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Spring 2011

revolution Love Your Body 14 Afghan Women

20 Crusading for a Cause

24 Soul Music

Amy Koler ’02

Letting Go of “The Body Myth” By Mel inda Bl au

Even savvy MHC alumnae aren’t immune to society’s messages about what female bodies “should” look like. Here’s how some alumnae fight the messages and think more about “fit” than fat.


Afghan Women: Breaking the Silence, Facing the World Afghan women are not often seen or heard from. Turning that around, we present photos of Afghan girls and women by Amy Koler ’02 and essays by Sadiqa Basiri Saleem and Malalay Waziri, both 2009 FP graduates.

14 Get Your Quarterly To Go We’ve got a brand new issuu for Android phone users…That’s not a typo; we’re referring to, which allows you to read the Quarterly (and lots of other mags) on any mobile phone using the Android operating system. An iPhone version is coming soon, according to Issuu. Go to, download the beta version of the Issuu app onto your phone, then search that app for “mhcalumnae” to find the current and back issues. (Tap twice to enlarge the type, then swipe left or right to change pages.) It’s a new way to read the Quarterly anywhere you are, any time you want.

“Crusader” Deborah Morosini ’80

A Voice of Promise By Mie ke H. Boma n n

Performing for a religion course on Spirituals and the Blues, Funteller Thomas Jackson FP’94 (right) wowed her student audience with gospel songs suffused with her life’s struggles and strong Christian faith.


Mary Duffy-Guerrero ’66 (below: today; far right: as a plus-size model in 1978)

Mount Holyoke alumnae Quarterly Spring 2011 Volume 95 Number 1 Editor Emily Harrison Weir

Associate Editor Mieke H. Bomann

Class Notes Editor Kris halpin

Designers ALDRICH DESIGN Design Farm (class notes)

Editorial Assistant maxine getz ’13

On the cover:

Gabi Gregg ’08, MTV Twitter jockey and fashion blogger, wears plus-size clothes with style and is fine with what she sees in the mirror. She suggests, “Stand in front of it every day and find one good thing about yourself.” Photo by Lizz Kuehl

Crusading for a Cause By st efa n ie e l lis

When trauma strikes, it’s tempting to crumble and withdraw. But these alumnae demonstrate what powerful results come from turning personal challenges into crusades for a cause.

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2 Viewpoints E-books vs. paper books; and Focus on the Family 3 Campus Currents Arabic language classes; student EMTs; pop-culture quiz 27 Off the Shelf Best food writing; Missouri wonders; heavenly questions 31 Alumnae Matters Poet and filmmaker honored; MHC women change lives; come back to Reunion! 36 Class Notes News of your classmates, and miniprofiles 76 Bulletin Board Answers to MHC travel program questions, and trips you can take!

Quarterly Committee: Avice Meehan ’77 (chair), Cindy L. Carpenter ’83, Emily A. Dietrich ’85, Jillian K. Dunham ’97, Catherine Manegold (faculty rep.) Alumnae Association Board of Directors President* Cynthia L. Reed ’80 Vice President (Engagement)* Jennifer A. Durst ’95 Treasurer* Linda Ing Phelps ’86 Clerk* Julianne Trabucchi Puckett ’91 Classes and Reunion Director Erin Ennis ’92 Alumnae Trustee Director Lila M. Gierasch ’70 Nominating Director Antoria D. Howard-Marrow ’81 Director-at-Large, Human Resources* Joanna MacWilliams Jones ’67 Director-at-Large (Global Initiatives) Sharyanne J. McSwain ’84 Director-at-Large (Communications) Elizabeth A. Osder ’86 Young Alumnae Representative Akua S. Soadwa ’03 Quarterly Director Avice Meehan ’77 Clubs Director Jenna L. Tonner ’62 Executive Director* Jane E. Zachary, ex officio without vote *Executive Committee The Alumnae Association of Mount Holyoke College, Inc., 50 College St., South Hadley, MA 01075-1486; 413-538-2300; fax: 413-538-2254

The Alumnae Association of Mount Holyoke College serves a worldwide network of diverse individuals, cultivates and celebrates vibrant connections among all alumnae, fosters lifelong learning in the liberal arts tradition, and facilitates opportunities for alumnae to advance the goals and values of the College. Ideas expressed in the Quarterly are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official position of either the Alumnae Association or the College. General comments concerning the Quarterly should be sent to Emily Weir (eweir@mtholyoke. edu or Alumnae Quarterly, Alumnae Association, 50 College Street, South Hadley, MA 010751486). For class notes matters, contact Kris Halpin (413-538-2300, classnotes@mtholyoke. edu). Contact Alumnae Information Services with contact information updates (same address; 413-538-2303; Phone 413-538-2300 with general questions regarding the Alumnae Association, or visit www. The Mount Holyoke Alumnae Quarterly (USPS 365-280) is published quarterly in the spring, summer, fall, and winter by the Alumnae Association of Mount Holyoke College, Inc., 50 College St., South Hadley, MA 01075-1486. Spring 2011, volume 95, number 1, was printed in the USA by Lane Press, Burlington VT. Periodicals postage paid at South Hadley, MA, and additional mailing offices. Postmaster: (ISSN 0027-2493, USPS 365-280) Please send form 3579 to Alumnae Information Services, Mount Holyoke Alumnae Association, 50 College Street, South Hadley, MA 01075-1486.

viewpoints LGBQ Welfare “a Topic of General Concern”

I was thrilled to find your feature on issues in lesbian healthcare in the most recent (winter) Quarterly. The article was eloquent and informative, shedding light on many issues of which even many members of the LGBQ community may be unaware. As a result of reading the article and its excellent Web extras, I feel better prepared to identify adequate treatment for myself and my loved ones. I am pleased to know that a fellow alum is advocating for equity within the healthcare system, and I am grateful to the Quarterly for presenting LGBQ welfare not as a niche interest, but as a topic of general concern. Hannah C. Duff ’10 Seattle, Washington

teen bullying.” I’ve been receiving mailings from Focus on the Family for years and have never been given the impression that they hate homosexuals or condone the bullying of them. To the contrary, they speak out strongly against bullying of any kind, as well as show compassion to those practicing a homosexual lifestyle, not least because of the reasons mentioned in [“Is Being Lesbian Hazardous to Your Health?”] on how destructive lesbianism, not to mention male homosexuality, can be to those who practice it. Focus on the Family does not condone this lifestyle on biblical grounds and provides counseling for those who choose to leave. When does holding to a position or having an opinion become “hate speech” instead of free speech? Focus on the Family doesn’t condone heterosexual cohabitation either, but that never has been called “hate speech” to my knowledge. Anne Chafee Sampson ’68 Lancaster, South Carolina

A Different Family Focus In reading the letters concerning bullying (winter), I was surprised to find the comment from Pamela Thiele ’70 that Focus on the Family “…spews the kind of hate messages that inspire


iPads Replacing Paper Books in This Classroom As a teacher at a private high school in Sydney, Australia, I am involved in a trial of the Apple iPad as an educational tool. Our students carry up to twenty pounds of books to school daily, but an iPad can hold all of their texts, diaries, recreational reading, etc. The savings on the cost of print books makes up for the cost of the device after a couple of years.

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As teachers, we are considering creating our own textbooks which integrate traditional text with hyperlinks and apps to provide a learning experience which is more natural and appealing to digital natives. In just a few months, this electronic medium has entirely replaced my bulky organizer, is my preferred method for quick Internet access, has been a great organiser for audio and digital notes at conferences, and has provided me with many hours of reading pleasure. I am now considering writing textbooks for my own courses which can be edited and updated to reflect the level of detail and subject emphasis in my school, rather than what a publisher thinks will appeal to the widest audience. I am also looking at ways to make textbooks an interactive experience. There are so many possibilities with new technology that we need to think widely. Perhaps the best approach would be to ask the kids what they think it should do, because they have the fewest preconceptions and limitations on their thinking.

Consider the possibility that if “libraries are serving lattes” it’s not because we’re doing all our reading on computers. It could be that people go there to have coffee and read or work because being surrounded by books feels good and they like being in a public place with fellow book-lovers. The main reading room of the MHC library is a wonderful place and it’s not just because of the pretty windows and comfortable chairs. We want to linger because it’s good for the soul to be surrounded by all those books. I recommend Robert Darnton’s The Case for Books as an antidote to all the predictions of books disappearing. He says “No computer screen gives satisfaction like the printed page.”

Susan Bergdolt Filan ’88 Hornsby, NSW, Australia

Recently I sorted books my parents had collected in a lifetime of reading, deciding which ones to give away and which ones we couldn’t bear to part with. It was hard. Those books became part of their lives and were a presence in our home. There’s a deep reason why they kept so many, and I can’t imagine all those books reduced to one miserable little Kindle. We need real books and they are not going to go away.

We Need Real Books

Elise Power ’72 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

I worry about the future of books and felt sad reading “Books or Bytes” (winter), especially since it came from my college, where books are at the heart of what goes on. I don’t believe I’m alone in dreading the possibility of a world where books have vanished, and I’m choosing to be optimistic.

We received more letters than would fit here; please keep reading at alumnae.mtholyoke. edu/sp11letters.

campuscurrents Strengthening the Arab Voice Lots of students are enrolling in Arabic language classes. Mohammed Jiyad explains why. When Mohammed Jiyad, senior lecturer in Arabic language and literature, arrived at Mount Holyoke in 1985, only a handful of students enrolled in his introductory Arabic class. Twenty-five years later, things have changed dramatically.

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After the events of 9/11, the number of students in elementary and intermediate Arabic at MHC jumped 300 percent. While the gross numbers at MHC are still relatively small, the extraordinary rate of growth of Arabic instruction here is similar to that at other institutions across the country. According to the Modern Language Association of America, Arabic has the fastestgrowing course enrollments of all languages outside of English, surpassing even recent trendsetters Japanese and Chinese.

9/11 helped point out America’s lack of Arabic speakers. There was a surge in college and university Arabic language classes. Is there still a demand for Arabic speakers?

There is demand for Arabic in government work, banks, and businesses. When America invaded Iraq, three people in the government spoke Arabic. The FBI and the CIA are dying to get people with this knowledge. You’ve taught here for more than twenty-five years. Have you seen considerable growth in the number of students taking Arabic? How have they gone on to use it in their professional lives?

According to the Modern Language Association of America, from 2002 to 2006, the increase in the number of students studying Arabic went up 126 percent, and from 2006 to 2009, the number increased 46 percent. I came to MHC in 1985 and taught one course, and the numbers were like six, seven, eight students. Last year I had in elementary Arabic thirty students, and in intermediate Arabic twelve students. I have six students studying overseas in Lebanon, Jordan, and Egypt. One of my students is working in international policy at the state department, one 2010

alum is working in Yemen in the embassy, another is an admissions officer for MHC in the Middle East. With MHC’s diverse population, there must be numerous Arabic speakers from the Middle East and North Africa.

