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S U M M E R 2010

‘Alumnae Hall symbolized so much of what DIana represented—all-inclusive outreach, collaboration across generations and geographies, sharing talents and thoughts, words dramatized and vocalized.’ —Victoria Herget ’73, trustee emerita Cover photograph of the Bourdon neighborhood of Port-au-Prince after the Jan. 12 earthquake in Haiti, by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images Above: Alumnae Hall auditorium from the stage, photograph by Peter Vanderwarker

After the Earthquakes 26 32 34

A Way Forward for Haiti by Amy Mayer ’94. In an interview, Partners In Health Executive Director Ophelia Dahl CE/DS ’94 discusses her organization’s work in Haiti since the devastating earthquake and looks ahead at the Caribbean nation’s future. What Makes the Earth Rumble by Amy Mayer ’94. Alumnae geologists explain the science behind earthquakes, and Corrine Taylor, director of Wellesley’s Quantitative Reasoning Program, shares a lesson on the Earthquake Magnitude Scale. Quakes that Rattle the Soul by Marjorie Agosín, translated by Jennifer Rowell ’06. Agosín, a professor of Spanish and native of Chile, examines how earthquakes shape her country’s national psyche.

38 Re-Imagining Alumnae Hall by Ruth Walker. The newly renovated Diana Chapman Walsh Alumnae Hall is inviting, accessible, functional, and environmentally conscious. It completes the restoration of the western campus.

Letters to the Editor


From the President by H. Kim Bottomly


Window on Wellesley by Alice Hummer, Lisa Scanlon ’99, Francie Latour, Ruth Walker, Jennifer Garrett ’98, and Amy Mayer ’94


Shelf Life


First Person—The News from Home: How Pakistan Shaped A Wellesley Journey by Mira Sethi ’10


Your Alumnae Association


Reunion Album


Class Notes


In Memoriam—Allene Lummis Russell ’46, David B. Stone, Allison Stacey Cowles ’55


Endnote—What Makes the Desert Beautiful by Anisa Mehdi ’78






From the Editor



Summer 2010 Wellesley



Editor Alice M. Hummer Associate Editors Francie Latour Lisa Scanlon ’99


Design Friskey Design, Sherborn, Mass. Wellesley (USPS 673-900). Published fall, winter, spring, and summer by the Wellesley College Alumnae Association. Editorial and Business Office: Alumnae Association, Wellesley College, 106 Central St., Wellesley, MA 02481-8203. Phone 781-283-2341. Fax 781-283-3638. Periodicals postage paid at Boston, Mass., and other mailing offices. Postmaster: Send Form 3579 to Wellesley magazine, Wellesley College, 106 Central St., Wellesley, MA 02481-8203. Wellesley Policy: One of the objectives of Wellesley, in the best College tradition, is to present interesting, thought-provoking material, even though it may be controversial. Publication of material does not necessarily indicate endorsement of the author’s viewpoint by the magazine, the Alumnae Association, or Wellesley College. Wellesley magazine reserves the right to edit and, when necessary, revise all material that it accepts for publication. Unsolicited photographs will be published at the discretion of the editor. K E E P W E L L E S L E Y U P - T O - D AT E !

The Alumnae Office has a voice mailbox to be used by alumnae for updating their computer records. The number is 1-800-339-5233. You can also update your information online when you visit the A l u mnae Association web site at DIRECT LINE PHONE NUMBERS

College Switchboard Alumnae Office Magazine Office Admission Office Center for Work and Service Resources Office

781-283-1000 781-283-2331 781-283-2344 781-283-2270 781-283-2352 781-283-2217


Wellesley Summer 2010

One of my favorite moments

of the year comes after the diplomas have been handed out, after the antique cars and women in white have headed home, when quiet briefly settles over the campus. The Academic Quad is totally empty under its leafy canopy, and as I enjoy midday walks around it, it seems that someone has created a lush, green space for my private enjoyment. Today, however, I strolled around the Quad accompanied by a deafening whine: the sound of men on hydraulic lifts cutting old mortar out of the bricks on Pendleton and Green. (Imagine a gargantuan dentist’s drill, and you’ll get the idea.) After a quick, post-reunion lull, we have moved into the annual flurry of maintenance and renovation called summer. Buildings get repointed, roofs get repaired, loading docks get jack-hammered and rebuilt. It’s all for the good, if a little loud. Today’s noise on the Quad made me think of the other sounds that have echoed there in the past few weeks. “I confer upon you the degree of bachelor of arts and admit you to all the rights, dignities, and responsibilities of that degree. . . .” The graduates yell and hoot, then file across the stage to receive their diplomas. “. . . Ariel Patz Nathanson . . . Jeanine Navarrete . . . Parnian Nazary. . . .” Parnian—who grew up under the Taliban in Afghanistan, who was forbidden to go to school because of her sex, who taught herself English by watching bootlegged copies of Titanic and The Lion King over and over—is graduating from Wellesley. It’s an extraordinary moment, and I can only imagine what she must be feeling—years after having been threatened at age 11 by a militant with a gun, simply for wanting an education. Somewhere in the massive crowd on the Quad is Patty Ward, a warm woman who calls everybody “honey.” She has come at Parnian’s invitation. For Patty, the day has echoes of her own daughter’s graduation, 15 years before, and many memories, both joyful and bittersweet. Paula Loyd ’95, Patty’s daughter, died in January 2009, after being set on fire by a Taliban fighter in Afghanistan. She had worked there for many years, as a soldier, an aid worker, and an anthropologist. Patty and Parnian connected through this magazine, and Parnian has been helping as Patty establishes a foundation that will fulfill Paula’s final wishes: to educate young Afghan women and eventually bring them to Wellesley. I join the loud applause as Parnian receives her diploma—and cheer for Patty and Paula, too. A week later, a different kind of jubilation rocks the Quad. “Wuh-uh-oh . . . Cause if you liked it then you should have put a ring on it.” Somehow, Beyoncé manages to span the generations, as alumnae in their 70s shimmy on the packed dance floor next to women from the class of ’05. President Bottomly and her husband appear at this all-class reunion dance party and take a spin under the Quad tent. The playlist reaches back to the 1940s, and late in the evening, even the custodians from Green Hall join the fun. So many of the College’s moods and important moments have played out in this Quad. Angry student protests and solemn vigils. Festive processions welcoming new presidents. Intense discussions between professors and students. And, yes, even line-dancing Nazary was featured in the winter ’10 lessons sponsored by the faculty-staff wellness program. In an magazine (“From Afghanistan, on a odd sort of way, it’s where a lot of the essential business of Quest”). “Paula’s Mission”—about Wellesley College transpires: It’s where we all connect. We could Loyd’s work in Afghanistan—was the cover story of the summer ’09 issue. all use a little more Quad time in our lives. For more on the Paula Loyd Foundation, visit

Alice M. Hummer Editor


Student Assistant Abigail Murdy ’12


Excellent issue. I especially liked the article about Alvia Wardlaw ’69 and the feature on Callie Crossley ’73 (“Eyes on a New Prize,” spring ’10). Alvia was an inspiration to me as the only African-American art-history major during my four years at Wellesley (1974–78). I learned about her just after I’d declared my major, and I have followed her career avidly. Although I did not choose Alvia’s same career path in the art world, I truly admire her work and her dedication to contemporary AfricanAmerican art and art history. Michelle Davis Petelinz ’78 Raleigh, N.C.

Today I arrived back home in Brazil after a lovely but too short 20th reunion. As always, the Alumnae Parade makes me misty as the class of ’35 drives by, the classes of ’40 and ’45 are still walking strong, and so on down the line (up the line?). The weekend was full of fun, and I cannot help sometimes feeling more than a twinge of envy of the current students—the new sports fields, the student center, Alumnae Hall. . . . But I now have something that makes me envy them less. They will not have Professor Chip Case to cheer their games and expand their economic horizons—for this, I am grateful that I had the opportunity to be there during his 34-year career (“From the Editor,” winter ’10). Happy retirement, Chip! Hope to see you around! Kristin Dykema Barbieri ’90 São Paulo, Brazil

ALBRIGHT INSTITUTE COVERAGE Your spring issue is super! Keep up all the good work. I am especially grateful for your excellent and full coverage of the Madeleine Korbel Albright Institute for Global Affairs. Marie Vallance ’47 Newtown, Pa. RICHARD HOWARD

I loved the article on Alvia Wardlaw ’69 (“Rewriting the Story of American Art”) in the spring ’10 issue. I saw the quilts of Gee’s Bend, Ala., when the exhibit showed at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. I’m extremely proud to know that a Wellesley woman was behind that. And Amita Parashar’s article about feminism in India was spot on (“Feminism—From India, With Love,” spring ’10). I’m also glad to know more about the Albright Institute (“A Crucible for Global Leadership,” spring ’10). Phenomenal work, Wellesley women. Amy Delamaide ’02 Wichita, Kan.




Alvia Wardlaw ’69

THE GEE’S BEND CONNECTION It was a wonderful treat to discover the Wellesley connection to the exhibit of quilts by the ladies of Gee’s Bend. That was a project I heard much about and followed from the start. The article on Alvia Wardlaw ’69 sent me back to the wonderful catalogue and refreshed memories of seeing the quilts and meeting some of the ladies at the opening of the exhibit when it came to the Whitney in New York. It is thanks to Alvia and to my son, John Beardsley, and Jane Livingston that the previously unknown work was shared with the world. Betty Wash Beardsley ’42 Somers, N.Y.

Thank you for the article on Cathy Summa ’83 being named director of the Science Center (“Making Science Visible,” spring ’10). She was a year behind me in geology. The fact that any woman managed to slog through the muck of gender bias in graduate programs in that field during the 1980s to get her Ph.D. is nothing less than miraculous! The Science Center will be a wonderful place with her as director, and I love her ideas! Go, Cathy! Judy Harrigan ’82 Providence, R.I.

THE ETHOS CONNECTION The legacy of African-American women at Wellesley was very much on the minds of seven graduating seniors, who posed on a Provincetown, Mass., beach in homage to Wellesley magazine’s cover photo portrait of the founders of Wellesley’s black student organization, Ethos (“The Basis of Our Ethos,” spring ’08). Pictured below from left to right are Walinda Louissaint ’10, Natacha Lorius ’10, Alaya Levi Salley ’10, Victoria Allison ’10, Carla Legros ’10, and Porsha Eden ’10. Yetunde Agbaje ’10 snapped the photo. RICHARD HOWARD




Wellesley welcomes short letters (a maximum length of 300 words) relating to articles or items that have appeared in recent issues of the magazine. Send your remarks to the Editor, Wellesley magazine, 106 Central St., Wellesley, MA 02481-8203, or e-mail comments to



I want to register my appreciation of the spring ’10 issue—in spite of the shock of the “shirt-tail” announcement on the bottom corner of page 11 [that the comprehensive fee, which covers tuition, room, and board, is $51,590 for 2010–11]. Marianne Moore ’45 West Hartford, Conn.

Due to a production error, a photograph was incorrectly placed with an item in the spring ’10 “Alma Matters” column about an award-winning translation of The Weather Fifteen Years Ago by German Professor Thomas Hansen and Stephanie Gilardi ’07. The correct picture of Professor Hansen appears at right. Wellesley regrets the error. Summer 2010 Wellesley



A Legacy of Leadership decessor, Diana Chapman Walsh ’66, Wellesley’s 12th president. It was at a special dedication ceremony of the beautifully restored Diana Chapman Walsh Alumnae Hall. This landmark building stands as a tangible, living symbol of Diana’s inspiring leadership and her extraordinary talent for fostering connections and creating community. I know the entire Wellesley community is deeply grateful to Diana for her vision, grace, and unwavering commitment to the mission and values of Wellesley College. Under Diana’s leadership, academic offerings were strengthened, internships and experiential learning opportunities were expanded, the Religious and Spiritual Life Program was born, and our unique campus landscape was beautifully revitalized. Diana led the College through our hugely successful comprehensive campaign, allowing Wellesley to increase its financial-aid endowment to a level that riIncreasingly, effective leadership will require vals the most generous programs offered by any cross-disciplinary, team-oriented thinking liberal-arts college. that is rooted in action for the greater good. It would take more than this column to catalog her many remarkable accomplishments, but among her most significant and enduring achievements, in my opinion, was Diana’s vision for contemporary leadership. TRUSTWORTHY LEADERSHIP I believe that Diana helped lead Wellesley into its own future, one in which a “Wellesley woman” has come to mean not only someone who is well-educated and able to fit her leadership style to the demands of any situation, but someone who embodies our motto: “Not to be ministered unto, but to minister.” (Above) At the Alumnae Hall Diana’s objective and expectation were that every dedication, Bottomly presented Walsh with a 17th-century Wellesley student would endeavor to make a difference French key to commemorate a in the world. She very much set the tone—not just for style of leadership “that opened an education that readied students for leadership, doors to countless opportunities but that readied them for the kind of trustworthy for learning, exploration, discovery, and growth.” leadership characterized by “the ability to collaborate 4

Wellesley Summer 2010

and communicate with fluency across a wide range of cultures, races, religions, and socioeconomic groups,” and that “. . . appreciate[s] and skillfully use[s] conflict as a creative intellectual force for mining what we know from our disagreement and differences. . . .” Diana wrote these words in her article “Trustworthy Leadership,” published by the Fetzer Institute, and also argued that we must ourselves “be the leaders we need our students to become.” Diana was that leader, not only for Wellesley students, but for the greater community. EDUCATING FOR LEADERSHIP The torch that Diana carried so ably has been passed to me, and I am committed to continuing the efforts to provide the world with the trustworthy Wellesley leaders that are so badly needed. Wellesley invests in women . . . and in the leadership potential of women. I believe that the development of leadership skills begins in the classroom. But before those skills can be fully exercised, a young woman must first have the confidence that comes from the mastery of a series of disciplines, the insight that comes from thoroughly grounded knowledge, the ability to think analytically without sacrificing creativity, and the skills to bring others to her way of thinking. But leadership derives from more than just a classroom experience. Good liberal-arts education must provide opportunities for students with a range of expertise and very different backgrounds to come together to solve complex problems. Increasingly, effective leadership will require cross-disciplinary, team-oriented thinking that is rooted in action for the greater good. Wellesley’s new Madeleine Korbel Albright Institute for Global Affairs clearly shows the centrality of a liberal-arts education to problem solving in a global context. It provides opportunities for our students to learn to hear and appreciate diverse points of view, synthesize multiple perspectives, and integrate knowledge across disciplines. Solutions to today’s global problems require leadership that incorporates flexible thinking and the willingness and ability to collaborate. We need to expand the number of opportunities like this for our students. Over the years, Wellesley graduates have been responsible for initiating and stewarding positive change—change that makes the difference in so many people’s lives. Providing “trustworthy leadership”—on the local, national, and global levels— is one of Wellesley’s contributions to the world. I am committed to ensuring that this legacy continues, and I know that you are carrying that torch with me. H. Kim Bottomly (For more on the renovated Diana Chapman Walsh Alumnae Hall, see page 38.)


I had the great honor on April 23 to host a tribute to my pre-

A notebook of news and information about the campus by Alice Hummer, Francie Latour, Lisa Scanlon ’99, Ruth Walker, Jennifer Garrett ’98, and Amy Mayer ’94.


Hail to the (Fire) Chief When you attend a college that was permanently altered by fire, fire safety is no laughing matter. Wellesley archives going back 100 years show a penchant for meticulous detail to fire procedures and equipment, including perpetually filled water pails “on a shelf in each slop hopper closet.” But when Jean Haffenreffer Baker ’55 served as

Pomeroy fire chief, she took things to a new level—

coordinating midnight drills with the benefit of a standard-issue fire helmet. It remained in Pomeroy for decades, signed by successive chiefs until it was retired in 1993.


