Wellesley Magazine Fall 2011

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fall 2011




After the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti, Stephanie Hornbeck ’90 led a team to preserve and repair some of the nation’s most precious art treasures. Front cover and above: an untitled oil on canvas by B. Byron, before and after treatment by Hornbeck’s team. Collection of the Centre d’Art, Haiti







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Departments 2

From the Editor

When an earthquake hit Haiti on Jan. 12, 2010, roughly 50,000 works of art


Letters to the Editor

were damaged. Conservator Stephanie Hornbeck ’90 led an international


From the President


Window on Wellesley by Alice Hummer, Lisa Scanlon ’99, Jennifer Flint, Jennifer Garrett ’98, April Austin, and Abigail Murdy ’12


effort to save the country’s precious cultural heritage.

30 UNPLANNED LESSONS By Anna K. Johns ’09 A young alumna reflects on what she has learned about teaching— and herself—as a first-year teacher with Teach For America in San Antonio.



Shelf Life


First Person— Journalist in the Making by Terra L. Stanley ’12


WCAA—Your Alumnae Association


Class Notes


Endnote—Walking Tributaries by Sejal Shah ’94

By Ruth Walker This year, the Davis Scholar Program celebrated its 40th anniversary. We profile nine alumnae from this diverse and vibrant class.

Cover and inside front cover photographs courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution Haiti Cultural Recovery Project





fall 2011 | volume 96 | issue 1

Editor Alice M. Hummer Associate Editors Lisa Scanlon ’99 Jennifer McFarland Flint

Principle Photographer Richard Howard Student Assistant Abigail Murdy ’12 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 781-283-2344. 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. KEEP WELLESLEY UP-TO-DATE!

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 Alumnae Association website at www.wellesley.edu/Alum/. 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



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From the Editor


HERE’S SOMETHING BITTERSWEET about closing up a parent’s home, which I’ve been doing over the last few months. There’s an obvious presence no longer there, but at the same time there are plenty of opportunities for smiles, laughs, and a little shaking of heads. You open a tattered box secured with string as old as you are, and there’s that hideous glass Christmas tree ornament with tarnished tinsel strung inside—which everyone has laughed at for years, but refuses to throw away. Yup, ugly as ever. Or amid the voluminous piles of papers being sorted, you find a carefully preserved third-grade report card—from the 1930s. Then you uncover a black-and-white photo of your toddler sisters and yourself in matching velvet jumpers, gritting your teeth for the annual holiday photo shoot. “Alice, sit still,” your mother’s voice echoes across the decades. My favorite find thus far occurred back at my own house as I was unwrapping an antique family soup tureen. A film of dust had arrived with it from Pennsylvania, so I removed the vessel’s lid to wash it out. Taped inside was a yellowed card from a library card catalog. On the back, in my grandmother’s distinctive penmanship, was written, “Name tureen as applied to the container for soup is said to be derived from the fact that Marshall Turenne of France, on one occasion, used his helmet to hold soup.” I laughed out loud. Where had my grandmother, who read voraciously, uncovered this (probably apocryphal) factoid? Mostly, I loved the fact that it had tickled her funny bone sufficiently that she had preserved it for her descendents in a way that we couldn’t miss. And in a way that wouldn’t fail to make us smile. Who knows how long the note had been there—probably several decades, given the not-so-recent demise of card catalogs. Still smiling, I taped it carefully back inside for future generations to discover. Every generation, of course, leaves behind artifacts and writings that tell us about who they were and how they lived. Here at the magazine, we are creating part of the record of this generation of Wellesley College. I was recently in a meeting to discuss the preservation of our enormous photographic collection. Slides, negatives, prints, disks: We take thousands of photographs that will some day make up a large part of the College Archive collections. We need to make sure that they make it there intact, along with the metadata (What are those students protesting? When?) required for digital cataloging. The magazines themselves are a record—even beyond the written content they contain. We love perusing the magazine’s bound volumes in our office, taking in the way typography, writing style, headlines, and design all speak to a particular era. And the photographs! Truth be told, sometimes we crow over them. Seriously, ladies from the ’60s, how did you make your hair so big? What does this current issue tell you about present-day Wellesley? Students of today have a great sense of creativity that blends wonderfully with whimsy (“All Dressed Up,” p. 10). Alumnae are infused with as much of a sense of “Ministrare” as earlier generations of Wellesley graduates (for example, Stephanie Hornbeck ’90 preserving the cultural heritage of Haiti—“The Art of Recovery,” p. 20). Davis Scholars are an integral part of the fabric of the College (“The Class of All Colors,” p. 34). It’s probably the same Wellesley you knew, but different, too. You read and judge. In the meantime, anybody want eight sets of china that we dug out of the family homestead? That’s a few more than I need. . . . Alice M. Hummer, Editor


Design Friskey Design, Sherborn, Mass.


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 email comments to magazine@alum.wellesley.edu. ADVICE FOR PHYSICIANS

I rarely write letters to the editor, but after reading the last edition of the Wellesley magazine, I felt compelled to respond to a letter written by Anonymous ’07 (“Letters to the Editor,” summer ’11). My goal in doing this is to offer her a ray of hope. After earning my B.A. from Wellesley, I graduated from medical school. While in medical school, I found that I enjoyed my surgical rotation more than any other. When applying for a residency, I was told by my medical-school advisors that I should not apply for a surgical residency because it was not a traditional role for a female physician. Still, I persisted in my desire to become a surgeon. Again, I encountered more roadblocks. A chief of surgery at a major hospital was not supportive of my applying to his service; however, I found another chief at the same hospital who welcomed my application and accepted me into his surgical service. When I started my residency, I did not intend to date any doctor at the hospital. However, I met someone who shared the emergencyward service with me. We worked well together, and he invited me to play golf. Three weeks later, we

were engaged, and since he was about to join the Navy, we decided to get married five months later. Now, after juggling schedules, raising five wonderful and successful children, and enjoying our 14 grandchildren, we still love being partners in medicine and life. My advice to the writer is: There will be times in medicine that are difficult. There are times when it will be difficult to find a compatible partner. There are times when it will be difficult to just unwind from work and enjoy oneself. Don’t expect to have everything happen at once. Take things one day at a time and enjoy what is present before you. Keep focused on your career until someone or something comes along that you will want to fit into your amazing life. It can happen when you least expect it, as it did for me. You have already achieved a major goal in your young life by graduating from one of the finest colleges in the world and becoming an M.D. You have also been placed in a residency, which, even though it was not your first choice, not every graduating physician is able to do. Try to rise above the obstacles by finding enjoyment in caring for your patients. Hearing their stories and healing their pain will bring you a great deal of satisfaction. Barbara Payne Rockett ’53 Brookline, Mass. THE PLAY’S THE THING


Dear Wellesley College Alumnae, Sometimes lightning does strike twice. In 2006, I was thrilled to serve you as president of the Wellesley College Alumnae Association. As you may recall, I became very fond of saying “Wellesley is for life.” I may have failed to appreciate fully the magnitude of that statement, but I am about to find out! After a quick but very eventful five years in the life of our College, I have begun serving as chair of the Wellesley College Board of Trustees. Once again, I am thrilled and grateful for this opportunity to serve our alma mater and to be more closely connected to all of you. I look forward to renewing my partnership with our president, Kim Bottomly. I know that she shares my belief that the Wellesley alumnae network is one of our greatest strengths, a unique and powerful characteristic. From my personal experience I know, and Kim has learned, that the Wellesley experience is more than four years. It is a lifelong journey. We are supported by those who came before us, and we support those coming along. Through Wellesley, each of us is connected to generations of remarkable, accomplished women. I spent the summer speaking with each of my fellow trustees. We are so fortunate to have such talented and dedicated board members who care deeply about Wellesley, are thoughtful stewards of its resources, and are generous with their time and talents on our behalf. In our conversations, we spoke of the work of various board committees and task forces and the “big picture” topics the board has been working on since a retreat we held in October 2010. Our work is focused on the issues of college affordability and accessibility, student engagement, supporting our faculty, and infrastructure requirements—everything from buildings to technology to staff. Wellesley is in a strong position with many opportunities for exciting new initiatives. But as you can imagine, the current economic climate presents challenges, as well. I am grateful for the good hearts and minds working on these challenges for Wellesley. All our deliberations are informed by our core commitment to the liberal arts as an effective foundation for new global citizens who must exhibit flexibility of thought and habit to adapt to a rapidly changing world. We will bring that same flexibility of thought to our work of securing Wellesley’s future.

Belatedly I read the spring ’11 issue and was stunned and Laura Daignault Gates ’72

(Continued on page 81)

Ruth Walker (“The Class of All Colors, p. 34), a Wellesley magazine regular, is a Boston-based freelancer who writes a weekly column for the Christian Science Monitor called Verbal Energy.


CONTRIBUTORS Anna K. Johns ’09 (“Unplanned Lessons,” p. 30) was the magazine’s Girl Friday before she graduated, went to work in Alabama as a paralegal, and then took a teaching job with Teach For America.

When she is not working with the Smithsonian in Haiti, Stephanie Hornbeck ’90 (“The Art of Recovery,” p. 20) is the principal at Caryatid Conservation Services, a private practice in object conservation in Miami.

Richard Howard, the magazine’s intrepid and talented photographer, will climb anything to catch the action (inside back cover).

Wellesley magazine is available online at www.wellesley.edu/ magazine. Follow Wellesley on Twitter: @Wellesleymag.