There are very few students at MHC from the Arab world— maybe one Syrian, one Lebanese, two Moroccans. Because Arabic is the language of the Qur’an and extremists have hijacked the Qur’an, I wonder if some students shun the language?

I have no experience with students shunning the

Mohammed Jiyad grew up in Iraq with horses, has three of his own, and here enjoys a visit with George, a quarter horse used for instruction at the MHC Equestrian Center.

An Iraqi native, naturalized US citizen, and proud owner of several Arabian horses, Jiyad is the author of a series of language texts, al-Jaleys for Teaching and Learning Arabic Language and Culture, 101 Fundamental Arabic Grammar Rules, and The Voice of Arab Women: A Media Content-Based Reader for Arabic Language and Culture Proficiency. We talked to him he prepared Pasquerella wasasgreeted with a for his last semester at the standing ovation. college; Jiyad will take a sabbatical next year and then retire in 2012.—M.H.B.

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language. [On the other hand,] my [home] mailbox has been vandalized four times since 9/11. Can language be a tool for peace?

Language can be a tool for peace if it is geared toward learning about society without bias. If we… understand the content and culture of the text, it can lead to understanding. That’s what I’m doing in my literature course. After 9/11, lots of questions were raised specifically about women in Islam—logically, as all students here are women, and the media gives a horrible image. You’d think what’s going on in Afghanistan and what happens in Iran is the sum of the Arab world.

Is Arabic hard to learn?

It is a tough language to learn, even when compared with Chinese, Japanese, and Russian. This is a course you take not to fulfill your language requirement but if you plan to have Arabic as part of your life and invest your time learning it. Fifty minutes in a classroom three times a week is not enough. I expect twelve more hours of study a week at home. You’ve just published a series of books on learning Arabic. How is your approach different from other language-learning approaches?

One of the basic [premises] of my book is that students become partners in the learning process. I give them the tools to develop their own proficiency. Regular

texts don’t give you options or possibilities—I provide items that make the student think. My book is based on linguistic theory that says, teach language as a whole, not as fragments or vocabulary or phrases; teach it into a context that is real and represents the culture, and don’t teach it for the purpose of learning it but for using it. We can learn the language without learning the grammar; that comes later. See a short video clip of Jiyad at news/channels/22/ stories/5682604, where you can also link to the books in his novels class and his Web site. For information on all things Arabic, go to mjiyad/index.html.

Campus Interfaith Movement Stresses Service It’s not easy bringing faithbased initiatives to college campuses that, like much of America, are broadly secularized. But Stephanie Rohr ’12 hopes her goal of enhanced dialogue and joint community service will draw together MHC students who are still devoted to religious traditions. It’s all part of an interfaith peace movement angling for the kind of influence that the women’s and civil rights movements of the past engendered. Winner of a fellowship from Interfaith Youth Core in Chicago, which is focused on

Global Photo Contest Winner: ¡Presente! ¡Ahora y para siempre! (Present! Now and Forever!) Each year on March 24, 50,000plus people pour into the streets of Buenos Aires and march to the center of the capital in memory of the day that a military dictatorship overthrew the government in 1976. Between 1976 and 1983, this dictatorship tortured and killed thousands of people, known as los desaparecidos (the disappeared).   This scene might look terrifying to someone who has not experienced it. However, I look upon it with the love and pride for Argentina that surged through me as I marched, as we remembered los desaparecidos to ensure that such a tragedy will never happen again. —M. Linley Beckner ’11 Beckner’s photo was one of three winners in the McCulloch Center for Global Initiatives 2010 global images photo contest.


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The Great MHC

“Religion has been used as a force for violence, and that’s something we would like to change,” says Rohr, whose parents are Presbyterian pastors. She herself has begun to explore Judaism and says “having the connection to the higher power is more important than what the exact methodology or mode of connection is.”

Craig Blankenhorn/AMC

An all-campus worship discussion forum in November drew fewer participants than Rohr hoped, but she is not discouraged. In February, Interfaith Awareness Week was another opportunity to stress the idea of religious openness. Working at a homeless shelter in nearby Holyoke with schoolmates of varying faith traditions is part of Rohr’s and Youth Core’s mission of “common action for the common good.” “The key term I strive for within myself is humility,” Rohr says. “It’s required in order to have dialogue and authenticity. We often lose ourselves in negativity, but by being humble you lose the negativity and regain authenticity.” —M.H.B.

Mount Holyoke has kept its pop-culture credibility going for a long time. In the first of a two-part quiz, see if you can match the clue to the right film, play, or TV show appearance. Then let us know what we’ve missed by posting your own MHC-in-pop-culture finds at Check the summer magazine for part two.

MHC pops up in the AMC hit show “Mad Men”: Helen Bishop (center), Darby Stanchfield’s character, is an alumna.

1. What 2009 documentary film traces college a cappella groups from auditions to competition? (Our M&Cs are prominently featured in the trailer; see 2. What 1977 play fictionalized Pulitzer Prize-winning author (and 1971 alumna) Wendy Wasserstein’s experiences at Mount Holyoke? 3.  What 1987 film, set at a Catskills resort, features a heroine nicknamed Baby, who plans to enter MHC when the summer ends? 4.  In what TV show do students from each of the Seven Sisters colleges appear in a dream to one of the major characters, who has the chance to win free tuition if she is the final winner of a national spelling bee? 5. On what popular TV show does the character Helen Bishop—portrayed as a Mount Holyoke graduate— scandalize her neighbors because she’s a divorced mother of two?

A. A 2003 episode of “The Simpsons,” titled “I’m Spelling as Fast As I Can,” when Lisa is asked to “throw” the contest so a popular boy can win. B. Dirty Dancing, costarring Jennifer Grey (whose character’s real first name is Frances, after Frances Perkins, a 1902 MHC alumna), and Patrick Swayze. C. Sounds Good to Me: The Making of College A Cappella D. “Mad Men.” Bishop is played by Darby Stanchfield, who, alas, isn’t an MHC alumna. E. Uncommon Women and Others

Answers: 1-C, 2-E, 3-B, 4-A, 5-D

religious pluralism through community engagement, Rohr organized several events throughout the year to get students talking about interfaith acceptance, and then “walking the talk” by helping others in need.


Culture Quiz: Part 1

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Spring 2011


Tidbits Top People Come and Go Rene Davis, formerly interim dean of students, is MHC’s new dean of students. Chris Benfey, professor of English, will ser ve as interim dean of faculty beginning in July, while Donal O’Shea is on sabbatical. Penny Gill, who has ser ved as dean of the college for three years, will return to her academic duties as professor of humanities and politics. Searches are also under way for a vice president for student af fairs and dean of the college and a vice president for finance and administration (since Mar y Jo Maydew, who has held the job for twenty-four years, is retiring). Sharper Vision The Strategic Planning Committee has created an interim repor t on the strategic directions for Mount Holyoke. Visit the Alumnae Association’s link

to this repor t at alumnae. Getting the Business in Shanghai Students interested in gaining a deeper understanding of China’s growing political and economic power may par ticipate in MHC’s new spring-semester program in Shanghai beginning in 2012. Classes will include finance, economics, politics, and Chinese language. Get program details at shanghai.html. Squash Team Flattens Sisters For the fif th consecutive season, Mount Holyoke grabbed top honors at the Seven Sisters Squash Championship. Af ter racing to a 9-0 victor y over Smith in the semifinals, the Lyons blanked Vassar College 9-0 in the championship. Sophomore Shara Rober tson

What They Said Notable quotes from around campus for your edification and enjoyment Outgoing Dean of the College Penny Gill on the “No Study Zone,” where students crochet, play poker, cavort in a “bounce house,” and drink smoothies to alleviate stress before finals:


and first-year Shaheen Madraswala earned alltournament honors. New Fees Set In Februar y, the board of trustees approved an increase of 3 percent in the college’s comprehensive fee. Tuition for 20 11–12 is set at $41,270; room and board is set at $12,140. The comprehensive fee, which combines tuition with room and board, will be $53,41 0. Noting the continuing challenging economy, college of ficials

said, “While any increase is dif ficult for our students in this economy, the rate of increase is only a fraction—one-tenth of one percent—over last year ’s rate of increase, which was our lowest in four decades and which was below almost all of our peer colleges in the Consor tium on Financing Higher Education group.” They added that the college’s financial aid budget would continue to provide significant suppor t to students.

Keli Carender, Tea Party activist, in a Chapin Auditorium lecture:

“I don’t want to tell my kids what it was like when I was able to govern myself. I’m afraid of having to tell my kids what freedom was like.” See the video at

“It was a splendid, spectacular, silly evening—one I will cherish.” Mary Jo Maydew, MHC’s outgoing vice president for finance and administration:

“Reducing the college’s carbon footprint benefits the operating budget as well as the environment. Over the past six years, twenty-three energy conservation projects have saved us $420,000.”


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Khushbu Mishra ’11, who received a Davis Projects for Peace award and Clinton Global Initiatives grant to establish a painting program for women in rural Nepal:

“I developed this project from scratch. I came up with the idea, wrote the constitution, created a nonprofit, selected the participants, and hired professional painters as teachers.”

Student Edge

Student EMTs get hands-on experience When a student bruises a muscle on the rugby field or cuts her finger carving the Halloween pumpkin, she’s likely to get a visit from the Medical Emergency Response Team. The squad of some thirty MHC students, all certified emergency medical technicians, or EMTs, work the night shift seven days a week and are on standby for concerts, school-wide parties, rugby games and horse shows, and commencement and Reunion. Working in tandem with the college’s public safety department, whose officers are trained in first aid and CPR but not the primary care of injury or illnesses that EMTs deliver, the squad answers calls for almost anything except sexual assault or a mentalhealth issue.

signs, administer oral glucose to a diabetic, and determine if someone’s condition requires that they go to the hospital. Like many of her student colleagues, Mitchell wanted to get some hands-on medical experience in college and signed up to take the J-term EMT course. After an intense 120 hours of class time and passing both a written and practical exam, she was certified. “I love working major parties,” Mitchell says, estimating she put in ninety hours of squad work last semester.