Student chiefs have a long history at Wellesley, and still exist today—but no known dorm ever had an actual helmet (never mind one with the chief’s name emblazoned on it). “It is unusual,” says Baker, who celebrated her 55th reunion in June. “But I had a father who was interested in safety . . . and he presented me with the appropriate headdress!” —FL Summer 2010 Wellesley


Not many undergraduate students can say that they helped discover something that is possibly a planet. But three Wellesley students worked with their advisor, Kim McLeod, to do just that. And in the process, their research has led to a new theory about how planets form. The project began as a collaboration between McLeod, Wellesley’s Theresa Mall Mullarkey Associate Professor of Astronomy, and a Penn State University team to study 32 young brown dwarfs using data from the Hubble Space Telescope. Brown dwarfs, says McLeod, are “almost stars”—small, gassy celestial bodies that aren’t quite hot enough to fuse hydrogen. In the spring of 2009, Allison Youngblood ’10 did the initial processing of the Hubble pictures of these brown dwarfs, and then that summer, Jaclyn Payne CE/DS ’10, Ijeoma Ekeh ’12, and Colgate student Steven Mohammed worked to analyze the images. In processing the data, McLeod and the students found that one of the brown dwarfs likely has a “buddy”—a companion object, perhaps a planet, that they estimate is between five and 10 times the mass of Jupiter. “If this little blip of light is really associated with that brown dwarf . . . it challenges our notion of planet formation,” says McLeod. That’s because the two prevailing theories of how planets are formed don’t jibe with the data on this particular pair. One theory is that planets are formed gradually from the “circumstellar disk” of dust and gas that circles around a star as the star is forming. However, this takes a long time, and the area where this planet was formed is a relatively young million years old. “We shouldn’t have had time to make this big a planet in a million years by the stick-together-little-pieces method,” says McLeod. The second theory is that when a star is forming, a piece of the disk becomes unstable and collapses, forming a planet relatively quickly. However, brown dwarfs don’t have a circumstellar disk large enough to make the object McLeod and her students discovered. This has led McLeod and her collaborators 6

Wellesley Summer 2010

‘If this little blip of light is really associated with that brown dwarf . . . it challenges our notion of planet formation.’ —Kim McLeod to favor a new, third theory about how the object could have formed: There was a big cloud that fragmented separately into what became the brown dwarf and the companion, and they each formed their own disks at the same time. “Basically, they both formed . . . independently but right next to each other,” says McLeod. This challenges the current notion of what a planet is, since by definition a planet is built within a circumstellar disk. Pretty heady stuff for an undergraduate project. “Sometimes at a big research university, [undergrads] might have the chance to work with a postdoc or a grad student whose project involves the Hubble, but it’s pretty rare for them to get their hands directly on it,” says McLeod. “That’s one of the selling points of our campus.” —LS

Jaclyn Payne CE/DS ’10, Kim McLeod, Allison Youngblood ’10, and Ijeoma Ekeh ’12



REPORT FROM THE RINGED PLANET NASA’s bus-sized Cassini spacecraft has been circling Saturn for six years, taking stunning photographs (like the one at right) and detailed measurements that have revealed much about the planet’s rings, moons, and atmosphere. Wellesley’s Richard French, the McDowell/ Whiting Professor of Astrophysics, professor of astronomy, and academic dean, is one of the scientists who has carefully followed Cassini’s tour, and in the March 19 issue of the journal Science, he is an author of a paper that details highlights from the journey. Among the



QUESTIONS TO TEST YOUR SCIENCE KNOWLEDGE At the start of the spring semester, Kim McLeod, the Theresa Mall Mullarkey 3. About how many years old is the earth? Associate Professor of Astronomy, gave her students in ASTR 100, Life in the Universe, an online survey to test their understanding of basic science. She then posted the same quiz for faculty and staff, and compared the number of

 5 thousand  5 million  50 million

 500 million  5 billion

correct responses in each group. Fortunately, faculty and staff proved they did in fact know more than the students, keeping the cosmos in proper 4. About how many years have humans been on Earth (Homo sapiens and other Homo species)? alignment. How much do you know? (Answers can be found on page 84.)  100 million  5,000

1. Select the BIGGER item in each (horizontal) pair


Milky Way The moon Water molecule Hydrogen nucleus The Big Dipper Gene Cells in a paramecium Quark Space shuttle’s altitude Temperature of a red star Time for Earth to orbit sun Time for Earth to spin once Federal spending

 This survey



5. How does Carbon-14 differ from Carbon-13?

Carbon atom Oxygen nucleus

Answer: They have different numbers of

Solar system


Neutron Three Proton

The universe The sun Earth’s crust Earth’s atmosphere You




electrons protons AND electrons

of size and separation best represents the earth? (Choose one.)

Time for moon to orbit Earth

3 meters away 30 meters 300 meters 3,000 meters

Time for moon to orbit Earth The Wellesley endowment

A grain of salt Earth

for astronomical research

A lentil Earth A tennis ball Earth







7. Check all items that are “kinds of light.”

Hydrogen Nitrogen Carbon


 gamma ray  x-ray  ultraviolet

 visible  infrared  microwave

 radio wave  cosmic ray

8. What is the most abundant greenhouse gas in Earth’s atmosphere? (Note: Not all of the choices given are greenhouse gasses; make sure your choice is.)


Carbon dioxide (CO2) Water vapor (H2O) Oxygen (O2) Ozone (O3)

9. Which best describes your ideas about intelligent life beyond Earth?


revelations: The rings are composed mainly of water ice, with a red contaminant that may be rust or small organic molecules, and surprisingly, the small moon Enceladus is the biggest contributor of charged particles to Saturn’s magnetic environment, not the sun nor the planet’s largest moon, Titan.


6. In a scale model where a basketball represents the sun, which combination

Temperature of a blue star

2. What’s the most abundant element (by number of atoms) in . . . Oxygen


Distance to California

 My attention span


 1 billion

 10,000  1 million

Solar system


It probably exists—philosophical reasons. It probably doesn’t exist—religious reasons. It probably doesn’t exist—other philosophical reasons. There’s evidence that aliens have visited the earth a few times. Aliens regularly visit Earth and abduct people.

10. Which best describes your ideas about astrology/horoscopes?


It’s total bunk, and it makes me uncomfortable when people make decisions based on their horoscope. It has predictive power, and I read horoscopes fairly regularly. It has predictive power, but I don’t generally read horoscopes. I’m reserving judgment because I don’t have good evidence either way. Summer 2010 Wellesley



Drumming the Rhythms of Haiti K ER A WASHINGTON ’93

Understanding the musical passions of Kera Washington ’93, director of Wellesley’s Yanvalou Drum and Dance Ensemble, means understanding the spiritual passions at the heart of Haitian culture. Take Yanvalou, which performs West African-derived music and dances from Haiti and Brazil. It takes its name from a ceremonial dance that originated in present-day Benin, where many Haitians trace their slave ancestry. Take Zili Misik, the all-female band Washington started in 2000 to perform roots music of the African diaspora. It takes its name from the Haitian goddess Ezili, symbol of motherhood, love, and indestructible strength. In both pursuits, Washington, an ethnomusicologist and award-winning drummer, interprets complex rhythms with intense joy and intense purpose. “What I love about it is, you’re learning something more than, ‘Haiti is the poorest country in the Western hemisphere,’” she says. “You learn Haiti is one of the richest countries in the Western hemisphere.” Wellesley spoke to Washington as Yanvalou celebrates its 20th anniversary, and as Zili, in high demand since Haiti’s earthquake, prepares for a trip to Haiti in August. You started Yanvalou as a student in 1990. How did your interest in hand drumming begin? Gerdes Fleurant [professor of music, now emeritus] was teaching Folk and Ritual Music of the Caribbean. . . . We would listen to the records and he would say, “You hear this drum ‘Training your ears to [pitch]? You hear that drum [pitch]?” hear drums as having But I didn’t hear any of that. All I heard was “ba-RAH!” So he says, conversations is like “Well, to really understand this learning a new language.’ music, you’re going to have to play it.” I said, “Great. Teach me.” And that’s —Kera Washington ’93 when he said, “Oh, I don’t teach drums—and we would need much more than you and I. We’d need at least five people.” The next time we met, I had twisted the arms of three of my friends, and we all showed up. That’s how Yanvalou got started . . . learning about this music, about ethnomusicology, which was a word I had never heard before, a word that didn’t exist on this campus before.

You were born and raised in the US. How much did you know about Haiti when you started drumming? My mother had some books that talked about cultural stories of Haiti. But I didn’t know about the Haitian revolution 8

Wellesley Summer 2010


How did you learn to differentiate the sounds and play them? Training your ears to hear drums as having conversations is like learning a new language. Just like you learn to speak in English or Spanish or Creole, you learn to hear drums as having those same conversations. . . . And to speak the drum language of Haiti is different than speaking the drum language from Cuba or Brazil or Ghana. They’re related, but they’re different.


[in 1804]. I didn’t know about the importance of Haiti to this country until I began. . . . This music grabbed me, and I couldn’t let go. And we began to have conversations about, is it religious music? Is it music that we’re just learning outside of its cultural context? Am I really calling spirits when I play? What is this? We had to understand that this music has a folkloric tradition that is over 500 years old. How did Zili Misik start? I was playing for a while with [two Boston Haitian bands] that had taken me under their wing . . . then [they] broke up. Zili started because I needed somewhere to keep playing. I have to play—it’s like breathing for me. So a couple friends encouraged me to start a band. I wasn’t confident that I could. I didn’t feel like I knew enough to be able to start my own band. But I knew I wanted to play. And I was tired of being the only woman in a band who played an instrument. “Hey, it’s that girl drummer!” Yeah—“How’d you learn to do that?” “You’re pretty good for a girl.” So I wanted to have a band that highlighted female musicianship. And I wanted everybody in that band to just blow everyone away with their musicianship.


TO HOOPROLL, PERCHANCE TO WIN Ashley Gramolini ’10 won Wellesley’s 115th annual Hooprolling competition—with


What has been your experience teaching others about Haitian culture, given some of the misconceptions about Haiti? When I first started learning with Professor Fleurant . . . of course the word “vodou” came up. And I said, “Oh, no, I’m not doing that. You’re talking about the devil now.” And he said, “What? Why do you think that?” . . . . So it made me want to understand more about Haiti, about the relationship between Haiti and the United States. To understand that Haiti had to pay reparations to France [after winning its independence in 1804], to understand that Haiti wasn’t recognized as a country, that the economic situation we see today goes all the way back to that time. And that’s an important part of what Zili does. Because when you talk about it, it’s one thing. But when you experience it artistically, I think it hits you in a different way.

a little help from the Bard. “I truly believe the secret to my winning was the Shakespeare Society,” says Gramolini, who served as the group’s president her senior year. “Our Shakes little sisters camped out for all the Shakers; they were such troopers. They secured the entire front line for all the Shakes seniors, and we were all there together. My fellow seniors joked that they wanted me to win so they were going to make a ‘flying V’ behind me to keep me in the lead.” Gramolini, a theatre-studies major from Brussels, wasn’t sure if she had won initially because she practically “threw herself’ over the finish line. But if there was any doubt in her mind, it was erased when her Shakespeare Society friends carried her to the lake and dumped her in. Summer 2010 Wellesley



WHERE ENGINEERING, BUSINESS, AND THE LIBERAL ARTS MEET Daring students to take on problems of applied science that loom large


Wellesley Summer 2010

Paul Romer, senior fellow at the Stanford Center for International Development and the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research

Paul Romer, a Stanford economist, presented his ideas about how cities and societies may need to change to embrace the urban needs of the future. He talked about the two-week challenge he posed to Olin, Babson, and Wellesley students during a Charter Cities workshop in January:“Imagine a new city. What would it look like?” Fifteen students puzzled over that, and three of them spoke at the conference, emphasizing how much the act of debating issues taught them to see each other’s different approaches to the same questions. During the day’s final session, Thomas Kalil, deputy director for policy at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, explained how worthwhile small investments in early science can be, because students, unlike more experienced workers, are biased toward action. He also listed many possible offshoots of the Grand Challenges that have the potential to benefit societies such as job growth, cleaner energy, and improved recycling technology. Poster sessions and presentations by students from all three colleges showed how their backgrounds in engineering, business, and the liberal arts complement and enhance each other. One poster was presented by Wellesley students in ES 300, the culminating “capstone” course for the environmentalstudies major. These 11 juniors and seniors spent the spring semester exploring whether Wellesley should become part of STARS (Sustainability Tracking Assessment and Rating System), a program that evaluates campuses for their environmental sustainability. (They concluded the College should do it.) But because the summit focused on educational imperatives, rather than scientific questions, they used their poster to discuss how the course was structured, not just the problem they worked on. “The class is unique and very project-based,” said Alana Nelson ’10. Nelson said that although all of the students are environmental-studies majors, they have taken courses in different areas, such as economics, geology, or biology. ES 300 is designed to take advantage of those varied perspectives, and Nelson said it teaches students “what’s possible when you get different people together.” “I’m so excited that things are coming together more between the three colleges,” she added. She’s participated in a problem-solving event at Olin that furthered her interest in multidisciplinary teamwork. After graduation, she said, “my intention is to actually bridge the gap between science and policy.” In the future, more students will be able to have experiences like Nelson’s: The colleges used the summit to formally announce a new academic program that will allow students from all three colleges to earn a certificate in sustainability, under the teaching and guidance of faculty at all three campuses. —AM


in our future—securing cyberspace, providing clean water, preventing nuclear terror—the National Academy of Engineering launched the Grand Challenges in 2008 as a call to action, urging students to tackle 14 global engineering problems. While the solutions depend on engineering designs, they will also need to be economically feasible and realistic to implement. There’s no question, then, that in addition to engineering students, those studying business and the liberal arts must be engaged in finding and implementing solutions. On April 21, the Grand Challenges Boston Regional Summit brought participants from all these fields, attracting students and faculty from sponsors Wellesley, Babson College, and Olin College of Engineering, as well as Harvard, MIT, Northeastern, and others to a day-long conference at Houghton Memorial Chapel. Representatives from the federal government and from industry—IBM, HewlettPackard, Autodesk—also participated in discussions around the theme of Educational Imperatives of the Grand Challenges. Linda Cozby Wertheimer ’65, senior national correspondent for National Public Radio, moderated the program. Other regional summits in such places as Raleigh, N.C., and Phoenix, Ariz., focused on one or more of the challenges: engineering better medicine, providing energy from fusion, or restoring and renewing urban infrastructure. But at Wellesley, fittingly perhaps, as it is the first liberal-arts college to host a Grand Challenge summit, participants focused on how to educate future engineers, President Richard Miller of Olin, President scientists, and the people who will Leonard Schlesinger of Babson, and Presiultimately take their inventions to dent H. Kim Bottomly (top); Sharon Nunes, vice president of Big Green Innovations in the market and implement them. IBM Systems and Technology Group, chats The growing collaboration bewith Linda Cozby Wertheimer ’65. tween Wellesley, Babson, and Olin embodies a theme that speakers noted: that answers to the Grand Challenges will be found where technical feasibility, financial viability, and social desirability intersect. In other words, at the juncture of engineering, business, and liberal arts. President H. Kim Bottomly told the crowd that the liberal arts and sciences give students a breadth and depth of knowledge, allowing them to take in the big picture and work across disciplines to find acceptable solutions. “Wellesley College students really think about, How do you synthesize the expertise and put it to good use?” she said. The conversations throughout the day also considered improvements to K–12 science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education and perspectives on project-based learning and collaboration in the workplace.



This spring, President H. Kim Bottomly and Provost and Dean of the College Andrew Shennan announced the appointment of two new academic deans: Richard French, McDowell/Whiting Professor of Astrophysics, and Kathryn Lynch, Bates/Hart Professor of English. They replace Deans Joanne Berger-Sweeney ’79 and Adele Wolfson, who concluded six years of service in the dean’s office at the close of the academic year. “Dick French and Cappy Lynch exemplify the excellence of our faculty in all dimensions of their work,” Shennan said in making the announcement. “They are prolific and highly regarded scholars, with long publication records and extensive recognition from external agencies and professional associations. They are dedicated and skilled teachers and mentors. . . . And both Dick and Cappy have made innumerable contributions to the strength and vitality of this faculty community.” They have each served multiple terms as department chairs and program directors, as elected members of the Committee on Faculty Appointments, and as initiators of major programmatic initiatives such as the Observatory renovation and the Newhouse Center for the Humanities. Shennan called the retiring Berger-Sweeney and Wolfson “remarkable stewards of our academic program” and praised them for “the projects and priorities [they] have carried forward to such good effect.” These included a rapid expansion of the tenure-track faculty, reallocating resources from the nontenure track; the increased diversity of the faculty; and the development of interdepartmental faculty appointments and the strengthening of interdepartmental majors.

MOVING OUT, NOT THROWING OUT At the end of the school year, Wellesley held its first “Sustainable Move Out.” Students donated reusable items at marked locations in their residence halls. Clothing and shoes were donated to the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. Small and large household items will be resold at an on-campus rummage sale this fall to raise funds to support sustainability projects on campus. ASIAN STUDIES HONOR Katharine Moon, the Edith Stix Wasserman Professor of Asian Studies and professor of political science, will join the first class of reRICHARD HOWARD

search associates at

designed to reinvigorate and promote the study of Asia relevant to public policy.

are given each year at commencement to faculty members who have achieved particular distinction in the classroom. This year’s winners were:

NINE NSF FELLOWS The National Science Foundation has awarded Graduate Research Fellowships to nine alumnae to support their

Connie Bauman Associate Professor of the Practice of Sports Medicine

study in master’s or doctoral degree programs. The recipients are: Emily Cibelli ’09, Rebekah Dawson ’09, Debra Hausladen ’09, Sanja Jagesic ’08, Esther Kim ’04, Kaitlyn Lucey ’08, Anne Madden ’06, Kali Wilson ’04, and Christina Woo ’08.