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From the President

Dreamers, Designers, and Doers

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demand. (In doing so, the “nonrelevant” majors would be eliminated, HAT KIND OF EDUCATION results in graduates the report implies.) But, if you listen to the employers cited in the NGA who are successful at what they choose report, they want employees who are self-directed and who take initiato do? What kind of education results tive, who are adaptable and willing to learn, who have high ethical in graduates who, many years later, still standards and integrity, and who are able to communicate effectively. credit their college with helping them to Ironically, the competencies employers want are exactly the skills that live a fulfilling and appreciated life? a broad liberal-arts education provides—the same skills that would be It is a Wellesley kind of education. diminished if we followed the recommendations in this report. Women emerge from their four This way of thinking has significant negative consequences. For years at Wellesley having developed three distinct crucial attributes: one, it diminishes the role of the humanities. If the goal of getting a They are dreamers, they are designers, and they are doers. Dreaming college degree is primarily the pragmatic is creative vision, seeing new and different acquisition of specific job skills, then approaches to old problems. For dreams there is little justification for the humanto become reality, there must be good ities. Yet, some of the more progressive planning—that is where the designer skills undergraduate business and engineering come in. And the best plans are of little use schools have come to appreciate the role without doers to enact them. A Wellesley of the humanities in producing the best education is designed to allow students to innovators and the best creative dreambe all three. ers. This approach also undermines the In our classrooms and in our residenrole of the faculty in setting curricutial environment, we provide students with lum. Faculty, not market trends, are the a broad context for their diverse interests, experts at creating educated persons. an organizing framework that helps them One of the faculty’s most important make sense of the world. Our liberalcontributions—one that we take very arts curriculum, emphasizing humanities, seriously at Wellesley—is upholding the social science, and science, is deliberately standards of the academic enterprise. designed to provide that necessary broad ‘In our classrooms and in These are standards that have served this country context and to help transform students’ interests into very well over the past century and more. specific skills. This is the true value of a Wellesley our residential environment, I am not worried about Wellesley. We know education, and more generally of a liberal-arts we provide students with how to educate undergraduates, and we have the education. a broad context for successful history to prove it. We will keep doing The Wellesley story—a story that spans more their diverse interests, what we have always done so well. I do worry, than 125 years—is about doing what is necessary an organizing framework however, about the many fine educational instituto produce the dreamers, designers, and doers that that helps them make sense tions that will not be able to ignore the “new story” the world so badly needs. implicit in the NGA report. Those institutions But there are other stories out there—new of the world.’ educate the vast majority of our nation’s college stories. —President H. Kim Bottomly graduates. If they are forced to follow the prescripThe national dialogue currently portrays higher tions and proscriptions of this politically popular education merely as preparation for specific careers— report, our nation could find itself with a less competent leadership core, the producer of certified persons, rather than the producer of educated a less literate and humane population. The shrinking influence of the persons. I recently read a report by the National Governors Association humanities will hurt us all—even those of us from Wellesley, where the (NGA) that exemplifies what is wrong with this new story. The report, humanities will always be cherished. Degrees for What Jobs? Raising Expectations for Universities and We all need to join the national debate so these “new stories” Colleges in a Global Economy, criticizes higher education for being about the role of undergraduate education are not the dominant ones. insensitive to the immediate needs of industry and, therefore, failing Wellesley’s own dreamers, designers, and doers prove that a liberal-arts to support American competitiveness. Curricula, the report suggests, education remains relevant, valuable, and necessary today. should be determined by market trends, so schools should increase the H. Kim Bottomly number of degrees in program areas that currently have high employer



Art for All MONOPRINTING. Poster design. Ceramic mosaics.

Stop-motion animation. Matting and framing. These are just a few of the workshops offered through Wellesley’s Applied Arts Program. The workshops are noncredit, free, and open to all members of the Wellesley community—including alumnae. “I think about it as a community builder,” says Clara Lieu, program coordinator of the Applied Arts Program and director of the Jewett Art Gallery. “You can have a first-year student, a faculty member, and a staff member, and you’re all getting to know each other in a relaxed environment. . . . I’ve had people from all over the place participate.” The program also gives participants the chance to learn valuable skills that simply aren’t covered in classes, like how to photograph 2-D and 3-D art. “The students will bring a painting or a photograph, and we’ll teach them how to photograph it. That’s really important for grad-school applications, for portfolio preparation,” Lieu says. The courses also introduce people to tools and resources at the College that they might otherwise not encounter, like the laser cutter in the engineering studio in the Science Center. Before the class was offered, “I didn’t even know we had a


Caitlin Jo “C.J.” Greenhill ’14 inspects a monoprint plate during a September workshop given by the Applied Arts Program.

laser cutter,” Lieu says. —LS For more information on the Applied Arts Program, visit jewettgallery. wordpress.com/applied-arts/.

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JIM WICE, director of disability service

Equal Access for All job at the College in three words: providing equal access. As Wellesley’s director of disability services, he finds accommodations to allow members of the community with disabilities, needs, or health issues to do their academic work, fulfill their job responsibilities, or take part in events. If you need sign-language services for your classes or a parking spot near your office in Green Hall because you’re temporarily on crutches, Wice is the person to call. As an advocate and facilitator, Wice is the center of a network of offices on campus that provide services to students, faculty, staff, alumnae, and guests to the College. One day, he might be working with a class dean and the Pforzheimer Learning and Teaching Center to secure testing accommodations—for example, extended time—for a student with a learning disability. The next, he might be collaborating with the Housing Office and Campus Police to make sure a student has a wheel-in shower in her residence hall and transportation around campus. Although many people are involved, To learn more about disability Wice is the first and often programs, visit web.wellesley. the only stop for disability edu/web/StudentLife/ services. HealthandWellness/disability. He also works to raise awareness about disability issues on campus. He runs a monthly disabilities discussion group and sponsors events, such as a film on deafness and cochlear implants that was shown on campus in September. He’s involved in longterm planning for the College, evaluating facilities and promoting “universal design,” a standard of accessibility that goes beyond codes mandated by the Americans with Disabilities Act. And he has even been known to advise alumnae-magazine editors on the preferred language around disability issues. (Use “person first” language, he says, such as “student with a disability” rather than “disabled student.”) Wice holds a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling and has been active in the field for more than 20 years, working in higher education as well as at residential and nonresidential institutions.

I’ve tended to be a big proponent of work experience, especially for students with disabilities— internships, [for example].’ —Jim Wice

It’s his job to know codes and best practices, and he can reel off information about the campus terrain and buildings. (Just ask Ria Mendoza-Bennett ’91, who returned for her 20th reunion last June—“He [provided] information I had not considered like the 1:8 rise in the ramp I would have to negotiate in Pomeroy.”) When working with students, in particular, Wice also calls on his own experience. A spinal-cord injury after his freshman year in college led him to use a wheelchair. He completed his B.S. in engineering, but could not find work in the field after graduation. “I took summer school. I took wintersessions. When I got out of school, I didn’t have any engineering experience, so I couldn’t talk engineering,” he says. “Plus, having a disability, the employers even more wanted to know what can you do, what can’t you do.” He took a temporary job instead at the University of Massachusetts Disability Services Office— which has happily led to his career. But the experience still colors his advice to students: “Over the years, I’ve tended to be a big proponent of work experience, especially for students with disabilities—internships, [for example].” All the advice and services Wice offers are provided by the College free of charge. Mona Minkara ’09, likely the first legally blind student to graduate from Wellesley with a major in the sciences, expresses gratitude for all the support she received: student and staff readers, students to record books (“that’s probably the most expensive and most useful thing they gave me”), notetakers for class and assistants for labs, assistive software. “It was a slew of things. It was a big investment,” she says, but it provided the critical equal access for her. “For sure, I would not have been able to graduate or even not get much out of my education if I didn’t have all these readers. I’m glad that there was a disabilities office—somebody there who supported what I needed.” She has since moved on to the University of Florida to pursue a doctorate in chemistry. —AH

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Children’s Books


and Community Service Campus Challenge, Wellesley is launching a number of interfaith and communityservice programs on and around campus. Among the projects in the works are creating an edible forest

AS A BIRACIAL CHILD, Assistant Professor Brenna

The Real Story of the Bonobos Who Wore

Greer grew up in a predominantly white environ-

Spectacles, by Adela Turin and Nella Bosnia

ment, where books featuring children of color were rare. “I glommed onto those books I felt reflected me, or my experience, or my family, in terms of our race,” says Greer, who is a new addition to the history department, where she teaches a course on black Americans’ relationship to visual culture. As an adult—and a budding collector of children’s books—Greer searches out those books that helped her make sense of her world as a child. “The primary narratives running through the books that I enjoyed as a child (and which I continue to keep close) are those that reinforced the value of finding and knowing one’s self and being true to that self. And often, they were about being alone, but not lonely, on that journey,” she says. Visually, these texts tend to be “vivid or spectacular in some

in issues of religious literacy; and focusing on making the Multifaith Center a gathering place for local

attempt on my mother’s part to arm her daughter

schools and chaplain-

against a world with sexism in it. The males in a

cies during interfaith

group of bonobos find a suitcase of spectacles.

programs through the

They wear them to distinguish themselves as the


learned members of their society. They spend

President Obama

all their time pontificating (and doing no work),

announced the initia-

and they make fun of the female bonobos when

tive this spring, asking

they, too, try to wear the spectacles and share

institutions of higher

knowledge. Eventually the females and the chil-

education to commit to

dren leave the men to their “thinking” and move

a year of interfaith and

on to another grove, in which they start their own

community-service pro-

utopian society filled with music, art, and learn-

gramming on campus. “As a Christian who became

ing. The illustrations are colorful and humorous;

committed to the church while serving my community,

the message is one of self-love and collective

I know that an act of service can unite people of all


faiths, or even no faith, around a common purpose of

I Been There, written by Carol Hall, illustrated

and adult collector alike. Here, Greer shares her

by Sammis McLean

helping those in need,” Obama said when announcing the initiative. Wellesley, which has been committed to interfaith

A lonely black boy takes a fanciful journey, dur-

understanding and cooperation for many years, had a

ing which he befriends a gorilla-bat “monster,”

conference this spring to make a plan for the College.

who plays basketball with him. As a little brown

“We decided, as is our way, to push ourselves a little

In my home, this book came out during the winter

girl, this book was my version of Where the Wild

bit, and also to make this a three- to five-year project

holidays. It is the first children’s book I can remem-

Things Are. The images are fantastic and fantasti-

for ourselves,” says Victor Kazanjian (above), dean of

ber having or seeing with a child of color in it. I love

cal, and I can think of no book that encouraged

intercultural education and religious and spiritual life.

the watercolor-y torn paper look of the illustrations.

my dreaming (and daydreaming) more.