For the annual Las Vegas Night blowout, the team received twenty-five calls for assistance, sent eleven students to the hospital, mostly for intoxication, and made good use of the private ambulance service hired for the event. Sports and horse shows also offer lots of opportunities for practice. “Athletic injuries are interesting,” says Mitchell, who has had to guard injured rugby players from oncoming teammates. “The game doesn’t always stop” when a player goes down, she explains. Many calls involve little more than handholding. “Everyone on this campus is a hypochondriac,” Mitchell

says with a laugh. Lots of patient complaints are met with a squad member’s advice to “drink a ginger ale and eat some crackers.” While Mitchell has decided to forego a career in medicine for one in organic chemistry— inspired by her work with Professor of Chemistry Sheila Browne—she will miss being on the squad after graduation. “It’s interesting working with public safety,” she says. “I like problem solving. I’ve been told I’m a leader.” She’ll likely put all those skills to good use after graduation, when she hopes to join Teach for America in Los Angeles. —M.H.B.

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“We’re EMT basics, so we don’t put needles in people,” says Kaity Mitchell ’11, who served as director of the squad for the past year and came to MHC as a premed student. “We’re really doing triage. We recognize if a cut is gushing blood [and needs] to go to the hospital, or if it’s tiny and fine with a Band-Aid.” For insurance reasons, the college prohibits lots of things that she and her team are trained to do—such as using an EpiPen for allergic reactions or administering albuterol for an asthma attack. But team members can bandage bruises and cuts, take vital

Kaity Mitchell ’11 and “the beast,” a van used to transport sick students to the health center


In the Belly of the Beast

Plus-size-fashion blogger Gabi Gregg ’08


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Letting Go of THE

BODY MYTH By Melinda Blau

Lizz Kuehl

“I’m just trying to change the world one fat girl at a time,” Gabi Gregg ’08 writes in the Young, Fat, and Fabulous blog she’s been churning out since graduation. Gregg is determined to make a difference in the lives of disenfranchised women everywhere: “girls like me— the ones who are so in love with an industry that is, well, not so in love with us.”

MTV Twitter jockey and plus-size fashion blogger Gabi Gregg ’08 decided, “I didn’t have to be the fat girl who wore oversized tees and sweats to cover up my body.”

And yet there’s Gregg, decked out in urban chic, to-die-for shoes, and stylish bling—all designed to show off her curves. At twenty-four, Gregg’s pretty face, with her apple cheeks and radiant smile, has already graced the cover of Black Enterprise magazine. She’s been quoted in the New York Times and has appeared on “Good Morning America.” And last January, she won an online contest to become MTV’s first “TJ”—Twitter jockey, with a $100,000 contract. Gregg’s triumph of self-acceptance is all the more remarkable when you consider that she once “hated shopping” and tried “dozens” of diets in high school. Like many women, she was plagued by the “body myth,” a term coined by psychologist Margo Maine. The problem, as Maine explains it, is that we’ve come to believe— wrongly—that “our self-worth and worth to others is based on how we look, what we weigh, and what we eat.” Indeed, it’s hard for a woman to get through the day without encountering images of buff bodies and flawless faces— looks that 95 percent of us can never achieve. How can we not be disappointed at what we see in the mirror? Even Mount Holyoke graduates—savvy, independent-minded women, many of whom are steeped in feminism—aren’t immune. “I am utterly baffled at how, despite my gaining a top-notch education from a college that teaches us how to be strong and empowered women, I still manage to put most of my self-worth into what someone else thinks of me,” writes account executive Catherine “Cat” O’Brien ’03 in a Facebook post. And it’s a lifelong struggle. “You have to come to terms with yourself again and again,” observes Caroline Carlson Jorgensen ’97. “Aging is my recent issue—seeing lines on my face that weren’t there.” We didn’t become a weight-obsessed society overnight. Historians date the beginning of the “diet ethic” to the late


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Lizz Kuehl

Fashion isn’t for fat girls.

nineteenth century, when Americans became more sedentary and rich foods more accessible. But in the last thirty years, says literary historian Elena Levy-Navarro ’87, editor of Historicizing Fat in Anglo-American Culture, standards have become more unattainable. A generation ago, fashion models weighed 8 percent less than the average woman; today, they weigh 23 percent less. Meanwhile, the $60 billion “weight management” industry is taking our insecurities to the bank. Most weight studies are funded by pharmaceutical companies and other businesses that profit from our panic. Dismayed by our expanding waistlines, we are easy marks for “scientifically proven” weight-loss regimens, products, supplements, and surgeries that promise to melt off the pounds. When one “fix” doesn’t work, we become anxious and depressed, blame ourselves— and then try something else. So how did Gabi Gregg manage to defy the body myth? She was probably born resilient. “Gabi’s always known what she wanted,” says her mother, Sharon. Gregg also credits MHC for helping her find her voice. “Being in an all-women’s environment empowered me,” Gregg says. “I didn’t go to class worrying about my body or what I was wearing.” The Internet played a vital role as well. “People underestimate how important social media and online connections can be. In high school, I began blogging about myself on LiveJournal.” In her first year at college, she met other “fatshionistas” online. “I became convinced I didn’t have to be the fat girl who wore oversized tees and sweats to cover up my body.” Gregg also stands on the shoulders of other MHC alumnae—women like Mary Duffy-Guerrero ’66. As the daughter of a hypercritical mother who “kept herself thin on cigarettes and Dexedrine,” Guerrero was put on a scale every Saturday as long as she lived at home. She became a “problem eater” early in life. “I was either on a diet or counting calories or binging,” she says. In college, such things were not discussed. “The message was, you could be fat and get a PhD, but no one would love you and want to be with you.” After graduation, at 5’ 6” and weighing 150 pounds, Guerrero landed a job posing for the first Jordan Marsh department store plus-size catalog. “It was a rush to become the woman who made 40 million large-size women feel good about themselves,” she says. She then parlayed her

visibility into founding the first plus-size model agency— Big Beauties. “I was the un-Jane Fonda, the Eileen Ford of large sizes.” “I started the business out of rage,” Guerrero recalls. “Strangers would come up to me, and say, ‘You’d be really beautiful if you’d lose weight.’ Magazines ran headlines like, ‘Will Fat Sally Go to the Prom?’ It’s the duty of any educated woman to do something about that.” Three decades later, many are. At MHC, student athletes aren’t subjected to weigh-ins. Body image is openly

discussed among students, coaches, and counselors. And students who are passionate about these issues can join EveryBody, a campus organization that fosters self-esteem and size acceptance. The goal, explains its first cochair, Amanda Braga ’10, is to “convey a message that is seldom said to women, which is to love your own body instead of striving to have someone else’s.” The message is spreading nationally as well, thanks to increasingly vocal size-acceptance activists, authors, and health professionals. “The consequences of obesity have been greatly exaggerated,” says Ellen Perrella, head athletic trainer at MHC. Yes, sedentary people—who often are overweight as well—are plagued by health problems. But correlation isn’t causation. “It’s fitness that matters, not weight,” she says. Having seen “no improvement” in the preoccupation with weight and body image during her twenty-seven-year tenure, Perrella concludes, “We need a revolution.” To be sure, we’re up against some mighty economic and societal forces. But as the second-wave feminists were fond of saying, “The personal is political.” Revolutions begin when we question the status quo and change our own attitude and behavior. “If we put our money, time, and energy into health, politics, or world peace, instead of into what we look like,” says Perrella, “the results would be staggering.”

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Here are some ways to reach a “revolutionary” goal—liking your body. “Think more about maintaining the machine than the coat of paint.” So says small-business attorney Freya Allen

Shoffner ’76, who has struggled with a negative body image her whole life. She suggests avoiding the mirror and concentrating on how you feel. “Do you feel charming, interesting, engaging? Then you probably are, and the rest doesn’t matter.” Gabi Gregg discovered a way to use the mirror for positive affirmation: “Stand in front of it every day and find one good thing about yourself.” But don’t expect miracles. “Some days I feel great,” says Caroline Jorgensen, who writes about her daily ups and downs on her Morningside Mom blog. “Other days I feel that my leftover baby belly will never go away.” Her antidote: Staying active and on top of what she wants to accomplish in life, which boosts her self-confidence. “When you feel good about yourself inside, it works its way out.”

Understand where your negative self-messages come from. Freya Shoffner had an impossibly beautiful mother,

a “delicate” sister, and a grandmother who repeatedly described Freya as “heavy, big, and strong.” Kids beat her up just for being different. “By the time I got to college, I’d internalized their voices,” she says. Now she tries to be kinder to herself. “How I describe my looks depends on whether I’m using the words my therapist trained me to recite—‘tall, slender, and attractive’—or what’s in my head: ‘tall, heavy, odd-looking, and old-looking for my age.’” It has also been helpful to revisit her past. As a child she’d imagined herself as a “rhinoceros,” and was shocked when she recently looked at an old photo. “There I was, at age eight, in my brand new Girl Scout uniform. I was scrawny!” Another way to hush the critical chorus is to find a body-image buddy—a fellow foot soldier with whom you can share war stories. Jorgensen found several when she blogged about her struggles. And Gabi Gregg says, “I still heavily identify with my community of plus-size followers.”

Each of us has a set point—“the weight you maintain when you exercise moderately and listen and respond to your body’s signals of hunger and fullness,” says Ellen Perrella. We also have a genetic blueprint for strength and flexibility. If two people do the exact same fitness regimen, their bodies will react differently because each has a different “thermostat,” says Jeanne Friedman, head crew coach at MHC. Drop “diet” from your health strategies. “Dieting

is worse than the condition it’s supposed to cure,” says Perrella, noting that chronic dieters are eighteen times more likely to develop an eating disorder. “Dieting and binging go hand in hand,” she adds. And diets often don’t work. In one review of thirty-one obesity-treatment studies, subjects lost 5 to 10 percent of their starting weight in the first six months, but most of them gained it back; and within four to five years many regained more than they’d lost. “When you deprive yourself of a basic need,” Perrella explains, “you learn not to trust your body, and it results in overcompensation.” The alternative is “attuned” eating, which means following your body’s cues—eating when hungry, stopping when full. And many people who think they should diet are already in their own set-point range, which is another reason diets “fail.”

Find your set point. From 40 percent to 80 percent of how you burn calories is determined at birth.

Mary Duffy-Guerrero ’66, an early plus-size model, later founded the first plus-size modeling agency—Big Beauties. Now sixty-five, she owns Fashion for the Rest of Us, aimed at the fashion, beauty, and media-image needs of women over fifty.


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Exercise, but not to lose weight. “We are never going

to be happy if we just think about weight,” says Perrella. And while physical activity is essential, it’s easy to slip into a more-is-better mentality. “I don’t think we have a team at MHC that isn’t struggling with these issues,” she adds. “We’re worried about our athletes wanting to be too small. They know they need to be fit and strong, and at the same time they’re open to all the images society shows us.” Embracing the idea that fat and fit are not mutually exclusive, MHC promotes the Health at Every Size (HAES) philosophy, which centers on size acceptance, attuned eating, and adding physical activity to your everyday routine. “Walk, dance, do what you love. Enjoy your body and what it can do, but don’t connect it with weight loss,” agrees Elena Levy-Navarro, who has yo-yoed between anorexia and obesity since college. “It’s so important to get out there and move.”

