scotia, and her professional aim is to make genealogy accessible and relevant to younger generations. With the advent of genealogyfocused television programs such as TLC’s Who Do You Think You Are?, The Genealogy Roadshow, and Henry Louis Gates’s African American Lives series on PBS, genealogy is reaching a much broader audience than ever before. Online family trees have proliferated, and online genealogy services are popping up and adding content every day. Why the new wave of interest? In our increasingly mobile and virtually connected world, people are seeking ways to feel rooted to something a little less fleeting, a little more permanent—home, history, and personal identity. Here is how you

can get started researching your family’s ancestry:

Start Close to Home That box of papers you inherited from your grandmother. Photo albums and scrapbooks on your parents’ shelves. Your own filing cabinet. Gather as much information as you can from resources you already have at your fingertips. Birth and marriage certificates, military papers, family Bibles, newspaper clippings, yearbooks—all of these records found at home are rich sources of genealogical information. Your local public and university libraries can also be a good place to start.



Pitch us your area of expertise at quarterly@

Get Organized

Tell a Story

Once you’ve collected some basic family information, use a free, online family-tree service like Geni. com or to assemble your data in one easy-to-use place. Start with skeletal information like dates of births, marriages, and deaths. Take stock of the information you’re missing. Don’t forget to interview living family members for stories and information you might not know.

Names and dates are key components of successful genealogical research, but by themselves they reveal little about an individual’s life. Use federal census records (available at to construct a family timeline in ten-year snapshots. Take note of details on occupation, income, veteran status, and citizenship as well as street addresses, neighborhoods, and even neighbors’ data. A marriage record tells about the marriage between two people, but it also offers details about their parents, their religion, even their friends. (Usually a marriage has a witness—who witnessed your grandparents’ marriage?) Compare dates with major historical events—which wars, financial depressions, or political upheavals did your ancestors experience? Read up on their communities’ local histories. What events and circumstances framed their lives? Newspaper articles and even court cases can add texture to ancestors’ stories. Teasing out the not-so-obvious details in the records you find is what can help you to reconstruct your ancestors’ lives, and this, ultimately, is how you can begin to relate to them and the lives they led. — E V A G O O D W I N ’ 0 8

Locate Records Online No matter where in the world your research is focused, FamilySearch ( is the best place to start, with millions of records and hundreds of research guides and tutorials, all available at no cost. Another good free resource is Cyndi’s List (, a directory of hundreds of thousands of genealogy websites, catalogued by topic and geographic area. If you’re ready to invest in a subscription service, (ancestry. com) is one of the best sources of genealogical research material. You can also check regional or state archives for digital collections; many local archives have vital records certificates and other records available online.

Mount Holyoke Alumnae Quarterly




the female gaze


Working from her subconscious— saying she allows materials to guide her work, Kat Cope ’05 is a mixed-media artist who works in printmaking, papermaking, and collage. Drawing since she was a child, Cope says, “Even before I went to Mount Holyoke, I wanted to be an art major.” Much of Cope’s work grapples with the relationship between memory and loss. Her overlapping paper collages create occasional voids, though a viewer might not see them as such—they look woven and textured. Cope believes that voids are not empty caverns but rather living spaces that vibrate with emotions and memories. Her collage technique mirrors the process of piecing together early childhood experiences. She often covers paper with wax to represent things that are not at the surface, and she likes to work with paper because, she says, “It’s a material that’s strong but also vulnerable.” Exploring this paradox in her most recent project, Cope has created suits of armor from paper-doll dresses to explore the idea that memories of past experiences teach and protect us. While she continues to focus on memory and processing the past, through her paper-doll project she also concentrates on how memories shape people. Cope had her first solo floor show, Onward March, at the Student Union Gallery at UMass-Amherst in October. Earlier in 2013, her collages were part of an exhibit that featured the work of three other artists she met during graduate school at UMass-Dartmouth, where she earned an MFA in printmaking in


What I Have With You, 2013. Mixed media. 8 x 10 inches 2009. The group exhibit, Material Matters, was on view at galleries across Massachusetts. The themes that recur in Cope’s work, those of loss and memory, are “universal themes of human existence,” she says. And her most rewarding moments as an artist have been when people tell her that her work has struck a chord with them.

Working out of her Brooklyn apartment, Cope looks forward to the day that she can make a living through her art. For now, she is a full-time sales associate at Miu Miu, a job that allows her to store up her artistic ardor. The world of high fashion “fuels my creative energy,” she says. — BY O L I VI A L A MME L ’ 1 4

THIS PAGE: Christopher Moriarty; OPPOSITE PAGE: Matt Dine

Kat Cope ’05


A Global Oboist For thirty years, professional oboist Sarah Davol ’81 has performed a comprehensive canon of pieces with ensembles from all over the world. Since graduating with a degree in music, Davol has gone on to perform both modern and classical oboe throughout both the Americas and Europe with groups such as the American Classical Orchestra, the Los Angeles Baroque Orchestra, and the New York Chamber Soloists. She has performed at Lincoln Center as well as on Broadway for a wide array of productions ranging from Les Miserables to Little Women. Davol toured Ecuador and Chile with John Malkovich and Germany’s Wiener Akademie for The Giacomo Variations, part play and part chamber opera about the infamous womanizer Giacomo Casanova. In 1998, Davol brought together a group of musicians to compose and perform music to protest overdevelopment and noise pollution in New Jersey’s wetlands, using her music to galvanize social and environmental issues. She was awarded a commendation from the State of New Jersey Legislature and from Sarah Davol ’81

Bergen County, New Jersey, for the eco-music compositions. Since then the ensemble, Englewinds, has produced and performed pieces that celebrate the history and importance of New Jersey’s meadowlands and call attention to environmental issues such as the devastation of turtle habitats within the state and the increasing need for clean drinking water worldwide. Their first album, Tulpe, about the Lenni Lenape Native Americans—some of whom resided in what are now New Jersey’s wetlands—was on the short-list of nominations for the 2008 Grammy Awards. Currently on the adjunct faculty of Sarah Lawrence College and William Paterson University, Davol coaches the early music Camerata at Rutgers University and is the wind coach at Manhattan College. She also travels to colleges, universities, and conservatories across the country, presenting her “History of the Oboe” lecture/demonstration, in which she plays nine different instruments. Her numerous upcoming live shows include solo concerts as well as performances with the American Classical Orchestra’s Handel Festival at Lincoln Center, and a children’s concert with Englewinds. —BY CAMILLE MALON ZO ’ 16


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A Male President for Mount Holyoke College: The Failed Fight to Maintain Female Leadership, 1934-1937 Ann Karus Meeropol


During her thirty-six-year tenure, President Mary Emma Woolley transformed Mount Holyoke into an elite women’s college led almost exclusively by a female administration and faculty. Four years before her planned retirement, a group of male trustees began the search for her successor, and ultimately convinced the majority of the trustees to offer the presidency to Roswell Ham, an associate professor of English at Yale University. Meeropol offers a historical look at the controversy surrounding Ham’s appointment as the first male president of the College. Ann Karus Meeropol holds a doctorate in the history of higher education from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and is a former LITS Scholar-in-Residence at Mount Holyoke.