“We really wanted this to guide our future.”

The Snowy Day, by Ezra Jack Keats

And it struck me even as a very young child that the child just happens to be a black boy, but that


The Velveteen Rabbit, written by Margery

fact has nothing to do with the story of his day.

Williams, illustrated by William Nicholson

He just is.

A classic. The velveteen rabbit toy, who is ostra-

The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses, by Paul Goble


students out to local middle schools to engage them

This book, I am certain, was a none-too-subtle

way,” she says, which appeals to both the child short list of favorites.

garden at a public school in Framingham; sending

Wellesley’s Multifaith Center

cized by other “better” toys in his boy-owner’s playroom, longs to be “real,” a wish he is

This book tells the story of a Plains Indian girl

granted only after experiencing love and aban-

whose family recognizes she is restless and lonely.

donment. In the end, he runs off into the woods

Out of love, they give her their blessing to go run

to play with the other “real” rabbits. My mother

with a band of wild horses. She finds happiness

gave me this book as a child, and she recently

with the horses and ultimately becomes a wild

re-gave it to me to recognize the end of my most

horse herself. As much as I enjoyed the story, I

recent journey, which has brought me here, to

also found Goble’s illustrations stunning. I still do.

Wellesley College.

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Incoming! are of a new generation, no doubt: Most of them were born in 1993, the year Mosaic was introduced, making it possible for PC and Mac users to browse the web for the first time. It was the year of President Bill Clinton’s inauguration; since that time, the Supreme Court has always had at least two women on its bench. And, as Beloit College’s “The Mindset List” points out, Ferris Bueller and Sloane Peterson are old enough to be the parents of this class of 2015. To offer some context of the cultural and political landmarks of the incoming class, we compare them at right to the incoming classes of 25 and 50 years ago and the years they To see demographic statistics about the class, please visit web.wellesley. entered Wellesley (1986 and 1961). edu/web/Admission/GetToKnowUs/ Prepare to feel dated. Or well aged, rather. statistics.psml. THIS YEAR’S FIRST-YEARS

ADVICE FROM THE SISTERHOOD This past August, as the College geared up for the academic year, the magazine staff used Facebook to capture the arrival of the first-year class: the welcome banner going up, the plants being potted in the greenhouses to give away to new students. We also asked alumnae what advice they’d offer the new recruits—what alumnae wish they’d known when they started Wellesley. College is a place of discovery. Don’t be so attached to the goals you had before arriving that you can’t see all the options you’ve never considered. Take a risk. Follow your passions. Branch out. Try something new. Peggy Foerch Fitzgerald ’87


D is for Diploma! Excellent advice I received from my class dean during a first-year, firstsemester freak-out about grades. Catherine Lee ’08

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Knock your gym requirement out your first year. Skinnydip in

Lake Waban at least once. Call your mother. Among other things, it stops her from calling Campus Po in a hot panic. Alison Buchbinder ’05 If you’re lonely or scared or really overwhelmed, let someone know. You’re not alone. The people around you care more than you know. Amy Delamaide ’02 I was most miserable. I was no longer the smartest kid in the room, woe was me. I didn’t feel I fit in. Transfer, anyone? Meanwhile, a few seats away in History 101, Hillary Rodham was also thinking in terms of

“get me out of here.” So I’m just sayin’. You, if normal, will occasionally feel weird. However, you are where you belong. You got in. You’re in for life. Wellesley’s the best thing I ever did for myself. Christine Osborne ’69 Don’t be afraid of the distribution requirements. I learned a lot of really interesting things in all of my distribution requirement classes that I never would have known if I didn’t have to take science classes. Sarah Oddie ’11 Hoop nachos will get you through many 3 a.m. nights. Ashley Lee ’11 Find a “happy place” on campus to run away to and regroup. (Mine was/is the botanic gardens.) Beth Finch McCarthy ’84

To watch Wellesley’s flash mob orientation event, visit YouTube. com and search for “Wellesley College official flashmob.”

Your Wellesley friends will be ones you’ll have for a lifetime. Choose well. Michelle Davis Petelinz ’78





































Susan (27) Elizabeth (23) Nancy (13) WELLESLEY COLLEGE ARCHIVES







Jennifer (15) Amy (12) Susan (12)

Elizabeth (14) Katherine (13) Emily (11)



Freshman Class Enters With Fungus

College Links Computer Network


Ethernet Access No Longer Offered in Dorm Rooms


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All Dressed Up Untitled (far right) Claire McRee ’12 Posters, Scotch tape, white glue 2011

I Do (second from right) Wendy Chen ’14 Vintage wedding dress, old computer parts

LAST SEMESTER, when the shimmering sculptural wall hangings of Ghanaian artist El Anatsui were on display at the Davis, the museum sponsored a design contest for students. The challenge: to follow in the footsteps of the artist. Anatsui often uses wire and bottle tops to construct his pieces, drawing inspiration from the traditional kente cloth of the Akan peoples of West Africa. Students were charged with designing clothing from materials in their immediate surroundings, finding inspiration in their everyday lives. The result was a whimsical collection of garments, many still on display in Jewett. Wendy Chen’s bridal gown had its roots in a computer-science course called The Socio-Technological Web. Chen says the course made her realize that the web—now critical to society—can organize individuals in completely new ways to do great good or great violence. “My dress, titled I Do, presents a hopeful vision of the future in which technology is interwoven harmoniously into the fabric of our lives,” she says. While doing publicity for a student dance group, Claire McRee became aware of the huge number of posters around campus and an idea was born: to construct a 1930s-style evening gown with paper posters. “I was inspired by El Anatsui’s use of color, and particularly in the interplay between color and texture in the large tapestries he made from recycled aluminum cans,” McRee adds. “With the paper ‘lace,’ I designed for the top of the bodice, I wanted to evoke a similar aesthetic.” McRee dreams of pursuing a career in costume history, perhaps becoming a curator for a costume collection like the one at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. —AH

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REALITY REIMAGINED Myles Dunigan, a printmaker who works in the studio-art department, created this otherworldly lithograph, “The Storm,” which was part of the show The Standing Reserve in Jewett Art Gallery this fall. “In my work, I strive to create a dialogue between myth and reality, a world of sublime mysteries and fragmented memories,” Dunigan says.





his fears “that I may cease to be.” The English Romantic poet has long since ceased to be—he died in 1821—but his likeThe Keats life mask is a replica of one made in 1816 by Robert Haydon, a British artist and close friend of Keats. The original is part of the National Portrait Gallery’s collection in London.


ness is permanently on display in Wellesley’s Special Collections.

Wellesley’s copy of the mask is a gift from Margaret Sherwood, an English literature professor at Wellesley in the early 1900s who studied the English poets of the 19th century and developed a seminar on English romanticism. According to the College’s bibliographic files on faculty, Sherwood’s courses on Romantic prose and


poetry were “famous, partly because she brought to them

STUDENT: Carly Gayle ’13

national parks all over the island, and

‘her humor . . . her informal

MAJOR: Environmental studies

in November we are researching a

directness in discussion . . .

HOMETOWN: Gaithersburg, Md.

subject of our choice.

her “pitiless logic” . . . and her constructive criticism.’” And,

STUDYING IN: Madagascar


if her gift to the College is any



indication, a real affection for the


Daily routine? Ha! The first thing you

Romantic writers themselves.

Bouncing along dusty roads through

learn about Madagascar is that noth-

forest and rice fields, passing bicycles

ing is predictable but the presence of

weighed down with sacks of rice; bush

rice at every meal. But going to class,

taxis loaded with people and chickens

taking the bus through the colorful

on the roof; roadside markets over-

market and then walking along an

flowing with fruit and cheap plastic

ocean cliff are definitely my favorite

goods. It’s peaceful chaos.

parts of the day.



The School for International Training’s


biodiversity and natural-resource-


management semester is based in

Witnessing abject poverty and mal-

Ft. Dauphin, a small southern city. For

nourished children everyday is difficult.

the first six weeks, we stayed with host

Remembering that a smile can make

families and attend classes at the

someone’s day and that I can touch

Libanona Ecology Center. We talked

many lives with what I’m learning helps

to village elders, toured mine sites, met

me deal with troubling feelings about

with several NGOs, learned Malagasy

my American privilege. On the lighter

songs, and crashed through spiny

side: Life without toilet paper is

forest while tracking lemurs. We spent


October traveling to communities and






We need a fundamental shift in the way we think about international development. We need to think of poor people not as vulnerable but capable. We need to think of it not as a billion mouths to feed but two billion hands to engage. There needs to be a shift in the way we practice international development, where we’re empowering people to be the creators of their future not the recipients of our thoughts of what we think Amy B. Smith, founder of MIT’s D-Lab, speaking their future should be.


on campus for the Wilson Lecture

To watch the entire lecture, visit www.youtube. com and search for “Amy B. Smith” and “Wellesley.”

fall 2011






12 wellesley


fall 2011

‘I feel like playing athletics makes my academics better. I actually get better grades during the season because it makes us manage our time better.’ —Whitney Reid ’12