Hit ’em with your pocketbook. When you pour money

into the weight -management industry, it’s like consorting with the enemy. Instead, reward enterprises that go against the cultural grain. Buy magazines that feature images of older women and plus-size models. Support responsible companies that diversify their ads, such as Dove’s “realwomen” campaign. Our voices—and our dollars—matter, as Gabi Gregg has shown. In 2009, when she saw no other “plus-size girls” at a conference that brought together style bloggers and retailers, she organized her own fatshionista conference—a series of meet-and-greets to convince retailers that many fat girls also have fat wallets.

Leise Jones Photography

Mediate the messages. The body myth “poisons” girls

at younger and younger ages, says Perrella. “My ten-yearold daughter already wants six-pack abs.” Recent studies suggest that 50 percent of girls are unhappy with their bodies, and 80 percent of US teenagers have dieted. So when you pull up those tight jeans, don’t exclaim, “Oh my God, I need to go on a diet!” Instead, say something positive about yourself. Eat and exercise sensibly. Talk about what healthy bodies can do, not what they look like. Most important, tell your daughters that they’re good, strong, brave, and beautiful just the way they are. And remind them, as Mary Duffy-Guerrero points out, “Mattel made Barbie, but God made us.” busting the body myth For links to a five-step plan for “Combating Popular Media and Saving Your Health” and other positive-body-image material, visit

Freya Allen Shoffner ’76, who has long struggled with a negative body image, advises looking inward. “Do you feel charming, interesting, engaging? Then you probably are, and the rest doesn’t matter.”

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Afghan Women Today Breaking the Silence, Facing the World

Photographer Amy Koler ’02 has worked for the United States Agency for International Development since 2007. She returned to Washington after spending thirteen months in Afghanistan and eight months in Pakistan. See more of her work at

The vast majority of women did not want to be photographed—I asked by pantomiming taking their picture, and most would pull their burqas down over their faces—but they were quite enthusiastic about having me photograph their kids.

We have seen countless images from Afghanistan in recent years, but we rarely hear from or about the female half of the Afghan population. To help break the silence, we present images of Afghan women and girls taken by photographer and USAID worker photo grapher Amy Koler ’02 Amy Koler ’02. Accompanying the photos are essays by MHC’s two Afghan alumnae, Sadiqa Basiri Saleem and Malalay Waziri, both 2009 FP graduates.

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The Status of Afghan Women By Sadiqa Basiri Saleem FP’09 Thanks in part to support from the international community, we have witnessed tangible progress in the lives of Afghan women, who are vital members of Afghan civil society. There have been significant policy developments that favor women. • Women’s equal rights are protected in the Afghan constitution. • Afghanistan’s millennium development goals include specific targets for advancement of Afghan women. • The Afghan government has ratified the Convention on Elimination of Domestic Violence Against Women. • Afghanistan national development strategy aims for gender equity in all government offices. • The national action plan for women of Afghanistan has been approved by the Afghan cabinet. • The Elimination of Violence against Women Law has been passed. The overall effect of these strategies is already evident. • Women have vied for presidential election. • Sixty-eight of 249 seats in the national assembly are now reserved for women. • Women have actively participated in conferences that are determining the destiny of Afghans. • Women ensured revocation of the Shia Family Law that prevented women from working and traveling alone. Women’s progress in the public sphere is stunning. • Women working in education, health, capacity-building, security, agriculture, etc. lead more than one-third of local nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). • Women who were confined under the Taliban now run businesses, and their goods reach international markets.


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• Under the Taliban, sports were forbidden for girls and boys. Today we have over 100 female athletes playing internationally. • One-third of Afghan schoolchildren are female. That being said, women are still being harassed. Bibi Aisha’s butchered face on the cover of Time magazine will not be forgotten for decades. [Aisha was mutilated by her husband and his family after fleeing their abuse.] Civil-society workers, particularly women teachers and police officers, have been assassinated. Women have been stoned to death, and acid is being thrown in teachers’ and students’ faces. Women in rural areas may not have received a dollar’s worth of the $40 billion in aid received by Afghanistan in the last nine years. The security situation is also worse than at any point since the Taliban’s


Although most women did not want to be photographed, this woman allowed me to photograph her face.

fall. The Taliban have a presence in thirty-three of thirty-four Afghan provinces and are increasing their focus on military-led approaches. Attacks on schools have doubled since last year. Over 650 schools have been closed down; 250,000 students and 13,000 teachers cannot go to school in southern parts of the country alone. We also need significant attention in the health sector, as at least one woman dies in childbirth every twenty-nine minutes. In short, Afghanistan still is the world’s second-poorest country, has the state with the second-highest rate of female illiteracy, and has the second-highest rate of maternal mortality—1,600 deaths per 100,000 live births.

AFGhAN Awareness Read more about Afghan women at


These girls sought me out to have me take their picture. They posed themselves and loved seeing the digital image. right: This photo was taken during a three-hour helicopter ride between Kabul and Kandahar. We were planning to visit the Kajaki Dam project, but there was a firefight on the ground, so we couldn’t land. Evidence shows that the Taliban do not have the will to make peace. In the past two peace assemblies, Taliban leaders were invited to attend but did not respond. However, they made absurd demands such as changing the Afghan constitution, removing articles that protect rights of Afghan women, removing their names from the U.N. blacklist, and releasing Taliban prisoners. Early last year President Karzai provided fifteen former combatants with immunity. Women civil-society activists fear release of those who have committed crimes such as assassination of civilians, including women working for NGOs, and splashing acid in the faces of schoolteachers and students. The release of

war criminals led to the assassination of thousands of innocent civilians, including women and children. In a suicide attack in January, I lost a dear friend and her husband and four children. Hamida Barmaki was not an ordinary woman but a talented professor who was hired for the law faculty of Kabul University when she was only twenty. If the international community continues to be silent about violence such as this, women will again be confined at home, either

by the Taliban or because of the security situation. This is why the women of Afghanistan question the wisdom of withdrawing troops before restoring peace to Afghanistan. The Afghan people are tired of war. Afghanistan’s current generation has been born in war, grown in war, and lived in war, but we do not want our children to go through this agony. We have learned that war is not the solution. This is why we want peace that benefits our nation and brings

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about long-term stability. For the past nine years, both Afghans and the international community, especially Americans, have paid a heavy price. Terrorism has not only destabilized Afghanistan and Asia, but it also has affected the entire world. We Afghan women are desperate for peace. We do not want an endless military presence. We want time to strengthen our own national security force, equipped with sufficient numbers of female officers. We want time to strengthen our judicial system so that formal justice replaces the traditional and informal system. We want to make peace with the Taliban— when they appreciate civil society and understand the role of women in promoting it. We want to make sure the Afghan government does not compromise the constitution’s clause of gender equality for a peace deal. We want to make sure that—before any deal—both parties understand and have set clear benchmarks to achieve our national strategic plans and a proactive civil society. To accomplish all this, we need healthy leadership from the Afghan government, backed by a proactive international partnership.

On Being an Afghan Woman By Malalay Waziri FP’09 My country has been at war since I was a toddler. Peace is a word that my ear has never heard and my heart has never felt. I spent my childhood in Kabul and got most of my education in Pakistan. I left my country in 2005 in search of a better education and hoping to make a difference when I return to my homeland. In the United States, I discovered my passion to build friendships between different cultures and to raise awareness of diversity in my community. Today’s conditions for Afghan women cannot be detached from the miseries of the civil, regional, and international conflicts that Afghanistan has been plagued with for the past thirty years or more. Three decades of war have had a profound negative impact on women. Throughout the Soviet invasion, the Muhjahideen rule, the Taliban reign, the US-led above: After a meeting with school-

teachers, I stepped out into the hall and was instantly surrounded by a gaggle of kids (Westerners generally attract quite a bit of attention). These two girls were so involved in their conversation with one another, they didn’t notice me approach and take the photo. left: While most school children ran toward me, this girl remained crouched against a wall.


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invasion, and the current Taliban insurgency, repression of women has been a favorite activity of those who like to dominate others. The research I have conducted on the oppression of Afghan women gave me a sense of what is really going on. One woman’s story still upsets me. She said her husband was taking drugs, and whenever he ran out of money, he physically abused her. Once she attempted suicide, but was saved by neighbors. She eventually escaped her husband’s torture and came to Kabul seeking shelter. When I asked whether she reported what she suffered to the police, she said no, because Afghan society identifies women as the guardians of a family’s honor. In the interest of preserving honor, Afghan women come under a lot of pressure to remain silent no matter what happens. When I asked what will happen to her future, she replied with tearful eyes, “I have no future.” There are thousands of such stories. The entire world was silent when women were banned from schools and forced to stay at home during the Taliban reign. Their mistreatment of women was internationally ignored until the events of 9/11 cast a new strategic light on Afghanistan. This gave the international community an

opportunity to cite women’s rights as one justification to intervene. Some might still think that women in Afghanistan are better off today than during the Taliban or other regimes, but that’s true only for women in the cities. The liberation movements have focused on cities, but the majority of Afghans live in rural areas. Not much has changed for women in these regions. Only 15 percent of Afghan women live in the cities. Thus, despite significant improvement, women still remain oppressed and discriminated against in many areas of the country. There are many reasons Afghan women have been the victims of violence throughout history. The biggest is the traditional practices and conservative interpretations of social norms that restrict women’s participation in public life. Religion is often influenced by traditions that further

restrict women’s mobility. That is why misunderstanding arises, even among Afghans, about whether what they practice is part of their culture or if these traditions have any religious or legal basis. Some reinforce these traditional practices in the name of religion. The misinterpretation of Islamic principles by these conservative groups shapes Afghans’ perceptions of what is acceptable for women. For example, they say that women working outside the home is taboo in Islam. But how can it be a taboo when the wife of the prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), Khadija, was a great businesswoman? It is worth mentioning that most Afghan people have only a very basic knowledge of Islam, gained not from schools or their own readings but rather from mullahs (religious leaders) and


I was photographing the two boys when the little girl peeked out from behind her mother. The kids all have different expressions, yet they all reflect some level of suspicion.

possibly illiterate family members. They have a general awareness of, rather than specific knowledge of, the shari’a (Islamic law). The international community should raise awareness in society— particularly among religious leaders—about women’s rights, gender discrimination, and violence against women. The Afghan government needs to build trust among the local population and be responsive to people’s needs. Law and order has to be enforced equally on all members of the community.

