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A lu m n a e Q ua rt e r ly

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Was THERE

LIFE

ON MARS? Astronomer Darby Dyar and Students Help NASA Answer the Big Question

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MHC’s 175th Anniversary Fete •

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Eco Road Trip •

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A Passion for Wine


contents Darby Dyar & Mars Curiosity The red planet in black and white

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Greasecar Odyssey Two young alumnae hit the road, seeking sustainable living ideas

18 Time in a Bottle Alumnae wine experts discuss their passion, and what to pour in your glass tonight

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Departments

2 Viewpoints Knitting in class and other alumnae feedback

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3 President’s Pen Thoughts from Lynn Pasquerella ’80 4 Campus Currents 175th celebrations, MHC in the 20th century, recreating early Paris, and more campus news

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27 Alumnae Matters Reunion changes, Black Alumnae Conference, club celebrations, new Emily Dickinson photo 34 Off the Shelf Murder mysteries, Civil War quilts, poetry about food, and more books on a variety of topics 38 Class Notes News of your classmates 78 Bulletin Board Announcements, and trips to the Dalmatian Coast, Black Sea, Greece, and Turkey 80 “My Voice” Alumna Essay Fighting for Reproductive Freedom

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ON T H E COV ER

An artist’s rendering of NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft approaching Mars. Illustration courtesy of NASA/JPL-CalTech O P P O S I T E PA G E :

Photograph by Deirdre Haber Malfatto

F RO M T O P T O B O T T O M : M H C A r chives and S pecial C o llecti o ns ; E M I L Y W E I R ; T A Y L OR S C O T T ; the A mhe r st C o llege A r chives and S pecial C o llecti o ns

M o u n t H o lyo k e a lu m n a e Q ua rt e r ly Winter 2013 Volume 96 Number 4 Editorial and Design Team Emily Harrison Weir Kris Halpin Millie Rossman Taylor Scott Olivia Lammel ’14, intern Zanna McKay ’13, intern

Quarterly Committee: Susan Bushey Manning ’96 (chair) Cindy L. Carpenter ’83 Shawn Hartley Hancock ’80 Olivia Lammel ’14 (student rep.) Zanna McKay ’13 (student rep.) Eleanor Townsley (faculty rep.) Shoshana Walter ’07 Hannah Clay Wareham ’09 Alumnae Association Board of Directors President* Cynthia L. Reed ’80 Vice President (Engagement)* Jennifer A. Durst ’95 Treasurer* Lynda Dean Alexander ’80 Clerk* Hilary M. Salmon ’03 Classes and Reunion Director Erin Ennis ’92 Alumnae Trustee Elizabeth Onyemelukwe Garner ’89 Nominating Director Antoria D. Howard-Marrow ’81 Director-at-Large, Human Resources* Joanna MacWilliams Jones ’67 Director-at-Large (Global Initiatives) Emily E. Renard ’02 Communications Director Sandy Mallalieu ’91 Young Alumnae Representative Tamara J. Dews ’06 Clubs Director Elizabeth (Beth) Redmond VanWinkle ’82 Volunteer Stewardship Director Katie Glockner Seymour ’79 Executive Director* Jane E. Zachary, ex officio without vote *Executive Committee

The Alumnae Association of Mount Holyoke College, Inc. 50 College Street South Hadley, MA 01075-1486 tel:413-538-2300 fax: 413-538-2254 alumnae.mtholyoke.edu

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 quarterly@mtholyoke.edu or Alumnae Quarterly, Alumnae Association, 50 College Street, South Hadley, MA 01075-1486). For class notes matters, contact Kris Halpin (413-538-2300, classnotes@mtholyoke.edu). To update your information, contact Alumnae Information Services (same address; 413-538-2303; ais@mtholyoke.edu). Phone 413-538-2300 with general questions regarding the Alumnae Association, or visit alumnae.mtholyoke.edu. 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. Winter 2013, volume 96, number 4, was printed in the USA by Lane Press, Burlington, VT. Periodicals postage paid at South Hadley, MA and additional mailing offices. Copyright Alumnae Association of Mount Holyoke College.

Postmaster

(ISSN 0027-2493USPS 365-280)

Please send form 3579 to Alumnae Information Services Mount Holyoke Alumnae Association, 50 College Street S. Hadley, MA 01075-1486.


viewpoints Fall Quarterly Attention-Getters Beryl Robichaud Collins ’40 (“Women of Influence Gallery,” fall), had additional distinctions. She earned a PhD in plant ecology at Rutgers University in middle age and wrote two influential works on vegetation and plant ecology of New Jersey, one with her mentor Murray Buell and the second with Rutgers colleague Emily Russell. Her work was invaluable to me when teaching and doing research on plant ecology of the New Jersey Pine Barrens. Second, I was and am an avid knitter. It kept me alert during those occasionally boring lectures! Finally, I wish to tribute late faculty member Marjorie Kaufman. She was my freshman adviser and later friend. She was especially interested in reform of undergraduate education; discussed curriculum development and pedagogy with us students; and was a founding member of the “New College” (later Hampshire College) board of trustees. She inspired my career at the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey. While I was a chem major, not at all literary, she was a major professional influence. Sandra Seberhagen Bierbrauer ’61 Naples, New York • • •

Knit Happens at MHC When I entered MHC in the fall of 1954, one of my first visits was to the yarn shop, where I quickly established a charge account. I had learned to knit as a child but had never done anything major. My first project was a pair of plaid socks for my father. (I still have the pattern). During my four years I made myriad pairs of argyle and cable socks, and Shetland sweaters (knit, then brush the finished sweater with a hairbrush to raise the nap and soften the sweater).

In my junior year, Bulkeley Smith, Jr., came to the Department of Sociology and Anthropology fresh from his Ph.D. at Yale. A friend and I each knit one sock of a pair in class. We then invited him and his wife to dinner and presented him with the socks. He sported them proudly in class the next day by placing both feet on his desk and lecturing from this position for the entire duration of the class. Although I have added needlepoint and other needle arts, knitting is still my first love, and I continue to turn out sweaters, afghans, socks, etc. for my family and friends. Ruth Gerard Poley ’58 Lexington, Kentucky It was John Lobb (sociology department) who told the story of noticing a student starting an intricate Norwegian sweater right after Thanksgiving. He assumed she had found a new boyfriend over the Thanksgiving holiday and was disappointed when it was time to leave for Christmas vacation and he hadn’t seen the finished product...and realized he wouldn’t, as it was certainly a Christmas gift for her beau. After Christmas break, he looked up in the class to see her emphatically unraveling the sweater stitch by stitch. They had obviously broken up over the holidays! It unnerved him so much that he was the one who mentioned in the first class of each course he gave, that it was all right to knit, but under no circumstances were you allowed to unravel! I have told the story many times, generally to illustrate that the knitting in class made one concentrate more on the lecture and to write down only the really salient points! Sarah Dunn Hoag ’63 Toronto, Canada

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How I enjoyed reading this article and all the comments attached to it. And I remember every one of the commenters from the ’72–’74 era who posted. I was a chemistry major, and one day in Anna Jane Harrison’s thermodynamics class I sat at the top of the lecture hall—the one with the concrete steps in Carr—and decided to knit. I too knew that busy hands left your mind free to concentrate on the lecture, something I don’t think Dr. Harrison really understood. Partway through the lecture I dropped my metal needle and it bounced and clanged its way all the way down those steps. I didn’t knit in chemistry again, but did knit in my seminar classes that met in dorm living rooms. I tried knitting in meetings at IBM, but that did not go over well at all. These days I work from home for Oracle and no one knows that I am knitting while on conference calls. My love for all needlework has grown over the years and now I embroider, needlepoint, quilt, and of course, still knit like a fiend. Beth Gardner ’73 Morgan Hill, California • • •

Alum-Connected Cuisine in Paris Thank you so much for your article, “Planning a Road Trip?— Stop for meals in alumnaeconnected eateries” (spring 2012). We were delighted to find Le Monaco in Paris, France, and meet Kate Old Magnere ’90. We had a delicious meal in a wonderful relaxed atmosphere. Bonnie Crow Shek ’66 Centennial, Colorado

Well “Liked” Your viewpoints are always welcome on our new website (alumnae.mtholyoke.edu) and social media sites (facebook. com/aamhc; twitter.com/ aamhc; alumn.ae/LinkedIn). • • •

Rising to the Challenge About the fall Quarterly contest (“How many alumnae per square mile?): Here in Cornwall, Connecticut (pop. 1,450) there are six alumnae who meet occasionally for a nice lunch. They are: Katherine Gordon Ridgway ’44 (now at a local assisted-living facility); Jill Bacon Bryant ’51; Virginia Johnson Potter ’63, Lisa Lansing ’64; Diana Harding Greene ’66; and Diana Hollander ’89. Lisa Lansing ’64 West Cornwall, Connecticut I live in a continuing-care retirement community, Ingleside at King Farm. Of somewhere around 325 residents in independent-living apartments, there are at last count five MHC sisters! Our concentration in well under a square mile should top those in the fall Quarterly. Joanne Bloom Perriens ’51 Rockville, Maryland I live on a dirt road beside a lake in western Maine. My husband and I are the only year-round residents. However, when summer comes, so do the other MHC alums. There are two. That makes three. There are ten houses on the road. So can I call that 30 percent population density? Lucia Baker Owen ’64 Stoneham, Maine


Mountain Day 2012

What an e xciting time to be at Mount Holyoke, as we celebrate 175 years of educating women of influence! We take pride in Mount Holyoke’s historic role in higher education and reaffirm our commitment to providing access to educational excellence for women from around the world, to upholding the centrality of the liberal arts and sciences, and to fostering the next generation of women leaders. I consider these objectives to be interrelated, for at the core of a liberal education are the capabilities that empower individuals to thrive continually in a world of complexity, diversity, and change. The critical thinking and communication skills students acquire by taking courses in a broad range of disciplines are developed alongside a sense of social responsibility. At Mount Holyoke, there is a seamless integration of the curricular and co-curricular. Our professors enliven their courses by taking advantage of the rich intellectual and cultural resources offered through the McCulloch Center for Global Initiatives, the Miller Worley Center for the Environment, and the Weissman Center for Leadership, together with the exquisite collection in the Art Museum. Last year alone, students in eighty-two different courses from twenty-four distinct disciplines used the museum as the backdrop for deepening knowledge, inspiring creativity, and promoting innovation and leadership through art. By integrating the learning goals we have established for our students with the programming taking place in these venues, we encourage students to propose creative solutions to the challenges posed in the process of constructing a world that meets the demands of justice, equality, and sustainability. In aspiring to achieve our shared objectives, there are no better role models for our students than our 36,000 alumnae, who serve as extraordinary exemplars of Mount Holyoke’s mission of using liberal learning for purposeful engagement in the world. You’ll find them celebrated throughout every issue of the Quarterly. As an alumna, I have experienced firsthand the transformative power of a Mount Holyoke education—an education that has shaped both my life and my career. Today, however, the value of liberal education is being called into question as job prospects for college graduates remain uncertain amidst rising tuition costs and burgeoning loan burdens. Offering students the foundation for living a meaningful life is less on the minds of many parents than is providing the skills necessary for navigating the world of work in the twenty-first century. We are seeking to accomplish both with the implementation of a new emphasis on “curriculum to career” that has emerged from a two-year strategic planning process. This initiative seeks to integrate experiential learning into the academic lives of all students by adapting and developing curricula and partnerships that create career pathways built upon the liberal arts core, by brokering student-alumnae connections to bridge curriculum to career, and by evaluating the College’s role in helping students find, afford, and make the most of internship opportunities. Initiatives such as this are the most current mark of Mount Holyoke’s continuing commitment to innovation and excellence. When Mary Lyon established Mount Holyoke in 1837, she aspired to shape the world through women’s education and leadership. As we work together to ensure that our founder’s vision remains vital, I will be eager to share our progress with you and gain your insights. Thank you for your commitment to our community. I am truly grateful for all that you do for our alma mater.

M ichael M al y szk o

president’s pen

Starting with this issue, President Lynn Pasquerella ’80 will communicate directly with alumnae in each Quarterly.