Manresa: An Edible Reflection Christine Muhlke and David Kinch


A cookbook that leads readers into the kitchen with David Kinch, a well-known West Coast chef and owner of the Los Gatos, California, restaurant Manresa. Through stories, photographs, and more than 300 recipes, the authors share the restaurant’s favorite dishes and demonstrate Kinch’s food philosophy and his Northern California culinary influences. Christine Muhlke ’92, a former food editor and columnist for the New York Times, is the executive editor of Bon Appétit and coauthor of On the Line: Inside the World of Le Bernardin.

Wandering Women in French Film and Literature Mariah Devereux Herbeck


This academic text is a study of narrative drift, a term Devereux Herbeck uses to refer to the phenomenon of a narrator’s voice becoming unreliable. The author explores works featuring female narrators whose authority may be questioned because of their unconventional voices. Through analysis of twentieth-century French film and literature and combining feminist theories and structural narratology, Devereux Herbeck illustrates the ways in which this narrative drift can force a story in new, unexpected directions. Mariah Devereux Herbeck ’97 is an associate professor of French at Boise State University. See all recent alumnae books at alumnae.

Mount Holyoke Alumnae Quarterly




Access to Education

Expanding opportunities for low-income students in America BY JILLIAN DUNHAM ’97


Mount Holyoke Alumnae Quarterly




U R I N G A B I T T E R L Y C O N T E S T E D E L E C T I O N , a senator gives

a closely watched speech on education. “We are not attracting bright young men and women into teaching because the salaries which we pay our teachers are shamefully low,” the senator says. Some school districts are in debt, and students far overflow available classrooms; the candidate tells of one low-income community forced to hold classes in a converted dog kennel. It’s easy to assume that this speech was given during one of the more recent presidential elections or even in the run-up to this year’s midterms. But calling for educational opportunities for low-income children was a hallmark of Massachusetts senator John F. Kennedy’s 1960 campaign and presidency. In a 1963 speech Kennedy stated that when compared to “a white baby born in the same place on the same day,” an African American child had “about one-half as much chance of completing high school,” “twice as much chance of becoming unemployed,” and “a life expectancy seven years shorter.” “Those stats have not really moved,” says Aimée Eubanks Davis ’95, Teach for America’s executive vice president for people, community, and diversity. “That is just troubling.” In January, the issue of access to high-quality education brought Mount Holyoke president Lynn Pasquerella ’80 to the White House, where eighty-five college leaders pledged to increase opportunities for low-income students. It’s an issue that has also drawn alumnae from diverse backgrounds and philosophical beliefs into the field of education, and each of them approaches the problem in her own way. B E LOW Martha Cowen Cutts ’68.

R I G H T Dedication ceremony for Washington

Latin Public Charter School in 2013.


Ben Barnhart

artha Cowen Cutts ’68, a 2013 winner of the Alumnae Association’s Elizabeth Topham Kennan ’60 Award for her outstanding contributions to education, had spent thirty-seven years in elite independent schools when she got a call about an interim position at a charter school in Washington, DC. At the time that she took over, the school was only in its second year and classes were being held in a church. “My previous school was founded in 1869 and this one in 2006,” she says. The position was supposed to be for six months; Cutts is in her seventh year as head of school. She rapidly raised money for a new facility, hired new teachers, and kept class sizes small. Under her tenure, Washington Latin Public

L E F T Pre-schoolers take part in

the DC Promise Neighborhood Initiative, a US Department of Education program aimed at increasing access to quality education. R I G H T Crys Latham ’00 is

optimistic about the DC Promise Establishment Act, which would provide additional aid for District students.

Bill Clark

Charter School earned the highest graduation rate of any non-selective school in DC. “We have the right faculty, the right hires, and we created a culture,” Cutts says. Echoing decades of research linking diversity to high school performance, Cutts says that balance in the student body’s socioeconomic and racial makeup is key to Washington Latin’s success. “Unlike most public schools in the city, this is a mix, and the mix is important,” she says. A 2010 study by UCLA’s Civil Rights Project found that, despite their original mandate, charter schools were more segregated than other public schools. According to the study, 70 percent of black charter students attend schools in which ninety to 100 percent of students come from underrepresented minority backgrounds. To some degree, Washington Latin bucks the trend; 52 percent of students there are African American, 33 percent are white. In Washington, more than 44 percent of public school students attend charter schools through a common lottery system. Washington Latin had more than 800 children on the wait list last year and a 51 percent increase in applications this year, says Cutts, who worries that the school’s

growing reputation could eventually cut into opportunities for low-income and minority students. “If we have fifty spots in fifth grade, but you have three times as many middle- and high-income students applying, the chance that those applicants will get in will be greater,” Cutts explains. That could threaten the balance at Washington Latin, where, Cutts says, “the socioeconomic racial diversity is the exemplar for what public schools should be.”

aving seen firsthand the effects of the recession on families at Washington Latin and elsewhere, the school’s college counselor, Crys Latham ’00, is optimistic about programs like the DC Promise Establishment Act, which would provide additional aid for District students. During the 2008 recession and its aftermath, Latham watched students have their academic careers disrupted by financial instability. “I had a student in the class of 2012 who went to an out-of-state public university and then had to come back after their first year and go to a community college,” due to economic hardship. “Once a student leaves a school, that can greatly affect their ability and motivation to complete their degree, because now there are obstacles they hadn’t anticipated.” Having been an admission officer at three Ohio universities, Latham also had a unique understanding of the skills students were lacking when they got to college. “I was surprised; even kids coming from privileged backgrounds didn’t understand money,” she says. When she arrived