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Crusading for a

Cause Deborah Morosini ’80 is a doctor. She appreciates

logic and has a great deal of respect for science, but in certain areas of her life, she finds little need for cold, hard facts. She knows what she knows, and it is this: when she has a question, her sister, Dana, always has an answer. That has, perhaps, been the mortar holding together the proverbial bricks of her life for the five years since Dana’s passing. Without such blind trust, Morosini might not have made it as far as she has. And she has made it far. After Dana died of stage IV lung cancer in 2006 (just a year after their mother died, and two years after Dana’s husband, actor Christopher Reeve, died), Morosini might have been most comfortable crumpled up on the floor. She had every right to grieve. But what she chose, instead, was to increase awareness of the cause of her sister’s death, one even Morosini didn’t fully understand. Most people don’t understand lung cancer, and they certainly don’t know that the disease can touch healthy nonsmokers such as Dana. Morosini’s commitment to raising awareness is why she isn’t crumpled up on the floor. She is, instead, fighting—fighting for Dana’s memory, and fighting for the lives of those who still have a chance. As someone genuinely interested in the stories of others, Morosini is a natural advocate. She pursued a master’s in social work at New York University because she wanted to understand the stories that created people’s lives, then help change those stories. During medical school, she worked as a national sales manager for a prestigious textile company,

traveling the East Coast to tell the story behind each piece of fabric. She became a pathologist because she loves science. She uses the microscope to tell a story about a cell or a piece of tissue. As a principal pathologist in oncology research and development for AstraZeneca pharmaceuticals, she works with colleagues around the world, talking about oncology drugs and influencing opinion with stories about her research. Influencing others requires confidence, skill, and a desire to share what you know. Often, it requires changing people’s minds. And that can change lives. Getting to the life-saving part, however, can be tricky, particularly when the subject is muddied by misinformation and social stigma. “Smoking is one of the causes of lung cancer, and when you’re told something is bad, you think if someone is doing it, they’re bad,” Morosini notes. “When I was a medical student, I used to wonder why I had to take care of people who did this to themselves, but, really, the message is that no one deserves cancer.” The larger message is that lung cancer can affect anyone. Morosini’s sister had not been exposed to any contagions linked to the disease, save for occasional second-hand smoke. She lived a clean life. Lung cancer doesn’t seem to care about clean lives; healthy, nonsmokers are not immune to the disease. According to the Lung Cancer Alliance, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in women in the United

By S t e fa n i e E l l i s


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james bennett

After suffering personal loss, alums reach out to help others

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Deborah Morosini ’80 States, claiming the lives of more women each year than breast, ovarian, and cervical cancers combined. That was shocking news even to Morosini. “I read the New York Times. I’m a doctor. My father is a doctor. My sister died of lung cancer. If I’m this ignorant, there must surely be a lack of general awareness,” Morosini reasoned. There is also a lack of funding. Until 2009, the Department of Defense, which allocates money for cancer research, allocated no money for lung-cancer research. In 2009, $20 million was allocated, and last year, Congress appropriated an additional $15 million for lung-cancer research. Any funding, where there was once none, is a big deal. More research dollars lead to better treatment, which leads to better survival rates.

Fighting for

What Mat ters

Deborah Morosini isn’t the only alumna turning a personal challenge into a wider cause, going to great lengths to fight for what matters. Here are glimpses of five others and the issues they champion. Kristin Davis ’88 Domestic violence survivor When you’re an intelligent, confident woman, cowering in the corner of your bathroom, fearing for your life, you have a choice to make. Stay and die, or get out and live. Davis chose the latter, and is helping domestic violence victims find the strength to do the same, through her blog,


Dana Reeve made her cause spinal-cord research after husband Christopher Reeve’s accident. Her sister Deborah did likewise, becoming an lungcancer-awareness activist after Dana died of that disease.

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Kate Robotham Conway ’98 Alice Bertholin Rice ’05 Breastfeeding advocate and educator Activist for bone-marrow donation When Conway was told she couldn’t Bertholin Rice’s sister Denise was diagnurse her own child because of her nosed with acute myeloid leukemia just Crohn’s disease medication, she turned five weeks before her wedding. Denise the personal chalneeded a bone-marrow transplant, lenge into a quest but could not find a match, due to her to educate mothmixed race. Bertholin Rice started a ers, physicians, and campaign, encouraging bone-marrow hospitals about the donations from mixed-race individuals, benefits of breastand registered more than 500 people. feeding. GraduSadly, not a single one was a match for ally, myths about the Denise, who died last practice from the medical community, August. Bertholin Rice formula companies, and society at large is now part of a cancer are becoming less pervasive, and many steering committee doctors who previously handed out at her company that formula kits are now distributing her focuses on organizaWomen hours every day Boobies for Babies kits. Read more spend at tions offering resources gathering fuel and water. to those with cancer. She continues to advocate for bone-marrow donation. Read more at

Timot hy Green field - San der s/Christopher & Dana R eeve Foun dat ion

This significant leap forward is due, in no small part, to work from passionate advocates such as Morosini. During the last five years, she has traveled from Santa Fe to Indianapolis, Oklahoma City to Capitol Hill, giving speeches and serving as guest of honor at more than thirty hospitals, press clubs, benefits, and conferences. She has appeared on television and on the radio, and is on several boards focused on lung-cancer awareness and research. She has devoted countless hours of her own time—beyond her day job—to the cause, increasing the visibility of the disease by sharing her sister’s story. Her indefatigable spirit seems to run in the family. Morosini’s brother-in-law was Christopher Reeve, best known on film as Superman. After a riding injury left him with a severe spinal cord injury and unable to breathe without the help of a tube, Morosini’s sister Dana fought alongside him, for six years, to increase funding for spinal-cord research. Together, they changed the way the medical field understands and treats the injury, raising money, awareness, and hope. Only nine months after Christopher’s death, Dana fought her own battle. By the time she went to the doctor to discuss a persistent cough, she had seven months left to live. Morosini knew she wanted to honor her sister’s memory, and could think of no better way of doing so than by telling Dana’s story to as many people as possible. By connecting with people’s love for Dana, she could use that energy to move them to action. “When I started this, I thought a lot about the state this disease was in,” Morosini recalls. “This really is about

Kathy McGuire ’67 Educator and creator of a program for those with ADHD When McGuire’s son was labeled as having Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in first grade, she searched for ways of encouraging his normal, active, hands-on learning style. She found that, while some teachers and administrators were willing to work with his learning style, many were not. McGuire had to advocate heavily on behalf of her son, and faced many setbacks, but learned to celebrate her successes. She turned her frustration into a self-help business model designed to teach people new and creative ways of focusing and finding acceptance in their unique learning styles. Read more at

For more about Morosini’s work raising awareness about lung cancer, visit or To share your crusade for an important cause, visit

moving mountains, and is what Chris had to do with spinal cord injury, a disease no one really studied. I asked myself how Dana would do this. She would be inclusive, accessible, and loving. I tell her story as a way of engaging people’s hearts. When people’s hearts are open, they are emotionally with you. I tell them I need their help. This is my call to action.” Her sister would be proud. “As a scientist, I don’t talk much about my spiritual side, but I feel it’s so important, and has stayed with me this whole time,” Morosini explains. “I hear Dana’s voice. I feel very much like all of my steps have been guided by asking my sister what I need to do. “If you’re doing this without a connection to your soul or a greater wisdom, this is just dirty work. To be inspired to do this, there has to be an element that is nourishing to you. This isn’t fun. It’s complicated and confusing, and can be really discouraging. The way I’ve found to go through it is by speaking my truth.” That truth is also Dana’s truth, and the truth of millions of others living with lung cancer. That Morosini has stepped up to represent an underrepresented population speaks volumes about her belief in the power of overcoming challenge with conviction. It’s a challenge for the long haul, to be sure, but Deborah Morosini is ready. With Dana by her side, everything is possible.

Andrea Beach Morton ’05 Connecting women who have experienced pregnancy and infant loss After the loss of her son by miscarriage in May 2010, Morton was left feeling alone and heartbroken. She turned online for help and met a woman who started a Web site, Faces of Loss, Faces of Hope, after losing her daughter. They teamed up to grow the site, which offers women a place to share their stories and find support from others suffering pregnancy and infant loss. Their Face2Face program offers support groups for women across the country, and they are working on a booklet for hospitals and clinics to give to women who have experienced a loss. Read more at Mou n t Ho lyo k e Al u m na e Qua r t e r ly


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

Funteller Thomas Jackson FP’94, whose voice recalls that of “Queen of Gospel” Mahalia Jackson, says gospel songs help keep her going through life’s ups and downs.

FunWller ∞omas Ja;son Brings GoJel Singing Home

3>> >A> > >VOICE>> >OF>> >PROMISE>> # By Mieke H. B omann


hen Funteller Thomas Jackson FP’94 was a child in Detroit in the 1950s and ’60s, the thing she wanted most in the world was to sing like Mahalia Jackson, the “Queen of Gospel.” And she had the pipes to make that wish seem realistic. Even as a youngster singing in the church choir, Funteller Thomas had a voice to be reckoned with, and her grandfather recognized it—“saw my gift,” as she recalls. He enrolled her in singing lessons, which cost $12 a week—a steep price to pay for a man with few resources. But he looked to the future, and what he saw pleased him. “His plan was that I would be greater than Mahalia,” Jackson told members of Professor of Religion John Grayson’s Spirituals and the Blues class last fall. And he figured that with the fortune her fame delivered, Jackson could support him in his old age. It was a good plan, but life—or God, as Jackson would have it—had something else in mind for both of them. Jackson’s beloved granddaddy died soon after her fourth singing lesson—her last, as it turned out—and she never did become more famous than Mahalia. But listening to Jackson—a recently ordained Baptist minister, who is now associate minister and choir director of Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Altoona, Pennsylvania—sing her favorite gospel songs, it’s easy to understand her grandfather’s early optimism. Powerful and stirring, hers is a voice of hope and promise.

presence of the spirit

A counterpoint to the strict rules and format of worship services throughout most of the nineteenth and twenti-

eth centuries, gospel was a way to “infuse black religion with soul,” Grayson told his class, which gathered for Jackson’s performance at All Saints’ Episcopal Church in South Hadley. Thomas Dorsey (not the big-band leader) is credited with being the father of gospel music, which combines Christian praise with the rhythms that were flourishing in blues joints and jazz clubs in the 1920s and ’30s. “Gospel embraces a belief that the spirit will not ascend without a song,” noted Grayson. “It demands that we all respond to the presence of the spirit.” As if on cue, Funteller Jackson’s voice then rose from the back of the sanctuary with the passion of someone to whom the song’s title, “I Know I’ve Been Changed,” spoke deeply and personally. Born to a family with strong Christian faith, Jackson was the eldest of five children. Her dad, a janitor, died when she was fourteen. Her grandfather and uncle, with whom her family had lived, died not long afterward in an automobile accident that also badly injured her mother and aunt. Acquaintance rape and divorce later in her life pushed Jackson to despair, but it was the news of her youngest son’s death in the airplane bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988 that ripped her life apart. It takes nothing short of a miracle to recover from the violent death of one’s own child, and Jackson credits gospel music for leading her, if not to wholeness, then to hope. “It’s been a long journey,” Jackson told her audience in South Hadley. “I am here today after living a life of pain and suffering. In the midst of it all, I still found joy. Through it all, my faith, the word of God, and gospel music have kept me going.”