Not e:

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

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campuscurrents Campus Celebrates 175 Years of a Bold Endeavor we celebrate by eating ice cream in the freezing rain,” said one chilly student, shivering as she enjoyed her scoop of cookies-and-cream next to Mary Lyon’s grave, where the community gathered to pay homage to Mount Holyoke’s founder and guiding spirit. The afternoon of November 8, 2012, was gray and brisk, yet excitement filled the air for the 175th anniversary of the first women’s institution of higher education in the nation. A Bold Endeavor “I am about to embark in a frail boat on a boisterous sea. I know not whither I shall be driven, nor how I shall be tossed, nor to what port I shall aim,” wrote Mary Lyon in the summer of 1834. Indeed, Lyon’s goal was ambitious and her path unpaved. Yet Lyon persisted, and in 1836 the cornerstone of the College was laid. As President Lynn Pasquerella ’80 told the audience at the opening ceremony, “After 175 years, Mary Lyon’s dream of permanency through vitality, prosperity, and usefulness lives on. As we look to the next 175 years, we do so with the certitude that her spirit of innovation will continue to inspire us to reach new heights, and the knowledge that the women of influence we celebrate today will be joined by our current students, who are already making history.” Advancing Our Perpetual Vitality The opening ceremony of the two-day celebration was held in a packed Chapin Auditorium, and concluded with students dressed as Mary Lyon handing cookies to attendees as they headed to candlelit “gracious dinners.” The opening ceremony was all-at-once thought-provoking, rambunctious, joyous, and often humorous. Student and staff performers serenaded the audi-

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ence with a choral rendition of Handel’s La Réjouissance, and laughter resounded as a video showed archival footage of Mount Holyoke women skiing, boating, singing, and “exercising” on the Green. State Rep. John W. Scibak read a citation from the Massachusetts Senate. Referencing the national elections that had taken place just two days prior, he asked, “What better time to celebrate the first women’s college than during a week when a Massachusetts senator [Elizabeth Warren] broke the glass ceiling, and the number of women elected to Congress was

the largest in the history of the nation?” You can guess the audience’s reaction. President Pasquerella reminded the audience that, while women have come far during the last 175 years, there is still a long way to go to reach full equality, and that the role of women’s colleges remains vital. Women continue to lag well behind men in economic prosperity and political power, earning seventy-three cents on the dollar, representing a dramatic minority in the fields of science and technology, and still being denied the right to education in many parts of the world.

Gale Stubbs McClung ’45 led a sing-along with her ukulele; students dressed as Mary Lyon handed out cookies after the all-campus celebration; the time capsule was filled with letters from the community and sealed for posterity.

FRO M TO P TO BOTTOM :

Professors Daniel Czitrom (history) and Martha Ackmann (gender studies) spoke about “Frances Perkins and Social Justice” and “Lessons in Independence: Mary Lyon and Emily Dickinson at Mount Holyoke,” respectively. Ackmann’s talk is excerpted here; Czitrom’s will appear in the spring issue. Sadiqa Basiri Saleem FP ’09, founder of Afghanistan’s first community college for women, addressed the crowd by video. She urged Mount Holyoke women to fight for their place in the world, saying that their decisions and actions matter. “When women have the power to make decisions,” she said, “they typically make smart decisions.” Celebrating a Grand Occasion The following day the sun returned, the air was warm, and the campus was abuzz with activity. Celebratory events and activities throughout the day drew alumnae, students, professors, and staff from building to building to enjoy the festivities. In the library, students laughed as they “became” Mary Lyon by posing for a photo behind a cutout of the founder. In Blanchard, alumnae and others purchased an MHC recipe book (goo.gl/ PYmCs), a diverse collection that included Chef Jeff ’s cookie recipe. In Rooke Theatre, people viewed Mount Holyoke fashions, from day wear of the mid-nineteenth century to 1930s evening gowns. Later, members of the SGA read messages submitted by students for a time capsule, which was sealed and delivered to the archives. There were also presentations devoted to the history of Mount Holyoke through various lenses, from astronomy to debate to same-sex love to sustainability. Alumnae played a large role in the celebrations, both hosting and attending numerous events.

B en B a r nha r t

“ ly at Mount Holyoke would


Lessons in Independence: Mary Lyon and Emily Dickinson at Mount Holyoke By Martha Ackmann

Go where no one else will go. Do what no one else will do. Lyo n

—M a r y

ate in the fall when I leave campus after dark, I often pass the College gates and the library all lit up and I think about the women who lived on this spot a century or more ago. In my reverie, I see the big, four story-seminary building, take the roof off, and look inside. It doesn’t take long before I think about Emily Dickinson. It always astounds me that for one singular year—1847 to 1848—the great American poet and the great pioneer of women’s education lived together in that building. They passed each other in the hallways. They studied together. They ate the same roast veal and squash. In many ways, the two women could not have been more different. Mary Lyon had just turned fifty. She had two years left to live. Raised in rural Buckland, Massachusetts, she stayed on the family farm after her father died, and her mother remarried and moved—an act of independence that would define her life. Mary Lyon grabbed knowledge by the handfuls, a friend said, and nearly every letter students wrote home mentioned her. One young woman described Miss Lyon as “a little fat woman” who “don’t look at all like a lady, but she knows enough.” Emily Dickinson was sixteen when she rode over the Notch to South Hadley. She was well prepared both by her classes at Amherst Academy and by a family tradition of educating women. That year would be the longest she would ever spend away from family and friends: her first taste of independence. What did she think of the Seminary? “One thing is certain,” Emily Dickinson wrote, “& that is, that Miss Lyon & all the teachers, seem to consult our comfort & happiness in everything they do & you know that is pleasant…on the whole, there is an ease & grace a desire to make one another happy, which delights & at the same time, surprises me very much.” If we take a broad view of Mount Holyoke during that year, we see a posture that I believe influenced the young poet. Mary Lyon believed women were capable of learning for themselves.

One highlight was the singalong of traditional MHC songs led by Gale Stubbs McClung ’45, accompanying herself on the ukulele. Yaminette Diaz Linhart ’06 and Naeema Hernandez ’06 created “The Lyon Project,” in which MHC community members shared stories about how they live out Mary Lyon’s motto. From the Balcony was a video conversation among Elettra Fiumi ’05, Danielle David ’05, and Maira Khamisani ’03 about their varied religions, nationalities, political views, and economic backgrounds. And The Lyon Review (thelyonreview.com), an online literary magazine for alums and faculty, hosted an event featuring five alumnae reading their poetry, fiction, and essays. The day ended with the Faculty Baroque Ensemble performing a “Mary Lyon Musicale,” which featured instruments and repertory familiar to an 1837 audience. It provided a time for reflection on all that MHC women have accomplished over the last 175 years. One can only guess what the next 175 years will bring, as young graduates embrace the words of Mary Lyon: “Go forward, attempt great things, accomplish great things.”


Enjoy photos and video of the College’s 175th celebrations at mtholyoke.edu/175.

B en B a r nha r t

—Tay l o r S cott

Take the study of science. Lyon was one of the pioneers in using laboratory experiments in the classroom. Instead of learning by memorizing a text, she threw young women into the lab, where they would tackle problems, take chances, make mistakes, try again, confront the unknown, and rely on their own intellect to make sense of the world. Above my desk I have a copy of one of Dickinson’s manuscripts. The page is line after line after line of poetry—all of them crossed out. It’s a lab report, really, full of trial and error, a poet’s search for the right amalgam of rhythm and rhyme. If you examine that first decade, one image of Mary Lyon surfaces: a woman in a hurry. Elizabeth Hall in 1848 wrote, “I wish you could see Miss Lyon. I know you would laugh, she is 52 years old, hard of hearing, has false teeth, wears a cap and dresses as well as an old wash woman, yet she is noble, for doing business. She runs around here with her nose dripping and does more business than any two men.” This woman in a hurry—some would say obsessed with getting work done—was a commanding image for Emily Dickinson. She had never seen a woman like her: a rough-hewn, tireless, focused, independent woman who—against enormous odds—was taking on the world. It was not so much hurry that students like Emily Dickinson witnessed: it was urgency. Mary Lyon acutely felt that her ambition might not be realized. What Lyon taught Emily Dickinson was that women had a right to think, to dream big dreams, to move against the grain, to do great work, and to change the world one stunning metaphor at a time. Later, as Emily Dickinson began writing poems, Mary Lyon’s example may not have been far from her mind. Writing to her cousin Louisa, the poet asked— do you remember “the October morning when our families went out driving, and you and I in the diningroom decided to be distinguished? It’s a great thing to be ‘great,’ Loo.” It seems appropriate that Mary Lyon opened the doors to Mount Holyoke in November. At this time of year we recognize the days are short. There’s urgency in the nip of the season. Do me a favor. When you leave this hall, walk past the College gates near the spot of the old Seminary. Imagine what the beginning was like. Think about those women in a hurry, the ones who crossed out all the lines and began again, the ones who believed their minds could find the answers, their hearts could choose for themselves. And maybe we’ll see this place anew: all lit up against the old mountains like a beacon in the dark. This essay was excerpted from Ackmann’s Founder’s Day talk. Hear the entire talk at alumnae.mtholyoke.edu/MLandED.

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Rememb r ance o f T hings Past:

Mount Holyoke Celebrates 175th Anniversary

M o unt H o l y o ke T imeline : T he R o a r ing T wenties th r o ugh W W I I

1920

1922

Students who lobbied, paraded, and petitioned for women’s suffrage welcomed the ratification of the nineteenth amendment to US Constitution, giving women the right to vote.

Original Rockefeller Hall destroyed by fire; temporary housing for students set up in Blanchard Hall

1921 Outing Club established to encourage student participation in sports and recreation

1923 First annual poetry contest honors memory of Kathryn Irene Glascock ’22. Judges through the years have included Robert Frost, Sylvia Plath, and Adrienne Rich.

1927 Mary Woolley elected president of the American Association of University Women

1928 New junior-year-abroad program allows students to spend an academic year in France

1932 New physical science building opens (later named Shattuck Hall)

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w w w. a l u m n a e . m t h o lyo k e . e d u

A ll images c o u r tes y o f M H C A r chives and S pecial C o llecti o ns

In this installment of remembering Mount Holyoke’s 175 years of fostering the intellectual lives of women, we revisit the decades from 1920 through 1949. From the Roaring Twenties to the Great Depression to the Second World War, Mount Holyoke women rose to the grand challenges of the time, fighting for women’s suffrage, enlisting in the US Marine Corps Women’s Reserve, and reviving the victory gardens of World War I. What would Mary Lyon have said? In her words, “There is nothing in the universe that I fear, but that I shall not know all my duty, or shall fail to do it.” The students of Mount Holyoke bravely dove headfirst into a new era with vigor and endurance. Interested in learning more? Visit the timeline online, where you can view dozens of photos and incredible videos dating back to the 1920s at mtholyoke.edu/175.


1937

1941

President Roosevelt appoints Frances Perkins, class of 1902, US Secretary of Labor, the first female member of a president’s cabinet.

Events celebrating MHC’s 100th anniversary include a historical pantomime depicting the opening of Mount Holyoke

Orchards Golf Course and clubhouse acquired to support physical education program

1935

Mary Woolley retires; Roswell Gray Ham becomes first male president

Social Security Act, championed by Frances Perkins, signed into law

1942 Summer program added to curriculum; students urged to accelerate studies, graduate early, and support war effort

campuscurrents

1933

Training school established for WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service), who live in Rockefeller Hall First of three annual Entretiens de Pontigny summer programs for intellectuals, musicians, artists, and writers, many of them exiles from Europe Mount Holyoke Victory Eights (now known as the V-8s) a cappella group performs for the first time (in the class of 1942 Junior Show)

1943 Women Marines train on campus. Hattie Kawahara ’43 (below) and Hiromi Matsumoto ’45 are admitted from Japanese Americans internment camps. Victory gardens revived from WWI

1945 First Student Government Association established

1949 History professor Peter Viereck wins Pulitzer Prize for Poetry Lakeside (now Torrey) Hall dormitory opens

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N ews and N otes from A ro u nd the Camp u s

and internship experiences of around 150 students, and highlighted the connections made between theoretical and real-world knowledge. View a video of the event at goo.gl/sdhgu.

Let’s Drink to Mary Lyon In celebration of Mount Holyoke’s 175th anniversary, Rao’s Café has created a special “Mary Lyon’s Blend” coffee. How exactly does this blend taste, you might ask? Bright, bold, and brave of course! Customers may purchase a cup or a twelve-ounce bag of whole beans throughout the academic year.

New Mary Lyon Letter The College recently purchased a newly discovered letter written by Mary Lyon in 1836. Leslie Fields, director of Archives and Special Collections, says it’s the first time in a decade that a Mary Lyon letter was known to be for sale. The letter is addressed to two printers, Charles and George Merriam of Springfield, who would later publish the Merriam-Webster dictionary. In the letter, Lyon inquires about the cost of printing 200 or 300 copies of a letter to solicit furnishings for the Mount Holyoke Seminary. Read the letter at alumnae.mtholyoke.edu/?p=8593. LEAP Symposium Sets Record From interning for news organizations such as China Central Television to studying child poverty at UNICEF to researching environmental change in Alaska, Mount Holyoke students were busy over the summer. A record 600 people attended the ninth annual LEAP Symposium at MHC in October, which showcased the summer research

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S teven D unn

Convocation Kicks off Celebrations Held on September 4, convocation not only kicked off the 2012–2013 academic year, but also launched the official celebration of Mount Holyoke’s 175th anniversary. A sea of red, yellow, green, blue, and purple filled Gettell Amphitheater, as students dressed in their class colors greeted this year’s speakers with noise and applause. In her remarks, President Pasquerella noted that alumnae have the common experience of “acquiring a liberal education at Mount Holyoke that not only enabled them to develop a voice, but to use that voice to transform the world.” View photos at mtholyoke.edu/go/convocation.