Connie Bauman, Daniel Brabander, Paul Fisher


Paul Fisher Assistant Professor of American Studies Almost every nomination letter written by Paul Fisher’s students praised his willingness and unique ability to read students’ work and help them understand concretely how they can become better writers. Students also described him as “fiercely smart, funny, [and] humble,” encouraging students to pursue unconventional lines of argument, to reach beyond their selfimposed limitations, and to appreciate the power of literature.

President H. Kim Bottomly participated in a roundtable discussion with Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and highereducation leaders at MIT


To his students, Daniel Brabander’s signature is a teaching style that is both dynamic and inquisitive, with an approach to science that is both collaborative and interdisciplinary. Describing him as a student of his own classroom, student nominators said Brabander’s ability to show his evolving thought and tap students’ unique interests means that his classes are “never identical and almost always surprising.”

The new two-year

International Center for Scholars, is

The Pinanski Prizes for Excellence in Teaching

Daniel Brabander Associate Professor of Geosciences

Research Program.

Asian Research and the Woodrow Wilson


Students of Connie Bauman lauded her devotion to teaching and to them, saying her “dedication to her students is unparalleled. . . . Her preparation is impeccable.” Bauman was praised not only for her use of technology and interactive tools in the classroom, but for reaching beyond Wellesley’s walls with a program in which students mentor local middleschool girls in sports medicine.

the National Asia

program, run by the National Bureau of




on April 16.“We discussed, among other things, how colleges and universities can work with government to develop the world’s next generation of leaders in public service,” Bottomly says. Summer 2010 Wellesley 11




ART, WASTE DEEP Paperworks: Incipit Vita Nova Amanda Nelsen and the Wellesley community 2010 Abandoned printouts, linen thread, linen cord 16 feet long, 4 1/4 x 5 1/2 in. sections

When Amanda Nelsen was 17, some neighborhood kids toilet-papered her house in Minnesota. Most parents would see this as an act of vandalism. Nelsen’s father saw it as a recycling opportunity. “He said, ‘Hey, we can use this,’ and he got it down from the trees and saved it,” says Nelsen, a Massachusetts book artist, now 34. “My two girlfriends, my brother, my mom, and I—we were all out there, ladders and everything.” Her father was planting an important seed: The paper others discard thoughtlessly can be used again creatively. Paperworks: Incipit Vita Nova began as discarded printouts from campus printers. From these banal origins, Nelsen, the Book Arts Program’s artist-in-residence this spring, took about 100 members of Amanda Nelson, left, and Wellesley volunteers the Wellesley community construct Paperworks on a journey both backusing wooden sewing ward and forward in

time. Using a 12th-century bookbinding technique—and a methodical ritual of bundling, folding, sorting, and sewing—Paperworks elevates the stuff of recycling bins to a form once reserved for sacred manuscripts. At the same time, the sheer accumulation of paper, and its surprising form, force the viewer to consider how much longer this pace of consumption can continue. Paperworks brought a communal element to Nelsen’s intensely personal art process. Since 12

Wellesley Summer 2010

2006, she has accumulated, stored, and colorsorted the junk mail she receives, creating dense, intricate pieces that are massive in scale. Her work has caught the attention of New York galleries, but also her local mailman. “I showed him the pieces and he was like, “Finally! Someone did something with this stuff.” —FL To see more of Amanda Nelsen’s work, visit





RUHLMAN 2010 Nearly 300 students presented their work at this year’s Ruhlman Conference, which celebrates student research and achievement. Modeled after traditional academic conferences, it features individual presentations, panel discussions, poster sessions, and performances. Following are a sampling of the 2010 presentations.

STAGING GEORGE SAND IT ALL STARTED in the wee hours of the morning, with a French major burning through a gothic novel that she could not put down. There was a peasant uprising, the storming of a castle, and a hermit, all

Students from an environmental-studies course and their professor, Beth DeSombre, after their Ruhlman presentation

created by the pen of George Sand. After a summer of research at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France and some urging from her French department advisor, Janine Hegarty ’10 decided to adapt Sand’s 434-page novel, Mauprat, for the stage, a feat Sand herself had

EXAMINING SCIFI FANDOM IF YOU’RE A FAN of science fiction, odds are that you’re open to diversity, says Molly Dunn ’10.“Curiosity about foreign technology, landscapes, people, species, practices . . . that’s what appeals about science fiction to many people,” she says. Dunn did an anthropological study of fan culture at the Cambridge, Mass.-based Arisia sci-fi convention, concentrating on difference and acceptance in fandom. Dunn focused on diversity in race and sexual orientation,


gathering information through a series of interviews with staff, volunteers, conference goers, and

IT’S A TOUGH TIME to be peddling four-figure

vendors. She found that there is a wide variety of

handbags and heels. During an economic downturn, what’s a luxury retailer to do? And what’s a luxury con-

tried to a decided lack of critical success. Working in

sumer to do? Sociology major Rachel Behler ’10

French, Hegarty wrote a courtroom drama based on

examined these questions as part of her senior thesis.

a trial at the end of the novel. She then translated it

Behler found that during the recession, luxury

into English and directed a staging of the play,

brands had excess inventory that they were selling

complete with period costumes. Her performers,

for very steep markdowns—which hurt their images.

fellow students, had a hand in helping her shape the

The companies discovered that they could unload

script, asking her questions such as, “Would my

merchandise through online discount luxury

character really say that?” The result was a great

boutiques like ideeli. Because the sites require reg-

critical success on campus (and at the Ruhlman

istration, the sales don’t turn up in search engines,

Conference), and possibly a life-changing event for

allowing the companies to preserve their exclusive

Hegarty. Double majoring in French and neuro-

image. Some brands also found that they could sell

science, she had planned to go to medical school, but

goods at a markdown at subsidiary stores, like

now is seriously considering a Ph.D. in theater studies

Nordstrom Rack. They also changed how they

with a specialty in adaption for the stage or screen.

market their goods, focusing on value and quality

“Gothic novels are awesome,” she says. “We need

“rather than indulgence,” says Behler.

more of them adapted. The BBC agrees with me.”

Behler also interviewed 13 affluent people in the Boston area to see how the recession has affected their spending habits. However, the interviewees “did not consume traditional luxuries,” Behler says, instead focusing on saving money for their children’s activities, like summer camp and


college. The subjects also spent money on what Behler calls “ethical luxuries,” like making donations to charities or paying more for organic foods. —LS


gender expression. “Everything from transsexuals, transvestites . . . down to [men] who are experimenting with wearing a dress for the day. There’s a focus on experimentation and learning,” she says. However, there was a very noticeable lack of racial diversity. “A lot of [book] distributors find it easier to market science fiction and fantasy with characters of color to audiences of color. . . . So, for example, sci-fi by black authors gets put in sections with black authors rather than with other sci-fi. So, they end up with a separate fandom,” Dunn explains. Since most fans learn about Arisia through word of mouth, one way to increase diversity at the convention would simply be to “get the word out” about it, Dunn says. —LS Summer 2010 Wellesley


FACULTY AND STAFF RETIREMENTS This year, Wellesley said good-bye to 14 professors.

cost-saving measures across the institution. This devoted corps

Some had previously planned to retire this year, and others

of faculty served a collective 503 years at Wellesley, and they will

accepted the College’s recent retirement-incentive offer, part of

be greatly missed.

Alexia Sontag

John Rhodes

Elizabeth Lieberman

Margaret Ward

Associate Professor of Art

Professor of Mathematics

Adjunct Assistant

Instructor in Chemistry

Professor of German

23 years

35 years

Professor of Art

Laboratory, Assistant

39 years

24 years

Dean of the College

Judith Black

46 years

Ann Congleton

R. Steven Schiavo

Miranda Marvin

Rachel Jacoff

Jerold Auerbach

Professor of Philosophy

Professor of

Professor of Art and

Deffenbaugh/Carlson Professor

Professor of History

46 years


Classical Studies

in Comparative Literature,

40 years

41 years

Professor of Italian Studies

41 years

32 years

(Not pictured)

Susan Bailey

Wilbur Rich

Executive Director,

Kenan Professor of

Wellesley Centers for Women,

Political Science

Professor of Education and

20 years

Women’s and Gender Studies 25 years

Claire Zimmerman 57 years

Chip Case Coman/Hepburn Professor of Economics 34 years


Wellesley Summer 2010


Professor of Psychology




The following are snippets from conversations on the College’s electronic bulletins.

In track, Clare Egan ’10 earned All-American honors for her sixth-place finish in the 1,500meter race at the NCAA Division III Outdoor Track and Field Championship, tying a Wellesley record with a 4:29.33 time.

Make Way for . . . This spring, after lengthy torrential rains, a new body of water appeared on campus.

The crew team had a record-setting spring that earned them a trip in May to the 2010 NCAA Division III Women’s Rowing Championships. They finished in fifth place, and Kate Spelman ’10 earned Wellesley Crew’s first-ever NCAA All-American. The team earn a second-place finish at the NEWMAC championships. The golf team had a fantastic spring with second-place finishes at the Massachusetts Collegiate Championships and the Jack Leaman Invitational. The Blue also took third at the Williams Spring Invitational and fourth at the Vassar Invitational. Individually, Kim Eaton ’11 made her third trip to the NCAA Division III National Championships, finishing 10th overall and earning secondteam All-American.

Duck and ducklings in the “new pond” between Paramecium Pond and the Science Center. Marie Ebersole, chemistry I went to see them, and they’re just adorable!! Sallie Follansbee Dunning ’69, Wellesley Centers for Women

The lacrosse team finished 6–10 overall with a tough nonconference schedule. The Blue notched a 3–3 record in the NEWMAC regular season before falling to MIT 7–6 in the quarterfinals playoffs. Individually, Loretta White ’10, Molly Morrow ’10, and Nicole Labbee ’11 were named NEWMAC All-Conference. The softball team had a strong season, finishing with a 26–9 overall record. Megan Wood ’10 and Alex Warren ’10 both picked up first-team NEWMAC All-Conference honors, as well as first team AllRegion honors. Wood was also selected first team ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District. The tennis team finished 12–12 overall, with several nationally ranked opponents in the spring. Wellesley lost a heartbreaking 5–4 match against No. 17 Redlands over spring break, but rebounded for a second-place finish at the Seven Sisters Championships. Marie Watanabe ’12 ended her season with a No. 10 regional singles ranking, while the team of Watanabe and Jacqueline Shen ’11 were the sixth-ranked doubles team in the Northeast.

Thank you for this preview of cuteness. A mallard is currently nesting in my front yard, right under the living-room window. Laura Reiner, information services Two days ago, I saw the same duck family near the chapel. I had to stop traffic as they crossed the road from the chapel toward Founders Lot and then again through Founders Lot. I knew they were headed toward College Road so I borrowed a student’s cell phone and called College Police to ask for help, as I knew it might be tough to stop traffic there. An officer arrived within moments of my call. I’ve been here for 23 years and was relieved that it was Jack, an officer I’ve known most of my time here. He asked me about my own children while we tried to get the little ducks to cross the road toward the Science Center. It was one of those moments that made me appreciate the people I’ve known all these years at Wellesley. Anne Manning, student life

This spring, the flowers weren’t the only things lending a bit of color to the Wellesley landscape. Eight bicycles bedecked with hot-pink tape and streamers appeared on campus thanks to Wellesley’s Outing Club, allowing anyone who happens across one to take a spontaneous ride. The bikes are used by students to get to class or practice a little faster—or to just enjoy the warmer weather. “The bikes move around a ton,” says Cecelia Flatley ’10, who helped run the program, known as Revolution. The current fleet of bicycles was given by Campus RICHARD HOWARD

This sounds remarkably like the Make Way for Duckings book that we all know and love! It must be the Wellesley College version. Mary Pat Navins, Office of the Dean of the College


Police; in the future, Flatley hopes graduating seniors will donate their unwanted bikes to the program. —LS Summer 2010 Wellesley


Commencement 2010 The 589 members of the purple class of 2010 received their diplomas in the sun-dappled Academic Quad on a picture-perfect day on May 28. “I celebrate your accomplishments and I share every tingle of excitement,” commencement speaker Lynn Sherr ’63 told the graduates. “This day is beyond special in your lives, and I am honored to help welcome you out into the wide, wide world.” Excerpts from her address and other speeches of the day follow.

Photographs by Richard Howard


Wellesley Summer 2010

Lynn Sherr ’63 Excerpts From the Commencement Address

AS CONTEMPORARY WOMEN, we have reinvented every stage of our lives, turning dissatisfaction with convention into new rules for success, trying to reshape the battle of the sexes into a more practical form of peaceful coexistence. Once unwelcome in all but the lowest-paid pockets of journalism, my generation of female reporters hit the business when a job could become a profession; when we begged, then demanded, then won, the right to work. We came on the scene as “girls” who were supposed to know our place, which was nowhere. Today, with the privileges we’ve earned as powerful women, we know that our place is everywhere. I beg you to remember how we and you got here, and how long it took. I urge you not to reject “feminism” as a four-letter word. It is a good, precise term. It means you believe that women are people who have rights and responsibilities equal to those of men. Nothing more, nothing less. And it doesn’t signify warfare. Because men are not the enemy, and we are only part of the solution. We’re all flying on this planet together. And as the multitasking gender, we are definitely smart enough to make compromises when we need to. I certainly did. As a new wife and unexpected stepmom, I turned political campaigns into social-studies lessons for three young boys, and I regularly put politicians on hold when the plumber returned my phone call. My priorities have always been very clear. I have also faced the heartbreak of death too soon and come out the other side. My husband died of cancer; I am a cancer survivor. But I’m betting that every woman here—every person here, in fact—has a similar story, or will, because that, certainly for us, is the story of women’s lives. We dream, we cope, and we endure. And we keep on learning. Today I’m a proud grandma, too, and here is what my grandchildren have taught me: the joy of unconditional love; the unbearably adoring tug of a tiny little hand; the right way to leap off the bridge in Super Mario. I can identify each of the Wiggles by name. And just try me on Hannah Montana. That is also the story of women’s lives. As yours begins anew, I have a couple of suggestions: When we’re done here, first thing, thank your families for footing the bill and for understanding that you and Wellesley are worth it. Remember our history as you make your own. And while the media world descends into shoutfests and outlandish opinion saturating the blogosphere, please don’t let the widening political divide hijack your dreams or weaken the intellectual rigor that

Remember our history as you make your own. —Lynn Sherr ’63 you learned here. There are some people, some very famous people, who are saying some very silly things out there. Things that are just plain wrong. Fight them back. Fight them back with facts. Because facts matter. There are standards of truth, and we should demand nothing less. Back in 1902, my hero, Susan B. Anthony, the woman who understood the truth that women deserve the right to vote, contemplated the changes after her own extraordinary life. She was 82—older than even I am— and she was slowing down, which I’m not. But her voice resonates perfectly as you are about to step out of this quad and into the world: “There is so much yet to be done,” she said. “I see so many things I would like to do and say, but I must leave it for the younger generation. We old fighters have prepared the way, and it is easier than it was 50 years ago when I first got into the harness. The young blood, fresh with enthusiasm, must carry on the work.” So carry on. Carry us with you. Continue the revolution. Know that we are right beside you. And just in case you are wondering what direction to take, consider one more thing Miss Anthony said. It was 1905. “I firmly believe,” she predicted, “that some day a woman will be elected president of the United States.” I urge you to go for it. It is our tradition. And it’s about time. Congratulations, class of 2010! Lynn Sherr ’63 is a former news correspondent for ABC, where she won numerous awards for her work, including an Emmy in 1980 for her election coverage. She wrote a memoir, Outside the Box, as well as Failure is Impossible: Susan B. Anthony in Her Own Words, America the Beautiful: The Stirring True Story Behind Our Nation’s Favorite Song, and Tall Blondes, a book about giraffes. She received Wellesley’s Alumnae Achievement Award in 1988. Summer 2010 Wellesley


H. Kim Bottomly Excerpts From the President’s Charge to the Class

TREES CAN TEACH US. And there is a particular lesson to be taken from [Wellesley’s] class trees—just as there is a lesson in all of our traditions. When we look at the array of class trees that now populates the campus, it’s a rich variety. Some were planted and immediately thrived. Others needed particular care and attention. Some found that they were too rare a breed for our particular climate and soil. Some needed to be relocated as the campus changed over the years, and finally thrived in their new places. As you live your life, you will have to find your best spot as well. Sometimes, you might find your best spot right away, but other times, you might find the conditions unwelcoming to your ideas and your aspirations. In those times, it might be tempting to think that the problem is you. But stay true to yourself. Know that it’s a matter of finding the right place, and have confidence that such a


Wellesley Summer 2010

place does exist for you. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of weathering the storm, of waiting for the sunny calm. Look at the trees around you; they have weathered a lot of harsh winters. They are glorious. There is a poem by a Japanese poet of the Edo period that I have always liked because I think it speaks an important truth. The poet was Matsuo Basho, who, in the 17th century, wrote the following three short lines. The oak tree: not interested in cherry blossoms. You don’t have to be interested in cherry blossoms. Never let others define for you what success is—define it for yourself. Maya Angelou said, “You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. . . . Pursue the things you love doing, and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off you.”