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Funteller Thomas Jackson FP’94 leads a lecture/concert in Professor of Religion John Grayson’s Spirituals and the Blues class. To the hoots and hollers of students in the pews, Jackson At the outset of a ninety-minute performance that then sang “Amazing Grace” her own way, and then again combined gospel singing and lecture, Jackson encouraged with the special twist that Aretha Franklin, the “Queen of the students and old friends in the sanctuary—includSoul,” might afford it. “You see the difference?” she asked ing its rector Tanya Wallace ’94, a friend and classmate of the excited crowd. Oh yeah, they murmured with delight. Jackson’s; accompanist, friend, and former MHC dean of Jackson was forty-five when she arrived at MHC as a the sophomore class Ruth Bass Green; and Professor of Frances Perkins scholar and was “scared to death.” She had Religion Jane Crosthwaite—to worked in municipal government say “Amen” and “Praise the in Detroit for more than ten years, Lord” and “Thank you, Jesus” had not been to school since she was as her fellow African-American eighteen, and—as many nontraparishioners would in response to ditional students do—felt deeply the music. inadequate intellectually. She shared She hastened to add that no her feelings with Grayson, who sugone should say anything they gested that his class Spirituals and found uncomfortable. But it was the Blues, with its familiar themes, hard to find anyone in the sancmight help boost her confidence. tuary who didn’t at least murmur, While it was tough at MHC to if not whoop or even weep with be an African-American woman support and appreciation for the who had never had much contact joyful performance of this deeply with whites, Jackson told students motivated and moving singer. “I Professor of Religion John Grayson chats with the good news was that she expefeel like when she sings I hear her a student in his Spirituals and the Blues class. rienced being black in a different soul,” said Wallace. way. “There were things about my Christine Kobyljanec ’11 was particularly taken with history that it took coming to MHC to find out,” she the art of gospel song and the personal style that Jackson explained. “I found Caucasian friends—they liked me and brought to the music. She noted, “I like the freedom and I liked them. I was the first FP scholar to be the baccalaurefluidity of gospel songs; they’re very improvisational ate speaker,” she added. and natural.” That speech cinched Tanya Wallace’s understanding of In fact, Jackson noted, gospel’s rhythm is always personJackson’s magnetism and leadership abilities. “She’s not alized by the singer’s speech, walk, and laughter. “One of just a person with a voice, but someone who radiates what the important pieces in singing gospel is where you are in we aspire to,” said Wallace. life on the day you’re singing,” she said. Jackson and her husband, Jackie Jackson, joined hands. Together, they sang “Highway to Heaven,” arm in arm, full of spirit, voices filled with hope and promise.

Experience Funteller Jackson’s singing, and learn more about gospel music, at


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freedom in song


Words Worth a Second Look

Fiction A Discovery of Witches By Deborah Harkness

(Viking) Scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly picks up an ancient manuscript while doing historical research and realizes it is an enchanted object. A closeted witch herself, she is soon beset by magical species who would deny her the book’s secrets. Help arrives in the form of a dashing geneticist who is, coincidentally, a vampire. The book debuted to strong reviews and at #2 on the New York Times best-seller list in its first week. Deborah Harkness ’86 is professor of history at the University of Southern California. This is her debut novel, the first in a planned All Souls trilogy.

Nonfiction The Mountains Bow Down By Sibella Giorello

(Thomas Nelson) FBI agent and forensic geologist Raleigh Harmon takes a much-needed vacation cruise to Alaska, but gets caught up in the investigation of the death of a movie producer found hanging from the ship’s railing. Harmon also faces a romantic crisis in this crisply written story set against the backdrop of the breathtaking Alaskan wilderness. Sibella Connor Giorello ’85 was raised in Alaska and lives outside Seattle with her husband and sons. This is the fourth installment of the Raleigh Harmon series.

The Missouri Botanical Garden’s Shaw Nature Reserve: 85 Years of Natural Wonders By Cindy Gilberg and Barbara Perry Lawton

(Missouri Botanical Garden) The mother-and-daughter team of Barbara Perry Lawton and Cindy Gilberg chronicles the eighty-five-year history of the reserve, providing readers with a detailed and illustrated look at the land. Timelines and archival photos present the history of the reserve, while full-page panoramic images complement the text and highlight the plant and animal refuge visitors see today. Barbara Perry Lawton ’52 is the award-winning author of numerous articles and a dozen books on gardening and horticulture. She lives in Missouri.

A Jewish Calendar of Festive Foods By Jane Portnoy

(Janelle International) Old family favorites and new interpretations of classic dishes are presented in this American-Jewish cookbook. Years of cooking, baking, and kitchen experimentation on the part of Jane Portnoy resulted in this collection of recipes, which also features illustrations and an entertaining exploration of the Jewish holiday calendar. In addition to being a splendid cook, Jane Zuger Portnoy ’67 is an eye surgeon at the Scheie Eye Institute in Philadelphia. Her husband, who wrote the commentary, is the cantor of a temple in Pennsylvania.

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French Global: A New Approach to Literary History Edited by Christie McDonald and Susan Rubin Suleiman

(Columbia University Press) This collection of essays explores the impact of French literature beyond the country’s borders. The contributors discuss everything from medieval French to the slave trade and economic xenophobia. By emphasiz-

ing diverse conceptions of language, text, space, and nation, these essays establish a model approach to inform literary analysis in the twentyfirst century. Christie McDonald ’64 is professor of French language and literature at Harvard University. Her books include The Dialogue of Writing: Essays in Eighteenth-Century Literature and The Proustian Fabric. Quiet Corners of Rome By Alison Harris and David Downie

(The Little Bookroom) In this beautiful guidebook, more than sixty of Rome’s hidden, tranquil, and quiet corners are explored and celebrated with rich color photographs and lucid text highlighted with historical anecdotes. Harris and her husband, journalist David Downie, explore the courtyards, fountains, staircases,

cloisters, and ancient ruins that make Rome the “Eternal City.” Photographer Alison Harris ’79 is based in Paris and has contributed to many cookbooks and guidebooks to European cities. Best Food Writing 2010 Edited by Holly Hughes

(Da Capo Press) Food writing is having its moment in the sun, and Holly Hughes has collected a veritable smorgasbord of sumptuous editorial offerings. From Jonathan Safran Foer’s “Eating Animals” in the New York Times Magazine to “Russ & Daughters” in Edible Manhattan, Hughes offers evocative and even provocative food journalism collected from print and online sources. Bon appétit! Holly Hughes ’75 is the former executive editor of Fodor’s Travel Publications

and the author of Frommer’s 500 Places for Food and Wine Lovers. She lives in New York City. Student Activism and Curricular Change in Higher Education By Mikaila Mariel Lemonik Arthur

(Ashgate) Beginning with a survey of their emergence as academic fields, this book explores how women’s studies, Asian American studies, and queer studies joined the higher education curriculum. It explains how student, faculty, and staff activists pushed for their inclusion and how movements affect change on campus. Mikaila Mariel Lemonik Arthur ’01 is an assistant professor of sociology at Rhode Island College and has been studying student movements since her honors thesis at MHC.

more books

For descriptions of these books, go to I’m Not Crazy: A Workbook for Teens with Depression and Bipolar Disorder By Linda de Sosa ’78 (iUniverse) Writings, Volume II, The Anthology of the Montreal Branch, Canadian Authors Association By Joan Lichtman ’65, et al. (Canadian Authors Association)


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Poetry Heavenly Questions By Gjertrud Schnackenberg

(Farrar Straus and Giroux) Called one of the most talented poets of our time, Schnackenberg brings out this new collection of six poems in “rhymerich blank verse” as tribute to her late husband, the philosopher Robert Nozick, who died in 2002. A compendium of lullabies and lamentations, Heavenly Questions is a private song sheet that helps put a loved one to rest. Gjertrud Schnackenberg ’75 is the author of five earlier books of poetry including The Thrones of Labdacus, which received the Los Angeles Times prize in poetry. Listen to her read one of her poems at gjertrudschnackenberg#audio. Nymph, Dun, and Spinner: Poems by Dolores Hayden By Dolores Hayden (David Roberts Books)

A poet with an enduring interest in the shape of time, Hayden, a professor of architecture and urbanism at Yale University, explores American landscapes in these poems that illuminate the natural and built world with inventiveness and “elegiac eloquence.” Dolores Hayden ’66 had her first collection of poems, American Yard, published in 2004.

Last Seen By Jacqueline Jones LaMon

(University of Wisconsin Press) In her new poetry collection, LaMon mingles imagination with actual case histories of missing African American children to explore the experience of what it means to be among the missing in contemporary America. Her poems ask readers to think about their own identity and the impact that the missing have on those left behind. Jacqueline Jones LaMon ’78 is director of the MFA program in creative writing at Adelphi University. Her other poetry collection is Gravity, U.S.A. She is also author of the novel, In the Arms of One Who Loves Me.

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offtheshelf A Closer Look

Travel “apps” are changing how we see the world.

But travel guides are often out of date before the ink on their pages dries. So Grant has thrown her hat into the digital ring and put together her first travel application for your iPhone. Grant’s Boston Essential Guide—along with more than 200 other travel “apps” launched by Sutro Media, where she is the acquisitions editor—isn’t simply a digitized version of a print guide book but an original, interactive, Weblink-filled, GPS-enabled presentation that drips timeliness and relevance. “When people write for us they’re cognizant that [readers] are using [the guide] on an iPhone on a busy street corner, and the writing has stand up to that,” says Grant. “It has to deliver the right information in a zippy, action-packed way.” Thanks to the two “archetypical Bay Area tech guys” who founded Sutro Kim Grant ’84 Media’s easy-to-use authoring tool, writers put together their own apps that are launched in two to three weeks, rather than the ten months it takes to bring a printed book to market. That’s good news for writers and readers, Grant says. “Travel writing…seems exotic, but behind the scene is a lot of data drudgery,” says Grant. “To create the app is addictive. To test it, to see it on the iPhone is exciting and motivating. There’s immediate payoff.”