Getting Down to Business Mount Holyoke and the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts– Amherst have partnered to offer MHC students the opportunity to earn their master of business administration directly after graduation. The Isenberg School of Management is touted as one of the best graduate business schools in the country by the US News & World Report’s annual rankings. Students apply to the program in their senior year and, if accepted, are eligible for a two-year assistantship. Several alumnae are already working toward their MBAs.

UMass–Amherst’s Isenberg School of Management

MHC Freezes Tuition for Second Year For the second year in a row, the Board of Trustees voted to make no change in the cost of attendance with the understanding that the current economic model of increasing tuition beyond the rate of inflation is unsustainable. Students enjoy summit fever on Mountain Day.

“We projected a year ago that holding tuition, room, and board steady for the current year would not only improve the College’s affordability for students and families, but would actually help the College deliver and pay for the exceptional education we all value so much,” says President Lynn Pasquerella ’80. Mount Holyoke is leading the way as colleges and universities strive to contain costs and make higher education affordable and accessible for all. Improving Solar Cells Assistant Professor of Physics Alexi Arango and his students are exploring new, potentially revolutionary solar cell technologies in a custom-built lab at the College. Solar cells, the building blocks of solar panels, generate and support electrical currents when exposed to light. Students involved in the research are investigating how plentiful, relatively inexpensive semiconductors can be used to make solar cells that are more efficient yet less expensive to manufacture and install than silicon-based solar cells. View photos at mtholyoke.edu/go/solarcells. Mountain Day October 17 began with a brisk chill in the air and a light mist hovering over the campus greens. Yet, when the sound of the bells broke the early-morning silence, the campus stirred and was soon filled with jubilant celebration. It was Mountain Day! Shuttles brought busloads of students to the foot of Mt. Holyoke, where they climbed to the summit to enjoy beautiful views, ice cream, free hats from the Alumnae Association, and an impromptu rendition of the alma mater with President Pasquerella. Some ninety area clubs around the globe planned mini-reunions in local ice cream shops, and some alumnae groups sponsored outdoor activities reminiscent of their undergraduate Mountain Day experience.

M O U N T A I N D A Y — T a y l o r S c o tt ; C o nv o cati o n — B en B a r nha r t

Tidbits


St u de n t Edge

Leading the Movement for Change in Afghanistan

Because she was female, Haidary wasn’t allowed to speak in class, and she was constantly reprimanded for correcting teachers and advocating for freedom of speech. understanding of the culture, especially as the Afghanistan that she remembered had changed dramatically under Taliban rule. Because she was female, Haidary wasn’t allowed to speak in class, and she was constantly reprimanded for correcting teachers and advocating for freedom of speech. Before coming to Mount Holyoke, Haidary worked as a producer for TOLO TV, one of the nation’s most popular stations. It was here that she knew that she wanted to major in film. “Afghans don’t have the literacy, access, or resources to read,” she explains. “I realized that media is the best way to get information out.” While working for the station, Haidary began her own film project—a documentary about the harassment of women on the street when they are unchaperoned—titled It’s My City Too. “It’s a student’s story, a businesswoman’s story, a teacher’s story,” she explains. Filming was dangerous, she says, and Haidary received so many threats that eventually her family forbade her from going out to film. Yet she persisted, completing the project and screening it several times throughout Afghanistan. Although she had gained tremendous filmmaking experience, Haidary knew she wanted to continue her formal education. Through the Initiative to Educate Afghan Women she was awarded scholarships to three different colleges in the United States. She chose Mount Holyoke because, as she says, “It seemed a safe place where I could develop myself so that I was prepared for the outside world.” In the spring of her first year she met another Afghan woman, Noorjahan Akbar, a student from Dickinson College who was visiting a friend in the South Hadley area. They had dinner, traded stories, and found that they had

much in common. Together they launched the nonprofit organization Young Women for Change. “The initial idea was simply to form a movement to bring women together in Afghanistan,” says Haidary. Yet when they tried to meet in public spaces, they encountered harassment and found they were unable to stage protests unless they were recognized as a formal organization. They are now officially a nonprofit and have a center where they hold literacy classes and lectures, have meeting spaces, a library, and an internet café. In addition, the organization has dozens of women volunteers and members, as well as many male advocates. Haidary is double majoring in film studies and international relations. Unsure about her exact plans for the future, she knows that she wants to complete a graduate degree, possibly in international relations, and that she will continue to make documentaries and advocate for change in Afghanistan. Her role models? “Everything changes through time,” she says. “I don’t believe in following footsteps. I have to deal with issues based on the family, religious, and cultural background that I have.” Learn more about Young Women for Change, and how you can help, at youngwomenforchange.org.

campuscurrents

t the age o f si x , Anita Haidary ’14 woke one morning to find her father had fled from Afghanistan to Pakistan during the night to escape the Taliban regime. Days later, Haidary and her family followed, and together they spent the next five years living in exile. Despite this upheaval, Haidary says her time in Pakistan was peaceful. She and her siblings attended a prestigious private secondary school and adjusted well to the new culture and language. In 2003, her family felt it was safe to return, and she was forced to adapt yet again, having lost most of the language and

Anita Haidary ’14 fights for women’s rights in Afghanistan.

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IN SESSION

In Classroom, Medieval Paris Goes Digital

A e r o data I nte r nati o nal S u r ve y s

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The convent’s church and chapterhouse were destroyed around 1800 and no surviving images exist of the building in its original state. Artists only documented the church in the process of demolition. “There was a real affection and enthusiasm for ruins,” said Davis. While beautifully evocative, these images left Davis and his students wondering what the complete structure looked like. Floor plans and archaeological reports indicate some of the dimensions of the demolished building, but there appeared to be no way of knowing how tall it was. Any sketches Davis could find of the church showed only its facade. Some sketches of the church’s interior revealed chapels toward the back of the structure, but there were no clues that showed what the chapel roofs looked like. For this, Davis and his students had to engage in a bit of detective work. Davis was determined to find out:

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— O l i vi a L a mm e l ’ 1 4

C o m m e n t s h e a r d o n , off, a n d a bo u t c a m p u s

Michael Davis, professor of art history and architectural studies, is leading his small class on a digital adventure in the hope of solving a thirteenth-century mystery. Using surviving images, written descriptions, and centuries-old documents relating to construction, Davis and his squad of students are piecing together images of a building that hasn’t stood for centuries. In the mid-thirteenth century, a Franciscan convent was built in the heart of the Left Bank of Paris. The affiliated church was simple and beautiful, “suited to the Franciscans,” Davis explains. This modest style of architecture was overshadowed in Paris, a city that boasts the striking spires of Sainte Chapelle and the dramatic flying buttresses of Notre Dame. By comparison, the Franciscan church was “in some ways like a big barn,” Davis says. Although less glamorous, this architecture speaks to an often-overlooked ascetic side of Parisian history.

What They Said

“Is there a way to put the roof back on this building?” For the answer, Davis went to Nick Baker, Mount Holyoke’s instructional technology consultant. Baker introduced Davis to Google’s free 3-D modeling program called SketchUp. The software allows Davis and his students to create digital 3-D images of the demolished buildings. Using SketchUp, students can place their images into a Google Earth map of today’s Paris. Even though the thirteenth-century church doesn’t quite fit into a modern Paris buzzing with cars, tourist attractions, and Starbucks, this tool helps students make sure their dimensions are reasonably accurate. After they complete their reconstructions of the church, Davis’s students will move a few blocks away to the old site of the Collège de Cluny, a thirteenth-century monastic college. Putting their detective skills to work again, they will digitally rebuild the structure from the ground up. This time, though, they will be constructing a campus. The Collège de Cluny served as a prototype for Mount Holyoke and other college campuses that followed. “This was really the creation of an academic architecture,” Davis explains excitedly. Eventually, Professor Davis will share the class’s work, via web, with a larger community of scholars. He plans to link the final, interactive images to the visual and verbal evidence the class used. Davis believes that, with this kind of dynamic model, “scholarship becomes more like a conversation.”


“There’s no page in a book where you can learn anything, except by experiment.” Kenneth Snelson, sculptor and artist, whose work has been selected to crown the top of the Freedom Tower at One World Trade Center, New York.

“Numbers matter… If there aren’t women in public office leading, there won’t be women at General Motors leading.” Mary V. Hughes ’74, president of Hughes & Company and founder and director of The 2012 Project, a national, nonpartisan campaign to increase the number of women in Congress and state legislatures.

“Shall we take the road or the trail?” “Let’s take the road more traveled by; that will make all the difference.”

(Two students on Mountain Day, halfway up Mt. Holyoke)

Computer Science Department Bucks National Trend As the number of women graduating with a computer science degree wanes nationwide, Mount Holyoke’s department expands. While the number of women working in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) has steadily increased over the last decade, oddly, the inverse has occurred for women in computer science. In 2010 the National Center for Education Statistics reported that only 18 percent of undergraduate students in the field were women. Just a few years ago the department at Mount Holyoke was a clear reflection of this decline, with merely a handful of majors and minors. Today, the department has almost doubled in size, thanks in part to alumnae support and in part to a tenacious professor, Audrey Lee-St. John. Lee-St. John came to Mount Holyoke in 2009 and quickly became a favorite among students and peers alike. “If you ask students why they decided to major in computer science, many will say it’s because of a class they took with Professor Lee-St. John,” says senior Gabby Snyder. Lee-St. John’s method of teaching technical topics is approachable and entertaining, allowing students to cast off any intimidation over the subject matter and become truly engaged. Snyder adds that all the computer science professors have been instrumental in growing the department, especially in terms of catering to the interests and needs

of the students. But, she says, “Professor Lee-St. John has worked to reach out to students who may have never considered studying computer science, and in that way she’s really helped the department grow to the size that it is today.” Alumnae support has also played a large role in the growth of computer science at Mount Holyoke. In May 2012 Jerri Barrett ’83, former vice president of marketing at the Anita Borg Institute (ABI), an organization that promotes women and technology, visited campus and met with Lee-St. John. Together they came up with the idea of sending computer science students to ABI’s renowned Grace Hopper Conference, the world’s largest gathering of women in computing. Sponsored by the Alumnae Association, nine students traveled to Baltimore in October 2012 to attend the conference. Alumnae Valerie Barr ’77 and Carolyn Strobel ’09 also attended. The event was packed with panel discussions and industry seminars. In addition, networking sessions landed four seniors job offers and two sophomores internship offers at Amazon and Intuit. The computer science department plans to use the success of the conference and of the job offers that these and other seniors are receiving to attract more possible majors in the coming years.

“Never stop being obstinate.”

Constanze Stelzenmüller, 2012 Carol Hoffmann Collins Global Scholar in Residence at MHC and the Senior Transatlantic Fellow with the German Marshall Fund of the United States in Berlin

Students attend the annual Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing. From left: Jane Zachary, executive director of the Alumnae Association, Andreea Bancila ’13, Gabby Snyder ’13, Pragya Bajoria ’15, Erin Pierce ’15, Barbara Rotundo FP’14, Jessie Hamelin ’13, Ruohan Wang ’13, and Sam Tulimat ’13 Mou n t Ho lyo k e Al u m na e Qua r t e r ly

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Was There

Life on Astronomer Darby Dyar and Students Help NASA Answer the Big Question

By J e nni f e r G row ’ 94

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An artist’s rendering of NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft approaching Mars (The rover is tucked inside.)

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across the country sat at their computers watching the landing on Mars of the rover Curiosity live on NASA TV. MHC ’s Professor of Astronomy Darby Dyar stood in a crowded room at the Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, California. At 10:30 p.m., surrounded by hundreds of other scientists and engineers, Dyar watched as the six-wheeled Curiosity touched down on the surface of Mars. Viewers everywhere were awestruck by the success of the complex and risky landing, and the team responsible for Curiosity’s journey didn’t hold back their emotions.

“There was not a dry eye in the room,” Dyar recalls. But even as the celebration reached its height, the energy in the room shifted. Once the Mars Science Lab—launched eight and a half months before—had completed its journey of 345 million miles, there was new work to be done on one of NASA’s most ambitious missions ever. As Dyar put it, “The engineers had gotten the rover to Mars. Now it was time for the scientists to get to work.” Dyar is one of those scientists. She first became involved with the Curiosity project in 2005, when she learned about the NASA Mars Science Lab and its aim—to analyze the chemical composition of the Martian surface. She knew that the catalog of rock samples she’d amassed over the years could be useful.