Mount Holyoke Alumnae Quarterly




Learn more about how current students, alumnae, and the College are making an impact in the field of education at

at Washington Latin, she created a financial literacy program—now a graduation requirement. She works with students to chart their academic paths, including financial components, beginning in ninth grade. “A lot of what we do here is not just college admissions. I try to incorporate life skills,” she says. “It’s not just test scores. It’s how to function away from home; how do you balance your checkbook; what does it mean to have a credit card.” A first-generation college student who grew up homeless at times, Latham says her perspective helps inspire students whether they are from privileged or low-income families. “I used to be very embarrassed about sharing my background,” she says. “But it’s an opportunity for me to talk to them about [the importance of] staying motivated and using the resources they have and being resilient.” “Motivation, tenacity, grit, whatever buzzword you want to choose, isn’t necessarily something you can teach,” she says. “But I try to help the kids to understand that those traits can benefit them in the future.”

arylee Guida Moulton ’85 was working in marketing for a financial services company when her husband was transferred to Mississippi and then Arizona with the Air Force. During the transitions, she decided to stay home with their three children—her eldest is now a Mount Holyoke College senior, Erica Moulton ’14. “I became really involved in their education,” she says. “I served in every volunteer position I could.” Arizona was already among the lowest-ranked states in the country in terms of spending per pupil. But from 2008 to 2013, spending per student dropped by more than 20 percent, the worst in the country, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Moulton and other parents began organizing across the southern part of the state. “We went from being an ad hoc organization to actually founding a nonprofit,” says Moulton. That organization, the Arizona Education Network, is a non-partisan information network that campaigns for greater public-school funding. It was part of a coalition that brought forward Proposition 100, an emergency 1 percent increase in sales tax, two-thirds of which was designated for primary and secondary education. The bill was backed by Governor Jan Brewer and passed in 2010.


But the bill was due to expire three years later, so the education network worked to sponsor an extension, Proposition 204. “We got it on the ballot, and our original polling was very good, close to 70 percent,” Moulton says. Then Americans for Responsible Leadership, a political nonprofit recently sanctioned for spending $11 million of “campaign money laundering” in California, spent nearly a million dollars on a campaign to defeat Proposition 204 in Arizona. The so-called “dark money” group was involved in another campaign finance violation in California with the Center to Protect Patient Rights, an organization connected to the billionaire Koch brothers, known for their support of conservative policies. “When I’m faced with someone who can give a million dollars in a campaign, how do you fight that?” Moulton asks. Moulton and her family now live in Nebraska. She is pursuing a master’s degree in communications, which she hopes will help her defeat corporate lobbying on issues like education. In Omaha, her youngest daughter is in public school. “In Nebraska, if [the district] decides that something is worth doing, then all schools should be able to do it, and the school district should pay for it,” she says. “It’s a night-and-day difference.”

Marylee Guida Moulton ’85 started as a volunteer in her children’s schools and went on to cofound the Arizona Education Network

Aimée Eubanks Davis ’95 taught in Teach For America schools before joining the business side of the organization. She has helped expand the Teach For America program across the US.

Teach For America

imée Eubanks Davis ’95 was “dodging law school” and considering a career in the Peace Corps before choosing to pursue a job with Teach For America. She decided she wanted to stay domestic. “I was placed in New Orleans and fell in love with the students and the community there,” she says. After two years with Teach For America and a couple more managing programs with Breakthrough Collaborative, an organization that provides preparatory summer programs for middle school students, Eubanks Davis moved back to Chicago, where she crossed paths with Wendy Kopp, the founder of Teach For America. “We started talking about why I had never joined the staff of Teach For America,” she recalls. Kopp eventually offered her a job as vice president of new site development, working closely with her to oversee the organization’s growth. Eubanks Davis says she recognized the offer as “an opportunity to work alongside one of the most revolutionary people working in educational nonprofits.” Working with Kopp, Eubanks Davis helped expand Teach For America into South Dakota, Las Vegas Valley, Charlotte, Miami, and Philadelphia, and doubled the size of the corps in New York. “That happened faster than expected,” she says. While Eubanks Davis was considering business school, Kopp convinced her to take a role in regional operations and, later, to become special vice president for human assets, where she witnessed the largest period of growth in Teach For America’s history, from a few thousand corps members to 10,000 nationwide. As she has moved from teaching to climbing the ladder of the business side of education, Eubanks Davis has also begun to take a big-picture look at learning opportunities. “Traditional education is no longer the leveler it used to be,” she says. “It’s about kids having high-quality experiences and opportunities that expand their learning.” “Higher income families in the last forty years are spending triple the amount on expanded learning and enrichment activities for their children,” she says. “Lower income families are spending about the same amount they spent forty years ago.”

Teach For America surveyed second-generation corps members, one-time students who went on to work for the organization, asking which experiences had given them leadership skills and which enrichment opportunities were missing. They conducted a similar study of business analysts at a respected consulting firm, most of whom came from middle- or upper-class backgrounds. Among the analysts, says Eubanks Davis, “almost all of them [identified] middle school as a time when they started to develop leadership skills, and many of them talked about learning about themselves as leaders at overnight summer camps.” Having grown up in low-income communities in Chicago, Eubanks Davis was flummoxed. “I was not a kid who went to overnight summer camp,” she says. “I was like, what is this?” The study prompted Eubanks Davis to take a second look at the needs of public-school students and to consider the importance of foundational skills as well as a good education. “Sometimes I fear we haven’t taken a twenty-year lens in really setting up people to have the suite of opportunities that go hand in hand with the academics.” Educational attainment and employment numbers over the last forty years indicate that attaining the American dream, especially if you are born poor, is harder than ever before. “It’s been one of the toughest nuts the country has yet to crack,” Eubanks Davis says. “How do you ensure that all kids, especially those in low-income communities and underrepresented backgrounds, can truly get a high-quality education, which often leads to having better life opportunities?” When asked what she thinks does work, Eubanks Davis pauses, and then echoes a statement made by many alumnae in education. “You know what doesn’t work?” she says. “What doesn’t work is when anyone says that their way is the only way, that they have the silver bullet.”

Know an alumnae educator who should be recognized for her outstanding achievement in the field of education? Nominate her for an Elizabeth Topham Kennan Award at alumnae.mtholyoke. edu/awardnomination.

Jillian Dunham ’97 is the founding editor of The Curie Review, a publisher of women’s archives and narratives.