PEDAL POWER SPIN CLASS: It’s an excellent way to tone muscles, stay fit— and generate renewable energy? At the Keohane Sports Center, it’s now possible. Thanks to the Class of 1957 Green Fund, the stationary bikes have been equipped with Green Revolution Technology, which captures the energy created by students pedaling their hearts out and sends it back into the power grid. The bikes

won’t generate enough power to make a direct impact on the College’s carbon footprint— but they are certainly making a difference: The average person might generate 40 to 70 watts in an hour of spinning, which is about what it takes a 60-watt bulb to burn for an hour. Seeing that connection—or sweating it— helps students appreciate their own carbon footprint. —JF


WHITNEY REID ’12 HAS A WIDE VARIETY OF INTERESTS, from biomedical research to theater to sports. In fact, while Reid has been a mainstay on the College’s field-hockey team since she was a first-year, she also tried out for—and excelled on—the tennis team in the spring of her sophomore year. Those wide-ranging interests mean a lot of work in a lot of different areas: managing a theater production, doing research in the summer, keeping up skills in two different sports, all while maintaining a full course load as a biology major. Not much can slow Reid down—not even blowing out her knee. After playing singles and doubles for the Blue as a sophomore and making the All-Seven Sisters team, she played in a spring field-hockey tournament with two weeks left in the tennis season. During the last game of the tournament, Reid tore the anterior cruciate ligament in her knee. “I actually waited a month before I got my surgery just so I wouldn’t have to deal with it during school,” she says. After she had the knee repaired, Reid worked on her rehab all summer, while also working at an internship for the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston. When she came back to school for the start of her junior year, she was still working to get back to playing form. That didn’t keep her from being a part of the fieldhockey team, however. “I was still just as involved as if I was playing,” Reid says. “But it was hard going from a starter on the team to not being able For updates on the varsity field-hockey season, to do anything.” visit www.wellesleyblue.com/sports/fh/index. Reid actually managed to play in the final four games of the season, and after that, she decided to pursue another interest: study abroad. She spent the spring semester of her junior year at Trinity College in Dublin, where she squeezed in some field hockey with the college’s No. 1 club team. “I’ve been committed to athletics my entire life,” Reid says. “It seems I’ve always been playing some kind of sport.” And that commitment has proven to be beneficial in a number of ways. “I feel like playing athletics makes my academics better,” Reid says. “I actually get better grades during the season because it makes us manage our time better.” In addition, having the support of her teammates made the transition to Wellesley—where academic focus can take priority over everything—a little easier. “Coming in as a freshman, you can see how it would be hard to make friends,” she says. “But I came in already having 16 best friends who would do anything for me.” This is her last season with those friends, and many of them have changed over the years. Reid—who is cocaptain this year—is the lone senior on the squad and one of only six returning players. She recently decided she wants to go to medical school after graduation, so she has some catching up to do on premed coursework. With all the demands on her time, her repaired knee, and a variety of interests, did she consider quitting sports? “I never really thought of hanging up my cleats,” she says. “I couldn’t imagine being at Wellesley and not being on the field-hockey team.”


Team Player




assumed the post of associate provost and


academic director of diversity and inclusion for the College. Chapman came from MIT, where she earned her Ph.D. in computer science and has held the posts of assistant associate provost for faculty equity and



recruitment in the MIT School of Architecture and Planning for the past four years. At Wellesley, she will define and implement the College’s diversity



manager of diversity

and inclusion priorities in the academic area.




RABBIT-PROOF FENCE A KITCHEN GARDEN, created last year for an art-history

class on art and food in Renaissance Italy, is now a permanent fixture of the botanic gardens. And thanks to a new trellis fence around its perimeter, the exotic



watermelons, heirloom squash, and other crops that


students grow for classes using the kitchen garden


won’t go to the dogs—or to the deer and rabbits, the more likely culprits. Local artisan Frank Hamm built the 20 by 20 fence with Eastern red cedar, which was scavenged locally—as locally as a few yards away, in



fact, at the site of the new Edible Ecosystem garden


down the hill from the observatory.


To learn more about the botanic gardens, visit www.wellesley.edu/WCBG/Welcome/welcome.html.


‘How awesome were the grilled cheeses today in my dining hall?’ @TowerCourtTweet (Even the venerable Tower Court is getting in on the Twitter action.)


guidebook for 2012 ranked Wellesley’s faculty as No. 1 in the country. The College



was mentioned on the TODAY show when the Princeton Review’s survey results of 122,000 students from across the nation were

announced. Elsewhere, Wellesley this year tied for sixth in the U.S. News and World Report rankings of liberal-arts colleges. To watch the TODAY show segment, visit tinyurl.com/3vrvt2x.






WELLESLEY ON Missing the college experience? Go to www. youtube.com and join the fun. You can look in on: Opening convocation (search for 2011 Wellesley College Convocation) Professor Nancy Harrison Kolodny ’64 talking about her first-year seminar (search for The Nuclear Challenge)

fall 2011






Real-World Math

14 wellesley


fall 2011

‘In today’s society, it’s as important to have good numeracy skills as it is to be literate.’

—Corrine Taylor

class, she might work with a lab instructor on how to include a quantitative analysis of a sand sample. Taylor has also collaborated with professors on entirely new courses. For example, a few years ago, she helped establish EDUC 314 Learning and Teaching Mathematics: Content, Cognition, and Pedagogy. This course, which aims to make Wellesley students better elementary-school math teachers, is team-taught by Wellesley College faculty with backgrounds in mathematics, quantitative reasoning, and education, and a school mathematics specialist and teacher. Wellesley students simultaneously study their own cognition as they learn mathematical concepts and principles, children’s cognition as they learn mathematics, and how math can be taught to children in the classroom. The Quantitative Reasoning Program has also brought QR to the wider Wellesley community through the Celebrating QR Connections series, which brings speakers to campus around a theme. For example, one series on QR and women’s health included a panel on the new national guidelines on mammography. Another on QR and

forensic evidence included a lecture by a California Institute of Technology math professor who consulted on the TV show NUMB3RS. “The [lecture] series has been so popular, bringing people from different departments that you would normally never see in one place together,” Taylor says. Taylor has also been busy promoting quantitative reasoning off campus. For the past two years, she has received grants from the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education to run professional-development programs for teachers in Fall River and New Bedford, Mass., on infusing QR into lesson plans. “I think if we’re really going to create a well-informed public, we need to get QR down at the lower levels faster,” Taylor says. “It can’t be that math is taught in [the] traditional way. . . . We need that combination of math, logic, and statistics and real-world problems to happen earlier in the curriculum so that students who might not go on to college are really ready for the work force.” It’s a lofty goal. . . but perhaps not as difficult as moving Mt. Fuji. —LS


HOW LONG WOULD IT TAKE TO MOVE Mt. Fuji from one place to another? If this question stymies you, you’re not alone—at first, Wellesley students struggle with this kind of question. “[Students] want to have an exact answer. They’re trying to find the exact formula or something they can plug into a calculator,” Corrine Taylor says. As director of Wellesley’s Quantitative Reasoning Program, Taylor is trying to combat this formulaand-calculator mindset. “They’re used to textbook kind of problems, and I want to get them thinking about more challenging puzzles and about the real world. That’s a very different place,” she says. Rather than teaching algebra, geometry, and statistics as separate, disjointed courses, Taylor thinks its far more effective instead to “try to figure out ways to get people to solve real-world problems using all the different strands of mathematics and logic and statistics.” Wellesley’s Quantitative Reasoning Program began in 1997 with the goal of making sure that every student is able to think clearly and critically about quantitative issues. “In today’s society, it’s as important to have good numeracy skills as it is to be literate,” says Taylor, who has a Ph.D. in economics and started her career at Wellesley in the economic department. For example, a smallbusiness owner or a school administrator might use quantitative reasoning to tackle budget or inventory. Even the visual arts are becoming increasingly quantitative with the use of software in film, photography, and sculpture. Satisfying Wellesley’s QR requirement is a two-part process. First, students must either pass the quantitative-reasoning assessment, given during orientation, or take Quantitative Reasoning 140, the basic QRFor a hint on how to solve the skills course. Then, Mt. Fuji problem, turn to page 81. students must take a quantitative-reasoning overlay course. These courses, which are offered in departments from astronomy to philosophy to political science, emphasize statistical analysis and interpretation of data. For the most part, these courses stressed these skills even before the requirement, but Taylor will sometimes collaborate with professors to incorporate QR into their curricula. For example, in a geology



(She learned design soft-

Mary Downey Coyne M.A. ’61, profes-

ware such as AutoSketch,

sor emerita of biology, was always in

InDesign, and SketchUp.)

search of a pleasant spot to eat her lunch

Coyne’s plan hews

outdoors. So she came to know the land-

closely to the original educa-

scape around the Science Center in-

tional intent of the gardens,

timately, including the Alexandra Botanic

but she also tackles issues

Garden and Hunnewell Arboretum.

such as stormwater runoff

The gardens were designed by

from nearby Route 135 and

two biology professors in the 1920s

recycling the potable water

and had long been used for fieldwork.

that feeds Paramecium Pond.

Over time, however, the landscape had

Coyne has the ear of

become “a lush, if slightly overgrown,

Kristina Jones, director of the

picturesque landscape,” as Coyne

botanic gardens. “If there’s a

describes it. Many students using the

pipe break, or storm dam-

paths as a cut-through into the Vil didn’t

age, the first place I go is

even know they were walking through a

Mary’s plan,” says Jones.

botanic garden.