What’s in a Mars rock? This is the first laser spectrum sent back from Curiosity’s ChemCam instrument. When its laser strikes a rock, it generates gases that are analyzed by spectrometers. These data will reveal a sample’s chemical composition.

In this illustration, the rover’s ChemCam zaps a rock with a laser.

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O P E N I N G S P R E A D : N A S A / J P L - C altech ; T H I S P A G E : N A S A / J P L - C altech / L A N L / C N E S / I R A P ; O P P O S I T E P A G E : B E N B A R N H A R T

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n August 5, thousands


More Mars Mania

See video of Dyar discussing the Mars mission, and check today’s weather on the red planet, at XXXXXXXXXXXXX.

Professor Darby Dyar (right) and Marie Ozanne ’12 prepare to analyze Earth rocks, which will help them interpret analogous data coming from Mars.

A geochemist, Dyar studies how hydrogen and oxygen are distributed throughout the solar system, in part by analyzing rocks from deep within the Earth’s core as well as meteorite samples from the Moon and Mars. Throughout her career, Dyar had categorized thousands of samples, now housed in her lab at Mount Holyoke. In what she calls an “uncharacteristically” brave move, Dyar contacted the builders of a Mars-bound ChemCam instrument, telling them, “I have samples that might be useful as standards for your instrument.” That well-timed email put her on the team that designed and built a laser that would send data from the rover to labs on Earth for analysis. Three NASA grants totaling nearly $1.4 million have supported this work and that of more than a dozen Mount Holyoke and Five College astronomy students.

Laser Focus Already versed in spectroscopy and other methods used to determine the chemical compositions of rocks and soils, Dyar helped develop the first-ever laser instrument to be sent to a planetary surface. ChemCam works by shooting a laser at

a rock or soil sample from up to twenty-four feet away. The sample is heated until it is transformed to plasma, a spectrum is taken, and those data—showing the chemical composition of the sample in a series of wiggly lines—are transmitted back to Earth, including Dyar’s on-campus facility in Carr Lab, where computer analysis takes place. Over the course of the Mars mission—which could last more than a decade—Dyar and her team will likely analyze thousands of unique Mars spectra. The hope is that these data will clarify where and when there was liquid water on the red planet. Where there is water, there can be life. In preparation for this work, Dyar’s lab was equipped in July with a state-of-the-art laser-induced breakdown spectrometer, or LIBS. Funded by NASA, it is one of only five in existence, including one on Curiosity. Since its landing, Dyar and her team have been receiving data gathered by the ChemCam and comparing it to LIBS data acquired at Mount Holyoke for interpretation. From the beginning of Dyar’s involvement with the Mars Science Lab, Mount Holyoke undergraduates have been integral to every part of the project. Melissa Nelms ’13 is

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Imagine if, each day, you had to go to work forty minutes later than the day before. As a member of the team of scientists on Earth working on the Mars Science Lab project, MHC astronomy professor Darby Dyar spent her fall doing just that. Because a Mars day, or “sol,” is approximately twenty-four hours and thirty-nine minutes long—and because the Mars rover Curiosity must work in daylight due to temperature fluctuations and visibility needs—team members must constantly adjust their schedules so that they are working during Mars’s daytime. Dyar’s challenge to know the right time was even greater, because she spends alternate weeks in Pasadena at the Jet Propulsion Lab and in Western Massachusetts, where she has two teenagers and is teaching a Mars seminar at MHC and co-teaching astrobiology at Hampshire College. While every scientist on the team must adjust each day to Mars time, Dyar also must continually adjust from Eastern Standard Time to Pacific Standard Time. One day in September looked like this: • Leave South Hadley: 6 a.m. EST • Arrive in Pasadena: 2 p.m. PST • Shift start in the Jet Propulsion Lab: 11 p.m. PST (roughly dawn on Mars) • Shift end: 11 a.m. PST Because Curiosity is nuclear-powered, it could travel the red planet for a decade or more. At some point, Dyar says, the scientists will switch their own schedules back to Earth time. But this fall, everyone was expected to live on Mars time, even as they were continuing to walk on the Earth.

a geology major who has worked in Dyar’s lab since her sophomore year, including two summers full-time. Nelms has become skilled at spectroscopy, essentially breaking down the spectrum of each rock sample into many individual wavelengths of light, illustrated by a series of unique emission lines. Each sample provides a distinct map of its elemental makeup, and these maps are compared to those of Martian samples. As part of her independent study, Nelms also has worked to create hydrogen and oxygen calibrations for LIBS. “If all goes according to plan,” says Nelms, “my research can be used to help analyze data from the ChemCam instrument

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currently on Mars.” Determining the composition of a Mars soil sample’s hydrogen and oxygen—the building blocks of life as we know it—is one important step in discovering if there was Martian life. Marie Ozanne ’12 was a double major in chemistry and statistics at Mount Holyoke and a former thesis advisee of Dyar’s; she is now pursuing a doctorate in statistics at Ohio State. Ozanne’s work in Dyar’s lab involved identifying the best methods to use for statistical analysis, or how to know when the profile of a new rock or soil sample is statistically close enough to one already acquired on Earth.

N A S A / J P L - C altech / U niversit y of A ri z ona ; O P P O S I T E P A G E : B E N B A R N H A R T

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More Mars Mania See video of Dyar discussing the Mars mission, and check today’s weather on the red planet, at alumnae.mtholyoke.edu/marsmission.

As a senior, she worked in a lab at MIT with her adviser’s colleague, who encouraged her to apply to MIT’s graduate program. Although Dyar had envisioned field geology, the graduate program funding was for analyzing lunar samples— both those brought back by missions to the moon and those that landed on Earth as meteorites. She launched a career studying planetary sciences, never imagining that the oncein-a-lifetime experience of being part of a NASA mission lay ahead of her.

Liberal-Arts Thinking The Mars Science Lab team numbers 406 scientists, almost

Darby Dyar had been involved with NASA’s Curiosity project for seven years before its August 2012 landing on Mars.

Genesis Berlanga ’11 came to Dyar’s lab his senior year after a summer internship at NASA. Berlanga, whom Dyar calls “a whiz at instrumentation programming,” says he had “the right set of programming skills to tackle the task of automating the LIBS setup in the lab.” Now lab manager for the Space Research/SRE Optics Lab at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Berlanga still is involved in the Mars Science Lab project. “I work long-distance and come to Mount Holyoke every few months to update and maintain the software for our LIBS setup,” he says.

A Geologist Evolves As an undergraduate at Wellesley College in the ’70s, Dyar studied—and loved—art history. She hadn’t planned ever to take a science class in college, until she learned it was a graduation requirement. She says she sought out the “easiest” science course, and on the first day of her geology class, she says, “walked in the back door of the auditorium to sit in the very back seat and show extreme disinterest.” Enter a female professor, who showed pictures of rocks and explained what was happening to them. The classroom experience was not so different from an art-history seminar, Dyar thought, and it matched her learning style as “a very visual and analytical person.” That geology class was so “profoundly enlightening” that Dyar took more geology courses and, along the way, rediscovered the world through her new scientist’s eyes.

all of whom are employed by large research institutions. More than once, Dyar has been asked, “Why would you want to work in a place like [Mount Holyoke]?” She responds that “faculty at liberal arts colleges are world-class researchers who also respect and care about quality undergraduate teaching.” Mount Holyoke may not confer doctoral degrees, she says, but the research her students and others at the College are doing is doctorate-level. Dyar hopes that the visibility of her work on the Mars project may help to change the way people think about liberal-arts colleges. Curiosity is a high-profile mission, and it’s more sophisticated than the three previous Mars rovers. The implications of the discoveries that the Mars Science Lab is on track to make are in the news almost daily, and everyone has wanted to talk to Dyar since the landing. She’s done interviews for newspapers, websites, and radio. President Obama even called to congratulate the science team. “It’s a delightful windfall,” Dyar says of all of the attention. While Dyar is only one of a large group of engineers, scientists, and students working on the Mars Science Lab project, the data collected by Curiosity and analyzed in her laboratory may very well someday answer what Dyar calls “the most profound human question”—are we alone in the universe? She believes that determining what life looks like on other planets has the potential to reshape the human experience. What that life is, what it is made of, and what it looks like could stretch beyond the boundaries of our current imaginations. “It is incredibly exciting to work on a science team and on a current mission,” Dyar says, perhaps downplaying the significance of the project that may someday lead to the next big step: a human mission to Mars. Q

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Dana Rubin ’12 tries the bicycle-powered trash-hauling method used by Florence, Massachusetts’s Pedal People.

Grease-Car Odyssey Dana Rubin ’12 and Hannah Blackmer ’12 Hit the Road, Seeking Sustainable-Living Ideas By C h r i s t i n a B a r b e r - J u s t P H OTO g r a p h S BY B EN B ARNHART

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On Labor Day weekend, a white Mercedes pulled up in front of the Pedal People house in Florence, Massachusetts. The car, a 1991 model that runs on alternative fuels, disgorged Dana Rubin and Hannah Blackmer, a pair of environmentalstudies majors from the class of 2012. They had come to interview Alex Jarrett and Brett Constantine about their worker-owned, bicycle-based hauling-and-delivery business, but were excited by everything they saw at the house, which abuts a rail trail: A solar panel! A clothesline! Rain barrels! Compost! A garden! These were exactly the sorts of small-scale, practical, and cost-effective solutions to living sustainably that Rubin and Blackmer were seeking to highlight on their “Search for Convenient Resilience,” a cross-country road trip that had kicked off twenty-four hours earlier in their home state of Vermont. Interviews with ecological innovators were at the heart of the project. Rubin set up the pair’s videography equipment near a picnic table in the backyard, explaining that the Canon video camera and other items were on loan from the Regional Educational Technology Network in Burlington, Vermont, which broadcast their interviews on public-access television stations across the Green Mountain State. As bikers, joggers, dog walkers, and others made their way down the rail trail, Rubin filmed while Blackmer peppered Jarrett and Constantine with questions about how Pedal People collect trash and recyclables using bikes outfitted with cargo trailers. Afterward, Jarrett invited the two to take a Pedal People bike—complete with loaded trailer—for a spin. After a few wobbles, Rubin got the hang of it. “Oh, it’s not that bad at all!” she said. “I’m gonna become a Pedal Person!” Blackmer, up next, flawlessly executed a tight turn. “This,” she said, smiling, “would be an awesome job.”

B ELOW, LEFT:

Hannah Blackmer ’12 interviews Pedal People. Their car, “Princess Frywalker,” runs on vegetable oil.

B ELOW, RIG H T:

W h e n “ Wac k y ” Wor k s The Search for Convenient Resilience website, convenientresilience.com, says Rubin and Blackmer’s friendship was forged over “good cheddar, good brews, good humor, and passion for environmental awareness.” Good books also played an important role, especially Frances Moore Lappé’s EcoMind: Changing the Way We Think, to Create the World We Want, which the pair read in Professor of Environmental Studies Lauret Savoy’s senior seminar. “The book was incredibly inspiring and encouraged us to really take a leading role in the next phase of our lives—to lead with intention,” Rubin says. So, during the spring semester of their senior year, they teamed up to do an independent study under the supervision of Professor of Geography Thomas Millette. Weekly meetings with Millette helped Rubin and Blackmer turn a nebulous concept having something to do with the environment into the Search for Convenient Resilience, a fullfledged project with a logo, website, blog, Facebook page, Twitter account, YouTube channel, ambitious itinerary, and $15,000 fundraising goal. Although Millette was involved in the project from the beginning, he gives Rubin and Blackmer all the credit. “They really made this happen,” he says. “When you’re as old as I am, you’ve seen lots of students come into your office with wacky ideas, and they never amount to anything. This was a wacky idea that really did mature and turn into something.” Rubin and Blackmer raised funds the old-fashioned way—asking family members, friends, and MHC professors for money—as well as the newfangled way—creating a campaign on Indiegogo, a crowd-source-funding website similar to Kickstarter. They also secured the financial support of corporations and nonprofits. EcoMind author Lappé’s Small Planet Institute, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, chipped

in, as did Mount Holyoke’s Miller Worley Center for the Environment, whose director, Associate Professor of Environmental Studies Timothy Farnham, calls the Search for Convenient Resilience a “great, inventive project.”