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Check out all the travel apps at See all of Grant’s books at

For readers, it means up-to-date information for a fraction of the cost of a book—apps retail for between $2 and $3—and the likelihood that the app will be updated frequently, free of charge. “Learning Sutro’s form and putting out my first few entries took about a week. Then I was off and running,” says Sally Choate Moore ’58, a longtime travel writer and author of the app, Santa Fe: The City Different. “I’m currently on my fourth update in less than a year,” she says. “One of the best parts of the work is hearing comments both positive and negative from my readers. They keep me on my toes and tip me off to places to visit or a change in the quality of service.” Another alumna, Deborah L. Williams ’68, is working for Sutro on a travel app for Buffalo, New York. And Amy K. Brown ’91 has written San Antonio Riverwalk and Paris Museums & Monuments. While not everyone has an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch, sales in the Apple store are good, Grant says. Her Boston app has sold about 7,000 copies in the last year. The company’s Las Vegas app sells about 14,000 copies a year. Sutro authors get 30 percent of sales revenue. Will travel apps grow in popularity? It’s hard to say in the fast-moving world of mobile technology. But Grant is optimistic. “The most exciting part is, we don’t know what’s coming down the pike,” she says. “But in that liberal-arts way, we are ready to tackle it because we have big brains, lots of creativity, and a strong will to not sit still. We all have to make a living, but I’m a big fan of fun.”—M.H.B.

Cat herin e D ireen


im Grant ’84 started writing travel guides the day after she graduated from MHC, and just polished off her forty-fifth one. Focused on Boston, Hawaii, Cape Cod, and the Southwest, Grant writes for Lonely Planet, Explorer’s, and Chronicle guides, available in bookstores across the country.


Arresting Artistry Poet and Filmmaker to Receive Mary Lyon Awards Two alumnae whose artistry and professional promise were demonstrated early in their careers have been selected to receive the Mary Lyon Award for 2011. The talents of poet Anna Ross ’97, currently a teacher in the Writing, Literature, and Publishing Program at Emerson College and visiting poet at Stonehill College, were first recognized while she was an English major at MHC.

O pposit e page: Geeta Jh averi

Ross received the Academy of American Poets Gertrude Claytor Award for best poem or group of poems by an undergraduate, the Ada L.F. Snell Poetry Prize, and the Clio-Melpomene Prize for graduate study and travel abroad. The last was established by the late MHC professor and Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Peter Viereck. Following graduation, Ross earned a master of fine arts in poetry degree at Columbia University, where she taught poetry and was the poetry editor for Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Art. She since has worked as an adjunct writing instructor at Boston University and a poetry instructor for the Boston writers’ center Grub Street Inc., and is still a contributing poetry editor for the online arts and politics magazine Guernica.

Always working on her own poems, Ross had twentythree of them published in a 2009 chapbook, Hawk Weather by Finishing Line Press, which awarded it their New Women’s Voices Prize. The New England Poetry Club awarded it their 2009 Jean Pedrick Chapbook Award. Several of the poems, which explore motherhood and miscarriage, had previously appeared in prominent poetry journals, including the Paris Review (“In the Vineyard”), Memorious (“Miscarriage”), and the Connecticut River Review (“True North”). “The poems in Anna Ross’s Hawk Weather refresh our sensitivity to the beauty of the natural world in all its enormity and minuteness…Ross’s poems are exquisitely crafted, wise, patient, affirming, and full of care,” said Columbia University professor Timothy Donnelly, poetry editor of the Boston Review. Read two of her poems at memorious. org/?author=114. Sonali Gulati ’96 specializes in documentary and experimental film production. She is associate professor at Virginia Commonwealth University’s Photography and Film Department. Gulati’s short films have

Anna Ross ’97

been screened at more than 200 film festivals worldwide. I Am is her most recent feature-length documentary film. In it, Gulati travels to India to interview parents of gay and lesbian people in a land where homosexuality is a criminal offense. Nalini by Day, Nancy by Night, her previous documentary about outsourcing telemarketing

jobs to India, was widely distributed. A mix of archival photography and animation, it was followed by 24 Frames Per Day— which a colleague called a “beautiful and deceptively simple” film—in which Gulati used time-lapse photography. The film screened at the prestigious Slamdance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.

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


Spring 2011


Check the Latest News Online

or request a printed copy by calling 413-538-2300.

Curious about what’s happening at your Alumnae Association? The latest news can be found online at www.

Nominees Chosen for Association Committees and Board

Dig into our expanding Web site and see how you can make use of your alumnae benefits. Sonali Gulati ’96

Gulati received her master’s degree in fine arts from Temple University. She has won awards and grants from the Third Wave Foundation, the World Studio Foundation, the Philadelphia Independent Film and Video Association, and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

Gulati’s work is “powerful yet subtle,” says one colleague. She was awarded tenure last year, along with the Faculty Award of Excellence, by Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of the Arts. You can find out more about Gulati’s work at sonalifilm. com.—M.H.B.

Changes Proposed to Alumnae Association Bylaws The Alumnae Association board of directors proposes changing the bylaws to reflect recent changes in the organization’s structure and function. The proposed changes will be voted on at the May 21 annual meeting. You can read the draft document at alumnae.,

The Nominating Committee has prepared a slate of candidates for election to the board of directors and to association committees. The slate will be voted on at the May 21 annual meeting. Alumnae may submit additional nominations as outlined in the bylaws. Also, four alumnae have been appointed to fill vacancies. Read about the slate of nominees, and the new appointments, at alumnae.mtholyoke. edu/2011nominees, or request a printed copy by calling 413-538-2300.

It’s Not Too Late

to Come to Reunion!

Have you put off making plans to return for your reunion? It’s not too late to come back to South Hadley; you can register* when you arrive on campus. Arrange for the dog sitter now and return May 20–22 (Reunion I) or May 27–29 (Reunion II). You can: • Reconnect with your freshman triple roommates • Meet Mount Holyoke’s new president, Lynn Pasquerella ’80

• Tour the renovated Kendall Sports and Dance Complex, Joanne V. Creighton Hall, and other recently rejuvenated buildings • Debate Egypt’s future as a democratic state with a former professor • Compare notes with classmates on the peaks and valleys of your life since graduation Go to for more details. We look forward to seeing you!


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*There is a $25 late registration fee.

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• Participate in the stimulating Back-to-Class program focused on food and sustainability

“A Mount Holyoke woman changed my life when she said…” MHC prides itself on being a place that shaped your lives, set the course of your careers, and offered you the promise of extraordinary friendships. But we need details. So we asked you on our Facebook page ( Here’s what you told us.

Alumnae Head Overseas with Fulbrights Materials engineering, immunology research, and support for disabled orphans in China are some of the subjects that four MHC alumnae are researching, thanks to Fulbright awards in 2010. The Fulbright Program, sponsored by the US Department of State, is the government’s flagship educational-exchange program. Last year, MHC was twenty-sixth in the number of awards received by four-year colleges. Abby Goldman ’10 is spending a year at the Technion, Israel’s premier institute of technology, in Haifa, working with a professor in materials engineering. Vidya Raghavan ’09 is studying in Lausanne, Switzerland, and conducting immunology research. Nida Sanglimsuwan ’10 is teaching English in South Korea. And Kaitlyn Szydlowski ’09 is researching government support for disabled orphans in China. Kim Parent, associate director of the college’s Career Development

Abby Goldman ’10 in the materials engineering lab she uses for her Fulbright research in Israel

Center, said the success of MHC’s alumnae in obtaining Fulbright grants could be attributed to the depth of knowledge and experience they gained as undergraduates. “All of the winners came to me with extensive résumés filled with rich, meaningful experiences and extensive research credentials, much of which had been accomplished during their undergraduate years at MHC,” said Parent. “It was gratifying—but not surprising—to see the Fulbright Program recognize both their accomplishments and their potential.” Elizabeth Mandeville, MHC’s national fellowships and graduate school advisor, said 2010 applications totaled a record forty MHC students and alumnae proposing projects in the sciences, art history, anthropology, literature, and English teaching. For more information, contact the MHC Career Development Center at

“You should not be waiting tables at Friendly’s, you should be in college. And I can help.” —Julia Jackson McCready ’83 “I’m not asking what the book is about. I’m asking what you think of the book.”—Professor Emeritus Jean Grossholtz to Mita Radhakrishnan ’90 “Come home with me to India for January term!” —Anne Banks ’89 “Educate a woman, then you educate a family.” —the late Harriet Rosenfield Kaplan ’42 to her daughter Natasha (Nancy) Kaplan-Maurer ’68 “You can be anything you want to be, and when you leave this beautiful campus, you will have the world at your feet.”—Pasangi Weerasinghe ’10 “Go take a tour of MHC—it can’t hurt.” —Rebecca Gold ’95 “If you get through your first semester at Mount Holyoke, you can get through anything.” —Arleen J. Senas ’11

...for Uncommon Women... Mou n t Ho lyo k e Al u m na e Qua r t e r ly


Spring 2011


Save the Date!

Mount Holyoke European Alumnae Symposium in Torino, Italy Friday, September 23– Sunday, September 25, 2011 The Paradox of Plenty: Redefining La Dolce Vita Please join us for an examination of our planet’s future in the context of a beautiful, historic city. This year marks the 150th anniversary of the unification of the Republic of Italy, and the city of Torino—the country’s first capital—is host to many celebrations and special events:

Scheduled to join our discussion are: Tundi Agardy,

executive director of Sound Seas

Paolo Borzatta,

senior partner of The European House-Ambrosetti

Ertharin Cousin,

U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture

Paolo Di Croce,

general secretary of Slow Food International

Vincent Ferraro,

Ruth Lawson Professor of Politics, MHC

Patty Fong,

COO at the European Climate Foundation

Lynn Pasquerella,

MHC president and ethics scholar

This event is open to all MHC alumnae. Registration begins online in early June. For more information:

Once a Student, Always an Alumna You became a force at Mount Holyoke. Some things never change. Imagine the collective power... Now access it! ✱ Find old friends and connect with alumnae around the globe using our secure online directory and our social networks. ✱ Enhance your career opportunities through alumnae networking. ✱ Indulge your intellect with lifelong-learning offerings and worldwide travel. ✱ Add to Mount Holyoke’s dynamic collective energy by sharing your time and talents with students and other alumnae.

Are you taking advantage of your alumnae benefits? To discover all you can do through the Alumnae Association of Mount Holyoke College, visit

Don't know what this is? See page 74 to find out.

bulletinboard All Aboard! News from the Alumnae Association Travel Program Thinking about taking a trip but wondering if an Alumnae Association excursion is your best bet? Leanna James Blackwell, senior director of programming, answers a few of your frequently asked questions below. See what she has to say, then take a peek at our upcoming trips—we bet you’ll find something you like!

Are the trips only for alumnae?