“To have all these detailed maps of the

Coyne is using GIS (Graphic Informa-

and more pathways, seating, and way-

In 2005, the retired Coyne em-

infrastructure in one place is fabulous.”

tion System) technology to map the

finding aids to improve the visitor expe-

barked on a new project: She entered

One of Coyne’s successes is the

garden and help organize Wellesley’s

rience in the botanic gardens.

a certificate program in landscape

Harriet Creighton Educational Garden,

plant database under the guidelines set

Coyne’s ongoing connection to

design at the Landscape Institute

which opened in 2007 across from the

by the American Public Gardens Asso-

Wellesley’s unique outdoor spaces

at Boston Architectural College and

Margaret Ferguson Greenhouses. It

ciation. She hopes to encourage expan-

remains a source of pleasure and

made the botanic gardens her final

consists of alpine and prairie meadow

sion of the mapping program to the rest

renewal. “Retirement has been won-

project. This involved researching,

plants, as well as dwarf conifers, sur-

of the botanic gardens.

derful. I get to come back, talk to

mapping, and designing a master plan

rounded by a curving wall of field-

Jones says several projects are in

for the 22-acre gardens. The effort drew

stones. The American Conifer Society

the works that were sparked by Coyne’s

upon her enthusiasm for computers.

has accepted it as a reference garden.

efforts, including a new bog garden




people, eat my lunch. It’s the best of all possible worlds.” —AA


WHEN CONSUELO VALDES ’11 arrived at Wellesley, she thought

“We expect them to be able to create new digital media that

she’d be an English and mathematics double major, and pre-med,

is on one hand aesthetically compelling and artistically sen-

too. But after she took a computer-science course to fulfill

sible, but on the other hand is also functionally rich and solves

a requirement for the math major, she started to change her

and addresses the needs of the user,” she says. Students

mind. And when she began working in Wellesley’s Human

learn how to do this by taking both computer science and

Computer-Interaction Laboratory with Orit Shaer, Luce Assistant Pro-

studio arts courses, and getting the theoretical foundation that

fessor of Computer Science, she knew that she had found her major.

they need through art history and cinema-and-media-studies courses.

Valdes’ favorite project in the media-arts-and-sciences major was the

Unlike the cinema-and-media-studies major, however, the media-arts-

G-nome Surfer, a tabletop computer interface that allows users to explore

and-sciences major is focused on production. For example, in this fall’s CS

genetic information visually. “From this project, I learned a new language,

320 Tangible User Interfaces, students are using multitouch mouses de-

understood and experienced the iterative design cycle, and learned about

signed by Microsoft in entirely new ways. One team is turning the mouse into

software development,” Vades says. But really, it was the team that made the

an air-guitar player; the other is using it to create an interactive toy sheep. “We

experience so special. “The HCI Lab has a great atmosphere and welcomes

really encourage them to think in new ways about technology,” says Shaer.

the nerdiest of people, like myself. The long nights to meet a deadline gave us the opportunity to bond. It was pretty great.”

And when media-arts-and-sciences majors leave Wellesley, they bring this creativity to their work. Alumnae go on to be programmers, web

The main goal of the major, says Shaer, is to give the students the

designers, academics, advertising executives, and, Shaer points out, there

artistic tools and computational

are many alums who work at Google. “There’s the ‘Wellesley mafia’ there,”

thinking that they need to both pro-

she says with a smile.

For a demonstration of the G-nome Surfer, visit www.youtube.com and search for “G-nome Surfer Pro–Long.”

duce and understand digital media.


fall 2011






When She Woke Algonquin Books, Chapel Hill, N.C. 341 pages, $24.95

16 wellesley


fall 2011

questions of social justice and moral responsibility, exploring controversial social issues through fictional forms. In engaging with hot-button issues of privacy, abortion, and feminist politics, When She Woke imaginatively tests the possible consequences of current neoconservative religious and political trends in the United States. The nightmarish America Jordan renders is a parody of democracy as we know it: We enter a world where the Senate successfully passes the Freedom From Information Act, where daily life is circumscribed by a lack of separation between church and state, and where biotechnology functions to limit rather than enhance personal freedom. Though When She Woke is a narrative consciously indebted to classics such as Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Scarlet Letter and Franz Kafka’s “In the Penal Colony,” its futuristic storyline also bears resemblance to Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and Kazuo Ishiguro’s

Never Let Me Go. Yet in mingling issues of bioethics and contemporary politics with meditations on the ideals of individualism, freedom, and self-expression, Jordan shapes an inventive story of her own, swiftly and imaginatively dealing with complex moral and ethical questions without ever being didactic. She aptly renders the multifaceted emotional and spiritual contexts in which sexuality is inherently embedded while revealing the need for social legislation to carve out space for women’s own moral agency. With its repeated catchphrase of “it’s personal,” When She Woke urges us, through the unfolding of its brilliantly imagined nightmarish world, to conceive of how our very sense of personhood is rooted in deeply contentious questions of morality, politics, and law. Lisa Hinrichsen ’99 Hinrichsen is an assistant professor of English at the University of Arkansas.


IN THE DYSTOPIAN AMERICA imagined in Hillary Jordan’s When She Woke, criminals no longer live out their sentences behind the privacy of prison walls. Instead, their transgressions are made startlingly public: Via a virus, crimes are now color-coded onto skin. Though free from life behind bars, Chromes quickly realize that punishment comes in the painful form of social alienation; dehumanized by their technicolor masks, their daily lives quickly become enmeshed in spectacles of shame and abuse. With her body dyed a scarlet red as punishment for an illegal abortion, Hannah Payne finds herself stunningly alone: Largely cast out from her religious family, unmarried, and lacking street smarts after a highly sheltered upbringing, she must enter a brave new world where the potential for violence, humiliation, and harassment lies around every corner. In unfolding a riveting tale that is simultaneously a love story, a futuristic thriller, and a chronicle of female solidarity, Jordan traces Hannah’s courageous inner voyage from dependence to self-reliance while taking us on a geographic journey from Texas to Canada. As she does in her previous award-winning novel Mudbound (2006), Jordan tackles complex


Finding a Way To Y.A. Defined as literature for those between the ages of 12 and 18, young-adult novels are capturing the imaginations of readers who are well past their teen years. The game-changer was, of course, J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series.

good friend of mine to read (a

tragedy. “It just worked out to be

latest novel is The River, a present-

“It was earth-shattering,” says Jana

classmate from Wellesley, actually,

a teen story—because teens have

day thriller set in the Pacific

Riess ’91, a former book-review edi-

Lesly Blanton ’96!), and she very

more independence and mobility


tor at Publishers Weekly. “The New

kindly sent back a letter with

and that [facilitated two characters

York Times even had to change its

comments. One of those was,

from different social classes] fall-

already a successful Hollywood

bestseller list. The fantastic thing

essentially: ‘Ash doesn’t really have

ing in love. And now that’s what I

screenplay writer before making

was that suddenly all of these other

much chemistry with the prince.

do. I’ve never looked back,” she

the transition to Y.A. fiction with

Y.A. authors had some attention.”

But she seems to really like [the

says. The book is unlike many

her novel, I’ll Be There. The book

In this golden age of young-

huntress]. . .’ ” Her most recent

Y.A. novels, however, in that it was

revolves around a suburban high-

adult fiction, Wellesley has more

novel, Huntress, is an action-filled

written in verse. “The verse thing

school girl who falls in love with

than its share of successful novel-

prequel to Ash, but more of a quest

intimidates a lot of people,” she ad-

a homeless boy with an unstable

ists, several with new books out.

novel, with Chinese influences and

mits. “But if I’ve done my job, you’ll

father and autistic brother. Sloan

Many of them, like Malinda Lo ’96,

a lesbian romance. It is set in the

forget you’re even reading verse.”

began it while staying at a yoga

never set out to write a teen novel.

same world as Ash, but takes place

Lo burst onto the Y.A. scene in

many centuries earlier.

2009 with Ash, a lesbian retelling of

Jame Richards ’90 is also

Holly Goldberg Sloan ’80 was

Mary Jane Close Beaufrand

resort for a friend’s 50th birthday.

’88 also never strove to write Y.A.

“My husband got sick, and there

fiction, although that’s where her

was no phone, and no TV, and

the Cinderella story. “I didn’t think

an accidental Y.A. novelist.

books have found their home.

no internet—but I had my com-

of the market for my book until I

Three Rivers Rising: A Novel of

Her first novel, Primavera, is

puter!” She relates, “The writing

was thinking about what agents

the Jonestown Flood, is a class-

about Flora Pazzi, a young girl

experience was unplanned and

to send it to. I kind of thought it

crossing romance set in the Gilded

who feuded with the Medici, and

uncalculated—which is what my

might be Y.A. because I was so

Age against the great Pennsylvania

served (fictionally) as the inspira-

book is about.”

influenced by Robin McKinley. And

tion for Botticelli’s Primavera.

that’s where it sold.”

“When I first started,” Beaufrand

Lo also didn’t set out to write a “lesbian novel.” According to Lo: “Ash was only a heterosexual love story in the very first draft. After I finished that version, I sent it to a

FreshInk Lisa V. Adams ’86 and Laurel A. Spielberg, editors—

Selected books by other Wellesley Y.A. authors: Constance Leeds (Connie Leeds ’72), The Silver Cup Jessie Haas ’81, Chase Susan Meyers, faculty, Black Radishes

Susan Elia MacNeal ’91

relates, “I was with a writing

MacNeal is a writer and editor living in

group and writing magic realism,

Brooklyn with her husband and their

and some of my fellow writers

son. Her first novel, Mr. Churchill’s

wondered if I wasn’t a children’s

Secretary, will be published by

writer in disguise.” Beaufrand’s

Bantam Dell/Random House in 2012.

Nazli Kibria ’81—Muslims in Motion: Islam and

Laura Venecia Rodriguez ’77—Yoga at Home,

National Identity, Rutgers University Press, Piscataway,

Awaken the Wisdom Within, Silver Spring, Md.