Mira Sethi ’10 Excerpts From the Student Commencement Speech

IT WAS [HENRY] JAMES WHO MUSED that “deep experience is never peaceful.” Wellesley women, rather than shying away from the complicated truth of that statement, have celebrated and embraced a complex understanding of the world—and, especially, of a woman’s experience in it. Wellesley’s greatest gift to us has been the enabling of difficult and important conversations, those that have reminded us, if anything, that the universe does not revolve around us. Whether it’s mentoring students in Boston or volunteering at a shelter in Bangladesh, the phrase “Women Who Will” means that we have not been,

as a quirky man once put it, marooned in our own skulls. So when you go out today, celebrate the privilege of having spoken your mind, and of having passionately believed in a cause, and of having asked tough questions. But celebrate also the uncertainty that has attended that experience—the difficult pleasure of the journey that led us, in the first place, to ask those questions. To read all of the commencement speeches in full, visit Commencement/index.html. Summer 2010 Wellesley



THE METAPHOR AND MEMORY OF TUSKEGEE The Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Male Negro was a research study of roughly 400 African-American men with latestage syphilis (and 200 without it) from Macon County, Ala., who were watched—but left untreated—by government doctors from 1932 to 1972. It was also among the most notorious episodes of racism in American medicine, triggering outrage and major changes in laws regarding medical research and informed consent after the study became public. But in her recent book, Examining Tuskegee: The Infamous Syphilis Study and Its Legacy, Susan Reverby, the Marion Butler McLean Professor in the History of Ideas and professor of women’s and gender studies, argues that the basic facts of Tuskegee only scratch the surface of the painfully loaded and layered meanings the study carries in the public mind—and especially in the collective consciousness of AfricanAmericans, many of whom are convinced that white doctors deliberately injected black patients with syphilis, and held them against their will. The power of fiction over facts, Reverby argues, is as much a part of the study’s legacy as the reforms it created and the lives it cut short, fueling a deep mistrust many blacks still feel toward the medical establishment. Over time, she says, Tuskegee has become a potent symbol for racial injustice writ large, even though few understand the complex history of the study—and even fewer understand the science. “Tuskegee is a metaphor,” says Reverby, a member of the committee that organized the 1997 federal apology for the study by President Bill Clinton. “It’s a shorthand way of thinking about racism . . . but I think part of the task of a scholar is to ask, Why do we believe these things? What purposes does misremembering serve? How does it help people explain their lives and understand their world? “People tend to see Tuskegee as a Nazi experiment done by Mengele-like doctors in the equivalent of a concentration camp, where the men had no escape,” Reverby says. “But the more research I did, the more people I talked to, I kept finding that it was a lot more problematic than that.” For one, Reverby says, there is the disease itself: Syphilis is caused by a helix-shaped bacteria that can’t be cultured in a lab or transmitted by mere injection of infected blood. That made deliberate infections of patients very difficult, Reverby says—despite cropped photos that circulated for years purporting to show Tuskegee patients being injected.

‘Tuskegee is a metaphor. It’s a shorthand way of thinking about racism . . . but I think part of the task of a scholar is to ask, Why do we believe these things?’ —Susan Reverby

(In fact, they were having blood drawn.) There was also the issue of access to penicillin at local treatment centers, where, as legend goes,

myths about Tuskegee that are passed down from generation to

Tuskegee patients were turned away after being identified as study

generation. And it opens the door to the thorniest question Reverby

subjects. Reverby found that treatment centers at the time routinely

takes on: why, for so many years, the white doctors themselves

denied penicillin to all late-stage syphilis cases, regardless of race,

engaged in a study that they knew caused illness and death.


because it was believed to be most effective in the early stages.


“I think just calling them maniac white racist scientists isn’t suf-

Then, there was the participation of Eunice Rivers, a black nurse,

ficient. It’s part of the story, but it’s not the whole story,” Reverby says.

and Eugene Dibble, medical director of the prestigious, historically

“You have to be able to explain why, I think, the fact that they didn’t

black Tuskegee Institute. Both were instrumental in the study, yet their

inject them, but watched them, is worse. Because it is much more nor-

motives remain clouded. “[Dibble] was in it up to his eyeballs,” says

mative in terms of how [people in the world of medicine] decide, ‘I’m

Reverby. “Why does he do it?” It’s a mystery that can’t be solved—

going to give care to you, and not to someone else.’ ”

Dibble died before the study became public—but it complicates Wellesley Summer 2010



BUILDING IN A GLAMOROUS WORLD One house is made almost entirely of glass, and its pair almost entirely of brick. They are two famously opposing houses in American modern architecture, one spare, the other opulent. “I got very, very intrigued by the contrast within the practice of modern architecture in the late 1940s, 1950s, and early 1960s,” Alice Friedman says. Those contrasts led Friedman, the Grace Slack McNeil Professor of American Art, on a nearly 10year journey to produce American Glamour and the Evolution of Modern Architecture, published in June. Starting with Philip Johnson’s opposing Glass House and Guest House, Friedman began to ask questions about why there were such strong contrasts in American modern architecture after World War II. She traveled around the country, identifying various buildings that typified these contrasts— sleek and modern, yet also glamorous and luxurious. Friedman began working on the project almost as soon as she finished her last book, researching during summers and Wintersessions, and working through different ideas with her classes. “My students have contributed enormously, not just to this project, but to all my scholarship,” she says. The book includes case studies of houses, corporate buildings, hotels, and religious buildings—everything from the TWA terminal at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport to the MIT Chapel. “Often these buildings make people feel better and look better,” Friedman says. Everything from flattering lighting to wide staircases to allow people to “make a grand entrance” contributed to a sense of glamour. “The modernists in Europe were trying to achieve something in buildings that made people behave more rationally and more pragmatically, as opposed to the [American] buildings that interested me,” Friedman says. “These buildings, they appealed to emotions rather than to rational scientific principles.” She points to the suburban explosion and

the rise of consumer culture as elements at work in this American “glamour modern.” “These buildings glamorize the people in them,” Friedman says. “Suddenly that person felt special. They felt that they had achieved something, that they had the power to parade around these public spaces.” Which is why buildings like Eero Saarinen’s TWA terminal were a hit with the public—though less so with critics of the time. “The public loved that building,” Friedman says, “and the critics felt it was too pictorial, that it looked like a bird in flight, that it flattered people’s egos by making them feel that they were in a palace, for example, instead of [illustrating] a rational approach to life.” The post-World War II decades were a time of unprecedented prosperity for the US, which stood in contrast to the rationing and rebuilding taking place all over Europe. Perhaps, Friedman posits, the


THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOX THST 209 Introduction to the Art of Scenic Design Instructor: Janie Howland, visiting lecturer, theatre studies Enrollment (summer school ’10): Limited to 12 Prerequisite: None Course Description: Think outside the box! Learn visual communication skills in this basic art of scenic design course. After reading assigned plays, students will learn how to develop their concepts through analysis of the action of the play. Visual research, sketches, and basic drafting skills will be developed in addition to the idea of a basic “concept” for each script. In addition to teaching artistic and technical skills, this course will emphasize the importance of collaboration with the director and fellow designers. Course Activities: Students see examples of the instructor’s work in current productions on stage in local theaters. They are asked to illustrate different emotions on 4 x 6 cards. Students also keep “image journals” and take part in a scavenger hunt at the art library to reinforce skills in research in actual books.

architecture reflected these contrasts. “This American glamour fueled and enhanced these building projects. It shaped them,” she says. Her time with these buildings has shaped her, as well, and fueled her next project, called Spatial Installations: Mid-Century Modern Sculpture and the Poetics of Architecture. Who knows where that will lead her? —JG

“Emotional response” technique: The instructor shares her approach to set design. It begins with a reading of a play, after which she creates a free-form “emotional response” to the text, in any visual-arts medium, using color, shape, and line. This response will become the basis of the set design. Required Academic Work: Students produce a diorama based on a piece of music; a model of their dorm room; and designs (models or sketches) for two plays: Buried Child (Shepard) and A Streetcar Named Desire (Williams). There is no exam, but students present their projects at a final portfolio review. Summer 2010 Wellesley


SHELF LIFE Cathryn Griffith ’88 Havana Revisited: An Architectural Heritage W.W. Norton, New York 240 pages, $49.95 HAVANA’S EXTRAORDINARY ARCHITECTURE and urbanism are unknown to many US citizens, most of whom are unable to travel to Cuba. Although many of the city’s once-magnificent buildings have fallen into disrepair since the revolution of 1959, much of its late 19th- and early 20th-century architecture remains. Cuba’s unusual status as a Spanish colony until 1898—nearly 80 years longer than most Latin American nations— helped shape a capital that reflected the country’s long colonial history. And its exceptionally close ties to US business interests meant many of its buildings resembled contemporary architecture elsewhere in the hemisphere. Havana Revisited takes readers on a tour, of sorts, through the Cuban capital. The book is based on Cathryn Griffith’s impressive collection of postcards of Havana from about 1900 through 1930, and was inspired by her deep fascination with the country, which she visited for the first time in 2003. Made possible by permission granted to the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, where Griffith studied, her first trip was one of many in which she studied and photographed the city with the help of friends, colleagues, and kind strangers. Throughout the book, reproductions of her postcards (most of which she bought through the internet) are juxtaposed with her photographs of the city in the 21st century. The images illustrate brief essays by 11 authors on Havana’s most important urban spaces and buildings, and are organized more or less geographically, leading readers from Havana’s colonial districts through the spectacular late 19th- and early 20th-century neighborhoods, and on to areas more recently developed. The book focuses on buildings from mid-1800s through roughly 1940. 22 Wellesley Summer 2010

Griffith’s images and the maps are extremely useful to students of Cuban architecture, and will be of great interest to general readers curious about the capital. The visual catalog of Havana’s diverse architecture—its massive colonial fort, its unusual late-baroque cathedral, its neoclassical and art deco buildings, and its broad boulevards and shady parks—reveals the city’s cosmopolitanism and suggests how deeply it was influenced by architectural thinking in the US and Europe before 1959. Griffith’s photographs of contemporary markets and street life show the city’s enduring vitality and suggest the considerable challenges preservationists face. The quality of the essays varies. Most are primarily descriptive and chronicle the changing uses of buildings and public spaces. Essays by Mario Coyula and Lillian Guerra are notable for their specific discussions of building histories, and their contextualization of the architecture in socio-political histories of Havana. The book’s excellent images make the architectural historian long for more thorough explanations of the sources of the architectural and urban forms, and for greater analysis of their relationship to architecture elsewhere in the hemisphere. Havana’s unique political status has given rise to unusual opportunities and challenges for historians and preservationists. Here, economic underdevelopment arguably has helped preserve buildings that might otherwise have been lost to capitalist entrepreneurship. The looming question of the city’s future after Fidel Castro is not addressed specifically, although as a whole Griffith’s book suggests that many Cubans are already at work attempting to safeguard Havana’s architecture. We will hope. And in the meantime, those who are unable to visit can “see” at least some of the city in this beautiful volume. Kathryn O’Rourke ’02 O’Rourke is an assistant professor of art history at Trinity University in Texas, where she teaches courses on the architecture and art of Latin America.

Paula Butturini ’73 Keeping the Feast: One Couple’s Story of Love, Food, and Healing in Italy Riverhead Books, New York 272 pages, $25.95 IT WAS 1998, and my class was bunked in Stone-Davis for our 25th reunion. As I chatted with a classmate in the foyer, I heard several voices call out: “Paula! Paula’s here!” I looked up to see a beaming couple pushing a stroller that held a toddler girl. “Can you believe I had a baby at this age?” Paula Butturini laughed, as eager hands reached for her daughter, Julia. Looking at their tanned, smiling faces, you’d never have known the hell Butturini and her husband, John Tagliabue, had been through to get to that point. She tells the back story in Keeping the Feast, a chronicle of their life together as journalists who have lived and worked in Europe since the mid-1980s. They met in Rome, when Butturini worked for United Press International, a respected wire service, and Tagliabue covered Italy for the New York Times. They were colleagues first, then good friends who discovered they had a lot in common (including coming from large Italian families where food was central to every gathering), then inseparable lovers. And one of the things they really enjoyed doing together was shopping and cooking in the cornucopia that was Rome’s open markets. Their descriptions are far too detailed to catalogue here—the abundance of just one market stand goes on for two pages!—but if you could imagine the produce section of the fanciest grocery in your town, it would only be a tiny preview of the seemingly endless choice that ordinary Romans enjoy every single day. But life changed abruptly when Tagliabue was transferred to Warsaw, just as the Easternbloc communist countries were rebelling against their Soviet masters. The city was


dreary and the public markets reflected the grim ambience. Butturini was badly beaten covering a demonstration in what was then Czechoslovakia. Right after she recovered, Tagliabue was shot by a sniper while on assignment in Romania. After a horrifying roller coaster of recovery and relapse, Tagliabue was finally able to return home—but then their biggest challenge began: He descended into a clinical depression so severe that it took almost three years for him to recover. What unfolds next is Butturini’s struggle to keep her vows of “in sickness and in health,” while also feeling shackled by them. And in that struggle, food plays a central, almost spiritual role, both in her husband’s mental health and in her own. A bright yellow bowl of polenta, the coarse kind her father favored, might be topped with her mother’s lamb shoulder alla marchigiana, “its rich sauce strongly flavored with minced rosemary and garlic, dry white wine and tomatoes, simmered long enough with the meat to turn it a dark, russet brown. . . .” Eventually, and with tremendous work on both their parts, life rights itself again. Although Tagliabue has occasional relapses, they’re not nearly as severe as they once were. The couple’s appetite for each other and the incredible meals they enjoyed together over the years return. When you finish Keeping the Feast, you’ll be full of admiration for this couple’s ability to get through what would have chopped many other couples into a marital hash. And you’ll appreciate a good meal for the sacrament it truly can be. Karen Grigsby Bates ’73 Bates is a Los Angeles-based correspondent for NPR News. Her most recent book is A Century and Some Change: My Life Before the President Called My Name, co-written with 107-year-old Ann Nixon Cooper.

Diane Ravitch ‘60 The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice are Undermining Education Basic Books, New York 283 pages, $26.95 THE CURRENT EMPHASIS on testing and accountability in the US education system has its roots in policies that Diane Ravitch helped to shape—as assistant secretary of education under George H.W. Bush, and as member of the governing board of the National Assessment of Educational Progress under two presidents. In The Death and Life of the Great American School System, Ravitch draws on her insider status in educational policy circles and credibility as a historian of education to critique current policies, including some she once passionately supported. Part apologia and part jeremiad, the book is provocative, both for its repudiation of past positions and for its political timing. In her critique, Ravitch takes aim both at the emphasis on testing in No Child Left Behind, the 2002 law adopted under George W. Bush, and at the emphasis on school choice in Race to the Top, the new grantbased initiative of the Obama administration. Substantively, the book brings narrative order to 30 years of federal policy in education. As a historian of education, Ravitch excels at highlighting the dramatic significance of what might seem like dull events. Her first book, The Great School Wars, surveyed battles over the New York City schools from 1805 to 1973. Her second, The Troubled Crusade, focused on curriculum conflicts from 1945 to 1980. Now Ravitch picks up where those histories left off, turning her narrative skills to the recent past and the present. Ravitch posits a dramatic turning point in this history around 1994. In her account, educational policy at the time was essentially on (Continued on page 79)

Sealing Cheng, faculty—On the Move for Love: Migrant Entertainers and the U.S. Military in South Korea, University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia Linda Cox ’61—Lone Holdout: A Memoir, Charles Street Press, Boston Claire Fontijn, ed., faculty, with Susan Parisi— Fiori Musicali: Liber amicorum Alexander Silbiger, Harmonie Park Press, Sterling Heights, Mich. Alice Friedman, faculty—American Glamour and the Evolution of Modern Architecture, Yale University Press, New Haven, Conn. Laura Henry ’93—Red to Green: Environmental Activism in Post-Soviet Russia, Cornell University Press, Ithaca, N.Y. Erica Hirshler ’79—Sargent’s Daughters: The Biography of a Painting, MFA Publications, Boston Betsy Jordan (Elizabeth Turner Jordan ’59)— Dante and Me: A Journey, Collective Copies, Amherst, Mass. William Joseph, ed., faculty—Politics in China: An Introduction, Oxford University Press, New York Maria Luisa Spaziani (translated by Lynne Lawner ’57)—Painted Fire: Selected Poems 1954–2006, Chelsea Editions, New York Rose-Carol Washton Long ’59, Matthew Baigell, and Milly Heyd, eds.—Jewish Dimensions in Modern Visual Culture: Antisemitism, Assimilation, Affirmation, University Press of New England, Lebanon, N.H. Laura Lorenz ’76—Brain Injury Survivors: Narratives of Rehabilitation and Healing, Lynne Rienner Publishers, Boulder, Colo. Walter Del Mar and Martha Owens (Martha Eikenmeyer Owens ’59)—For the Love of Belle: A Miner Strikes Gold, Epic Press, Ontario, Canada Robert Paarlberg, faculty—Food Politics: What Everyone Needs to Know, Oxford University Press, New York Donna Grant Reilly ’57—An American Proceeding: Building the Grant House with Frank Lloyd Wright, University Press of New England, Hanover, N.H. (Continued on page 79) Summer 2010 Wellesley 23