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U p dat e : The duo posted to Facebook on January 1 that their car, stolen in October, was back! When asked how, they replied simply, “miracles.” Niagar a Falls

“THE BEAN”

Glacier, MT

Portland, OR

Bozeman, MT

Middletown Springs, VT Buffalo, NY

Minneapolis, MN

Yellowstone National Park, WY Black Hills, SD

Northampton, MA

Williamstown, MA Boston, MA New Paltz, NY Cambridge, MA

St. Paul, MN Ann Arbor, MI Detroit, MI

New York, NY Brooklyn, NY

Chicago, IL

Sacramento, CA Fairfield, IA Stanford, CA

Stelle, IL

Kokomo, IN

Washington, DC

Rutledge, MO

Boulder, CO Denver, CO

Charlottesville, VA

St. Louis, MO

Asheville, NC

Taos, NM

Los Angeles, CA

Cleveland, OH Burton, OH

North Myrtle Beach, SC Atlanta, GA

San Diego, CA

Austin, TX

KEY

Part of the Trip Phone Interviews

GR AND TETONS

The Odyssey continues online. The grease-car duo documented their odyssey extensively through blog posts, photos, and interviews with the ecologically minded people whose projects they visited. It’s all at convenientresilience.com.

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WIND FARMS OF ILLINOIS

convenientresilience . com

In the end, they decided to return to Vermont and continue the project from their home base. “We do not feel defeated,” they blogged on October 24. “Rather, we feel empowered and motivated to begin the next branch of our work. Days one through fifty were a phase of amazing research and development, and now we move on to application and outreach”—specifically, expanding their website into an educational resource, and writing a book about their project. If their supporters’ enthusiasm is any indication, Rubin and Blackmer are already a success. “What Dana and Hannah learned and shared with the rest of us will no doubt nudge us all toward a more sustainable way of living,” MHC Professor of Geology Al Werner says. “To be sure, having their car stolen halfway through their trip was unfortunate, but here too they remind us to not give up when things get difficult. We were very proud of them as they launched their trip, and we are even more proud of how they faced this adversity and are moving forward. Their journey is far from over!” Q

P H O T O S C O U R T E S y of

D ri v i n g “ P ri n c e ss F ry wa l k e r ” Rubin and Blackmer’s single biggest expense was their car, a 22-year-old Mercedes-Benz 300D with 135,000 miles on it. It runs on filtered waste vegetable oil and other biofuels, and they filled up the tank at biodiesel stations whenever possible. “Back in the day, diesel engines were designed to run on vegetable oil,” they wrote in an email. “Old diesel engines are perfect for biodiesel/diesel cocktails and don’t require conversions. We pour our alternative fuel into the tank just like you would gasoline.” The car, which Rubin and Blackmer named Princess Frywalker, ferried the pair across the country. They stayed with friends and relatives, and conducted interviews with people who model small-scale sustainability. They planned to fashion not only blog posts but also webisodes and podcasts out of the interviews, in hopes of inspiring others by example. “‘Monkey see, monkey do’ is really what we’re built on,” Blackmer says. Their travels came to an abrupt halt on the forty-eighth day of the project, when Princess Frywalker was stolen outside Rubin’s cousin’s suburban home in Sacramento, California. In addition to the car, which hasn’t been recovered, and its supply of grease, the pair lost their videography equipment, laptops, wallets, camping gear, and other personal belongings. “We are still so shocked,” they wrote in an October 19 email, “but are doing our best to stay positive.”


Sustainability 101 Coast-to-coast interviews by Dana Rubin ’12 and Hannah Blackmer ’12 with people reducing their environmental impact yielded heaps of information about how to be more sustainable. Here, they offer some of their favorite tips. ADVICE Share stuff.

ADVICE Grow some of your own food.

WHY? There’s no need for every house on the block to have its own snow blower, lawn mower, and so forth. We consume too much.

WHY? The more food we produce ourselves, the less we’re dependent on food conglomerates. Plus, it’s just plain rewarding to pull, say, a squash from your own garden.

“We all love having our own set of pruning shears, but if we stop to think about it, how often do we actually use them? Sometimes it’s hard to justify that we actually get our money’s worth with a once-or-twice-a-year need.” INSPIRATION Wolf Bravo, of Marbletown, New York, who started a community tool cooperative

“Small areas can be extremely productive; you don’t need a lot of space to grow a large percentage of your own food.” INSPIRATION Harvest Moon Backyard Farmers, of Minneapolis, which helps green-thumbchallenged homeowners and businesses establish their own gardens ONLINE goo.gl/Xq94d

ONLINE goo.gl/O7Ovu

ADVICE Schedule a free home-energy

audit.

WHY? Increasing your home’s energy efficiency in ways large (solar panels) and small (compact fluorescent light bulbs) saves money.

“Being more sustainable is cost effective.” INSPIRATION 2100 Lakeside Emergency Men’s Shelter, in Cleveland, which cut costs by installing waterless urinals and low-flow showerheads and faucets, among other initiatives ONLINE goo.gl/HRmMx

ADVICE Use green building techniques. WHY? Green homes use less energy.

“The idea is to use minimally refined natural materials that are available in the local environment (such as clay, wood, and straw) as well as reclaimed materials from recycling centers and dumps (such as wood and glass) to build beautiful, affordable living spaces.” INSPIRATION Chris McClellan, of Burton, Ohio, a member of the nonprofit Natural Building Network ONLINE goo.gl/HB3ir

ADVICE Swap driving for biking. WHY? Biking cuts down on carbon emissions. It’s good for you, and good for the planet.

“With rising gas prices, we have two routes: [We can] continue to rely on nonrenewable fossil fuels, or we can change the system by addressing transportation at the root. Diversifying the way in which we travel will strengthen community resilience by providing cleaner and safer transit ways.” INSPIRATION Community Design Group, of Minneapolis, an urban-planning firm that advocates for bike transit ONLINE goo.gl/dziD9

ADVICE Reduce and reuse, rather than recycle. WHY? Recycling uses energy. Plastic, aluminum, cardboard, and other recycled materials have to be broken down before they can be repurposed.

“Take the challenge of looking into the depths of your closet and removing those dusty sweaters you haven’t worn since junior high. Give [them] a second life with a redesign or hand [them] off to your local Goodwill franchise.” INSPIRATION Elui Hernandez, of Denver, who turns worn-out jeans into purses and clutches ONLINE goo.gl/biihg

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Alumnae wine experts discuss their passion, and what to pour in your glass tonight

Time in W R I T T E N By K a r a B a s kin ’ 0 0

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a Bottle P H OTO G R A P H S By D eirdre H a ber M a l fatto

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W

ine is a tim e c a psule. Every b ottle tell s a story,”

says Nicole Brun-Cottan FP ’05, who gave up a career in glass artistry in 2008 and moved to Sonoma County, California, to apprentice at a winery. She lived in a 350-square-foot home with an outhouse, three miles from paved roads, working for free with no vacation to learn every aspect of the business. Today she has her very own label, called girl. dog. truck.

Such is the draw of wine. Complex, mysterious, so alluring—the provenance of a select few who possess the right palate, the right vocabulary, and the right budget. That’s the popular misconception, anyway. But the vibrant Mount Holyoke alumnae beguiled by the world of wine—from vintners to chefs to teachers—say that it draws people together through history, discovery, and camaraderie. “Whose hands were harvesting these grapes? How old is the land? Is it family-owned? There’s a surprise in every glass,” says Vermont-based Corey Burdick ’02, who has worked in both the corporate and restaurant sides of the wine business.

but opted to flee New York City for upstate New York’s Columbia County, an area with a rich agricultural history. They bought an old farmhouse on fourteen acres in 2006, planted their first thousand grapevines in May 2006, and opened a tasting room the following year. “We traveled extensively and always went to wineries whenever we were on vacation,” De Vito recalls. “On our ten-year anniversary, we went to ‘wine camp’ on Long Island, a behind-the-scenes introduction to winemaking and running a vineyard. My husband took it really seriously. He said, ‘Hey, we could do this!’ Our ‘rosé-colored glasses’ were firmly in place,” she jokes. While her husband still commutes to his day job in New York City, Dominique’s career has been consumed by wine. The family’s Hudson-Chatham Winery is Columbia County’s first. The intensity of building a vineyard from scratch isn’t for everyone, but “complete vineyard packages come up for sale all the time,” she says, “You can even be a ‘garagista’—making wine in your garage with a kit.”

Pulling Up Roots to L ay Down Vines

Uncorking a bottle and pouring wine into a glass is a relaxing ritual, but actually running a vineyard is a painstaking process— a calling, really—that requires devotion and upheaval. Before operating her family’s vineyard, Molly De Hetre Meeker ’74 worked with legendary television producer Norman Lear. Her husband, Charlie, a longtime wine aficionado, was the head of MGM Studios in Los Angeles. A charmed life, but ultimately they decided to abandon it in favor of a quieter existence running their own winery in Sonoma County, where she and her husband now play the blues, greet visitors, and work alongside their grown son, Lucas. “It’s a way of putting your name on something that you did that’s also associated with happy times. People are generally having a good time when they’re drinking wine.” She’s proud of running a “good family-owned winery”—The Meeker Vineyard—which was hailed by the Wall Street Journal as one of the best wine-tasting experiences in Napa and Sonoma counties. Dominique Hoover De Vito ’83 tells a similar story. She and her husband, Carlo, had successful careers in publishing

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Dominique Hoover De Vito ’83, enjoying the fruits of her labor at Hudson-Chatham Winery


WINE Wisdom With so many wines, how do you choose? Our alumnae experts share their favorite budget wines and splurge wines to guide your choices at alumnae.mtholyoke.edu/wine. Cheers!

Choosing the Right Wine

It’s possible to step outside your wine comfort zone without launching your very own vineyard, though. On a smaller scale, Nicole Brun-Cottan suggests experimenting with new wines at tasting parties. “Everyone can bring a bottle that they’ve never heard of to keep costs down,” she says. Meeker also suggests joining a wine club, in which a winery will send customers shipments of different types of wine for a discount. It’s a reliable, low-risk way to experiment with wines until you find a favorite, all while supporting one winery. Behind-the-scenes experimentation is fine, of course, but what about the big business dinner or the crucial first date? It’s tempting to stare down a mile-long wine list and grasp at whatever looks familiar. Alana O’Neal ’07 works at Two Sisters Bar and Books in San Francisco’s Hayes Valley neighborhood. Two Sisters is known for its wine list—and she’s used to easing patrons into trying new bottles of wine. “There can be this belief around wine that you’re tasting it ‘wrong’ somehow, if you don’t have the vocabulary or because you weren’t raised with it. You’re not doing anything wrong by just enjoying it,” she says. At restaurants, don’t be afraid to ask for a sample of a by-the-glass wine you’re curious about; most places will happily oblige. If you do find something you love, by all means, pull out the iPhone and snap a photo. “Take a pic of the label and bring it back to your wine shop,” Meeker says. “You’ll look informed.”

Of course, that involves finding the right wine shop. When buying wines for home, “The best thing to do is go to a local wine or liquor store and get to know the staff,” says De Vito. “Talk to the owner. He or she will be your expert.” It’s important to find a shop where you feel welcome and comfortable having a conversation. To help your wine seller, be prepared to answer the following questions: “Do you like red or white? People kind of know that. Then basic characteristics: fruity, sweet, dry? People tend to have a sense of what they like. And then be ready to discuss how much you want to spend. It’s a matter of personal taste,” she says. “It’s like making a spaghetti sauce. People have this idea in their head of what a perfect one tastes like. When they cook at home, they make it taste how they want. Wine is the same. Your impression of a fruity red might not be mine,” she says. Finding your personal favorite is a subjective process.

In Vino Veritas—The Truth Behind Wine Myths Red or white? Fruity or dry? And what if it gives me a headache? Wine instructor Caroline Hermann ’92 is pursuing the rigorous master of wine program at the London-based Institute of Masters of Wine. She fields all sorts of wine-related questions as an instructor at Whole Foods in Washington, DC, and at the Capital Wine School. She offered to dispel a few myths. Organic wine is healthier than conventional wine. As opposed to organically grown grapes, conventional grapes could be sprayed with synthetic pesticides, and could carry these chemicals into the wine. But, she says, “most producers stop spraying weeks before harvest, thereby reducing any risk of pesticide residue.” Many producers don’t list organic practices on labels because they may not be fully certified as organic for a variety of reasons. Think regionally instead; if grapes are grown in a humid environment, rot is more prevalent and the likelihood of spraying increases. Grapes grown in hot dry climates such as California, Southern France, or Italy may not require spraying.

Wine sulfites cause headaches. “Dried fruit can contain far more sulfites than wine,” she says. Sulfites are widely used for commercially made wine because they act as an antioxidant and help keep the wine fresh. They occur naturally in wine, and most winemakers, whether organic or conventional, use very small amounts of sulfur dioxide as an antioxidant and antibacterial agent throughout the harvesting, winemaking, and bottling process. More often than not, headaches are caused by dehydration. So put away the Advil; just drink plenty of water before and while you enjoy your wine.

The higher the price, the better the wine. Sometimes customers ask for my best, most expensive wines. “Best” is subjective, and “most expensive” might not translate into a wine that the customer will like. The best wine is the one that suits your personal taste and fits a particular meal or occasion. A $10 red wine might be perfect with pizza, while a $1,000 Bordeaux could need years of aging before consuming. Often, price includes perceived reputation, critics’ scores, and marketing costs, which have little to do with the wine’s taste. There are more well-made wines on the market today at a good value than ever before because vineyard and winemaking techniques have improved so much.