Mount Holyoke Alumnae Quarterly




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When Rev. Felicia Thomas’s ’84 son was small, she brought him to watch choir practice at the First Baptist Church in Princeton, New Jersey, where she was the parish’s first and, to this date, only female pastor. As the choir sang the Gloria Patri—Glory Be to the Father—her

Building Foundations in Faith Guided by their spiritual beliefs, women lead the way for their families and communities

son shook his head and insisted, “No, no, no! Glory be to the mother, too!” It was then that Thomas realized, “Seeing me as the leader of a religious community deeply impacted his understanding of God more than anything I ever said.” In many traditions, women have navigated their families’ faith for generations. Historically, according to the Gallup organization, women have directed their families’ religious lives as an extension of their role as homemakers. Seven decades of polling data tell us that married women are consistently more interested in religion than their husbands are. Women are also more likely to believe in God, pray, and attend religious services. And as barriers to the


ordination of women have fallen, women like Rev. Thomas and hundreds more Mount Holyoke alumnae are now faith leaders not only for their families but for entire religious communities as well.

Mount Holyoke Alumnae Quarterly




Married to a rabbi, Ellen Dangler Weiner ’94 is involved in many aspects of synagogue and religious life. And her role in leading her family’s faith is one that she takes very seriously. She describes her husband’s job as one of “making Judaism come alive for the entire congregation” while hers is to translate the religious experience for her children. “My husband might know the chapter and verse of a lesson,” she says, “but we both know that I am our kids’ guide in understanding its application.” Dangler Weiner is also a facilitator of Rosh Hodesh, an ongoing youth program for Jewish girls that starts in sixth grade and continues through high school. The director of education, a fellow women’s college graduate, approached her to lead this group because she knew of Dangler Weiner’s Mount Holyoke background, her experience as a teacher, and her strong sense of faith. Dangler Weiner, who had seen how much her own daughters were enjoying their Rosh Hodesh programs, agreed and has made it her priority to help her group of girls see feminism through a Jewish lens. Noting that many in religious study hear from teachers about the lessons taught by Moses and Joshua, Abraham and Jacob, Dangler Weiner embraces “the fabulous opportunity to help these young Jewish girls understand that there are important lessons to be learned from Sara, Rebekah, Leah, and Rachel. These matriarchs were on a journey just like they are now. . . . I try to teach them that they are linked to these women in their heritage. There is great power knowing that the female Jewish journey that they are on is not one that they travel alone. “There are so many aspects to my role as Rebbetzin—the title used for the wife of a rabbi,” Dangler Weiner says. “At times I am a greeter, that friendly face that helps people to feel welcome when they’re new


to our community. At other times, I am a confidant, sharing life’s experiences and journeys as people navigate their own ups and downs. . . . There is no guideline as to where my role begins or ends, so I simply meet people where they’re at and try to balance what they’re seeking from me with all of the other responsibilities in my life—my own full-time job as a teacher and raising our three children.”

Leading Communities

“My faith doesn’t hinder women from being leaders,” says Fayza Sohail ’05. “For me, feminism means being comfortable with my womanhood and not letting my gender be a hindrance. I don’t find it hard at all to practice my faith and strive for my rights as a woman, because my faith actually declares them to be mine.” As a Muslim growing up in Portland, Oregon, Sohail knew many Muslim women, including her mother, who not only led their families’ faith but were community leaders as well. Historically, Muslims would travel great distances to meet with female scholars, who were said to have unique insight into the religion. Students would wait for the opportunity to talk with and learn from them. Sohail says, “Women have been leaders from the time of the Prophet. His wife Aisha was an extremely brilliant scholar. In my religion, knowledge is valued, regardless of gender . . . and the society usually elects the person who has the most knowledge.” Sohail entered Mount Holyoke just days before the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. Having come from a “long history of racial experiences,” immediately following 9/11 she had many new negative encounters, this time because of her religion. “Since I wear hijab (head covering), it is easy to identify me as Muslim,” she says. But the MHC

community was supportive of her and the other Muslim students on campus. “The teach-ins and interfaith dialogue really helped make our community closer,” she says. As an undergraduate, Sohail was active in student government and served on the board and as president of UMMA, the Muslim student association. “I think my personality has a propensity to lead,” she says. “This was enhanced by my time at Mount Holyoke. Receiving the experience of a women’s college I think makes every woman stronger. The encouragement to really strive for your goals without any thought to your gender role is liberating.” Having always been passionate about women’s health, Sohail is finishing her first year as an intern toward a career in family medicine with a specialty in obstetrics. Now the mother of a young daughter, she already finds herself thinking about how it is her turn to set an example for her daughter “just as my mother set an example for me.” Growing up in Panama, Micaela Cordoba ’97 was raised in a close, multi-generational family and says, “The women in my life were my superheroes. . . . They could cross oceans, create homes and clean them, create babies and feed them, and generate the hope and blessings to support us all.” As an undergraduate focused on pursuing a career in medicine, Cordoba recalls being like many premedical students, “driven, focused, and a hot mess!” She can trace her path to Buddhist spirituality to an advisory meeting with politics professor Penny Gill. “She asked me ‘Do you meditate, Micaela?’” says Cordoba. “The best question I’ve ever been asked.” As in many faiths, women in Buddhism had to prove themselves before being granted the right to participate in religious life. It was the Buddha himself who was one of the first religious leaders to grant women this right, though when he first came to rule, women’s duties were primarily in the home, and they were not welcomed in temples. A lifelong feminist, Cordoba’s faith now guides her work as a metaphysician specializing in women’s health and empowerment in Luquillo, Puerto Rico. “Feminism complements my faith with every waking breath,” she says. “Over the period of the last fifteen years my practice in faith has brought me through the eye of the needle to land safely in the land of my lineage. I am fully aware that as a Buddhist I have been training my mind and my emotional psyche to break through anything that would prevent my best and highest possible self. . . . Buddhism allows me to see the lesson through all things.”