Elizabeth Barlow Rogers ’57—Writing the Garden:

Brinda S. Narayan (Brinda Sankaranarayanan

A Literary Conversation across Two Centuries, David

’90)—Bangalore Calling, Hachette India, Gurgaon,

R. Godine, Boston


Harriet Feinberg Segal ’53—The Expatriate, Topland

Jennifer Phillips ’73, editor—Ambassadors for

House LLC

God: Envisioning Reconciliation Rites for the

Elisabeth Stevens (Elisabeth Stevens Schleussner

21st Century, Church Publishing, New York

’51)—Sirens’ Songs, BrickHouse Books, Baltimore

Jana Riess ’91—Flunking Sainthood: A Year of

Madeline Tiger ’56—From the Viewing Stand, Poets

Breaking the Sabbath, Forgetting to Pray, and Still

Wear Prada, Hoboken, N.J.

Lorna Blumen ’76—Bullying Epidemic: Not Just

Loving My Neighbor, Paraclete Press, Orleans,

—The Atheist’s Prayer, Dos Madres Press, Loveland,

Child’s Play, Camberly Press, Toronto



Africa: A Practical Guide for Global Health Workers, Dartmouth College Press, Lebanon, N.H. Jerold S. Auerbach (faculty emeritus)—Brothers at War: Israel and the Tragedy of the Altalena, Quid Pro Books, New Orleans Kate Banks ’82—This Baby, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, New York

fall 2011


wellesley 17


Journalist in the Making By Terra L. Stanley ’12

THE BIG DAY HAD ARRIVED. Hundreds of Peruvians filled Lima’s Plaza de Armas to either sulk or rejoice in the presidential inauguration of Ollanta Humala Tasso. July 28 also marked Peru’s Independence Day, and national flags decorated the square’s colonial-style buildings. As I shuffled through a mass of traditionally dressed Andean and Amazonian people preparing to march toward the Palacio del Gobierno, I sought to hear for myself their expectations of Humala. They waved rainbow colored flags, looked into my hand-held Flip video camera, and emphasized that they, too, were Peruvian and had finally acquired a voice in national politics thanks to President Humala. This day signified something momentous for me, as well. I had spent the previous two months striving to describe what it means to

Terra L. Stanley ’12 (above) is a senior applying to graduate school in Latin American studies. She looks forward to many more adventures discovering the spirit of others’ identities and her own.

18 wellesley


fall 2011

be Peruvian and write about this changing identity with Humala’s arrival. As I sat on nearby cathedral steps and watched these groups constrained by riot police on a day only representing freedom for some, I realized how much the experience was teaching me. After designing a plan to work as a freelance reporter in Peru, I received the Emily Cohen MacFarquhar ’59 Internship for International Journalism from Wellesley to conduct this 10-week adventure. Having completed Wellesley coursework in journalism and Latin American history and politics, as well as a semester in Mexico and an editorial internship at Forbes, I arrived in late May feeling prepared to enter South America for the first time. I arrived at my apartment in Lima with a new pair of walking boots, a pair of $5 sunglasses that, in my mind, had a “journalist” look about them—and no connections to the journalism industry, or to anyone, for that matter. I became baffled by certain classes’ and regions’ voting rationale, noticed the daily newspapers I read were extremely biased, and observed that a chef was more admired and well-known than any politician. This summer would be tougher than I thought. I often hit dead ends with article ideas. A local Lima editor believed his readers would not want to read about politics from a gringa, but he agreed to work with the stories about street food and youth activism, two of my interests. But by the time I finished these articles, the editor no longer worked at the site. Likewise, many US publications didn’t seem interested in Peru’s election. After a few weeks of coming to know Peruvians, watching their news broadcasts, and interviewing any willing person I’d encounter, article ideas hit me. I spent much time in Lima investigating university political culture and activism after an era of internal terrorism, themes that absolutely captivated me. I published an in-depth piece in Spanish for a Peruvian political website. Topics relating to a rebirth of civil society took most of my attention, but other topics—more relevant to my interests than I expected—came to mind. One afternoon, I called the “godfather of ceviche,” Pedro Solari, to write about the upcoming National Ceviche Day. He invited me and my friend to his home and restaurant for an interview, and he showed us how he fixed his famous ceviche. “Try my lime juice,” he said as he handed me a spoonful. He cautioned against squeezing the


lime too hard: “Just squeeze it two short times so that only the best juice falls,” he told me. The next day, I shared a cab with him and his posse to a national gastronomic fair north of the city. Many journalists arrived to document an exclusive press conference—where I elatedly entered and casually said, “I’m with Mr. Solari.” I published a piece on Peru’s principal English news site about the event and Peruvians’ special connection to ceviche. I initially viewed this gastronomic piece as a side project, but I soon realized that ceviche pride comes close to characterizing a Peruvian identity. The more I traveled and interviewed people, the wider a window I had on Peru. Humala’s presidential campaign revolved around a promise of social inclusion as a remedy for Peru’s extreme geographic, cultural, ethnic, class, language, and racial differences. My trip to Peru’s desert in Ica and the sierra in Cuzco helped me understand why forging a national identity is so complex. Traveling further taught me that article topics couldn’t be planned. I arrived in Ica seeking knowledge about the pisco (a grape brandy) industry and left writing about asparagus farmers’ daily lives. In Cuzco, I researched the town’s strong support for Humala, but I left reading about young girls who customarily move to the cities for

domestic work. Overall, I observed Peru’s dilemma: formulating a national identity while balancing free-trade agreements along with a large chunk of society that speaks another language and uses donkeys to farm the land. The entire experience was priceless. On Inauguration Day, the rainbow flags reminded me of a quotation I discussed in a Spanish term paper last spring. Túpac Amaru II, leader of an indigenous rebellion in 18th-century Peru, said, “Campesino, el patrón no comerá más de tu pobreza,” meaning “Peasant, the master will no longer feed off your poverty.” I heard echoes of this phrase as nationalists chanted upbeat tunes and eagerly informed me of their new position at the political round table. I ecstatically stood face-to-face to something I had spent so much time studying at Wellesley; I literally was living my dream. Willingness to enter parts of Lima that few tourists see and listen to people’s complaints and hopes without partiality and with patience helped me achieve my goal of accurately documenting the meaning of Peru’s presidential transition for its citizens. Neither the Peruvians I met nor I can precisely define Peru’s national identity, but I feel overjoyed and thankful that we attempted it together. fall 2011


wellesley 19

Art conservator Stephanie Hornbeck ’90 led an international effort to save Haiti’s precious cultural heritage— one painting and cut iron sculpture at a time.

THE ART OF 20 wellesley


fall 2011

After the earthquake: The remains of Holy Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, where the Cultural Recovery Project team stabilized and removed worldfamous wall paintings of the New Testament. Photograph by Allison Wright.



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after the brief but endless 35 seconds that brought the end of normal existence in Haiti, Stephanie Hornbeck ’90 flew into Port-au-Prince. It was June 2010, and the first frantic efforts to dig for the living in a landscape of collapsed buildings were over. But as she rode from the airport that day, mountains of concrete rubble and twisted rebar extended as far as the eye could see—remnants of the 7.1-magnitude earthquake on the previous Jan. 12.


Haitian artist Dominique Domercant carries a wood sculpture recovered from the Centre d’Art site in September 2010. Above, the collapsed Presidential Palace.

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Hornbeck was acutely aware of the scale of the disaster that had unfolded— the estimated 100,000 people dead, the desperate need for medical supplies and food, the hundreds of thousands still living in tents—and considered the humanitarian need of primary importance. But as a conservator and art historian, she also understood the pain that the destruction of a cultural heritage can cause to a national psyche. Some of that destruction in Haiti had been dramatic—the collapse of the Presidential Palace (above), the Centre d’Art, and Holy Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, which had all become important symbols of the earthquake. Around the epicenter, churches, university buildings, museums, and monuments had also collapsed, and thousands of cherished national works of art were shattered, torn, or buried. That day in June 2010, Hornbeck had come to Haiti to help recover, stabilize, and conserve this precious cultural patrimony. Since then, she has served as chief conservator for the Smithsonian Institution Haiti Cultural Recovery Project, a Haitian, American, and international effort funded by federal monies and grants from the US, in addition to private donations. Her role has been to oversee the conservation staffing and recovery activities for the project, as well as the important effort to train Haitian art professionals in conservation principles. An art-history major at Wellesley who studied French and spent her junior year in Paris, Hornbeck was uniquely qualified to lead the Smithsonian’s efforts

in Haiti. She earned a diploma in fine-art conservation (objects) and an M.A. in art history from the Conservation Center of the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University in 1999. Her qualifying paper for her master’s was on 20th-century Haitian art. Prior to accepting the post in Haiti, she served as conservator for 11 years at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African Art. She now has a private conservation practice in Miami. As the 18-month Cultural Recovery Project drew to a close this month, Hornbeck spoke with Wellesley magazine about the progress of the work in Haiti thus far.


Set the scene for us as you drove through Port-au-Prince on that June day. Had the earthquake shut down Haiti’s vibrant art culture?

Amid the concrete rubble and dust, the streets teemed with people getting on with daily life—walking to work and to school and selling fruit and phone cards on many street corners. We drove past roadside artisans fabricating wood furniture, painted metal sculptures, ceramic vessels, and acrylics on canvas. Vibrant wall paintings and painted tap-taps (vans) enlivened many public spaces. The impetus to make art has always been strong in Haiti, and the earthquake didn’t change that. I also knew that professional artists with international reputations were continuing to create art to be sold in galleries in Port-au-Prince, Miami, and Paris.


Can you describe the work that was ahead of you that day?

An esti estimate by the National Institute for Protection of Cultural Patrimony (Institute de Sauvetage Patrimoine Nationale) placed the damage at roughly 50,000 works of cultural patrimony, and we knew a decades-long effort would surely be needed.