The News From Home: How Pakistan Shaped a Wellesley Journey By Mira Sethi ’10

On a sticky night in May 1999, a bunch of armed guards broke into my parents’ bedroom at 3 A.M., tied up my mother’s hands, beat my dad with gun butts, and dragged him away. When my mother asked for an arrest warrant, the officer barked, “I’ll give you a death warrant.” My brother and I were asleep in the room upstairs; we woke up the next morning to a house streaming with people. In 1989, my parents had together launched Pakistan’s first English-language weekly, The Friday Times (TFT). For the next 10 years, my dad penned editorials calling attention to the corruption of the two mainstream political parties, the Pakistan Peoples Party and the Pakistan Muslim League. During Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s last stint in

I knew was that I made my friends laugh by telling them stories about home, and the more stories I told, the happier I was. I took classes in the South Asian studies department, in the French department, and in the English department. I stayed up late at night fussing over my essays, drinking coffee, clicking my way to the New York Times home page in the inky glare of my computer screen. But I was miserable. My relationship with my boyfriend of four years was crumbling, and Wellesley added to my feelings of isolation and melancholy. Every day, the walk from Severance to Clapp and back was the same; every weekend, the line for the Peter Pan bus was long and jostling, Wellesley girls in miniskirts, tights, boots, and woolly caps waiting to be transported, however briefly, to the nearest Neverland. The news from home got progressively worse. During my first year, Pakistan was touted as a “key ally” in the “war on terror.” By the end of sophomore year, Benazir Bhutto had been assassinated and a small insurgency had begun simmering in Pakistan’s tribal badlands on the border with Afghanistan. By the end of my junior year, the northern tribal areas had become a safe haven for the Taliban. The same year, 61 suicide bombings—an unprecedented figure—paralyzed the country. American think tanks repeatedly mulled one question: Was Pakistan not resembling, more and more, a failed state? I was at Oxford for my junior year during this time, and my mother’s phone calls from home became infrequent. “How are things?” I would ask, stretching my neck. “Not good,” she’d say, her voice tight and tiny on the long-distance phone call. Once a week, she’d relate an incident of a suicide bombing in the heart of Lahore, where she and my dad worked and commuted every day. “But

office—from 1997 to 1999—TFT was at the forefront of reporting on the ruling party’s money laundering, land-grabbing scams, and loan writeoffs. A month before my dad was arrested, he made a documentary for the BBC on these subjects. Having done so, he left for a conference in Delhi. In Delhi, he spoke of the recalcitrance of India as a status-quo power that made no concessions to peace with Pakistan; he spoke of Pakistan as beset with crises that were causing it to fail as a state. Prime Minister Sharif’s henchmen seized on this “treacherous” speech—for having spoken ill of Pakistan in arch-enemy India—and arrested my dad. My brother, mother, and I, supported by hundreds of Pakistanis, took to the streets. I was 12, but I remember the heat, the slogans, the marching feet caked in dust. We led protest rallies on Mall Road in the heart of Old Lahore. We protested in front of the imposing sandstone facade of the Lahore High Court. A month later, under mounting pressure from the international community, the Supreme Court ordered my dad’s unconditional release. Eight years later, I arrived at Wellesley College, tall and gawky, knowing somewhere in the pit of my stomach that I wanted to be a journalist. I didn’t really know why I aspired to that career—all 24

Wellesley Summer 2010


Once a week, my mother would relate an incident of a suicide bombing in the heart of Lahore, where she and my dad worked and commuted every day.

you’re well?” she’d ask. “Are you eating properly and taking your iron supplements? Are you keeping warm, Mira? I can’t tell you how relieved I am that you’re not here.” Truth be told, I was perhaps more relieved than she—relieved and ridiculously grateful to be buried in a life of books with cracked spines, of pubs and long conversations about the role of art and literary criticism, global politics, and the significance of the election of Barack Obama. I loved being at Oxford, and being immersed, for a whole year, in a single, simple pursuit: reading and writing about books. At Wellesley, a creativewriting professor had encouraged me to pursue my love of prose fiction; in my final semester at Oxford, I did exactly that in a class made up of just me and the instructor. The more I wrote, the more full of possibility life seemed. Back at Wellesley as a senior, I found my thoughts very different from what they had been sophomore year. Although I still mused cynically about the too-verdant landscape, and my friends and I laughed and sighed and snickered about what it means to be a Wellesley Woman, news from home continued to provide context for my life as a Wellesley student. I began a collection of short stories for my senior honors’ thesis; most of them were set in Lahore. One day, I was gazing out the window, frustrated at my inability to write a crowd scene. Then, something rotated and buzzed on the wooden desk. My mother was calling from home. “We led a protest march against the Taliban,” she said, breathless. “Very high turnout, most of them women.” “That’s excellent. Where was this?” “On Mall Road.” “What was the mood like?” I asked. My fingers were poised, stiff, over the keyboard. Mira Sethi ’10 majored in English and creative writing and minored in South Asian studies.

The news of the devastating earthquakes in Haiti and Chile earlier this year touched many members in the wider Wellesley community. It galvanized many into action. A few lived through the quakes, or spent days waiting for word from family and friends. In this special package, alumnae, students, and faculty who have close personal and professional ties to the events in Haiti and Chile—from humanitarians to scientists—share insights on the disasters and what lies ahead for both regions.


EARTHQUAKE S Summer 2010 Wellesley 25

Partners In Health is not a disasterresponse agency. But years of investment in training community leaders on the ground and marshaling local and outside expertise put this Boston-based organization in a prime position to help after the catastrophic January earthquake in Haiti. Executive Director Ophelia Dahl CE/DS ’94 discusses PIH’s work in the Caribbean nation since the disaster and looks ahead at Haiti’s future.


When the 7.0 magnitude earthquake destroyed

most of Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital, on Jan. 12, Boston-based Partners In Health became a leader in responding to the disaster.

Ophelia Dahl CE/DS ’94, a cofounder of PIH and its executive director, says in the months since, there has been no shortage of generosity from people and organizations wanting to

By Amy Mayer ’94

help. But ensuring that the Haitian government receives aid, in addition to the estimated 10,000 nongovernmental organizations in Haiti that have been deluged with donations, remains a challenge. Further, Dahl says that Haiti was never properly built in the first place, and that “rebuilding” Port-au-Prince essentially constitutes building it—right—for the first time. That task, she says, “is hard, though not impossible.” Wellesley magazine spoke with Dahl three months after the quake.


Wellesley Summer 2010

A tent city in Port-au-Prince


Wellesley: Although PIH has a history in Haiti, you’re not typically a disaster-response organization. What did you have to do to become the first responders?

Ophelia Dahl: The epicenter happened to be close to the capital city, and the places it was closest to were absolutely crushed. The earthquake was felt strongly in the places in which we work, by our colleagues, but because we don’t have offices in the capital city at all, our structures were principally undamaged, though not unaffected. Even as a nondisasterresponse organization, Partners In Health has been able, over the years, to build a platform upon which to deliver health care and social services to those in need. That platform includes training and education and supplies and logistics and a supply chain and pharmaceuticals and human resources, all of which

enabled us actually to have the people and wherewithal to respond to a disaster. But certainly no one entity could ever respond adequately enough to a disaster like that alone. Do you think PIH’s focus on partnerships, and in particular governmental partnerships, gave it the flexibility to do what was needed as a disaster responder?

We’ve based our organization on some core components, including making sure that our employees are mostly not expatriates. Expatriates don’t dominate our model because when something disastrous happens, they leave, understandably. Who wouldn’t, if there was an earthquake, and you had a home in Maryland? And so the fact that our colleagues spoke Creole, knew the country, had the supplies and the infrastructure, that we knew the airport well, that we already had relationships with Summer 2010 Wellesley 27

It seems that PIH was uniquely suited to the task at hand. But everything that you just described sounded like a confluence of things, none of which you were intentionally growing because you wanted to be the organization that would respond to a disaster, but which equipped you to act when you were the only ones who could.

You’re right. That secret recipe is the staff on the ground. The incountry staff are making the decisions. They are running the whole thing. We are providing support and technical assistance and raising money and bringing partners together. But they’re not saying, “Can we take this truckload from here to here? Can HQ tell us that we can do this?” That’s not how it works. We said, “We will be here to receive and raise funds. You guys know what’s needed on the ground there right now. You guys do what’s needed.”

So has it changed or broadened the relationships that PIH has with other international groups?

The backbone of our work is accompaniment. It’s the community health worker model, but it’s also an organizational philosophy writ large. Accompaniment is really thinking about how we all are supported by each other. How can we work side by side to achieve our goals? How can

‘I think Haiti would like nothing more than to be raising its own agriculture, to be subsistent, to be trading, if possible, and certainly to have enough money to be able to pay for vaccinations for its own children, because people are dying in this country that’s an hour and a half from our shores by airplane. It’s like flying from Boston to D.C. It’s truly something that I’ll never, never come to terms with.’ —Ophelia Dahl CE/DS ’94


Wellesley Summer 2010

governments accompany us as citizens? How can we as individuals or organizations accompany governments, partners, NGOs, medicaleducation groups, etc.? We’ve learned about accompaniment from our community health worker model. In taking the time to train local people to provide health care, we slowly developed an understanding of what our patients needed and how to serve them better. The result of this investment in community health workers has been the development of a large Haitian workforce that is able to provide essential services to their fellow Haitians, as well as an incredible understanding of the importance of using local knowledge, forging partnerships, and focusing on filling gaps. This is accompaniment on every level. What do you envision as additional work for PIH now in Haiti?

At their invitation, we’re helping the Ministry of Health and the government in any ways that are feasible, from partnering to bringing attention to the teaching hospital in Port-au-Prince that was devastated. We’re thinking of building a teaching hospital in central Haiti with many partners. As planned, it’s a big, 160,000square-foot hospital that will have many beds, but will also have the capacity to teach and train clinicians and doctors. We’re already working in Port-au-Prince in some of the settlements of displaced people. We’ve got medical clinics and labs and the ability to serve the people there. There are many, many, many displaced people in settlements, sometimes 100,000 people in one park. The clinics that we’ve got, we used to call them mobile clinics, but they’re actually now fixed clinics that are there five or six days a week, providing medical care to an enormous group of displaced people living in terrible conditions.

People are going to be there for a long time. What is it really like?

It’s terrible. It’s terrible. The conditions are the kinds of conditions you would not have animals living in in the US. People will refer to them as tent cities, but they have neither tents nor any infrastructure that would make it like a city, except for the occasional solar light that’s put up here and there to try to protect the women and children who are very vulnerable at night. And there are sheets and makeshift shelters—sticks, corrugated tin ripped from places, rubble. Rainy season has started. There are inches and inches of water in people’s shelters that are this big [gestures toward a corner of her office], with four or five people sleeping in there. This is not from people wanting to live like rats. This is lack of resources and lack of organized help. Food is not being distributed well, and shelter is not being distributed well. I don’t think anyone would dispute that, even the NGOs with the best intentions. People’s needs are not being met by a long shot. As much as I’ve seen, and as many places I’ve been in the developing world, there’s nothing to compare to this. RICHARD HOWARD

customs—all of that helped us make the most of the many partnerships we have formed. We had people who have private planes. Who knew how many people had private planes in this economy? But a lot of people do, and who knew how many were so generous? Just individual people saying, “Take my plane,” again and again and again. “Fill it with medical supplies,” again and again and again. So you had the expatriate Haitians here. You had private citizens. You had doctors and nurses. You had accountants, you had computer people, all coming forward to help. I can’t emphasize enough the collective effort. It is true that Partners In Health has a good and deep bench of people who can really offer expertise in Haiti. But we couldn’t have done a fraction of what we did without the mobilization of resources from so many people in this country and around the world.

When you read about Haiti, you read about a somewhat more chaotic transition of power than you might have in some other Western hemisphere countries.


That is absolutely true. There have been, to some extent, chaotic transitions of power. Haiti is a country of about 9 or 10 million people, and the people there have voted very strongly in favor of a couple of progressive candidates. And, as often happens in Haiti, the will of the people is undermined by the influence of the few. So it leads to this situation where you’ve got enormous vulnerability around just about everything. And you’ve got a government that is not being fully supported. At the moment, the health budget for each of its citizens is a buck and a half or something. It doesn’t even pay for the cost of vaccinating a baby for a year. And then you have a terrible catastrophe. The country falls apart. The capital city and all of its structures just about fall down. No one has access to basic things like cell phones and computers. But you suddenly hear that hundreds and hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars are flooding into the country. One cent of every dollar is estimated to be going to the government. So how can you expect a government to really rebuild, even if it had the capacity? And I think that if it doesn’t have the capacity now, we need to help it have the capacity. It was an elected government.

So when you were saying the government wasn’t funded, you mean they didn’t have aid coming in from the international community?

They didn’t during the earthquake. I mean they had tons of money flowing in to NGOs, but not necessarily through the government. A tiny, tiny, tiny trickle. So you can’t do anything. If you have a penny of every dollar that’s coming in, what can you really do with it? All of these 10,000 NGOs who are frustrated about working with the government, it’s a terrible sort of vicious cycle. The government can’t be effective against corruption and all of that if it doesn’t have any money.

Wouldn’t the contrarian argument be that a government ought to be funding itself?

It shouldn’t just be the international community funding the Haitian government. It shouldn’t. I don’t think any country wants that. But the upper classes in Haiti are not taxed. And the agricultural economy has been consistently undermined by the US. Haiti fought strongly as a republic for its own independence from France in 1804. From that moment on, they were actually charged an indemnity for being independent. Essentially, France, whose industrial revolution was built on the backs of slaves, said, “How dare you take our wealth with your independence?” So, in order to be recognized as a country, the Haitians actually were charged an indemnity, which they went on paying until the 1950s. Haiti went from being the Western hemisphere’s wealthiest nation to the poorest because of 200 years of slow, deliberate impoverishment of the country’s resources. It’s an extraordinary and heroic history. These people and this country have been slammed again and again and again and again.

A child in a tent city in a suburb of Port-au-Prince

There are all of these things that came into play that caused the impoverishment. I think Haiti would like nothing more than to be raising its own agriculture, to be subsistent, to be trading, if possible, and certainly to have enough money to be able to pay for vaccinations for its own children, because people are dying in this country that’s an hour and a half from our shores by airplane. It’s like flying from Boston to D.C. It’s truly something that I’ll never, never come to terms with. For over 20 years, you and your colleagues have been making that trip and have been drumming up support for health care in Haiti. But now, along with Haiti, Partners In Health is in the spotlight. It has to be a real conundrum for you to have this country that you all care so much about be so utterly devastated, and yet it’s in a way a real boon for your organization.

A boon for the work, perhaps. The only thing that defines the organization is the work we do collectively. A boon for highlighting the work, a boon for being able to show in a bigger spotlight what is possible, and what an organization, a group of people can accomplish together. It’s a very tricky thing. I reject the idea that we’ve somehow prospered in some delicious way from this—I know that’s not what you’re suggesting—but I’m still trying to process it. Somebody came up to me at the General Hospital in Port-au-Prince about a week after the earthquake, this American fellow who had been helping. And he very confidently said, as we were surrounded by people who were dying from their injuries, or dead, that he felt that it was very important that they had not died in vain, and that this was an opportunity to bring the world spotlight on this country that had been so beleaguered, and that the ability to rebuild, to build, was this sort of redemptive piece. And I remember thinking at the time, “Wow, I wish I had that much clarity of faith.” But you’re right. We have many, many, many more people interested in this work and, a bigger platform, in a way, to be able to speak to people. But that also brings with it extra responsibility, and enormously increased workloads for everybody. Summer 2010 Wellesley


To pretend that there’s not moments of despair would be crazy. But that’s where we here in the Boston office, all my colleagues in Haiti or colleagues in Lesotho and Rwanda, that’s where we support one another. We had Rwanda, Lesotho, Malawi, and Peru, and all of our other sites send money to Haiti. The collective group of people putting their heads together around this is very comforting. We all have very difficult, dark moments. And finding support through one another is very imporPARTNERS IN HEALTH tant. And I’m not blindly optimistic, Partners In Health is a nonprofit healthI hope. But again, I just go back to care organization based in Boston, Mass., this idea that to not have faith that and started in 1987 by a group that inwe can make a difference at this cludes Ophelia Dahl CE/DS ’94, PIH execpoint is a privilege that most of our utive director, and Paul Farmer, a colleagues don’t have. Finding a physician, anthropologist, and currently way to do this feels like the only United Nations Deputy Special Envoy to way forward. I don’t feel like Haiti. PIH’s mission, which it calls both there’s an option. I really don’t. And medical and moral, is to “provide a prefI get to go back to my family and I erential option for the poor in health get to have a glass of wine, and I get care.” Its model of care focuses on partto have some downtime in lots of nering with poor communities to comways that many people, almost bat infectious disease and address the everyone in Haiti, does not. w root causes of poverty. The organization serves poor people in Haiti and around the world, including Peru, Rwanda, Russia, Lesotho, Malawi, and the US. To find information about Partners In Health, go to or


Wellesley Summer 2010

Gerdes Fleurant

MOURNING ALL THAT IS LOST The loss of life was catastrophic. And for many of the living, the wounds can feel like death sentences unto themselves. Next to the human toll Haiti suffered on Jan. 12, the damage to its structures and cultural symbols can’t compare. And yet, when he arrived in the capital in February, Gerdes Fleurant found himself drawn to the ruins of Holy Trinity Cathedral. He needed to see what was left of the place that had defined much of his youth—a place that stood not only as a house of worship, but as a shrine to Haiti’s cultural heritage. “In spite of all the problems Haiti has had, there has always been a vibrant cultural life—the art, the painting, the song, the dance,”says Fleurant, professor of music emeritus, who lives part-time in Florida and runs a school and cultural center in Mirebalais, 30 miles outside Port-au-Prince. “Now, the material culture of Haiti has been dealt a fantastic blow.” Holy Trinity was home to murals painted by the giants of Haitian modern art, monumental frescoes that recast stories from the Bible with distinctly Haitian subjects and landscapes. It was also home to a pristine, 40-rank Rieger pipe organ, considered the largest in the Caribbean. In 1963, on that instrument, a young Fleurant performed the first organ recital by a Haitian in the country’s history. The cathedral was leveled in the earthquake. “When I entered that place, and saw that beautiful organ under the rubble—that was shocking,” says Fleurant, who served as Holy Trinity’s organist and still


Our conversation seems to flip-flop between your commitment and optimism and hope, and the reality of just devastation and raging poverty. And it’s such a hard thing to wrap your head around.