“Being a person of faith means that you acknowledge that there is something greater than you that should broaden your mind. We are only human, and sometimes our culture and environment influence our demeanors more than faith. This, unfortunately, affects others’ perceptions of us.” — FAYZ A SO HA IL ’05

Mount Holyoke Alumnae Quarterly




On The Way To Formal Leadership

In 1837, when devout Christian Mary Lyon founded Mount Holyoke Female Seminary, religious content was tightly woven into the fabric of campus life, from mandatory chapel and Bible study to time reserved for daily prayer; dorm rooms were even equipped with “two large lighted closets to give roommates privacy during their devotions.” One of Lyon’s goals for the school was “to cultivate the missionary spirit among its pupils.” Within fifty years of the school’s founding, her alumnae made up one-fifth of all women missionaries with the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Mission; by 1900, 248 MHC alumnae had become missionaries. The possibility of formal church leadership by women is a phenomenon that dates to the mid- to late-twentieth century, when mainline Protestant and Reform, Reconstructionist, and Conservative Jewish denominations began to ordain women. Women clergy were few and far between until the 1980s, and, though there were 16,000 clergywomen in the US by 1983, they were rarely in the pulpit. By 2012, the number of ordained women in the United States had grown to almost 64,000—about 16 percent of all clergy. Among those leaders are hundreds of Mount Holyoke alumnae, inspired by Mary Lyon’s charge, “Go forward, attempt great things, accomplish great things.” Growing up in a progressive faith community, Melissa Simon ’04 says, “I never doubted that women could be rabbis, and I never questioned that I could be a rabbi.” She started her own path to the rabbinate during her time at Mount Holyoke, where she took on leadership roles at Eliot House and in the Jewish community. The experience, she says, left her “empowered to follow my dreams.” She completed a master’s degree in Jewish education in 2008 and was ordained in 2010, the same year she started as director of lifelong learning at Shir Tikvah in Minneapolis, Minnesota, a congregation serving more than 450 families. “I have spent time exploring the places where my faith has been historically male dominated. . . . But I’ve also been inspired by the impact of women on the religion—particularly in the last forty years—as women have been ordained as rabbis,” Simon says. Despite recent advances, just as women in other traditionally male professions have bumped against the “glass ceiling,” some women religious leaders have confronted a “stained glass ceiling.” Funteller Thomas Jackson FP’94 grew up in a family of strong Christian faith and sang Gospel in her church choir. In 2010 she became the first ordained female minister in the 135-year history of the Mount Zion Baptist Church in Altoona, Pennsylvania. Thomas, who is associate minister


of the parish as well as choir director, has experienced the “stained glass ceiling” firsthand. “I have experienced men without seminary training or Bible College, [men] with no pastoral experience, becoming pastors of large congregations,” Jackson says. “I have prepared myself with seminary training, pastoral and mission experience at home and abroad, and a willingness to relocate but am not considered for a senior leadership position.” When Susan Cartmell ’75 became a senior minister of Needham (Massachusetts) Congregational Church in 1998, “no one had heard of a woman senior minister in a church this size. . . Getting the call to this position was the beginning of a journey in which I had to earn it, several times over.” But as more women are given the chance to lead bigger congregations and prove themselves to the male leaders of their denominations, Cartmell sees an evolving landscape where “many churches that start to search for a minister do not start out looking for a woman. But once they experience a good minister who happens to be a woman, it really opens the doors to new possibilities and expectations.” A sea change already is under way in a parish where Cartmell had once served ten years as sole pastor. Before the church hired her replacement, substitute pastors led worship. “One day a man was leading the service,” she says. “A young teenage girl who had been coming to church every week for as long as we could remember asked her father who that man was up in front of the church. He told her that this was the substitute minister. She looked dumbfounded, and said, ‘I didn’t know that men could be ministers.’”

Kristen Levithan is a freelance writer who lives in New England and writes about women’s history, motherhood, and books.

FAITH ON CAMPUS Dierdra Clark ’89, a divinity student working toward ordination in the Evangelical Covenant Church and minister at New York Covenant Church in New Rochelle, says that Mount Holyoke’s “openness and tolerance of different faith traditions provided a safe place for me to grow and bring clarity to my own understanding of faith.” Today, with students hailing from forty-six states and almost eighty countries, MHC’s population is as diverse as it’s ever been. Contributing to that diversity are women from many of the world’s faith traditions whose time on campus challenges and enhances their spiritual practice. Jennifer Sanborn, Interim Dean of Religious and Spiritual Life, notes that “many students come from a religious background that is essential to who they understand themselves to be” and feels it is critical that the College offer them a place “to claim and practice that, to grow from within that, and to encounter others of faith on neutral, peaceful territory.” Eliot House, the home of the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life, offers one such space, supporting nine faiths—Baha’i; Buddhist; Catholic; Hindu; Jewish; Muslim; Earth-based, Pagan/Wiccan; Protestant; and Unitarian Universalist. An especially popular event is the weekly Interfaith Lunch, at which dozens come together, according to Kristine Rose ’14, a frequent attendee, “to find inclusion, acceptance, and similarities in religious faiths . . . in a space and time dedicated to proving we are more alike than different.” The Multifaith Council (MFC) is a more formal collaboration of MHC’s faith groups chaired by Kate Lowry ’15, who says the experience has helped her “realize how much faith is an individual thing, that it’s OK to craft it to fit your personality, and . . . not to have all the answers.” Being at MHC has given Bahia Marks ’15 the opportunity to “understand how education is a tool for opening the mind, heart, and body to new ideas and perceptions” and to forge ties with “the surrounding Baha’i community.”

Watch a video about faith on campus at


Paige Schonher ’15, president of the Newman Catholic Organization—a group College Chaplain Annette McDermott says has been revitalized by Pope Francis’s “message and acts of love”—calls her membership “a source of strength and comfort during the many challenges and stressful times here.” For Audrey Lehrer ’15, MHC is a safe space where she can “learn more about Judaism and not be judged for what I did not know.” Lehrer now keeps kosher, attends weekly Shabbat services, and plans to apply to rabbinical school to follow in the footsteps of women teachers who showed her that “part of faith is discovering who you are and how you want to change the world.” Current MHC students are poised to join the ranks of alumnae already leading religious communities. Elizabeth McManus ’14, who calls herself a “feminist in faith,” is already a published author. Her chapter “Sex, Shame, and Scarred Knees” appears in the recently released book Talking Taboo: American Christian Women Get Frank About Faith. Writing it allowed her to “puzzle through the tension [she] felt between feminism and Christianity.” Although McManus did not enter MHC with the intention of studying religion, she says, “Growing and learning in this school, where we are pushed to lean into our discomforts and discern what it is that makes us tick, I just couldn’t stay away from exploring my faith academically.” She’ll continue to do so this fall when she matriculates at Duke Divinity School to pursue a divinity degree and a certificate in gender, theology, and ministry.