The trips are for alumnae and their invited guests. You are welcome to bring partners, spouses, friends, or relatives. Bring them all, if you’d like!

You didn’t mention children. Am I welcome to bring children too?

A qualified yes. Every year we offer at least one familyfriendly trip on which children are welcome. Those trips are advertised as such, designed with family activities in mind to cater to both adults and children. On other trips, adults are the preferred guests, although some alums have brought along their mature and pleasant teenagers. (We leave it to you to judge what’s appropriate.)

Do the trip prices advertised include airfare?

We wish, but no. Alumnae are traveling from points across the country—or in some cases, the world—so airfares vary dramatically


and are best arranged individually.

Do I have to make my own flight arrangements? Our professional travel partners are happy to make flight arrangements for you if you request it, and will work hard to find you the best rate.

What about visas and passports? How do I know how to prepare?

Again, our travel experts are at your service. On each trip, travelers receive frequent and detailed communications well in advance about everything they will need for a successful and safe trip: visas, passports, travel logistics, reading materials and information about the destination, and special clothing or supplies (all the way down to sunscreen).

Do I need to purchase my own travel insurance? Travel insurance is recommended and is offered at a reasonable rate by the Alumnae Association’s trusted

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insurance provider, USI, which specializes in insurance for alumnae/i travelers of peer institutions. The travel companies we work with also offer their own insurance.

community-service projects. As educationally rich as our travel offerings are, they don’t quite cut the mustard in any of those categories. Good question, though.

What about physical limitations? Can I still join a trip if I’m not able to get around like I used to?

It’s not easy. There are thousands of fascinating destinations, but we offer only eight to ten trips per year. Here are the questions we ask about each potential trip:

We work hard to make our trips accessible to as many alumnae as possible. Some of them (such as a biking trip in France) do require a certain amount of physical agility; others are designed to be enjoyed at a more leisurely pace and involve nothing more taxing than a museum tour or relaxing boating expedition. Trip descriptions will make clear what physical activity is involved. If you have questions about your fitness for a trip, please give us a call to talk about it. (Some of us at the Alumnae Association aren’t worldclass athletes either, so we’re pretty good judges.)

Do you offer travel scholarships?

Not at this time. The Alumnae Association focuses its scholarship funds on graduate study, scholarly research, and international or domestic

How do you choose which places to visit?

*Most importantly: Is it safe? *Does this destination offer abundant opportunities for learning? *Is the area of cultural, historical, social, and/ or geographical interest? *Are the local tour guides recognized experts in the area? *Do any Mount Holyoke faculty have expertise in the area? (and will they join us?). *Are any of our sister or peer colleges joining the trip? (always fun to partner up). *What are the modes of transportation to and around the country? (e.g., plane, cruise ship, tour bus, canoe?). *Are there plentiful and comfortable accommodations? *Is the price reasonable for what the trip includes? *Will the food be any good? (a serious consideration). *And last but certainly not least, does it sound like fun?

“I highly recommend the adventure of a Mount Holyoke educational travel trip.” —Penny Schneider Calf ’68 Penny Schneider Calf ’68 (right) and Barbara Abney Bolger ’56 take a break during their Alumnae Association trip, Namibia and South Africa by Sea.

I don’t always receive the brochures in the mail. How can I get one?

Easy! Go to the travel page of our Web site at programs/lifelong/travel. php and click on the trip you are interested in. You’ll see a link at the bottom, “Request a brochure.” Click the link, and an electronic brochure will be e-mailed to you within forty-eight hours. The Web site also contains full descriptions of each trip, photos, and the contact information of the travel company sponsoring the trip. If you prefer a printed brochure, we are happy to send one to you via snail mail, if we have it. (Some of our travel partners are going green and doing without paper brochures.) You can also call our office at 413-538-2300; we’re glad to help.

travelopportunities May 23–June 3, 2011 (New tour dates added by popular demand; June 9–20 tour is sold out.) Changing Tides of History: Baltic Sea and the Norwegian Fjords, featuring President Mikhail Gorbachev and President Lech Walesa

With Smith College, Columbia University, Dartmouth College, and MIT Experience the cultural rebirth of the Baltic states and the magnificent imperial riches of St. Petersburg while cruising for ten nights aboard Le Boreal. Enjoy a rare opportunity to hear speeches by former

President of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev (in St. Petersburg) and former President of Poland Lech Walesa (in Gdansk). Sail across the Baltic Sea from cosmopolitan Stockholm, Sweden, to the historic Hanseatic port of Bergen, Norway. Discover the architecture of Helsinki and Copenhagen. Revel in the medieval charms of Tallinn, Estonia; and Riga, Latvia. Immerse yourself in the cultural renaissance of Gdansk, Poland, and cruise through the fjords of Norway. This cruise features one night in St. Petersburg, including an early-opening tour of the Hermitage Museum. A two-night pre-

cruise option in Stockholm and a two-night post-cruise option in Bergen are also offered. Prices start at $7,295 per person. For more information or to make reservations, please contact Gohagan & Company at 800-922-3088 or 312609-1140, or via e-mail at information@gohagan New! Environmental Family Trip July 1–10, 2011 Costa Rica: Leatherback Sea Turtles

With Vassar College On this unique educational Japan trip trip for families, we’ll visit

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Golden Eagle TransSiberian Express. Joining us as our host will be Lily Klebanoff Blake ’64, president of Klebanoff International, a nativelanguage Russian speaker, and an expert in US–Russia business relationships. Also traveling with the group will be Nina Tumarkin, chair and professor of history at Wellesley College; Harvey Cox, Hollis Research Professor of Divinity Emeritus at Harvard University; and Jack F. Matlock Jr., former US ambassador to the former Soviet Union.

Costa Rica trip

butterfly farms, turtle nesting habitats, unspoiled beaches, organic farms, and rainforest preserves. Lodging ranges from simple dorm-style rooms (two nights) to beautiful ecolodges with their own hot springs. At every stop we’ll be joined by trained guides. The trip will begin with an easy boat trip to Estación Las Tortugas, a research station that protects a critical nesting beach for endangered leatherback sea turtles. There we’ll meet local biologists and join beach patrols to look for nesting females and emerging hatchlings. Next we’ll visit the famed Kekoldi Reserve to learn about the Bribri, one of the few remaining indigenous peoples of Costa Rica. Then we’ll raft to the traditional town of La Fortuna and Arenal Volcano; take a guided hike at Arenal National Park,


home to Eco Termales Hot Springs; and enjoy a visit to a traditional organic farm. Our adventure culminates with a zip-line tour through the rainforest canopy. Price is $2,310 per person. For more information or to make reservations, please call Reefs to Rockies at 303-860-6045, or e-mail Sheridan Samano at sheridan@reefsto Russian Princes and Tatar Khans: Moscow and The Golden Ring July 13–24, 2011 Aboard MS Volga Dream and Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express

With Wellesley College and Harvard University This special itinerary combines a river cruise on the elegant MS Volga Dream from Moscow to Kazan, stopping at “Golden Ring” cities, and an overnight on the famous

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We begin in Moscow, staying at the elegant Ritz-Carlton overlooking the Kremlin. We’ll take a private tour of this fabled fortress and view the stellar painting collections at the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts and both Tretyakov galleries. We’ll board the Volga Dream and visit five historic cities: Uglich, with

its five-domed Church of the Transfiguration; Yaroslavl, the oldest city on the Volga; Kostroma, “Cradle of the Romanov Dynasty”; Nizhny Novgorod, birthplace of Maxim Gorky; and Russia’s rarely visited “third capital,” Kazan, with its enormous and eclectic kremlin. Then we’ll travel back to Moscow on the Golden Eagle, spending one night on this storied train. Prices start at $6,995 per person. For more information or to make reservations, please contact Academic Arrangements Abroad at 212-514-8921 or 800-221-1944 or via e-mail at trips@arrangements. September 12–20, 2011 Mediterranean Masterpieces

With Smith and Vassar Colleges and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and featuring architectural historian Baltic Sea and Russian Princes trips

Renaissance flower garden. Daily visits to famous wineries such as Gevrey Chambertin, PulignyMontrachet, Meursault, and Nuits-Saint-Georges are offered, as well as nonwine options.

Mediterranean trip

Hans Ollermann

Patrick Bowe, museum lecturer Olivier Bernier, and Vassar Professor Emeritus of Classics Robert Pounder Sail along glorious Mediterranean coastlines in autumn on the luxurious three-masted Sea Cloud II. We begin in Rome at the restored Borghese Gallery. In the nearby port of Civitavecchia, we’ll set sail for Livorno. We will pass Tuscan olive groves and vineyards en route to Pisa. Cruising the Italian coastline, we then sail to Genoa, where the collections in seaside palaces showcase a blend of wealth and culture.

at trips@arrangements. New! Five Days of Food and Wine October 3–9, 2011 Biking and Walking in Burgundy

With Vassar College This tour of the Burgundy region of France is a fiveday immersion in the food, wine, and beauty of the region. Filled with

biking and hiking as well as leisurely walks, gallery visits, shopping, and unforgettable dining, this superb trip is geared to all levels of fitness, and includes nonbiking options. Our lodging is in the center of the medieval town of Beaune in the renowned Hôtel Le Cep (, a group of four fourteenth-century townhouses joined around a

Prices start at $3,995 per person. For more information or to make reservations, please visit or call 905-842-2196 or 800-801-6147. Interested? To request a brochure for any of these trips, please call the Alumnae Association at 413-538-2300 or visit For additional information, please call the travel company sponsoring the trip.

Burgundy trip

Continuing along the Riviera to Marseille, we’ll stroll through Parc Borély to the Musée Cantini and wander through St. Tropez, long a haunt of Impressionist painters. Our journey concludes in Nice, where you may wish to extend your trip with an optional postlude. Prices start at $7,295 per person. For more information or to make reservations, please contact Academic Arrangements Abroad at 212-514-8921 or 800-221-1944 or via e-mail

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


Spring 2011


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Make your donation to the Founder's fund today. Visit or send a check, payable to Alumnae Association Founder’s Fund, to Mount Holyoke College, 50 College St., South Hadley, MA 01075-1486

Mary Lyon daguerreotype courtesy of Mount Holyoke College Archives & Special Collections

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With your help, a 5 percent increase* in Annual Fund donors will yield a $500,000 gift to the Annual Fund from the Board of Trustees and other volunteer leadership. A successful challenge means more funding for the things that matter: scholarship aid, faculty support, the entire MHC experience! Thank you for your support. Please make your gift today. The world needs Mount Holyoke women . . . and we need you!

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Mount Holyoke Alumnae Quarterly Spring 2011  

Letting Go of the Body Myth Afghan Women Today: Breaking the Silence, Facing the World Crusading for a Cause: Aftering suffering personal...