Holy Trinity Cathedral after the quake


You’re not living in them, but you’re trying to help the people who are. Everyone who works here and in Haiti has gone or is going through their own private—or not so private—sorting of this. Because it seeps into you in ways that the rest of our work had not. I don’t want to be too depressing and morose, but I think what keeps us going at this point is the idea of actually working as a team, a big team. And when I say team, I mean with partners and people perhaps we haven’t even found yet, and communities like Wellesley, that came together and offered all kinds of support. That was inspiring to us. And you know, again, when you are lucky enough to work with a group of people that you can shoulder some of this burden with, and when you’re lucky enough to be able to have found some ways forward, you have to keep going, because we don’t really consider it an option to stop. The consequences of that would be worse. The idea of losing faith feels like a privilege that many of our colleagues and friends in Haiti don’t have. It feels like we’ve just got to band together even more closely, do our jobs even better, be better communicators, more efficient leaders, and open the doors wider for more and more people to come into this work. That’s what we’ve seen: more and more interest, not less and less.


How do all of you get up each day and confront these terrible conditions?

Holy Trinity Cathedral before the quake

remembers being paid an extra $1 to play its bells on special occasions. “The bells, the organ, the murals . . . it’s completely gone.” In Port-au-Prince’s teeming capital, there are countless losses to mourn. To Fleurant, part of moving forward must include a strategic rebuilding in which Port-au-Prince ceases to be the lopsided center it has become over the last 50 years, partly as a result of US trade policies. Already, the Gawou Ginou Foundation, run by Fleurant and his wife, Florienne, has begun absorbing Port-au-Prince children into its school and is working to build a technical

Amy Mayer ’94, a freelance writer based in Greenfield, Mass., interviewed and wrote about Ophelia Dahl CE/DS ’94 for the first time when Dahl won the Alumnae Achievement Award in 2007.

institute to train adults in engineering, agriculture, and health care. “We are no longer crying,”says Fleurant, who returned to Haiti in April. “We are ready to deal with the long task of reconstruction. We have to look at things systematically, put our shoulders together, and go forward with information and with cool heads. We welcome the solidarity of others, but we know that in the long run, we have to do it ourselves.” —Francie Latour

Emmanuelle Charlier ’12

EMBRACING THE MIRACLE OF SURVIVAL International-relations major Emmanuelle Charlier ’12 was napping at

who were hurt. I ended up spending the night with my uncle handing out

her aunt’s home in Port-au-Prince on Jan. 12, when “all of a sudden the world

bandages, aspirin, antibiotics, and water.”

started moving. The bed started going forward, backward, sideways. Cabinets

Haiti is a highly stratified society, where differences are drawn by “the

opened. Things were flying at me.” After the first shocks, the air outside filled

color of your skin, the car you drive, clothes you wear, how you talk.” The earth-

with dust. “You could barely

quake was a great leveler in more ways than one. Charlier says, “Everybody was

see,” Charlier says, and it was

equal. I was no different from the woman selling soap on the street. We all have

“absolutely silent. I really only

gone through this terrible experience. We are all equally traumatized.” She says,

heard my heart beating in my ears.”

“It gave me a renewed hope for humanity. Everybody was generous, giving

Charlier, who was born in

Charlier planned her evacuation online. “Facebook saved my life,” she says.

was visiting family after translat-

A harrowing drive past collapsed buildings and corpses ended at the US

ing for a volunteer medical

Embassy, jammed with evacuees. Charlier happened to be wearing a Wellesley

mission in rural Haiti during

T-shirt. Two women emerged from the crowd, asking, “Do you go to Wellesley?

Wellesley’s Wintersession.

We’re alums.” The Wellesley network brought together Charlier and Kim

Their house in the upscale Charlier (left) with relatives in Haiti

what they could. There wasn’t any hate that night.”

Haiti and holds dual citizenship,

Bourdon neighborhood stood,

Wilson ’77, a microfinance expert from Tufts’ Fletcher School, and one of her graduate students. Charlier left Haiti the next day.

but the wall around it collapsed.

Reflecting on her experience, the sophomore from Baltimore says the

Soon, a parade of people filled the streets. Charlier says, “They were attached

earthquake taught her lessons in patience, being kind to people, and the

to each other, holding each other up, praying to God.” Waves of aftershocks

generosity of the human spirit. It also “made me wonder about the decisions

continued. Charlier, age 20, admits she was anxious that the situation could

we make in our lives, where they lead us.” She concludes, “You can’t live your life

turn violent when night fell. “People started knocking on our gate after sunset.

with a plan because you never know what’s going to happen.”

My uncle is a doctor, and they came to the house begging him to help people

—Marcy Barack Black ’72

Karen Keating Ansara ’80

The earthquake devastated Haiti on a

announced the next morning. The Ansara

Tuesday. On Wednesday night in their Boston-

Family Fund pledged $1 million to match dona-

area home, Karen Keating Ansara ’80 and her

tions to a new Haiti Relief and Reconstruction

husband, Jim Ansara, brainstormed how they

Fund. Jim flew to Haiti to apply his construction

could help.

skills to relief efforts, while Karen helped set up

Some years before, after she had earned

the fund and courted donors. Within a month,

her master’s in divinity, Ansara and her husband

contributions surpassed their challenge grant.

had adopted four children, three from overseas.

Raising more than $2 million is no mean

As the children grew, she gradually focused

task, but deciding how to spend it is every bit as

more of her time on philanthropy. The couple




entrepreneurs lent their voices to a Boston con-

set up a charitable foundation after Jim Ansara

“We’d like to see international philan-

ference that proposed a five-year reconstruction

sold his large construction firm in 2001. Because

thropy done differently, with the people who

strategy. Stakeholders agreed on a philanthropic

they had witnessed firsthand the impact of

are most affected at the table,” Ansara says.

policy emphasizing transparency and account-

poverty on children in the developing world, the

Taking her cue from the “accompaniment”

ability. The goal is to fund in-country organiza-

couple decided to apply their resources to

approach adopted by the Boston-based

tions outside Port-au-Prince to encourage

attacking global poverty.

Partners In Health, she is instituting philan-

residents of the ruined capital to settle in

Haiti was a natural focus for them that

thropic accompaniment. This involves building

strengthened rural communities. A grant-making

evening in January.“The more we thought about

partnerships with members of a target com-

committee of 15—half of its members Haitian,

it,” Ansara says, “the more we felt it imperative to

munity at all levels of program assessment,

chaired by a Haitian—will award Haiti Relief

support the people of Haiti in reconstructing their

design, implementation, and evaluation.

funds to grassroots, Haitian-led organizations.

Ansara reached out to civic leaders in Haiti

In Ansara’s words, “I hope we can model

and Boston's sizable Haitian diaspora for input

with our modest fund a new approach to

The idea they came up with was embraced

on the best use of the money raised. In late

inclusivity and effective grant-making.”

by the umbrella Boston Foundation and

March, Haitian farmers, activists, academics, and

own country, in their own way, long after the world has grown weary of this disaster.”

Ansara speaking at the Boston Foundation


—Marcy Barack Black ’72 Summer 2010 Wellesley






















Wellesley Summer 2010

A vexing fact about earthquakes is that geologists

“They happen all the time” along the boundary of the two

have no way to predict them. And that’s true even though

plates, says Rebecca Saltzer ’84, a geophysicist with Exxon-Mobil

they know the areas that are most vulnerable, they have

who studied earthquake seismology during her doctoral work at

good records from past tremors, and they are constantly

MIT. People don’t feel the smallest tremors, though ubiquitous

monitoring the earth’s movements.

seismological recorders collect data on them. But sizable earth-

Take Chile, for example. The country sits at the boundary

quakes are also common in Chile. The largest one ever instru-

of the Nazca and South American plates, in an area called a

mentally recorded in the world, in 1960, measured 9.5 on the

subduction zone. In such zones, two tectonic plates meet and

Earthquake Magnitude Scale and was centered near Valdivia. The

one “subducts,” or forces itself under, the other. This causes

quake on Feb. 27, near Concepción, about 265 miles north of

pressure to build up. An earthquake occurs when that pres-

Valdivia, measured 8.8. Saltzer says GPS data showed the whole

sure becomes so great that energy has to be released.

city of Concepción had moved about 10 feet to the west.


Alumnae geologists explain the forces that shake our world

Understanding Magnitudes: A Peek at Wellesley’s Quantitative Reasoning Course Earthquakes are also expected along strike-slip faults,

When Corrine Taylor, director of Wellesley’s Quantitative Reasoning Program, first

such as the famous San Andreas, which runs through Cali-

learned of the February earthquake in Chile, she was surprised to hear a news report

fornia. Pressure increases between two adjacent tectonic

claim the tremor was 1,000 times as great as the January Haiti earthquake. That didn’t

plates until finally they move past each other in opposite

seem right. So she did the math—and it wasn’t.

directions. A strike-slip fault earthquake is the type Haiti

“They had the right magnitude. They knew it measured 8.8, and they knew what

suffered on Jan. 12. Geologists knew pressure had been

the Haitian magnitude was. It was 7.0,” she says. “They apparently did not know how

building under the Enriquillo–Plantain Garden fault zone

those numbers on the Earthquake Magnitude Scale are related to the energy released

there. The last major rupture along it was around 1750, says

by an earthquake, or how to make the comparison in energy between the two quakes.”

Carol Finn ’78, a research geophysicist at the US Geological

The magnitude scale is a logarithmic scale, and its numbers go up by 101.5 (or

Survey and the president-elect of the American Geophysical

approximately 32). So each one-unit increase on the magnitude scale is associated with

Union. For that reason, scientists expected it could rupture

32 times as much energy; a 6.0 quake, for instance, releases 32 times as much energy

at any time. But although they considered the fault due for

(measured in joules) as a quake measuring 5.0.

a quake, they still didn’t know when it would happen. Researchers pore over data in part to puzzle over the

On an exam this spring, Taylor posed the following question to her students in QR 140: Introduction to Quantitative Reasoning: “On Jan. 12, a magnitude 7.0 earth-

prediction conundrum. Saltzer says they’d love to under-

quake struck Haiti. On Feb. 27, a magnitude 8.8 earthquake struck the Maule region of

stand why things “suddenly, catastrophically snap instead

Chile. The Chilean earthquake released approximately how many times as much energy

of slowly creeping along.” But Hillary Jenkins ’04, who

as the earthquake that hit Haiti?”

earned her Ph.D. in geology at Duke in 2009, says geologists

Answering the question boils down to multiplying 1.5 times the difference

also find a major earthquake intriguing for a very primal

between the two magnitude numbers (in this case, 8.8–7.0=1.8). Then, you take the

reason. From a scientific standpoint, she says, “it’s just a

product (1.5*1.8=2.7) and raise 10 to that power. The result is 501.19. The Chilean

fascinating phenomenon.” Of course, it can also be a devastat-

earthquake released approximately 500 times as much energy as the earthquake in

ing one, too.

Haiti. (See the problem below, with formulas laid out.)

The degree to which an earthquake affects large

Taylor uses the Earthquake Magnitude Scale to give her students a real-world way

numbers of people varies according to how severe it is,

to understand a logarithmic scale. That helps keep the math approachable, which is a

how densely populated the area is, and how well prepared

fundamental goal of the College’s quantitative reasoning requirement. During orientation,

people are. Relative wealth and development meant Chile

all Wellesley first-year students are required to complete an assessment that measures

suffered fewer deaths and less destruction, despite a much

their proficiency with mathematical, logical, and statistical problem-solving tools.

stronger earthquake, than Haiti. Chileans, says Finn, “were

Students who need bolstering in those areas take QR 140. The earthquake lesson is

so much better prepared from so many perspectives.” No

part of the section called “Astronomically large to microscopically small: a physical

one in Haiti today can remember the last major earthquake

sense of space.” The course also works with demographic data and personal finance,

there. Chileans, on the other hand, experienced a mag-

and Taylor says students emerge more confident with numbers.

nitude 7.8 quake in 2005 and an 8.0 in 1995. People in Chile know what to do when the rumbling starts, and the myriad

“They become much more comfortable ‘doing the math,’” she says. “The change in their attitude toward math is dramatic.”

professions involved in construction appreciate the need to design and build for earthquake resistance. Unfortunately, many quakes occur in places like Port-au-Prince that are densely populated and have inadequate construction. Catastrophic consequences are then broadcast around the world. “There’s a perception that there seem to be more earthquakes than there used to be,” says Finn, “but it’s not true. There are just more people living in earthquake-prone

Taylor’s test question and answer: The strength of an earthquake (M) on the Earthquake Magnitude Scale is related to the energy released by the earthquake (E, measured in joules). The relationship can be expressed as:

E = (2.5 × 104) × 101.5M On Jan. 12, a magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck Haiti. On Feb. 27, a magnitude 8.8 earthquake struck the Maule region of Chile. The Chilean earthquake released

places.” Jenkins says there’s also a misconception about

approximately how many times as much energy as the earthquake that hit Haiti?

global warming—that it’s somehow prompting earth-


quakes. She calls that an erroneous and alarmist reaction to earthquake news. “I do tend to cringe at that,” she says. Amy Mayer ’94 is a freelance writer based in Greenfield, Mass. She has covered science for various public-radio programs and the magazines BioScience and Earth.