Mount Holyoke Alumnae Quarterly




Everyday Changemakers Alumnae making a difference through change BY SARAH WERTHAN BUTTENWIESER

Most women’s lives aren’t comprised of prizewinning, front-page accomplishments. But the details of their day-to-day work—coupled with devotion, passion, or just plain stubbornness—can set change in motion and lead to unintended positive, even extraordinary, impacts in their own lives and, sometimes, in the lives of others. Here we shine the light on a handful of Mount Holyoke women who are making a difference.

$ 28

Making Art Public

Already invested in the creative demands of her career as an artist, Katherine Sandoz ’91 was reluctant to join a public mural project proposed by one of her former students. Cofounder of See Savannah Art Walls (SeeSAW), a Savannah, Georgia-based organization that works to bring public art to communities, Matt Hebermehl hoped the mural—SeeSAW’s first major proposed undertaking—would help to highlight the creative culture of contemporary Savannah and bring together the city’s residents. During the planning stages—it took three years for SeeSAW and the city’s metropolitan planning commission to construct a citywide mural policy—Sandoz was gradually drawn in by the power of the project. And her involvement left her with a newfound appreciation for the scope and process of the work. “Public art needs so much more than an idea; it needs a concept, and it needs people, and through that confluence, people have a chance to tell their stories.” Sandoz says. “That confluence is the little everyday thing that changes lives.” She loved working with four young artists on the mural, a depiction of Turtle Island, which she describes as “a hammock that sits directly due east from the wall, in between the Georgia coast and the Atlantic Ocean.” At Mount Holyoke, Sandoz studied French and international relations, planning to pursue a career as a diplomat. But after college she chose a different path, enrolling in graduate school at Savannah College of Art and Design, where she also taught for a decade. Now making a living as an artist and illustra-

Public art needs

so much more than an



tor—and as an advocate for public art—she says, “I see, in this city with 2,000 artists, how much of an impact we can make through programs like this. We engage in dialogue about what we want for ourselves and our city. Art brings us together.”

Mount Holyoke Alumnae Quarterly




Running for the Money

Although the Hot Chocolate Run for Safe Passage wasn’t the brainchild of Sarah Smith ’00, she’s taken the idea and run with it. Smith is director of development at Safe Passage, a nonprofit in Northampton, Massachusetts, that provides services for people facing domestic violence. Serving about 1,300 people each year, the organization operates a shelter and hotline, provides counseling and legal assistance, and has recently launched a prevention initiative. Ten years ago, “a board member and her husband proposed this race to close a $6,000 budget gap,” Smith says of the 5K road race and two-mile walk. She began her tenure at Safe Passage in 2004, just three months before that first race. “The brilliant idea that made the race stand out was to have a mug of hot cocoa at the end, instead of the customary T-shirt.” The race takes place in December, so the chance to warm up is welcome. The first race drew 400 runners. This year, says Smith, “We had to cap the event at 5,500 participants.” In recent years, the monies raised have increased substantially, with registration fees accounting for only part of the profits as participants solicit sponsorship on behalf of the organization. The 2013 Hot Chocolate Run raised nearly $300,000. For Smith, who completed a double major in psychology and sociology, ambitiousness wasn’t new. But event planning was. And figuring out how to make hundreds of gallons of hot chocolate was, too. During the months she spends in organization mode—planning the event, obtaining sponsors, and engaging in outreach, her involvement extends beyond a simple work commitment. “This event has become important to the local community,” she says. “So many families participate, as do high school and college students. We get to affirm healthy relationships and healthy families and open up the kind of dialogue that truly raises awareness.”


We get to

open up the kind of dialogue that truly raises



Keeping Girls in School

Rosemary Yokell Mandelbaum ’54 didn’t realize the impact traveling to Malawi, Africa, would have when she and her husband decided to join her son and his family five years ago. The trip was planned, she says, when her granddaughter decided to donate much of her bat mitzvah money to a school in Malawi with which her own Los Angeles school had become involved. “Her parents wanted her to be sure she really understood what Malawi was like,” says Mandelbaum, who was struck by the poverty and its effect on the young girls they met. “When we were there, we learned that girls in Malawi missed a week of school each month because they had no sanitary products—only washcloths or rags.” Amongst other hardships, the rags hindered the menstruating girls’ ability to

Girls in Malawi missed a week

of school each month because they

walk to school. While Mandelbaum’s granddaughters proposed the idea to help the girls they’d met, she was eager to play a role. “In the beginning we went to Sears to purchase underpants,” she says,

had no sanitary products.

“which worked, because they aren’t hard to mail.” To reach


Project (School Attendance Matters), raising $12,000 between

more girls, they secured help through the nonprofit S.A.M. 2010 and 2012 and providing nearly 100 girls at Chandawe, a primary school in Malawi, with sanitary pads and underwear. When S.A.M. closed, Mandlebaum found a new way to raise money. Through the Charities Aid Foundation’s Stay in School Fund forty-six more girls have since received sanitary products, and fundraising is ongoing. As an undergraduate, Mandelbaum was a psychology and speech major, and she began a graduate program years later. “I got pregnant,” she explains, “and didn’t finish the degree.” Having invested much of her life into raising her own children, she never expected that a trip to Africa would lead her on a path to making a difference in the lives of so many more children. But seeing the girls in Malawi through the eyes of her granddaughters—“used to having everything and surrounded by other kids used to having everything”—Mandelbaum knew she had to take action.

Mount Holyoke Alumnae Quarterly




To be so up

close to such athleticism was



Biking to the Finish

Starting at around six o’clock on the morning of the New York City Marathon in November 2013, Claudia Kulesh ’86 took to the road . . . on her bicycle. From the Upper West Side, she joined a group that rode toward Brooklyn, picking up riders along the way. Kulesh had been a serious cyclist for about five years and as a member of the New York Cycle Club was one of several dozen volunteer riders who accompanied elite wheelchair racers in the marathon. The wheelchair racers, like the elite runners, are assigned escorts in order to make sure the course remains clear for them to race. In the 2013 event, two cyclists went with each racer—more than seventy-five cyclists in all—and the cyclists were explicitly forbidden to talk to their racers or cheer them on. “You didn’t engage in any behavior that might have been interpreted as coaching or as impeding their race,” says Kulesh, who found the experience thrilling. “These are amazing athletes, every bit as accomplished and fit and serious as the elite runners. To be so up close to such athleticism was incredible,” she says. Kulesh, a project manager at Bloomberg, was a philosophy major at Mount Holyoke and a member of the crew and field hockey teams. The experience of being involved in competitive sports again was a thrill, and she hopes that the small impact she had on one marathoner’s experience will help her pursue other opportunities to assist more people with disabilities.