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If you do want to brush up on your wine vocabulary before chatting with your friendly wine professional, invest in an aroma wheel. Abigail Hitchcock ’94, chef-owner at New York City’s Camaje Bistro and a certified sommelier, says that “an aroma wheel helps you decide what you’re smelling. There are hundreds of thousands of things you can smell. It’s a pie chart that breaks down smells into categories such as fruit or chemical, and further breaks them down into, for example, berries vs. citrus, then further into strawberries vs. blueberries, and so on.” University of California–Davis Professor Emerita Ann C. Noble developed the wheel, and it’s available online starting at $6—the perfect treat for an aspiring oenophile. Also, don’t turn up your nose if your wine seller suggests a wine with a screw-cap top. Although once derided as the hallmark of a lesser wine, these days it’s common. In fact, sometimes it’s better, because cork oak can infect the wine. Explains Meeker, “It just takes one little micron. And the most dangerous part is, if it’s badly corked, the wine will smell like mildew or a wet dog in a phone booth. You should smell fruit.” Hitchcock agrees: “The cork is there to have the vineyard or name of the wine on it. It is trying to prove that the wine in the bottle is what it should be. Screw caps are totally OK.” Even though it’s thrilling to hear that “thwoop” when a cork is pulled—a screw cap isn’t as ceremonious—there’s absolutely no shame in a screw-top wine. Stocking Your Cell ar

Despite your personal preferences for red or white, cork or cap, bold or light, it’s considerate to have people-pleasing wines on hand for guests. Corey Burdick recommends chardonnay aged in stainless steel: “It doesn’t hit you in the face. It’s not oaky or buttery. Chardonnay gets a bad rap. Also, in the white field, stock a good chenin blanc—it’s just a crowd-pleaser. It has some slight sweetness, a little minerality, it’s an interesting wine, and there’s almost nobody in a group who will spit it out.” As for reds, she recommends stocking a light-bodied pinot noir, since many wine novices shy away from bolder reds. It’s also wise to avoid high-alcohol-content wines. Says O’Neal, “If you’re looking for something to enjoy with food and other people, I typically look for wines that are lower in

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alcohol content. Alcohol dulls your palate. It doesn’t make for good long-term drinking. By the time you finish the glass, you’re not tasting it anymore. At 15 or 16 percent, you’re not in tasting territory.” Every bottle of wine advertises its alcohol content on the label. As a rule, red wines tend to be higher in alcohol than whites. Of course, beyond taste and budget, it’s important to find wineries worth supporting. It’s easy to go for a wine that has a cute label, even if that wine is from a large distributor that might not be especially innovative or eco-friendly. Says BrunCottan, “So much of wine is completely mechanized, paint by numbers. A large company has a product that they want to be the same every year, because the clientele is used to it. They can’t take a risk.” Burdick suggests reading Wine Spectator or Wine Enthusiast to get a sense of the playing field. She tries to support small, independent, woman-owned wineries. “I’m reluctant to purchase the big labels. How much care is going into the process? I also keep my eye out for women producers. There are more and more women in the wine world now,” she says. Learning about the people who are actually making the product adds a whole new dimension to the experience. As Brun-Cottan says, “Wine’s a unique expression of a constellation of variables, a particular geography of place and season, and the choices made by all the people who handle the fruit.” Wine instructor Caroline Hermann ’92, who is based in Washington, DC, suggests getting ideas from a knowledgeable wine seller or a friend who enjoyed a particular bottle, or exploring a certain grape by trying it from different countries. Another approach is to find an importer whose portfolio you like. Two nationally known importers are Kermit Lynch in Berkeley, California, and Robert Kacher in Washington, DC. Both importers work with small, sustainable family-owned winemakers, mostly in Europe, and bring back to the States wines at all prices. Why is wine so magical? “It is a product that is both a science and an art, alive and changing in the bottle and, once poured, in the glass,” says Hermann. “Wine can enhance both a meal and conversation—and it makes people happy.” We’ll drink to that. Q


alumnaematters

TAY L O R S C O T T

Black Alumnae Conference Revived “Claiming Our Legacy, Making Our Mark” In the early 1970s, black women at Mount Holyoke recognized the need for a gathering where alumnae and students could network, reflect, and engage. Thus they began the Black Alumnae Conference, and for many years black women have returned to campus to reunite and reinvigorate. The Black Alumnae Conference was revived this past fall, with the help of the College, the Alumnae Association, and cochairs Kimberly Hebert Gregory ’94 and Maxine Roberts ’95. The event explored activism through the theme “Claiming Our Legacy, Making Our Mark.” In addition to almost sixty students, sixty-four alumnae from around the country arrived at the Willits-Hallowell Center on Friday night for a special reception and dinner with keynote speaker Soledad O’Brien, anchor and special correspondent for CNN. Afterward, O’Brien ended the College’s 175th anniversary celebrations and kicked off the Black Alumnae Conference, addressing a crowded Chapin Auditorium on the topic “Women of Influence: Reaching Out to the Next Generation,” in which she shared her journey to international success and the importance of persistence and bravery when pursuing one’s dreams. “My mother told me, ‘If you wait for people to give you permission to do things, you may be waiting a really long time,’ ” O’Brien said. Saturday was a busy day of networking, panel discussions, and small-group sessions that eventually wound down with cocktails, dinner, and late-night M&Cs at the Betty Shabazz Cultural Center. Discussions throughout the weekend ranged from career choices to balancing family to reinventing oneself. In the “Building Our New ‘Old Girls’ Network’” session, each participant told the crowd a little about herself. It became apparent that an amazing group of women had gathered in one room—a Fortune 500 retiree, an ordained minister, a former judge, an assistant attorney general, many teachers, scholars, and lawyers; nonprofit organizers, a Department of Defense employee, and students who were either double majoring or creating their own courses of study. They had come together to help and learn from one another, and that they did. The last session was a touching conversation with Mary Williamson McHenry ’54 (at right in bottom photo). The MHC professor emeritus of English, who taught from 1974 to 1999, is credited with bringing African American literature to the College. Participants encircled McHenry as she related what it was like to be one of three black students attending Mount Holyoke. The crowd was enthralled, and afterward a long line formed of women hoping to have their photo taken with her and to thank McHenry for her contributions to the College. The Black Alumnae Conference provided wonderful opportunities for learning, networking, and growing. Alumnae were thrilled to be back on campus during the beautiful November weekend, where they reconnected with old friends and mentors and reached out to new ones. Mou n t Ho lyo k e Al u m na e Qua r t e r ly

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Wanted: International Alumnae to Serve as “Ambassadors”

BEN BARNHART

If you live abroad, love your alma mater, and want to help spread the word about it—but don’t necessarily have a ton of time to do so—the Alumnae Association has created a new volunteer position that just might have your name on it: ambassador. The position, officially called “country (regional) ambassador,” entails serving as a first point of contact for alumnae interested in your country or region and answering questions from local residents interested in the College.

Reminder: 2013 Reunion Changes Class distribution at reunion will be changed beginning in 2013 in order to accommodate affinity groups, simplify the reunion process for alumnae in general, and boost the numbers of alumnae returning for both gatherings. The need for two reunions stems from the lack of space on campus during Reunion I, when seniors are still present. Prefer one weekend to the other? Many alumnae do, while others don’t have a preference. By alternating weekends among graduation years we hope to satisfy everyone and encourage greater attendance. Reunion 2013 Reunion I: May 17–19 1943, 1953, 1963, 1973, 1983, 1988, 1993, 2003, 2011 Reunion II: May 24–26 1938, 1948, 1958, 1968, 1978, 1998, 2008

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The Association is seeking alumnae living in parts of the world not already served by an international club or informal group to fill the position for a term of at least a year. “The ambassador position was conceived as giving a real face and presence in a distant region and to do what alumnae do well—help people get what they need— either directly or by getting them to the right resource,” says Alison Tarleau Bourey ’69, the member of the Association’s Volunteer Stewardship Committee who came up with the idea. “If there was a prospective parent who had questions about the College, the country (regional) ambassador could connect that parent with the admission office, for example,” Bourey says. “She would be a welcoming presence, not necessarily an expert on every facet of the College.” Katie Glockner Seymour ’79, chair of the Volunteer Stewardship Committee and a member of the Association’s Board of Directors, says she’s excited about the position because it represents a new kind of volunteer opportunity. “The Volunteer Stewardship Committee has been thinking about women’s lives, and how we all fit in volunteer work during various life stages,” Seymour says. “Increasingly, we see the need for very flexible volunteer experiences that still let alumnae make a difference for MHC and the Association.” The new position fits the description. It’s self-directed and doesn’t require a big time commitment. “If an ambassador had time to pull together others in her area for a lunch out, for example, she could do so,” Seymour says. “But if she didn’t, she could also be effective by simply contacting women in her area and letting others know she was there to assist on questions about the Association or the College.” Seymour hopes the position will catch on—and take off. “We would love for as many people to step forward as possible,” she says. “I think we couldn’t have too many ambassadors, because this really increases the power of our [alumnae] network, and it increases Mount Holyoke’s visibility. It would be lovely to one day have somebody in every region of the world where we have relationships.” To volunteer, contact Maya D’Costa, the Alumnae Association’s director of international and domestic clubs, at mdcosta@mtholyoke.edu or 413-538-2066. —Christina Barber-Just


J ohn K uchle

A silent auction was part of the club’s 100-year celebration.

The Sazerac is a classic New Orleans cocktail.

alumnaematters

When Margaret McDowell Smith ’49 discovered the minutes from the MHC Club of Puget Sound’s first meeting, she was thrilled. Dated December 11, 1911, the document indicated that the club was more than a century old. Club members realized that a birthday party was in order and enlisted the help of the MHC Archives and Special Collections to verify the club’s origins. They discovered that the Club of Puget Sound was originally part of the Northwest Club, which included the cities of Chicago, Seattle, and Portland, and was founded in 1874. “So it really turned into a celebration of so many things,” says Lisa Tompkins ’82, president of the Puget Sound Club. “We celebrated the 175th anniversary of the College, the 138th anniversary of the Northwest Club, and the 100th anniversary of the Club of Puget Sound.” The festivities took place on September 29, 2012, at the Women’s University Club in Seattle. “One hundred years in a place like Seattle is really special,” says Tompkins, “so we wanted to do something big to inspire all ages to keep propelling the club forward.” The event drew more than 160 guests, which included alumnae representing every decade from the 1940s to the present, prospective students, and the families of current students. Also attending were special guests President Lynn Pasquerella ’80, President of the Board of Trustees Mary Graham Davis ’65, and Trustee David Wilson. The night was a whirlwind gala. The Odyssey Bookshop made a generous donation toward the silent auction, which raised approximately $1,100 for a scholarship fund; Ann Reynolds ’77 played jazz music for the social hour; artisan Kathryn Wineman Van Wagenen ’69 created sterling silver pendants as thank-you gifts; and wine was brought in from the family vineyards of Edie Swanson Middleton ’54. Tompkins hopes that the event’s success will give the club the momentum it needs to keep going for another 100 years.

B rian S amuels , athoughtforfood . net

MH Club of Puget Sound Celebrates 100 Years

New Orleans Club Celebrates MHC by Stormin’ the Sazerac For nearly half the twentieth century, when women in New Orleans wanted to drink the famous Sazerac cocktail—a mixture of whiskey, bitters, and absinthe—they had to wait until Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras), the only day of the year they were allowed in bars. Yet on September 26, 1949, a group of thirsty women stormed the Sazerac Bar at the famous Roosevelt Hotel and demanded to be served. Taken aback, the bartender obliged, and from that day forward women were welcome in drinking establishments around the city. The Mount Holyoke Club of Louisiana hosted a get-together in this historic locale in September, celebrating MHC sisterhood alongside the right for women to “partake” in public watering holes any day of the year. Alumnae stopped by to network, socialize, and reminisce. In addition to area alumnae, a special group of friends from the class of 1973 joined the celebrations. These alumnae had traveled to New Orleans from around the country, and were pleased to find an MHC club event occurring during their stay. Joanne Henig ’73, Beth Burgeson ’73, Wendy Leys Rudolph ’73, and Deborah Allen Carey ’73 were in town to attend the wedding of the son of their former classmate, Maida Magee Riess ’73, who passed away in 1999. The groom had personally reached out to his mother’s friends, saying that their presence at his wedding would make him feel as if his mother were in attendance as well—a true testament to how far the MHC bond extends.