Echile Ehaiti

= (2.5 × 104) × 101.5(8.8) = 101.5(8.8) = 101.5(8.8–7.0) (2.5 × 104) × 101.5(7.0)


= 101.5(1.8) = 501.19 ≈ 500 The Chilean earthquake released approximately 500 times as much energy as the earthquake that rocked Haiti.

w —AM Summer 2010 Wellesley


‘My grandmother used to say that we had to be prepared for the earth’s caprices, because when it moved, it was unstoppable. I also understood why my mother used to say to me, “Tell me where you are going and at whose house you will be, in case there is an earthquake and I need to find you.”’ 34

Wellesley Summer 2010


By Marjorie Agosín


Translated by Jennifer Rowell ’06

During those foggy, rainy days in Santiago, Chile, Carmen Carrasco used to light a small coal-burning heater in her favorite spot in the kitchen. She would pull the chairs into a circle and would call us to join her. All of the women in the house—my mother, my grandmother, my sister, and I—would join her for this get-together full of magic and mystery. Carmen was a devoted storyteller, and she loved telling stories on days when the sky darkened and filled with ferocious rains that later left behind absolute silence. One of her stories began like this: One afternoon in September 1939, I was preparing my lunch. It was a vegetable soup. My husband and son were at work, and all of a sudden, my house was like a boat rocking back and forth violently over the land. Then, I saw the walls around me fall as if the house were a box made of matchsticks. I screamed and ran into the street, where I saw everyone running and in a state of panic. After that, I don’t remember much else. I sighed and looked around at the flames devouring my world. Carmen was a member of my grandmother’s household for over 40 years. When I was growing up, I heard this particular story many times. In 1939, she came to the capital by train, arriving from her home city of Chillán. The train brought hundreds of people injured in that sinister quake, which was one of the strongest in the country’s history.Kasdon ’72 By Louisa My grandmother always went to the hospitals to distribute blankets that she had made. That’s how she met Carmen. The two spoke, and Summer 2010 Wellesley


the conversation eventually led to a close friendship. One day, my grandmother brought Carmen home with her. Even though she worked as a maid, she was an integral part of our family’s history. Carmen was fixated on talking about the earthquake of ’39. She would recount how she temporarily lost her memory and how her husband and son perished in the rubble. Her whole house was destroyed, and so was her family. Even her aunts and cousins died. During my childhood, and through these stories, I learned about the fragility and precariousness of life because of these ever-present earthquakes. Certain items in the house also gave me better insight: lanterns, buckets of water, and a battery-powered radio. My grandmother used to say that we had to be prepared for the earth’s caprices, because when it moved, it was unstoppable. I also understood why my mother used to say to me, “Tell me where you are going and at whose house you will be, in case there is an earthquake and I need to find you.” Tremors are a fact of life in Chile—so frequent that it seems as though the earth shakes every day. Living in such a country means confronting the vulnerability of our lives. We live with a spirit of resignation and stoicism, which Chileans have been known for. I used to hear three phrases regularly when I was a child and adolescent: “What else can we do?” “That’s the way it is.” “We’re alive.” Living in earthquake zones doesn’t just mean living through shaking that may last for a few seconds, or for several long minutes. It means understanding that which can be imperceptible—or catastrophic. It also means having a state of mind that shapes how we behave, for good or for ill. It leaves some people eager to help others and risk their lives for those in trouble, and others ready to take advantage of the misfortunes of their fellow citizens—looting, stealing, and charging excessive rents to those who lose their homes. In history and geography classes, Chilean teens learn that their national history is marked by catastrophes, and earthquakes are the central disaster. During the 20th century, the largest quake ever recorded with instruments (9.5 magnitude) rocked Chile in 1960, and numerous others shook regions across the country. Then, in the 21st century, an earthquake of 8.8 magnitude hit on Feb. 27 of this year. This quake greatly affected the country, especially the coastal regions close to the beautiful city of Concepción. That morning in February, I had just returned to the US from my country. I could only think about Chile’s geography, long and extensive. It is a country of extreme geographic, cultural, and economic differences. The Andes run through it, forming the longest mountain range in the world, and to one side the Pacific Ocean pounds Chile’s rocky shores. The ocean and the mountains are only 180 kilometers (about 112 miles) apart. These extreme contrasts also are manifested in Chile’s culture and economy. The culture in the northern part of the country can trace its heritage to the indigenous people from the Atacama Desert. The Araucanian culture predominates in the lush south and accentuates Chile’s complexity and diversity. The images of Chile show a country divided socially and economically. Small coastal towns in the Constitución region were the areas most affected by the earthquake. Entire towns completely disappeared in the tsunami that followed the quake. Everything was carried away: 36

Wellesley Summer 2010

boats, houses, furniture, and most critically, people. The ocean and the earth swallowed up even children holding their grandparents’ hands. The tsunami alert did not sound. Some who knew how to read the ocean ran toward the hilltops. Others stayed, holding on to their few material possessions. These were the people whom the waters devoured. It deeply saddens me to see the photos and video footage of the thefts after the earthquake. Not only was food taken, but also radios, televisions, and other belongings. In the middle of all the pain, we can see greed and indifference in a country where the middle class continues to disappear and extreme poverty is pervasive. But in addition to these images of theft, we saw solidarity between neighbors. Young people traveled to the affected areas, as well as other people from the less-affected regions. We observed both kindness and delinquency alongside the poverty of the coastal towns and the wealth of less-affected areas. This geological earthquake also rattled our souls and made us reflect on who we are as a country and as citizens. It was a civic, as well as a seismic, earthquake. This recent earthquake could also be felt in Santiago. The humblest houses in the city were completely destroyed. Roofs and walls fell. It reminded me of Carmen’s stories of her house rocking back and forth like a boat. The houses in the richest communities and the most elegant shopping malls did not suffer in the same ways the rest of the country did. These buildings had been constructed with more durable materials, and they were able to remain standing. Some glassware broke and bottles of fine wine were lost, but not much else. Other houses in well-off neighborhoods suffered some cracks in their walls, but they did not lose their roofs. This earthquake has shown us how vulnerable we are. Everywhere, people learned that material objects are not the most important things in life. When the earth shakes, no technology can stop it. We’re better off having a pencil to write down important phone numbers. The lanterns that my grandmother considered absolutely necessary and the old battery-operated radio were what really counted. Chile had an enlightening moment when the country was left in the dark. People looked for faces and helping hands, focusing on what really mattered. They tried to repair broken relationships and spend time with loved ones. Faced with pain and tragedy, we have a golden moment to reassess the value of life. On that day in February, when I had just come back to the US from my apartment in Chile on the ocean, when I could communicate with my family only via e-mail because phones were down, I felt sad and powerless. I began remembering a lot of things. The first of my recollections was the earthquake of 1960, when I was 5 years old and the second floor of my grandmother’s house collapsed. Then, I remembered an earthquake of a few years later, when I was playing hopscotch, and it felt like the earth was splitting and swallowing me whole. I remembered another quake, when a church collapsed, just missing my grandparents’ house. There was also an earthquake when my friend Vivi and her mother were in a bakery and all of the cakes smashed to the floor. All Vivi and her mother could smell was these cakes, and Vivi told me that some of the cakes even “fell” into her mouth. When there is chaos, there is also humor and a hand ready


Living in earthquake zones doesn’t just mean living through shaking that may last for a few seconds, or for several long minutes. It means understanding that which can be imperceptible—or catastrophic. It also means having a state of mind that shapes how we behave, for good or for ill.

to grab and stabilize the hand that trembles in fear. It is during these situations that we can see the best of what it means to be a good citizen. I remember that during all of the earthquakes that I have witnessed, voices reciting prayers could be heard in the streets, in the churches, and in the synagogues. I recall the prayer that Carmen always recited. It was a prayer that Saint Teresa of Jesus used to recite in the 16th century: Nothing will shake you, do not worry. Everything will pass, God never moves. Patience takes care of everything. Those who have God don’t lack a thing. Having only God is having enough. The scenes I saw on television showed once-beautiful streets that had disappeared in the earthquake’s aftermath. Women and children sat among the rubble. A woman would ask about her son and her father, carrying a photo in hand. I could not help thinking about mothers from a different period of Chile’s history, the mothers of the disappeared, looking for their loved ones. This time it was not the dictatorship that had taken them; it was the ocean. I thought of my grandmother’s voice when she sat next to Carmen Carrasco and beside the heater. The two women would make blankets for the next earthquake, not just blankets for body warmth, but blankets to warm the soul, made by generous hands, hands of solidarity. When

people have asked me about what Chile needs, the first thing that I tell them is blankets. Even though food, water, and diapers are also necessary, I remember what my grandmother told me about how it is important to know that another human being sent a handmade blanket full of love and warmth. Patti Sheinman, director of Wellesley’s Hillel, asked me what Chile needed and then started a blanket collection drive. I am overjoyed to see so much solidarity in the Wellesley community and worldwide. This helps Chileans feel less alone when confronted with misfortune. There is an overarching kindness that is not touched by the indifference we see and experience. This summer I will make blankets to send to Chile. I know that this winter will be especially brutal and painful for those who have lost their homes. I will remember my childhood beside the heater and the stories about the earthquake of ’39—stories of courage and fear, solidarity and greed. Now I realize that we have not learned much over the years about earthquakes. However, if there is one thing that we have learned, it is that the earthquakes that rattle our souls inspire us to construct, and reconstruct, our planet. It may not have solid, sound buildings or walls, but it does have humanity and kindness. w Marjorie Agosín, a native of Chile, is the Luella LaMer Slaner Professor in Latin American Studies and a professor of Spanish. Summer 2010 Wellesley


RE-IMAGINING Architectural photography by Peter Vanderwarker


Wellesley Summer 2010


Summer 2010 Wellesley


A 40 Wellesley Summer 2010

The North Portico, now enclosed with glass doors that provide a weather break, as seen from the exterior (above) and interior (below).


lumnae Hall is back. It was formally dedicated on April 23, after an $18 million makeover that was its first complete renovation since the building opened in December 1923. Renamed Diana Chapman Walsh Alumnae Hall, it’s arguably now just what it was meant to be all along, only more so. “Back to the future,” is Wellesley’s 12th president’s comment on the structure that now bears her name. It is a renovation that has been thorough without interfering with the building’s much-admired “good bones.” Now more than ever, Alumnae Hall fulfills its roles both as a gathering place for alumnae and visitors and as a functional home for student activities. In her remarks at the dedication, Walsh called the renovation “the final punctuation mark” for the restoration of the western campus. Once blighted with asphalt and contaminated soils, the western campus today surrounds the main motor entrance to the College. And Alumnae Hall is one of the first buildings a visitor sees.


Among the highlights of the renovation: Air conditioning, for the first time, along with new wiring, heating, mechanical, and lifesafety systems; Wheelchair accessibility; Remodeling of the auditorium to make it work much better as both a gathering place and a theater, for those onstage and in the audience; A much-improved new display of portraits of 124 Alumnae Achievement Award winners; A “significant exterior envelope upgrade,” as the architect describes it, including all-new flat roofs, as well as selected slate and copper roof repair and replacement; Sustainability measures that have College officials expecting to achieve LEED certification from the US Green Building Council.

And going forward with this major project during a period of bleak economic conditions meant that the College got significantly more value for its money than it otherwise might have. The Alumnae Hall auditorium, the largest venue of its type on campus, is arguably the front parlor of the College. It’s long been the site of both first-year orientation and alumnae reunions. More recently, it’s been where the Alumnae Achievement Awards have been given and celebrated. Distinguished visitors to the College such as human-rights activist Elie Wiesel, scholar and activist Cornel West, and Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg have all spoken in the Alumnae Hall auditorium. And it’s where, in November 2007, Hillary Rodham Clinton ’69 kicked off her campaign for the college vote in the 2008 presidential race.

Designed by Cram, Ferguson, and Medary Jacobean and colonial architecture 46,500 square feet (3,800 square feet new during the renovation) 1,000-seat auditorium Renovated 2009–10 by the team of Ann Beha Architects and construction manager Lee Kennedy Company $18 million renovation project

But Alumnae Hall has also been a center for student activities. Many alumnae will remember the Well, a soda fountain and gathering place in the 1940s and ’50s. Dances were held in the ground-floor ballroom. The Theatre Studies Department put on its large-scale productions in the auditorium. Summer 2010 Wellesley


campus. That . . . wasn’t then chair of the particularly my thing.” Board of Trustees, that And having to spend money should be $36 million of endowfound to renovate ment funds to remediate Alumnae Hall in a site full of contaminated order to honor soils and sediments is no Wellesley’s 12th presicollege president’s idea of dent in an enduring fun. “It was agonizing,” way. In the last year of she says of the effort to Walsh’s presidency, clean up the poisonous funds were quietly legacy of Henry Wood’s Diana Chapman Walsh ’66 and architect gathered with the Sons Company, the paint Ann Beha ’72 approval of the Board manufacturer that for decades, until its bankof Trustees, but unbeknownst to the president. ruptcy in 1926, had dumped waste containing It had a “veil of conspiracy,” Walsh said at the heavy metals such as lead and arsenic, into Lake dedication, clearly moved by the donations of Waban and the adjacent wetlands. “But the alumnae and friends of the College in her honor. alumnae really got my attention focused on the With Alumnae Hall redone, rededicated, campus and on some serious problems that and renamed, each of Wellesley’s four alumneeded to be addressed.” nae presidents is represented on the campus Alumnae Hall, she says, has been “somewith a building named for her (Ellen Fitz thing that students, alumnae, have cared about Pendleton 1886, Pendleton Hall; Margaret since really almost the very beginning of the Clapp ’30, Margaret Clapp Library; Nannerl College. And to be able to go back and spruce Overholser Keohane ’61, Keohane Sports it up and, you know, refit it for this new century Center; Diana Chapman Walsh ’66, Diana is just really wonderful.” Chapman Walsh Alumnae Hall). As the western campus was being reviAs President H. Kim Bottomly comtalized, though, during Walsh’s tenure as presmented, referring to her predecessor and the ident, it became clear that “we just couldn’t get decision to name the building after her, “The to Alumnae Hall,” she says. “It was the one we Alumnae Hall dedication was an opportunity to just couldn’t afford to do at that point.” honor an elegant and beloved building that But, soon after Walsh announced her represents Wellesley’s rich history, as well as retirement, it became clear to Victoria Herget ’73, an elegant and beloved president who had the vision to make that project, and many others across campus, possible during her remarkable tenure.” As Herget said at the April 23 dedication, “Alumnae Hall symbolized so much of what Diana represented—all-inclusive outreach, collaboration across generations and geographies, sharing talents and thoughts, words dramatized —Victoria Herget ’73, trustee emerita and and vocalized.” former chair of the Wellesley College Board of Trustees RICHARD HOWARD

Productions on a more intimate scale have found a home downstairs, on the ballroom level, in the Ruth Nagel Jones Theatre, a small “black box” theater. Constructed in 1992, it was the first significant alteration of the building in 70 years. Alumnae Hall began as a gleam in the eye of some students who wanted someplace other than a barn for College theatricals and other productions. After the College’s Jersey cows were retired in 1896, their former quarters, known, not without good reason, as the Barn, had become an exercise and recreation room. In 1908, students formally requested permission to raise money for a “students’ building,” and when the trustees agreed, both students and alumnae began donating. But the College Hall fire in 1914 left the College facing an urgent need to rebuild essential academic buildings. The “student-alumnae building” would have to wait, even though $110,000 had been donated for it by 1915. World War I also slowed progress. But by 1922, a cornerstone had been laid, and on Dec. 5, 1923, Alumnae Hall opened. By the time Walsh became president of the College some 70 years later, the western campus was “really down at the heels,” she says frankly today. “It had become a kind of repository for stuff, for lots of cars parked in dusty, makeshift lots that never should have been there in the first place.” She recalls, “When I started as the president, I didn’t imagine how much my presidency would involve the campus, revitalizing the

‘Alumnae Hall symbolized so much of what Diana represented—all-inclusive outreach, collaboration across generations and geographies, sharing talents and thoughts, words dramatized and vocalized.’

Portraits of Alumnae Achievement Award winners


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Recreated tapestry

Restored chandelier and clerestory window


The firm chosen to design the renovation of Alumnae Hall was Ann Beha Architects, led by Ann Beha ’72, who has made a specialty of projects like this: the renewal of community buildings, many historic, in the realms of education and the arts. Their work at Alumnae Hall was respectful of history, but not bound by it. They duly researched the original color scheme of the hall, for instance. And when they found it had been gray and white, they boldly opted for something very different. Thinking about how to create an interior that would look “warm and welcoming The ballroom

at four o’clock on a gray February afternoon,” as Beha puts it, she and her team opted for a warm gold on the walls and a rich red with a tang of orange for the carpeting and upholstery. New technology—notably new stage lighting—has been incorporated into the traditional architecture in a way that almost suggests it was there all along. Details such as the brackets under the lights on the side walls have been regilded, but subtly, to convey that the auditorium is “still an old and treasured friend,” as Beha puts it. The gently sloping floor and the staggered Soundproof partitions

Alumnae gather at the annual meeting of the Alumnae Association in June, one of the first large events in the renovated building.

seating provide much improved sightlines. Some capacity has been lost—the “new” hall holds about 1,000, down from 1,300. But the trade-off has been wider aisles and more comfortable seats. There’s new rigging backstage, and a new tech booth. These mean better productions onstage as well as more opportunities for students to learn the craft of theater. Wheelchair accessibility is an accepted standard today, but Alumnae Hall was built with no elevator. On the other hand, unlike Ground-floor entrance

Summer 2010 Wellesley


fewer chemical fumes. There actually is a green roof, too: over part of a 2,500-square-foot basement-level addition to the hall, built to house the new mechanical systems (photo, below left). Renovation projects are notorious for being hard to estimate. But you might say that by being willing to go ahead with the Alumnae Hall renovation during an economic downturn, Wellesley got more than it bargained for—in the best possible way. Because bids came in lower than expected, the College was able to fold more items from its wish list into the project. The physical plant staff point to four items in particular:

‘The Alumnae Hall dedication was an opportunity to honor an elegant and beloved building that represents Wellesley’s rich history, as well as an elegant and beloved president who had the vision to make that project, and many others across campus, possible during her remarkable tenure.’ —President H. Kim Bottomly many similar buildings of its day, it did not have its entrances at the top of a flight of steps. To provide wheelchair access to the auditorium level, the sidewalk outside the building and the floor of the North Portico (on the circle opposite the Davis Parking Garage) were raised to allow a zero-step entrance into the long, gallery-like lobby. And to create a step-free passage from the lobby to the green room, new concrete was poured to create gentle slopes. This lets a wheelchair user move easily from the street to the sidewalk via a curb ramp, through the portico into the lobby, and from there to the green room and onto the stage. The new elevator will provide access to the other floors—and will help stage crews move scenery more easily, too. And with the


Wellesley Summer 2010

infill of the box seats along the side of the auditorium—previously there was a step that provided two rows of seating—there is now accessible seating on the third-floor balcony. That the renovation is compliant with ADA accessibility standards is a testament to the design team’s creativity. The term “green building” may suggest a contemporary structure with solar panels and maybe grass growing on the roof, rather than the Jacobean and colonial architecture of Alumnae Hall. But the College is hopeful that the restored hall will become the first building on campus to have LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification. The project gets credit for being part of a restored “brownfield” site, for one thing. For another, 95 percent of the building is being “reused” after the renovation. “The greenest building is the one already built,” the saying goes. And 85 percent of the demolition material was recycled—in some cases, within the building. The marble partitions from the old restrooms were repurposed for the new stairway from the main second-floor lobby to the Ruth Nagel Jones Theatre, for instance. But the new Alumnae Hall has cuttingedge technology as well: carbon dioxide sensors that detect a need to let more fresh air into a crowded room, for instance; low-flow water fixtures, and paints and adhesives that emit

The new mechanical room could be built underground and out of sight, sparing Beha and her team from having to try to harmonize a utilitarian outbuilding with the Alumnae Hall architecture. The North Portico has been enclosed with glass doors that will provide a weather break and a more gracious transition into the building. For the first time, Alumnae Hall has a real lobby, Beha points out. A new soundproof partition can divide the ground-floor ballroom into two spaces that can be used simultaneously. This may mean that more people will use it overall, because it can now be subdivided into conveniently smaller spaces. The ceiling- and front-wall panels on either side of the auditorium’s proscenium were recreated (the original burlap “tapestries” were too deteriorated to be restored) and the marbleized columns in the ballroom were renewed. The clerestory windows in the auditorium may be one of the best symbols of the restoration: round windows on either side, high up on the wall, five feet across. At some point decades ago, they were covered over. It’s not clear when or why. “Wartime blackouts” is a common explanation, but that seems to be folklore. Today, restored, they let in glorious sunshine, with just enough of a screen to filter out glare. Uncovered, they afford the audience a glimpse of treetops that gives a sense of time and place. And the windows show a much-loved building in a whole new light. w Ruth Walker, a former foreign correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor, has served as an interim associate editor at Wellesley magazine during two recent staff maternity leaves.