Leaving the Academy Behind

After Viviane Callier ’06 finished her undergraduate degree in philosophy, she followed her curiosity. Under a Churchill Fellowship in Cambridge, England, she studied zoology, with a focus on early vertebrate paleontology, and earned a master’s degree. Next, she obtained a PhD in mathematical modeling in 2011 from Duke, where she also studied the growth, body regulation, and metabolism of insects. She went to Arizona State University for postdoctoral research in an insect physiology lab. And then, two years later, she left the academy. “I left academia with many thoughts about my personal experience, as well as ideas about systemic problems that concerned the job market and funding rates for research, which have dropped,” Callier says. Even as a graduate student, Callier realized she wasn’t sure whether the PhD would lead her to the kind of career she wanted. She started to explore other paths and realized through contributing to a research blog at Duke that she

enjoyed writing. At ASU, she wrote for the campus magazine,

now and share that

in Washington, DC. Her company’s clients include the

I’m able to reflect

upon the experience


–V I VI AN E C ALL I E R ’0 6

for the first time working with an editor and learning “much more about how to write,” she says. She is now a science writer for a consulting company Environmental Protection Agency and the National Institutes of Health, large agencies with influence. Through writing— a piece about how to regulate toxins in the environment, for example—she feels that she’s extended her reach, making a difference beyond her isolated lab work while still staying true to her science background. “Rather than cast the move from academia as a failure,” she says, “I’m able to reflect upon the experience now and share that perspective.”

Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser (@standshadows) is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in many publications, including the New York Times, Brain Child, Salon, and the anthology The Good Mother Myth (Seal Press).

View a slideshow of alumnae changemakers at

Mount Holyoke Alumnae Quarterly







MoHome Memories In the early days of March 1936, Mount Holyoke students had one thing on their minds: mid-semester vacation. Winter had been especially tough that year, with record


snowfalls and long stretches of extreme cold. Letters and telegrams home included details of train tickets, packing, and exams. The last thing the women of MHC expected was the

greatest natural disaster ever recorded in the Pioneer Valley. During the winter of 1935–1936, the frozen Connecticut River formed blocks of ice as large as automobiles. When spring descended on the area, the ice and snow rapidly began to melt. The combination of melting and heavy spring rains produced, according to the Pioneer Valley History Network, “an unheard-of triple blow that led to deadly flood conditions.” In a letter to her parents, first-year student Barbara Johnson White ’39 wrote, “The streets are regular rivers. At present there is the possibility of no spring vacation Friday.” In fact, the College did prohibit travel until the following Sunday. Fellow first-year Ruth C. Andrew ’39 wrote in her college scrapbook that it took her thirteen hours to get to her home in Hackensack, New Jersey, nearly double the normal duration of the trip. Students, parents, and college administrators quickly realized just how wise their decision to delay the break and keep everyone on campus had been. During the height of the flood bridges gave way, isolating many towns and cities, where looting began. The National Guard was called in with orders to “shoot on sight.” Once the waters receded, Springfield resembled a war zone, and health officials— worried that an epidemic would break out— rushed to immunize the population against Typhoid fever. Because the Mount Holyoke campus is situated on high ground, school buildings sustained little damage in comparison to the rest of the region and classes resumed on schedule. But across the Northeast the flood caused 171 deaths, nearly half a million people were left homeless, and the cost of the disaster totaled $500,000, equal to about $8.4 billion today. — B Y T AY L O R S C O T T

Flood images: MHC Archives and Special Collections

The Great Flood of 1936

on display


Euclid Natural Philosophy Botany Natural Theology Logic Rhetoric Intellectual Philosophy Moral Philosophy Political Economy Analogy Milton’s Paradise Lost


The Original Course Catalog

L E F T: Flooding in South Hadley and Holyoke

neighborhoods. A B OV E : Connecticut River water levels marked on Route 47 in Hadley; The Holyoke dam is breached; A newspaper headline from the Holyoke Daily Transcript.

A small, carefully bound pamphlet, the original Mount Holyoke course catalog gives great insight into what it was like to attend the first women’s institution of higher education in the country. Only twelve pages long, the catalog details each course for the three levels of study: junior, middle, and senior. At the time, students did not specialize in one subject area; instead every student followed the same curriculum based on her level. The school year was divided into three terms equaling forty weeks, with an additional twelve weeks of vacation. Students passed from year to year “according to their progress, and not according to the time spent in the Institution,” reads the catalog. While a typical student graduated in three years, more advanced women could complete their studies in as little as one. Tuition, room, and board cost $20 a term. However, fuel and lights were an extra

expense. Aside from clothing, the catalog instructs each young woman “to bring with her one table spoon and one tea spoon . . . and if convenient, a pair of sheets and pillow-cases to be used on her bed.” The catalog has a brief section on domestic life, including the expectation that “all members of the school aid to some extent in the domestic labors of the family.” But students were expected to arrive at Mount Holyoke with these skills intact, as the catalog also states, “It is no part of the design of this Seminary to teach young ladies domestic work. This branch of education is exceedingly important, but a literary institution is not the place to gain it. . . . Home is the proper place for daughters of our country to be taught on this subject; and the mother is the appropriate teacher.” To see the entire course catalog from 1837–1838 visit coursecatalog. — BY TAYLO R SCOT T

Mount Holyoke Alumnae Quarterly





WMHC Radio

Student-run WMHC had a small staff and a very limited budget, which was often relegated to replacing missing or damaged records and repairing the station's original equipment, dating from 1951.

DJs are prohibited from ever using the seven forbidden words—designated by the FCC—but are allowed to play songs that include them during the hours of 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.

The third-oldest college radio station in the country—and the first women’s college station—WMHC increased its bandwidth in 1979 from ten to 100 watts in response to a new FCC policy that also resulted in a necessary change in frequency—90.7 FM to 91.1 FM.

Students DJ campus events, including the convocation after-party and the station’s recent sixty-second birthday bash. Extra funds raised cover office supplies, smaller-grade equipment, microphones, and turntable covers.

As part of DJ training, students were required to take a written exam that tested their knowledge on equipment, music, basic information, and song logs.