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Indelible Images: Visual Art by Alumnae Artists Melissa A. Smith ’87 has always been inspired by the outdoors—from the rolling hills of North Carolina where she grew up, to the beauty of Western Massachusetts when she was at Mount Holyoke, to the sweeping landscape of the Gulf Coast where she currently lives. Smith received a bachelor of fine arts from MHC, and a master of fine arts in painting at Tulane University. Her work was recently published in the book, A Unique Slant of Light: The Bicentennial of Art in Louisiana and will be included in a group show of Gulf Coast landscapes at the Jean Bragg Gallery in New Orleans this coming May. Smith painted Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, Katrina Plus Six Months from the beach where she took walks before Hurricane Katrina’s thirty-foot storm surge damaged or destroyed many buildings in the small coastal town. Shortly before the storm, Smith began dividing her panoramic paintings into sections. Dividing the paintings helped relay the passage of time through contrasts of weather, lighting, or seasons. For this painting, Smith says, “Breaking the view into pieces seemed sadly appropriate. However, the recovery in Bay St. Louis and New Orleans has been remarkable, with a newfound appreciation of our culture and architecture in both places.” A survey of Melissa Smith’s work can be found at melissasmithlandscapes.com.

Melissa Smith’s Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, Katrina Plus Six Months is oil on board. She paints outdoors, often working from a pontoon boat or the back of her SUV.

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A Seeking Awardees Know an incredible alumna who deserves recognition? Each year the Alumnae Association honors several alumnae for their outstanding achievements. We rely on you to share the names of people you’d like to see considered for a variety of awards and recognitions. Visit alumnae. mtholyoke.edu/awardnoms for an explanation of each award and to access the award nomination form. You may also email your suggestions to alumnaeassociation@mtholyoke.edu.

The Alumnae Association Treasurer’s Report for the fiscal year July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2012 is available online at alumnae.mtholyoke. edu/11_12treport. The association’s assets, liabilities, and net assets for the year are included in the report as the Statement of Financial Position. Paper copies of the annual report are also available on request; contact Karen NorthupScudder, senior director of finance and administration, at 413-538-2736.

C ourtesy of M elissa S mith

The Dickinson Museum held its annual Emily Dickinson Poetry Marathon on a crisp September weekend last fall, during which all of the 1,789 poems of the 1849 MHC alumna were read aloud. Professor Martha Ackmann and students from her class Emily Dickinson in Her Times, hosted a special “Mount Holyoke hour,” allowing MHC students, faculty, staff, and alumnae to pitch in with the readings and celebrate the enigmatic writer.

Alumnae Association Treasurer’s Report Now Online

alumnaematters

A Dickinson Marathon

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Sparkle Remade For the past twelve years, Hollywood producer Debra Martin Chase ’77 has been attempting to remake the 1976 film Sparkle. Numerous roadblocks delayed her, among them the death of actress and singer Aaliyah, whom she originally cast in the leading role. Last August, the remake of Sparkle finally made it to the big screen. The culmination of this project held special significance for Chase, who was a close friend of film co-star and coproducer Whitney Houston, who passed away in February 2012.

T yler G olden / N B C

Sparkle, produced by Debra Martin Chase ’77

Michelle Brooks-Thompson ’06 on NBC’s The Voice

Stealing the Show Greeted with a standing ovation from pop star Adam Levine,

Exposing Slave Labor in Thailand’s Fishing Industry In June, National Public Radio aired a series on slavery in the Thai fishing industry. The result of five months of immersion research done by Shannon Service ’97 and her reporting partner Becky Palmstrom, the investigation revealed the disturbing trend of trafficking men from Cambodia and Myanmar and forcing them into slave labor aboard fishing boats. The original story can be heard at npr.org.

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Michelle Brooks-Thompson ’06 wowed the audience with her rendition of “Proud Mary” on NBC’s hit reality television show The Voice. Brooks-Thompson earned her degree in music and currently lives in the Springfield, Massachusetts, area, where she sings at the Holy Trinity Church of God and Christ on Sundays. Watch her blind audition at youtube.com/ NBCTheVoice.


C ourtesy of the E mily D ickinson M useum and the A mherst C ollege A rchives and S pecial C ollections

alumnaematters

Scholars and scientists compare the only authenticated image of Dickinson (left) to the newly surfaced daguerreotype (right).

New Daguerreotype May be Only Second Known Image of Emily Dickinson While the only authenticated image of Emily Dickinson has become an iconic portrait, for the past 125 years scholars and enthusiasts have only been able to peer into the eyes of the inscrutable poet as a sixteen-year-old, nearly twenty years before she produced some of the most celebrated poetry in American history. Recently, though, it was revealed that a private collector has acquired what may be a second daguerreotype of Dickinson, taken c. 1859–1860. Believed to be around age thirty, Emily Dickinson would have sat for the picture roughly ten years after she left Mount Holyoke. The image shows two women seated side by side. The woman on the right is confirmed to be Kate Scott

Turner, a widow and close friend of the Dickinson family. Seated on the left is our mystery woman, purported to be Emily. While it is still unverified that the image is in fact of Dickinson, at least one expert has weighed in and claims that this is no phony. Susan Pepin, director of neuroopthalmology at Dartmouth Medical School, conducted a careful comparison of the early, confirmed daguerreotype with the newly discovered one. Dickinson had astigmatism in one of her eyes, making her pupils asymmetrical, a trait that is apparent in both images. Other physical similarities exist, such as the shape of the right earlobe and the alignment of the area between the nose and

upper lip. Clothing may be yet an additional indicator of identity, as the dress worn by the woman on the left is about a decade out of style (in line with what we know of the reclusive poet), and the fabric in the photo closely matches a swatch owned by the Emily Dickinson Museum. All of this adds up to the promising prospect that the woman on the left is the one of the most enigmatic personas of the literary world. Amherst College and the Emily Dickinson Museum are continuing their investigation with further clothing and image analysis. View video of Dickinson scholar Chris Benfey discussing the portraits at mtholyoke.edu/go/ dickinsonphoto.

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offtheshelf

Words Worth a Second Look Fiction

Nonfiction

Miss Me When I’m Gone

Federico Barocci: Renaissance Master of Color and Line

BY EMILY ARSENAULT

(William Morrow Paperbacks) When Gretchen Waters, divorcee and author of a honky-tonk memoir, dies suddenly, people assume it was a tragic accident. Jamie, Gretchen’s best friend and literary executor, looks through her notebooks and discovers Gretchen’s mission to solve her mother’s murder. She starts to realize the death might not have been an accident after all. Emily Arsenault ’98 is the author of The Broken Teaglass, a New York Times “notable mystery,” and In Search of the Rose Notes, which was chosen as one of the Wall Street Journal’s ten best mysteries of 2011.

Centerville BY KAREN OSBORN

(West Virginia University Press) When a man walks into a busy drugstore with a homemade bomb, the community of a sleepy Midwestern town is changed forever. As the smoke clears over the following days, four lives become entwined in unexpected ways. Visiting assistant professor in English at MHC, Karen Osborn is the author of Patchwork (1991), Between Earth and Sky (1996), and The River Road (2003). Her work has been widely reviewed in places such as the New York Times, USA Today, and the Washington Post. She also received a Notable Book of the Year Award from the New York Times.

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BY JUDITH W. MANN AND BABETTE BOHN

(Yale University Press) Visually and academically stunning, this book takes a comprehensive approach to Italian Renaissance master Federico Barocci, whose boundary-pushing legacy of light and color influenced the artists of the Baroque period and beyond. The nearly 1,500 surviving drawings by the artist offer an especially clear window into his artistic processes. With depth and breadth, this book addresses everything from the influence of his hometown, Urbino, to his use of red underpaint. Judith Walker Mann ’72 is on the Art Museum Advisory Board at Mount Holyoke and is curator of European art to 1800 at Saint Louis Art Museum. She is also the coauthor of Orazio and Artemisia Gentileschi.

The Forensic Historian BY Robert C. WILLIAMS

(M.E. Sharpe) From King Tut to Osama Bin Laden to the sinking of the Titanic to the Kennedy assassination, forensics is filling in the gaps of some of the world’s most well-known mysteries. Williams examines the intersection of history and modern science to help explain events from the past, centuries later. The book is dedicated to Mildred Trotter ’20, who used forensics to identify fallen WWII soldiers. Bob Williams is the husband of Ann Kingman Williams ’60, the son of Dorothy Chadwell Vinton ’30, and the grandson of Mabel Margaret Hubbard Chadwell 1903. He is the author of several dozen books. His book Russian Art and American Money 1900–1940 was nominated by Harvard University Press for the Pulitzer Prize in 1980.


Homefront & Battlefield: Quilts & Context in the Civil War

BY HILDE WEISERT AND ELIZABETH ARNOLD STONE

BY LYNNE BASSETT

(Ontario Veterinary College) This collection of stories, poems, and essays centers on the complexity of human-animal friendships—from the tragic to the hilarious. The topics range from veterinarians and their animal patients to animals in our homes and in our imaginations. Hilde Weisert ’66 coedited this anthology, which also includes a poem by Marjory Heath Wentworth ’80.

Georgia: A Political History Since Independence BY STEPHEN JONES

(I.B. Tauris & Company)

Jones presents an in-depth analysis of Georgia’s current political and economic condition. Going beyond the clichés that have been typical of much contemporary commentary on Georgia, he examines the political culture, social relations, local government, and employment of the complex region, giving readers a sense of the transformation within the country and the rise of new interests, values, and groups. Professor of Russian studies at MHC, Jones is the author of several books on contemporary events in the former Soviet empire, and regularly briefs the CIA and US State Department on developments in Caucasia and the North Caucasus.

(American Textile History Museum) Lynne Zacek Bassett and cocurator Madelyn Shaw weave together the complex history of the Civil War through textiles. From cotton plantations in the South to the flags waved on the battlefield, textiles witnessed the entire conflict. After years of research, Bassett and Shaw compiled a collection of quilts and related objects to tell this intricate story. Lynne Zacek Bassett ’83 is an award-winning scholar who specializes in New England’s historic costume and textiles. She also edited and wrote Massachusetts Quilts: Our Common Wealth.

Mobilizing Bolivia’s Displaced By NICOLE FABRICANT

(University of North Carolina Press) Bolivia’s first indigenous president, Evo Morales, was elected in 2005 and symbolized a fundamental victory for social activists and native peoples of the Landless Peasant Movement. Fabricant demonstrates how landless peasants came together to influence Bolivian politics, and the ways in which Morales often found himself at odds with the activists. Nicole Fabricant ’99 received her MHC degree in urban anthropology and her PhD from Northwestern University in 2009.

offtheshelf

Animal Companions, Animal Doctors, Animal People

Racial Democracy and the Black Metropolis: Housing Policy in Postwar Chicago

Silencing the Self Across Cultures: Depression and Gender in the Social World

By pRESTON H. SMITH II

EDITED BY DANA CROWLEY JACK AND ALISHA ALI

(University of Minnesota Press) Smith reframes the housing debates in Chicago after the Second World War, going beyond black and white politics to the class conflicts among African Americans. The book brings to light an unaddressed history of class struggle within the African American community that contributed to a legacy of stunning class segregation, still visible today in the Chicago housing market and in other major metropolitan areas across the country. Preston H. Smith II is an associate professor of politics at Mount Holyoke; he also contributed to Renewing Black Intellectual History: The Ideological and Material Foundations of African American Thought.

(Oxford University Press) Dana Crowley Jack and coeditor Alisha Ali take their research global as they attempt to explain the links among self-silencing, depression, and gender. Twentyone people from thirteen countries contributed, and the results were groundbreaking. This book was awarded the 2011 Ursula Gielen Global Psychology Book Award. Dana Crowley Jack ’67 teaches at Western Washington University’s Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies, specializing in the areas of culture, gender, and psyche.

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Books for Children & Young Adults Lara ve Sirlar Sehri/ Lara und die Stadt der Geheimnisse By ARZU GURZ ABAY

Poetry tasted BY MARION BROWN

(Finishing Line Press) In her small twenty-one-page chapbook, Marion Brown’s poems range from playfulness to seriousness. Food is the theme that holds this collection together. Her delectable descriptions often offer food as a metaphor for the human impulse of desire. Marion Schneider Brown ’67 lives with her husband in Yonkers, New York, and spends time in the Adirondacks.

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(Schulbuchverlag Anadolu) A tale of friendship and discovery, “Lara and the City of Secrets” takes us on an adventurous tour through Istanbul and its multifaceted history. Our young guides, a Turkish girl living in Germany and a Jewish girl from Istanbul, reveal secrets about their own lives as they unlock mysteries about this mosaic city that has been a peaceful home to Muslims, Christians, and Jews for centuries. The book was published in German and Turkish. Arzu Gurz Abay ’94 lives in Germany with her husband and two daughters. This is her second bilingual children’s book (Leyla and Linda Celebrate Ramadan was published in 2011).