News and information from the worldwide network of Wellesley alumnae

YO U R A LU M N A E A S S O C I AT I O N WENDY ON THE ROAD Move over, Flat Stanley. Here comes Flat Wendy! The original “Flat Stanley” is the hero of Jeff Brown’s 1964 children’s book, a boy rendered flat as a pancake by a falling bulletin board. He has lots of adventures in flatness, such as slipping under doors and even getting flown as a human kite. In 1995, Dale Hubert, a Canadian schoolteacher, launched the Flat Stanley Project as an international literacy and community-building project. Participants make their own Flat Stanley image and treat “him” as a houseguest for a few days. They keep a journal of his adventures before sending him and the journal off to another “host,” who continues his journal for a few days and then returns him to the sender. In the same spirit, the class of 1995 has launched the “Flat Wendy” project. Kerri Kenerson Yates ’95 dances with Flat Wendy in Boulder, Colo. Wendy is, of course, Wendy Wellesley. Ellen mail, that is. But classmates have been encouraged to make the handoff McConnell, former class vice president, created five Flat Wendys, one any way they want to, including in person. After all, the Wendys are for each of the class board members. Each member “launched” one of meant to build class spirit! the Wendys, who are meant to travel from alum to alum like a visiting —Ruth Walker classmate. They typically have been traveling first class—first-class

25 YEARS OF ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT The 25th-anniversary celebration of the Katharine Malone Prize for Academic Excellence in April brought present and past recipients of the esteemed prize together with current and former selection committee members, Wellesley faculty, President H. Kim Bottomly, and Claudine “Claudi” Malone ’63, who established the prize in 1985 in honor of her mother, Katharine. The

anniversary gathering at the President’s House, with 33 attendeees in all, also held a surprise for Claudi herself: This spring,

the College planted 62 bluebells at Diana Chapman Walsh Alumnae Hall Circle to honor Claudi, her mother, and each of the 60 prize recipients from the past 25 years. Pictured here at the celebration are Megan Townsend ’11 (Sophomore Year Prize), Hoi-Fei Mok ’10 (Katharine Malone Scholar), Claudi, and Olivia Hendricks '12 (First Year Prize). The prizes, given to some of the College’s highest academic achievers, are administered by the Alumnae Association. Summer 2010 Wellesley


THE SYRENA STACKPOLE AWARDS The 2010 Syrena Stackpole Awards went to Molly

Members of the class of ’45 with Dean of Religious and Spiritual Life Victor Kazanjian (left) and Assistant Vice President of Facilities Management and Planning Pete Zuraw (right) at the dedication of the Peace Plaza during reunion.

AN OFFERING OF PEACE They are known as “the peace class,” their college years bookended by the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor as freshmen, and the ending of World War II with VE Day in May 1945 as graduating seniors. Since that time, much of the class of 1945’s legacy to Wellesley has been a legacy of promoting peace, from the Peace and Justice Studies Program to the class Memorial Peace Scholarship Fund for International Students. In June, reuning ’45 classmates extended that legacy even further with the dedication of Wellesley’s new Peace Plaza, an outdoor space at the rear of Houghton Chapel, just outside the entrance to the recently renovated Multifaith Center. The plaza, about five years in the making, grew out of a collaborative effort by class members, Dean of Religious and Spiritual Life Victor Kazanjian, and Assistant Vice President of Facilities Management and Planning Pete Zuraw, who worked with a local architecture firm to design it. In keeping with the idea of a 21st-century chapel, the plaza features an open patio area and circular seating space designed as both “a place of contemplative gathering” as well as a space for outdoor programs, says class President Dona Chumasero Everson ’45. “Our support of this Peace Plaza brings us full circle to where it all began 65 years ago,” she said at the reunion dedication. “May those who pass through this place go out into the world furthering the cause of peace.”

Sanderson Campbell ’60 (top) and Beatrice Strand MacDonald ’60. The award is given annually at reunion by the Alumnae Association in recognition of an alumna’s dedicated service and exceptional commitment to Wellesley. After receiving a master’s at Harvard in the history of science, Campbell returned to Wellesley as dean of the class of ’80 and a member of the math department. She went on to serve as dean of the class of ’84, assistant to the president under Nan Overholser Keohane ’61, director of the Affirmative Action Office, and dean of students. Campbell was the first dean of students to live on campus, so she could be easily available to her students. She was also a dedicated volunteer for Wellesley, serving as an annual-giving rep, reunion committee member, board member of the Stone Center, and a lifetime member of the Friends of the Library. Two years after McDonald graduated, she returned to Wellesley to work in the Office of Admission as assistant to the director. In this position, MacDonald quickly showed her talent for working with volunteers and became the coordinator of the alumnae admission representatives. She is also a devoted member of the class of ’60, serving on her 10th-reunion committee and then chairing her 15th reunion. MacDonald also served as chair of the program and nominating committees of the Wellesley Club of Boston. From 1979 through 1982, she was president of the Alumnae Association and was a member of the search committee that hired Nan Keohane.

’55 AND ’05: HANDS ACROSS THE DECADES They may have graduated from Wellesley 50 years apart, but during the 2010 reunion weekend, a yellow class and a green class shared a special bond. In what the Alumnae Office hopes will be the start of a new tradition, the class of ’55, returning for their 55th reunion,


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made a financial gift to the class of ’05 to help support their five-year reunion. The younger class chose to use the funds for financial aid, which allowed more than 20 young alumnae to attend reunion who may not have otherwise. “The gift meant a lot to our class. It helped us have a wonderful first reunion,” says Paulina Ponce de León Baridó ’05, a member of the WCAA board of directors. “It also gave us a sense of being connected to Wellesley alumnae who are 50 years our senior. My friends and I spent some time with the class of ’55

during one of their social hours. We wanted to thank them for their gift. It was a great ‘excuse’ to get to know them. They were having so much fun!” To show their gratitude, ’05ers also wrote a special cheer for ’55, and they rolled it out at Stepsinging (where it elicited audible sighs from the other classes) and at the Alumnae Parade.

Embedded in the cheer was a promise: Fifty years from now, they plan to return the favor to another class of ’55— 2055, that is. 1-9-5-5 Wellesley, yeah! 1-9-5-5 Wellesley Yellow and green Make a great team 5-5/0-5 Wellesley! 1-9-5-5 Wellesley, yeah! 1-9-5-5 Wellesley Our biggest thank you We’ll take your cue When it’s 2-0-6-0


NEW ALUMNAE ASSOCIATION BOARD MEMBERS 2 0 1 0 – 2 0 1 2 The following alumnae were elected to the WCAA Board of Directors at the association’s annual meeting on June 6. SHELLEY SWEET ’67


San Jose, Calif.




• Founder and president of I4 Process Consulting,

• A chemistry major at Wellesley, she earned her

which helps companies transform the way they work and use information; earned Harvard M.B.A. in 1990 • Volunteer for Wellesley as annual-giving representative, Annual

master’s and Ph.D. from Northwestern. • After a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of

Illinois at Chicago, she started at Abbott Laboratories in 1991 as a

Giving Committee member, and member of the Class Special

research chemist and has been with the company ever since. In

Gifts Committee

January 2008, she became divisional vice president for licensing and

• President, West Bay Wellesley Club

INTERESTING FACT: Shelley is a third-generation Wellesley graduate. “My grandmother (on my father’s side) was in the class of 1903. I went to her 50th reunion as a child. I must have been 8. My mother also went and graduated in 1933.” WHY SHE VOLUNTEERS FOR WELLESLEY: “(1) I love meeting other Wellesley women; hearing what they are doing and are interested in. (2) I feel it is important to have the opportunity to choose a single-sex college.”

new business development, supporting Abbott Nutrition. • For Wellesley: Has served on several reunion committees and the

annual-giving campaign for her 25th reunion. Has also volunteered as programs VP for the Chicago Wellesley Club, and local alumna admissions interviewer. INTERESTING FACT: “Except for my four years at Wellesley and first year of graduate school, I have always lived within a four-block radius of the house in which I was raised.” HER THOUGHTS ON WELLESLEY: “I find when I step onto campus or am at a Wellesley function, I am energized in a way that is difficult to describe; when I meet an alum there is an incredible sense of kindness,


collaboration, and encouragement that instantly makes a connection.”


CAREER AND VOLUNTEER ACTIVITIES: • Founder and CEO of Honeybee Capital, a research


and management firm focused on sustainable investment. Earlier, she had a long and varied career at Fidelity Management and Research Company. • Co-chair of Common Impact, a nonprofit that helps global

companies and local nonprofits work together • Pursuing graduate studies at Harvard Divinity School • Volunteer for Wellesley: Boston Leadership Gift Committee

Member; Business Leadership Council; class president, 2000–05

CAREER AND VOLUNTEER ACTIVITIES: • Medtronic, Inc., 1991–2009: Her roles included

senior vice president and corporate officer for $15 billion global-medical device company. Bain & Co., 1989–90: associate consultant. Holds Harvard M.B.A. • Volunteer for Wellesley: Class Special Gifts Chair; National

Committee of Friends of Wellesley College Athletics; Business Leadership Council

INTERESTING FACT: She has volunteered for Habitat for Humanity in Uganda, Malawi, Lesotho, Tanzania, Zambia, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Argentina, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, Vietnam, and Tajikistan. WHY SHE ENJOYS VOLUNTEERING FOR WELLESLEY: “In many ways my education there enabled everything good that has happened in my life since. (It has also equipped me to deal with everything bad that has happened since.)”

INTERESTING FACT: “I am the only graduate of Wellesley College to have had her diploma signed by her mother [Trustee Emerita Luella Gross Goldberg ’58].” WHY SHE VOLUNTEERS FOR WELLESLEY: “I continue to hear from alumnae of all ages . . . about how special their Wellesley experience . . . continues to be in their lives on so many levels. Whether it is resuming a conversation with a friend right where we left off the last time we were together, or meeting alumnae through business, I love the special connections: some old, some new, but all Wellesley blue!”

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Summer 2010 Wellesley



What Makes the Desert Beautiful By Anisa Mehdi ’78

The desert cleanses you, people say, and there is a lot of desert


in Jordan. I have been in Jordan for the past year as a Fulbright scholar. Getting a Fulbright is a little bit like being dubbed a citizen diplomat: The assignment is to take oneself into another culture and discover new truths while being the best American you can be—one who is proud of our guaranteed rights and respectful of others’ rules; one who is helpful but minds her own business; a person who is at once curious and polite, and critical while willing to listen to criticism. I’ve come to provide broadcast-media training for professionals and young filmmakers. It’s part of my transition away from large-scale, mainstream news and documentary production, and onto the next great phase of life after Wellesley. (How many are there, I wonder?) And so, eight months into this 10-month meditation, we found ourselves at Beidha, a site nicknamed “Little Petra.” Beidha is about 10 miles from Petra, the famed capital of the ancient Nabatean civilization in south central Jordan. Here, too, the Nabateans carved tombs, cisterns, and waterways into pink sandstone; here, they carved grand dining rooms. On one ceiling survives the only example of intricate Nabatean painting, with colorful leaves, fruits, and figures. My 16-year-old daughter, Katie, was with me, having spent 10th grade at Amman’s Modern American School. So was my husband, Peter, now on his third visit to us. On Fridays, Beidha is a favorite family spot for Jordanians from the south, and we fell in with some folks walking through Little Petra’s canyon to a narrow staircase carved at the end of the gorge. Except for Mom, who was probably my age but looked more worn, it was a youthful assembly. Sisters, brothers, their spouses, and three babies. The girls wore traditional garb: long dresses and scarves covering their hair. The boys were in slacks and sandals. Everyone wore smiles—including the babies, who were handed from walker to walker up the narrow, uneven stairs. I got to hold one of them, too. It was completely natural to turn around and reach up for the little boy when his dad faced a three-foot drop. Dad didn’t think twice about turning his son over to “a stranger.” Nor did I think twice when an older son, who was helping the girls get down some of the steeper spots, extended his hand to me as well.


Wellesley Summer 2010

At the end of the climb was a small rock plateau with a vista of rugged rocks and the streambed that Peter assures me still rushes with water in mid-to-late spring. There we sat, united in our accomplishment and divided by language. “Where you from?” It’s a familiar opening gambit, well-timed and welcome. I answered that one in Arabic, since I’m fluent in the openers. “We’re from the USA, from New Jersey. Do you know New Jersey?” “No.” Smiles, giggles. Next move. “Are you Muslim?” “Yes.” Ooohs of delight from the girls. Then Amina, sitting next to me, asked in Arabic, “But if you’re Muslim, where is your scarf?” She tugged at her own, snuggly wrapped, to emphasize and clarify. I smiled, and pointing to the purple Iranian scarf over my shoulders, I said, “Here it is.” And we all howled with laughter. So far, very good. “What about your husband? Is he Muslim?” I paused. Peter and I have been on spiritual journeys since we met 27 years ago. Midway through our marriage, I returned to Islam; he deepened his study of Christianity. We keep channels open, listen, study, talk, and edge toward the core of faith’s purpose. It’s fair to say he is interested in Islam; I know he’d like to go to Mecca. I also know there’s a belief that Muslim women are not allowed to marry non-Muslim men. I didn’t want to spoil the moment. So I said, “Nus-nus. (Half-half).” More gales of laughter. Total acceptance, appreciation, and joy. No judgment. Women, men, girls, boys, Jordanians, Americans, Muslim and Christian atop a rock face in the middle of nowhere sharing joy and no judgment. That’s close to paradise. On our way back down, we got around to the next favorite area of small talk: American foreign policy. Which came down to this: “America good. Bush bad.” Nods of agreement. “Obama good!” Thumbs up. “Salamatu—give him our greetings of peace!” Of course. “Condoleeza bad.” More nodding. “Bill Clinton?” the boy asked. “Nus-nus,” said I, remembering Clinton’s nonstop bombing of Iraq during his two terms. The boy said, “Monica, bad.” Thumbs down. This is the nutshell of American news. We hear mostly the bad stuff about them, too. As we left Beidha, we chatted about Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie. Amina and I exchanged e-mail addresses. A guy offered us a ride on his camel (which we declined); another offered tea (which we accepted). In the desert, you face the basics: your smallness and God’s greatness; your brevity and its longevity. Why waste it being unkind, impatient, or judgmental? It’s a long way from New Jersey to Beidha, and a short road every day to opt for joy. Anisa Mehdi and her daughter Katie return to New Jersey this summer to see elder daughter Janna off to Wellesley College, class of ’13. Mehdi recorded her months in Jordan at

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Wellesley summer 2010  
Wellesley summer 2010  

Wellesley magazine, summer 2010