The station frequency is in its third iteration at 91.5 FM. Still operating on 100 watts, the station reaches beyond South Hadley via a live web stream at

Any student who failed to abide by policy—which prohibited cigarettes and alcohol inside the station and had a zero-tolerance approach to missed shifts— was dismissed from the staff.


Frequently played artists included Bonnie Raitt, Cheap Trick, The Kinks, Stan Getz, and Chick Corea. In addition to music, programming included trivia contests; on-air interviews with musicians, students, faculty, and community members; panels on campus issues, politics, women’s issues, and nuclear power; and poetry readings.


All student DJs start out as interns, shadowing existing DJs for three weeks in the studio. Written and on-air tests are required at the conclusion of the intern process, and then students are granted their own two-hour shows. Rock is the most popular genre of radio show, but other programs include jazz, blues, gospel, world/folk, and news/talk shows.


Still student run and funded by the SGA, the station Listen to the current ten most-played songs on WMHC at radioplaylist.

has seventy-five DJs who each week host more than thirty shows, including Lipstank Love and Suffering Jukebox.

1979: MHC Archives and Special Collections; 2014: Greg Saulmon

then and now


C L A S S A N D C L U B I N FO J U S T K E YS T R O K E S AWAY Class and club contacts are available online at or

Connections Celebrating the Past and Present of Mead Hall Last fall Phoebe Cos ’16 began contemplating just how thankful she was to live at Mount Holyoke, particularly in Mead Hall, where she is a community advisor. As Founder’s Day approached an idea struck her: Why not have an event that celebrates Mead in a similar way? On December 2, 2013, the residents of Mead gathered in the common room, where they ate sushi and read letters—posted on the walls— from alumnae who shared their memories of living at Mead, and they reinstated the bygone tradition of taking a hall photo, something that had been done every year from 1901—the year the dorm was constructed—to 2002, when the tradition inexplicably stopped. Students also wrote letters back to Mead alumnae, sharing their own stories. Watch a video of the event at meadhall. — B Y T AY L O R S C O T T Current residents read letters from fellow Mead Hall alumnae.

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

U P CO M I N G T R I P S Cruise from Scotland to Denmark President Lynn Pasquerella ’80 will be joining this trip. June 13–21, 2014 Musical Cruise on the Danube September 13–25, 2014 Coastal Iberia October 3–11, 2014

Asian Alumnae Symposium to be Held in Hong Kong From November 7–9, 2014,


Founder’s Fund Your gift to the


at the

Alumnae Association HELP S US SU PPORT

the activities of

alumnae around the world.

MEAD HALL: Taylor Scott



Mount Holyoke College alumnae, faculty, and staff will convene in Hong Kong for the inaugural Mount Holyoke Asian Alumnae Symposium. The event will include networking and conversation as the community explores how education, economic freedom, and the entrepreneurial spirit may help Asia become increasingly competitive and global. Learn more at

Mount Holyoke Alumnae Quarterly




Credit tk


a place of our own

Spring meant finding the balance between the need to study and the urge to enjoy the beauty of the season with friends before we parted for the summer.

Deirdre Haber Malfato

— R O B I N J O H N S O N F L A N AG A N ’ 0 4

Mount Holyoke Alumnae Quarterly






Pitch your topic to us at quarterly@


By MAR CIA C. S CHENCK ’09 efore I went to South Africa for the very first time in 1998, I read The Long Walk to Freedom, a book that left me in awe of a man whose wisdom and intricate knowledge of humanity helped him to not only overcome great personal and political suffering but also empowered him to truly affect positive change. Nelson Mandela inspired the world as a political prisoner who was able to forgive his captors and work alongside them to bring about a free South Africa. And he inspired me. Glancing up at a TV screen at a train station on my way to Amsterdam on December 5, 2013, I paused when I saw the news of Mandela is Mandela’s passing. I had long dreaded this moment. my constant My love affair with Africa began when, as a sixteen-yearbeacon of old student, I traded my life in Germany’s Ruhr Basin for Cape inspiration Town’s vibrant, versatile city life. This formative experience left and my moral me with lasting friendships and rich memories of a magnificent compass. country and reinforced my cultural curiosity but most of all left me with many unanswered questions. The art of questioning later became part of my interdisciplinary academic exploration of Africa at Mount Holyoke, where I wrote an honors thesis in African history, and at Oxford, where I pursued a master’s in African studies. In 2002 my mother moved to Cape Town, and the country I already loved became home to me, too. In December, I was on my way to South Africa to conduct fieldwork for my PhD in African history at Princeton. Little did I know when booking my ticket that chance would allow me to witness how South Africans mourned, celebrated, and remembered their icon, their anti-apartheid hero, the father of their nation, affectionately known as Tata Madiba. On December 10, I landed in a strangely deserted Tambo airport in Johannesburg. Just hours before, dozens of world leaders had arrived for the national memorial service. Over the next days, South Africans attended public memorial events all over the country. In Pretoria, Mandela lay in state in the Union Buildings, which will

be renamed in his honor. In front of Mandela’s Houghton house, the atmosphere was somber. People spoke in whispers amid a sea of flowers and thousands of Mandela images eerily lit by flickering candles. At a public screening of Mandela’s funeral the next morning it was so quiet you could have heard a needle drop. Yet in a moment the crowd—fists raised high in the air—became alive shouting “Viva, Mandela, Viva!” My personal quest for purposeful engagement in the world is inspired as much by Mary Lyon’s call to “Go where no one else will go. Do what no one else will do” as it is by the uncommon women who came before me. And as I journey the world—having worked on labor migration in ten countries on four continents in the past two years as Mercator Fellow on International Affairs and PhD student—I constantly push myself to expand my horizons. Mandela is my constant beacon of inspiration and my moral compass: a person who continuously worked to better himself and was not afraid to admit mistakes; a person who had the courage to lead but remained humble; who had the ability to forgive and overcame his anger; a person with the gift to envision a better life and the work ethic and perseverance to dedicate his life to this goal.

Kim Rosen

my voice

Returning Home to Say Goodbye—to Mandela

The Laurel Chain Society Together we are the strength of the chain.

The Laurel Chain Society recognizes all alumnae who consistently make a gift— in any amount, to any fund—to support Mount Holyoke. Each year, every year, through the years. Are you in? | 800-642-4483 |

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

Ellen Deming Small ’43 Entered Mount Holyoke at age 16. Political science major. Labor reporter. Planned Parenthood and activist. Fiercely protective of the climate. Arrested for civil disobedience at age 90. Has the courage to stand out from the crowd.

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