What I Love About You, Mom BY KATE LACY MARSHALL AND DAVID MARSHALL

(Plume) This guided journal offers a fresh way for kids, young and old, to say “I love you, Mom.” The interactive keepsake includes writing prompts, checklists, and space for photos and drawings. Kate Lacy Marshall ’81 coordinates an adult literacy program in the San Francisco Bay Area. She and her husband, David, have authored seven other guided journals.

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More Books For descriptions of these books, go to alumnae.mtholyoke.edu/morebooks_w13 Frozen BY CARLA TOMASO ’72 (Carma Press) Moved by Politics BY GERHARD LOEWENBERG (Gray Pearl Press) Watch Me Disappear BY DIANE VANASKIE MULLIGAN ’01 (CreateSpace) You Can’t Win If You Don’t Play BY DAVID T. BARRY WITH LYNNE C. LEVESQUE, EdD ’66 (Shadow Press)


A Closer Look

Acclaimed debut novelist Hanna Pylväinen ’07 examines a family’s struggle with the burdens of faith. While her final creative project at Mount Holyoke was autobiographical, We Sinners (Henry Holt and Co., 2012) is a work of fiction that follows the Rovaniemi family, members of the same devout religious sect in modern-day Michigan. A family of eleven, the Rovaniemis are in many ways a typical American household. Yet, when two children decide to leave the faith, the family is thrown into turmoil. Those who left must deal with the devastation of losing the close bond with their community, and those who remain question whether religious belief trumps familial ties. A different Rovaniemi narrates each chapter, creating a beautiful portrait of a family in flux. Library Journal calls the novel a “remarkably sensitive family portrayal, a powerful and unforgettable debut that manages to balance successfully its mulIt’s so easy to tiple perspectives,” and the Chicago Tribune praises Pylväinen’s ability to believe that capture “individual experiences with you don’t have emotional precision.” Pylväinen’s next novel, The End anything to of Drum Time, is about Laestadius add to what himself, the Swedish founder of the religious sect, and will focus largely the world has on one of his daughters who runs already produced. away with a reindeer herder. “The novel has turned out to be surprisMount Holyoke ingly feminist,” she says, “It’s the was the first female characters that really drive the story, and that’s something I’m place where it really excited about.”

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riting a memoir as an undergraduate may seem audacious to many, but for Hanna Pylväinen ’07, life until that point left plenty to examine. Alongside seven brothers and sisters, Hanna grew up in suburban Detroit, where she and her family were members of a small religious sect of Lutheranism called Lutheran Laestadianism. Harkening back to the strictures originally set by Martin Luther, members of this sect abstain from worldly indulgences to avoid temptation and sin. As a teenager, Hanna and her siblings were not allowed to do many things around which the lives of their friends revolved—attend dances, wear makeup, watch television, or go to the movies. Yet, once at Mount Holyoke Pylväinen began to feel that the world was open to her, both academically and socially. While composing her senior creative writing thesis—the aforementioned memoir, “Unbelieving”—she began to understand the power of her own voice. The thesis earned her summa cum laude honors, giving her confidence in her abilities as a writer. “I realized that I was producing work that was not merely therapeutic or about my past or my childhood,” she says. “Somehow the esteemed professors at Mount Holyoke saw something that was bigger than that. To have their support gave me the push to go into writing.” Pylväinen also decided to leave her religion while at Mount Holyoke. Her departure from Laestadianism was not easy. Losing the comfort of the supportive community of her childhood was devastating, and for a short while she actually reentered the faith. Her second departure was equally painful, yet she has remained outside of the sect, obtaining her MFA in creative writing from the University of Michigan, and publishing her first novel, We Sinners, last August.

offtheshelf

Losing Their Religion

was suggested to me that I had anything to say of importance.

—Tay l o r S c ott

Learn more about Hanna Pylväinen and her work at hannapylvainen.com.

—H a n n a P y lvä i n e n ’07

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bulletinboard

Five-Colleges Book Sale

Arco di Settimio Severo (The Arch of Septimius Severus) from Giovanni Battista Piranesi’s series of etchings Vedute di Roma (Views of Rome)

M H C A rt M u se u m

Art Exhibit Reveals the Eternal City Vedute di Roma explores the many views of Rome that appear in prints produced from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century. Artists such as Giovanni Battista Piranesi captured the shifting balance between ancient and modern that defined the Eternal City as it went through three centuries of extensive changes. This transformation culminated in the redesigned early modern city so magnificently rendered by Giambattista Nolli in his 1748 map of Rome, also on view. The prints in this show examine a wide range of themes, including burgeoning popular antiquarianism, the monumental construction projects sponsored by various popes, and the influence on the art market of travelers on the “Grand Tour” who flocked to Italy from around the globe. The exhibit will be on display through January 22 to May 26 at the MHC Art Museum. www.mtholyoke.edu/artmuseum.

MHC Class and Club Products Lots of MHC-related class and club products are for sale. For details and photos of many items, visit www.alumnae.mtholyoke.edu/alumgifts or phone the Alumnae Association at 413-538-2300 to request a printed copy of the information.

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The fifty-second annual Five-Colleges Book Sale will be held April 20–21 at Lebanon (NH) High School. The sale generates scholarship funds for students from New Hampshire and Vermont. Last year, each college (including MHC) received more than $8,000. Volunteers are needed to help sort, collect, and transport books, as well as to act as cashiers and helpers at the sale. For more information, contact Martha Smead Doolittle ’59 (603-469-3359, mdoolittle@alumnae. mtholyoke.edu). Visit www.five-collegesbooksale.org for updates, and just before the sale, for lists of exceptional books to be sold. April 13 will be Mount Holyoke day at the sorting site, which will be in or near Lebanon, New Hampshire (location will be on the website).

Athletic Hall of Fame Nominations Open The Department of Physical Education and Athletics has established an Athletic Hall of Fame and will induct its inaugural class in October 2013. It will honor athletes, coaches, administrators, and those who have made outstanding contributions that have had a significant impact on the MHC athletic program and/or the growth and development of women’s sports. Nominations are welcome. For more information, visit athletics. mtholyoke.edu or email Laurie Priest at lpriest@mtholyoke.edu.


travelopportunities June 20–28, 2013 Coastal Life Cruising Along the Dalmatian Coast Explore the Adriatic Sea’s stunning, island-dappled Dalmatian Coast on this seven-night cruise aboard the exclusively chartered, deluxe small ship MS L’Austral. Visit four countries and seven UNESCO world heritage sites with this comprehensive itinerary, including Diocletian’s Palace in Split, Croatia; the medieval fortifications of Kotor in Montenegro; Dubrovnik’s perfectly restored Gothic and Romanesque quarters; and the Stari Most Bridge in Mostar. To enhance your cruise further, enjoy an exclusive village forum with local residents, a folk-music performance on board, and a specially arranged lecture on the restoration of Dubrovnik. Experience the art and romance of Venice on the two-night, pre-cruise option. Prices start at $3,795, plus air. For more information, or to make reservations, call Gohagan & Company at 800-922-3088.

June 25–July 3, 2013 Cultural Treasures of the Black Sea and the Crimea This exclusive, nine-day cruise aboard the all-suite, 540-passenger ship MV Silver Spirit showcases the Black Sea’s most intriguing destinations: Istanbul, Romania, Bulgaria, Ukraine, and the Crimean Peninsula. Unpack only once and explore Istanbul, Odessa, Nessebur (a UNESCO world heritage site), and the historic Crimean Peninsula, featuring Sevastopol, Khan’s Palace, and Livadia Palace, site of the famous 1945 Yalta Conference. Savor delights created by international chefs in Greece and Turkey with the prestigious Grands Chefs Relais & Châteaux in six dining venues throughout the ship. Refresh your mind and spirit at the spa and fitness center. Istanbul pre-cruise option and Cappadocia post-cruise option are offered. Cruise and air prices start at $4,999. For more information, or to make reservations, call Gohagan & Company at 800-922-3088. Black Sea Trip

Greece and Turkey trip

September 24–October 2, 2013 Life in Ancient Greece and Turkey Join us for this exclusive nine-day odyssey to Greece’s ancient islands and Turkey’s fabled coast. Cruise from Athens to Istanbul aboard the exclusively chartered, deluxe small ship MS L’Austral. Meet local residents during a specially arranged village forum for a personal perspective on the true character of the Aegean Sea’s maritime culture. Carefully designed, expert-led excursions are highlighted by the UNESCO world heritage sites of the classical ruins of Delos, the old town of Rhodes, the Monastery of St. John on Patmos, and legendary Troy. Extend your voyage with the Athens pre-cruise option and the Istanbul or Cappadocia post-cruise option. Ninety-five percent of the deluxe and air-conditioned outside staterooms and suites feature private balconies. The ship company has been noted for its commitment to energy efficiency and environmental protection of marine ecosystems. Prices start at $3,595, plus air. For more information, or to make reservations, call Gohagan & Company at 800-922-3088. Interested? To request a brochure for any

Dalmatian Coast trip

of these trips, call the Alumnae Association at 413-538-2300 or visit www.alumnae. mtholyoke.edu/travelprograms. For additional information, call the travel company sponsoring the trip.

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myvoice Fighting for Reproductive Freedom for a Half-Century By Dee deFerranti Abrahamse ’61 On behalf of sixty-five members of the class of 1961 ast F ebruary, when the Catholic bishops and congressional Republicans attempted to remove contraceptives from the list of medications freely accessible to all through insurance, many members of the class of 1961 were outraged. As part of the first generation to benefit from birth-control pills, we vividly recalled what access to reliable contraception has meant to us—the ability to control our lives, plan our families, have careers—and we needed to speak out. Jennifer Bagster-Collins Seaver, a 1960s Peace Corps volunteer, recalls that “married and unmarried female volunteers were offered

birth control so we could serve our country as peacemakers. That’s why I am so passionate about protecting this right.” Class president Sherry Welles Urner’s long career in women’s reproductive health began in a lab at Harvard Medical School, where “the pill” was synthesized and approved for birth control in 1960. “The experience shaped my career goals and also empowered all women, including me, to make decisions about childbearing. My subsequent career ran the gamut from providing birth control and gynecological care to high-risk pregnancy and infertility care. Reproductive freedom is a precious and sacred principle. All women need to unite to protect these freedoms and loudly protest all attempts to erode them.” Echoing these sentiments, sixty-five classmates sent a letter to congressional representatives, newspapers, and organizations. We were careful to identify ourselves as “members of the class,” not taking an official class position. Here is what we said:

To submit your own essay for consideration, please email a draft of no more than 500 words to Emily Weir, eweir@mtholyoke.edu.

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We are writing as members of the Mount Holyoke College class of 1961 to express our great concern at the recent attacks on access to contraception. We strongly believe that safe and affordable contraception should be available to any woman who chooses it, regardless of income, religion, or job status. Last spring we met to celebrate our fiftieth reunion, and as we talked about our lives in the last fifty years, we commented on the opportunities we’ve all had for further education, new careers, and community service. These opportunities were available to us in large part because we could plan the timing of our families, something our mothers could not do with any certainty. Access to safe and affordable contraception was an important factor in what we’ve achieved. We were the first generation to benefit from birth-control pills. As we think of our mothers and grandmothers, we appreciate how important our opportunity to plan pregnancies has been. At our reunion we met the graduates of 2011—amazing young women from all over the world, poised to become leaders in all kinds of careers—and we could only marvel at how the world has opened up for them. As we watch our daughters and granddaughters mature and pursue their goals and dreams, we must ensure that future generations never lose the right to choose and control their lives. As Mount Holyoke graduates, we benefited from an outstanding education for women, and we know that we are among the most fortunate women in the country. We cannot sit by while the fundamental right to control one’s own life is eroded for any woman. We call on others of our generation to join us in making our voices heard. We call on our legislators to listen to us and oppose any action that would restrict access to safe and affordable contraception for American women.

Positive replies came from many sources. A particularly moving response came from Grainne Dunne ’11, who wrote: “What a gift for my generation to know that we are far from alone in this fight but are fortunate enough to have many generations of strong and determined Mount Holyoke women to support us!” We learned that our fifty-plus-year perspective on the importance of access to contraception was especially meaningful to younger women, and that the number of signatures we acquired made an impact. We hope others will adapt our letter or write letters of their own on women’s issues.


The Mount Holyoke Fund Your opportunity to make a difference. Each year. Every year. Through the years. ay: Coming in M Society in a h C l e r u The La Are you in?

in! www.mtholyoke.edu/giving


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Mount Holyoke Alumnae Quarterly Winter 2013  

Was There Life on Mars?: Darby Dyar and Students Help NASA Answer the Big Question Grease-Car Odyssey: Dana Rubin '12 and Hannah Blackmer...

Mount Holyoke Alumnae Quarterly Winter 2013  

Was There Life on Mars?: Darby Dyar and Students Help NASA Answer the Big Question Grease-Car Odyssey: Dana Rubin '12 and Hannah Blackmer...

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