‘Assisting in disaster recovery of cultural heritage goes to the heart of what it means to be a conservator— one who strives to save, protect, and prolong the life span of damaged artistic and historic works for present and future generations.’ —Stephanie Hornbeck ’90 Early in the project, we made an important decision that the conservation work would happen in Haiti, incorporating Haitian professionals into conservation activities at every possible opportunity. Despite the venerable artistic tradition, a systematic professional commitment to historic preservation and conservation of cultural patrimony did not exist. So our overarching challenge involved mounting a recovery effort in a region where no infrastructure of preservation professionals exists. Thus, we had to build a foundation at the same time as we responded to a disaster that created advanced structural conservation problems. These included: paintings that are torn, punctured, or broken; works on paper that are badly torn and crumpled; sculpture that is broken, badly deformed, or corroded. In addition, mold growth and infestation have been present in many instances, due to Haiti’s tropical climate.

Top: Stephanie Hornbeck ’90 and a colleague surface clean a fer découpé (cut-iron) sculpture, recovered from the Centre d’Art site. Above: A conservation team examines a sculpture in the Haiti Cultural Recovery Project’s object-conservation studio.

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A painting conservator and her assistants assess and stabilize the wall paintings at the Holy Trinity Episcopal Cathedral before they were removed to the Cultural Recovery Center to await the rebuilding of the church.

Q Hornbeck, left, with colleagues from the Smithsonian Institution, the US Committee of the Blue Shield, the President’s Committee for Arts and Humanities, and American Institute for Conservation at the site of the collapsed Centre d’Art in June 2011.

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How did you and your team H iinterface with Haitian institutions?

W support preservation initiatives at We nine partnering organizations, including public and private museums, cultural institutions, libraries, and archives. These include the Centre d’Art, the Musée du Panthéon National, the Lehmann Vodou Collection, the Musée Nader, the Bibliothèque Nationale, and the Archives Nationales d’Haïti.

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American and foreign conservation expertise supports preservation priorities established by Haitian cultural institutions. The role of determining what patrimony should be saved by the Smithsonian project rests with individual Haitian institutions; all decisions regarding prioritization by cultural value rest with Haitian professionals. Our project has the good fortune to have a staff of five professional Haitian colleagues who interface with knowledgeable colleagues working at public and private institutions in Haiti. We also hired a dozen young Haitian artists and chemists as assistants who would be trained in conservation practice. The conservation staff included a chief conservator (my role) and staff conservators, who were contractors, participating for periods ranging from six weeks to six months, and short-term professional volunteers, many from the Smithsonian and the American Institute of Conservation for Historic and Artistic Works participating for two weeks. Carol Grissom ’70, Smithsonian object conservator and my graduate internship advisor, volunteered in March 2011.

It was really rewarding to work with Carol again, this time in a public-service capacity.


With so many damaged works of art, W how did you establish priorities? h

B Because of the volume of affected art works and the magnitude of their damage, our primary objective has been to stabilize the greatest volume of works possible. Condition assessments are performed first. Then interventions are undertaken based on identified priorities: Works that are wet or have mold are always treated first. Improving housing conditions is the first step. This is critical because under good conditions, many works can remain stable until further treatment is possible in the future. This stage of the process involves teamwork and assembly-line measures such as cataloging, surface-cleaning, and treatment for mold. Only a small percentage of the total number of damaged works can receive more extensive treatments, which are very time-consuming, so priorities have to be established. The goal is to treat the most

valuable examples of cultural patrimony first. We rely on directors, curators, and collection managers at the respective Haitian institutions to determine priorities by cultural importance. By the end of the 18-month project, nearly 29,000 works of art, books, documents, and examples of built heritage (such as the world-renowned wall paintings at Holy Trinity Episcopal Cathedral) will have been recovered and stabilized at the nine partnering institutions.


What kind of facilities were you working in?

An important imp objective of the Cultural Recovery Project was to establish studios that have materials and equipment. Our Cultural Recovery Center operates in a former United Nations Development Program office building in Bourdon Port-au-Prince. It is situated in a compound with a large courtyard, where eight metal storage containers house damaged metal, stone, and ceramic art objects, and plaster wallpainting fragments. The offices have been retrofitted to serve as studio and storage spaces. Microscopes, easels, digital cameras, computers, printers, vacuums, fabrics, papers, adhesives, artist supplies, fine hand tools and heavy tools, and personal protective equipment have been hand-carried into Haiti by conservators and other colleagues in more than 65 trips. Access to stable archival and conservation-grade materials is very limited, and all of these supplies must be imported.


‘Our overarching challenge involved mounting a recovery effort in a region where no infrastructure of preservation professionals exists. Thus, we had to build a foundation at the same time as we responded to a disaster.’ —Stephanie Hornbeck ’90 Top: Workers catalogue and properly store recovered paintings from the Centre d’Art collection. Below: Bizhango figures in the Lehmann Vodou Collection, the most important collection of Haitian vodou objects in the world.

Can you give an example of one of your major projects?

The wo work undertaken to recover, stabilize, and treat the Centre d’Art collection of nearly 5,000 paintings, sculpture, and works on paper represents the largest conservation effort undertaken at the Cultural Recovery Center. fall 2011




‘Microscopes, easels, digital cameras, computers, printers, vacuums, fabrics, papers, adhesives, artist supplies, fine hand tools and heavy tools, and personal protective equipment have been hand-carried into Haiti by conservators and other colleagues in more than 65 trips.’ —Stephanie Hornbeck ’90

Founded in the early 1940s as a traditional art academy, the Centre d’Art would soon transform into a collective of self-taught artists of striking originality. Artists from all over the country were invited to work in studios at the Centre d’Art, known as the birthplace of the so-called Haitian Renaissance. During the earthquake, the Centre d’Art’s gingerbread building suffered severe damage when the second floor collapsed onto the first. Out of a desire to recover the cherished collection and out of a fear of theft and vandalism, the Centre staff worked rapidly over the next month to recover as many works of art as possible buried in the rubble. These were placed in two large metal containers, where they remained for eight months. I developed a basic methodology to process the collection. The goals of the project included: recovering as many works as possible, stabilizing them via dry-cleaning and treatment for mold, cataloguing them to create written and photographic records that can eventually be incorporated into the Centre d’Art’s collection records, and storing the works in a stable environment. Haitian project manager Marie-Lucie Vendryes

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guided a team of assistants to process the paintings and works on paper in the collection. I would later oversee the processing of the iron sculpture collection. A selection of the most damaged art works among the most culturally important received further conservation treatment.


Are there pieces of art that you worked on that particularly stand out? How were they preserved and treated?

Treating the beautiful fer decoupé (cut iron) sculpture was especially gratifying, as I had studied this art form in depth in graduate school. We rescued about 25 from the rubble at the Centre d’Art site, including a masterful early work by Serge Jolimeau. It elegantly represents the technique of fer decoupé. Figural designs are cut from recycled oil drums and embellished with repeating openwork patterns and hammered repoussé (embossed) details. When a work is recovered, the first step is to dry brush and vacuum up surface dirt, which can trap moisture and accelerate destructive corrosion. The most culturally important works

would then receive a gentle abrasive cleaning to remove active corrosion, followed by a chemical treatment to yield a stable surface patina. Another piece I worked on was from the Musée du Panthéon National. A painted plaster bust of early 19thcentury president Alexandre Pétion toppled from its pedestal and broke into multiple fragments (above). One important fragment was missing, the forehead and eyes. Amazingly, nine months after the earthquake, the fragment was found in a pile of rubble outside the museum. Another conservator removed surface dirt and assembled the fragments, and I undertook restoration. Gaps were filled with plaster and then toned with acrylic paints. The painted fills have a slightly more flat appearance, to indicate that they are restorations. The damage suffered by the piece is now part of its history, and I did not want to conceal that completely.


How did you train your Haitian colleagues during all of this work?

Many of our Haitian colleagues described previously limited access to information and variable, often random, professional opportunities for exposure to current preservation methods. So it has been important to introduce conservation concepts like assessment, intervention, stabilization, repair, restoration, and the importance of documentation and ethical practices. Our training objective was not to

Left: Hornbeck restores a painted plaster bust of Alexandre Pétion, fabricated by Normil Charles in 1903, from the Musée du Panthéon National. Below: Volunteer conservators (including Carol Grissom ’70, bottom right) repair objects and demonstrate techniques.

create conservators, a process requiring years of formal study; our goals were to introduce concepts, ethics, and practical techniques to enable us to rapidly stabilize the highest volume possible of damaged works of art. Training has been offered via various models, including courses, workshops, and on-the-job practical experience. All of this has been offered without cost to the participants, and more than 100 colleagues have participated in training initiatives. Course topics included: overall basic stabilization of damaged collections, introductions to painting, object, and paper conservation, and preservation of audiovisual collections. A corps of 12 studio assistants benefited from more involved study and aided in multiple projects. We hope that some of them may be inspired to pursue formal graduate training in conservation at an accredited graduate program abroad. Ideally, such formally trained professionals would then continue the essential work to preserve Haitian cultural patrimony.


What was the most rewarding aspect of your work with the Haitian Cultural Recovery Project?

Assisting in disaster recovery of cultural heritage goes to the heart of what it means to be a conservator— one who strives to save, protect, and prolong the life span of damaged artistic and historic works for present and (continued on page 29)

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Caribbean, Haiti is distinguished by an internationally recognized long history of creativity in the visual arts, literature, and music. A profuse flowering grew out of the Indigénisme period in the late 1920s, when writers and philosophers embraced the African roots of Haiti and rejected colonial influences. Vodou culture and rural existence were celebrated as having a pre-colonial origin. In the 1940s, Haitian art gained international recognition when Americans DeWitt Peters and Seldon Rodman founded the Centre d’Art and invited self-taught artists from all over the island to work in studios in Port-auPrince. These artists, most importantly painter Hector Hyppolite and sculptor Georges Liautaud, achieved renown when French surrealist André Breton and Cuban painter Wilfredo Lam visited Haiti in 1946 and wrote admiringly of the art. Eventually, Haitian artists would break out of the restrictions of the naive tradition and evolve into several artistic collectives and movements. Today, Haitian contemporary art retains its vitality, and a number of artists, such as Mario Benjamin, Eduard Duval Carrié, and Pascale Monnin have international reputations. This year marks the first time that Haitian artists have been included in the important art exposition, the Venice Biennale. —Stephanie Hornbeck ’90

AN EXPERT SUGGESTS To learn more about the recovery project in Haiti, as well as about Haitian art, check out these resources suggested by Hornbeck:

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w www.haiti.si.edu S Sacred Arts of Haitian V Vodou, edited by Donald J J. Cosentino. UCLA Fowler M Museum of Cultural History, 1 1995 (an exhibit catalog, a as well as a compilation of sscholarly essays).

P Peintres Haïtiens, by G Gérald Alexis. Editions C Cercle d’Art, 2000 (an o overview of 20th-century H Haitian painting, in French o in English). or

S Saving Haiti’s Heritage: Cultural Recovery After C the Earthquake, by th Richard Kurin. Smithsonian R Institution, Washington, In D.C. (in press). D

T treatment of an The untitled acrylic on board u painted by Stivenson p Magloire in 1988. From M tthe collection of Galerie Flamboyant, the painting F broke into 22 pieces b during the earthquake. d

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future generations. The Smithsonian’s Cultural Recovery Project demonstrates that advanced conservation work is certainly possible in Haiti, and that has been a really rewarding realization. I came to most enjoy working with the 12 assistants—the mostly young artists and chemists—we were training to assist us on the project. I found them open, engaging, and enthusiastic to learn about contemporary conservation practice. The artists also showed me their paintings, sculptures, and fashion designs. I enjoyed talking to them about their ideas and goals. Some would come to talk in person, call, or email me when I was away. The four murals assistants, who met each other on the project, decided to form an art collective, and they asked me to facilitate their launch. These fresh, direct interactions with the future generation of Haitian culture professionals were the highlight of my experience. The assistants ranged in age from 22 to 62. The youngest, Franck Fontaine, is a prolific painter of real promise and a talented musician, who has performed with Wyclef Jean. In a country where people live with extended family, Franck lives alone and supports himself. I think our recovery team came to be like family for him. Jean Menard Derenoncourt, a 55-year-old professional artist and art professor at the Ecole Nationale des Arts who was invited to work on our project as an advanced assistant, had some previous restoration experience.

He had suffered great personal loss in the earthquake; he was the only adult of five to emerge living from his collapsed house. Understandably, he had a deep sadness about him when we first met. He eventually thrived as a member of the team stabilizing the Centre d’Art collection and then as a studio assistant in the painting studio. With colleague Franck Louissaint, Menard accomplished our most challenging treatment, a large painting on canvas torn in two with 58 additional tears.


Haitian governance. Additional funding is also needed to continue treatment, training, and to retain a cultural-recovery center. We are working to establish partnerships with national museums in Haiti, to provide oversight of a center to serve cultural institutions there. Ideally, some of the promising assistants will travel abroad to train formally with the objective of returning to care for cultural patrimony in Haiti. We have built great momentum, yet a dire need for funding makes the conservation efforts in Haiti uncertain.

The Haiti Cultural Recovery T Center is due to close in C November 2011. What’s next N ffor the recovery efforts?

To transition the project from a Smithsonian-Haitian governance to a solely

Hornbeck is principal at Caryatid Conservation Services in Miami. In September, she learned that the Smithsonian would recognize her efforts in Haiti with the Secretary’s Gold Medal for Exemplary Service, a rare honor.

Top: Hornbeck, a colleague, and a UN officer with a fer découpé angel by Serge Jolimeau recovered from the rubble at Centre d’Art. Right: An untitled oil on canvas by Mario Benjamin from the collection of the Palais National during treatment.

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UNPLANNED LESSONS A first-year teacher with Teach For America in San Antonio fights for success for her kids—and for herself

By Anna K. Johns ’09

After my Wellesley graduation, I moved back to my hometown of Birmingham, Ala., and started working as a paralegal in a big, corporate law firm. My primary focus was an educationalfunding case set against the backdrop of Alabama’s Black Belt, a hot, sultry place with an economy that could fit in parentheses and an education system to match its job prospects. It was clear that our education system had gone terribly wrong—no one argued against that—but I always believed that the problem with education was lack of funds. Less than a year into working as a paralegal, what I saw changed my mind in some disturbing ways. The issues I saw through the educational-funding case were more complex than I thought—more and more money was being poured into Alabama schools with a declining rate of success. I felt that it was time to stop debating education issues and to actually do something to help. Every piece of sense I had told me not to apply for Teach For America. I was on my way to law school in a year or two with some great recommendations from the attorneys with whom I worked. There was no need to change course midstream.


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I made a compromise with myself. I would apply to Teach For America, just to see what would happen and assuage my conscience, but no matter what, I would not teach in Alabama. The thought of working in the Black Belt was just too personal, too close to the case I had been working on. I was unsure whether I would be able to become a teacher in the same system that had inspired so much anger in me.


n Aug. 23, 2010, I introduced myself as “Ms. Johns” to a classroom of San Antonio fourth graders. All of my students were Hispanic, and all lived in a sta state of economic uncertainty from week to week. I had been given my actual teaching assignment only a week before, and I was frighteningly unprepared. I had not seen a fourth grader, to my knowledge, since being in the fourth grade, and I certainly knew nothing about elementary literacy or Marzano strategies. (My principal kept talking about these mysterious Marzano strategies, but it


was clear from pretty early on that you never asked a question that might make you sound weak in front of this particular woman.) I had been trained by Teach For America—in that blindingly fast, trial-by-fire training that I received during the summer at the Teach For America Houston Institute— to teach middle-school science. The middleschool science position that the school district insisted was high-need never materialized, so a week before school I retested to prove I was fit to teach any subject between fourth and eighth grades and accepted one of the last positions available in the district. It did not seem to matter that I had no idea what I was doing. I drank the Teach For America Kool-Aid with gusto, and I was there to change the world, one lucky child at a time. Somewhere along the line—probably as much from Waiting for “Superman” as from high-school TV dramas—I had gotten the idea that many teachers were incompetent. When you watch a movie like Waiting for “Superman,” you see a pretty stark contrast—the losers in an office pulling a paycheck from the state because the state cannot fire them under tenure laws but fears to have them near children, and then the rock stars in the charter schools teaching as

I have never been so naturally bad at anything in my life. With a classroom of rowdy fourth graders whose lives—literally— are in your hands, there is no time to regain your composure, think something through, or even catch your breath. if they are on fire. I assumed that I would fall neatly into the rock-star category in a week or two, after I got my sea legs. I have never been so naturally bad at anything in my life. With a classroom of rowdy fourth graders whose lives—literally—are in your hands, there is no time to regain your composure, think something through, or even catch your breath. I think the only activities that have the physical, emotional, and cognitive demands of teaching might be professional ballet and freestyle rock climbing. Of course, it gets easier as you practice, and you get better

at it as you go. The problem is, you only have 180 days, and your kids deserve the absolute best that you or anyone else can offer them. My whole classroom hinged on whether I was having a good day. With this terrifying fact, I started my first year as a teacher. I think every teacher thinks he or she has the cutest, funniest group of kids, sort of like how every parent thinks his or her baby is the smartest and most handsome baby that ever lived. Still, my kids had some serious credentials as being both the greatest and the most heartbreaking group of kids in history.


esús was a cute kid. He wore his hair in a little faux-hawk style that made him seem a lot tougher than he was. He was fastidious about keeping his hair looking good, and he was one of those rare boys who never cause trouble in a class. He could hate your guts and still sit there and work with you without complaining. He also had a serious learning disability, and I felt totally unprepared to work around it. Despite the tough time he had in school, he had one of the greatest personalities of any of my students. We went on a class field trip to SeaWorld, supposedly to learn about career options, but really because some foundation had given the whole district a lot of money to go. The park was packed nearly fall 2011




to capacity with students from kindergarten rten h all the way to high school, and some of the older kids were pretty rough around the edges. At one point, a group of high-school boys came up to Jesús and started teasing him about his hair. I saw the older boys talking to my students so I muscled my way through the crowd and moved them along. I asked Jesús what had happened, and he replied simply, “They said I was a little gangster, Miss, because of my hair.” He carefully patted his hair to make sure it was just right then added, “But I’m not a gangster. I’m going to college.” His comment was like a shot to the heart. He is one of the greatest kids I will ever know, but I’m scared that he won’t make it to college. The attitude is all there, but despite the extra services he gets and the support of his mom and dad who love him and work with him as much as they can, the fact is that he reads far below grade level. It terrifies me to think that even one bad teacher along the way could totally derail him from his dream. I told his mom about his comment at SeaWorld, and we both cried. She knew how much stood between him and that dream, too. I cried a lot that year.


esús also starred in another classroom event that is burned into my memory forever. One morning in October, I unlocked my door to find find fine fine silve silver dust all over the desks and floor on one side of the room. After some closer inspection, I found that the silver dust was actually the shredded remains of the aluminum foil used to wrap the greasy breakfast tacos served to students through the free-lunch program. One delightful child had decided to surreptitiously save

A Anna K K. JJohns h ’09 works k every d day iin San Antonio, Texas, to convince four classes of 10-year-old scholars that math is not scary.

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IIn n fourth fourt grade in Texas, students take three state tests. Frank never passed one of these tests. My principal told F rank had nev me that Frank was just not a “passer,” and that I should really focus on the borderline kids who could pass with less effort.

his wrappers in a big ball in the back of his desk, and the smell of delicious governmentissue ground beef had invited a rodent into my classroom. The custodial staff jumped into action and cleaned up the mess before students walked in at 8 a.m., and I gave the whole class a stern lecture about how we now had a mouse in our classroom. Jesús raised his hand and said, “Ms. Johns, I’m going to find that mouse for you.” Sure you will, I thought, but I smiled and thanked him. He really is such a sweet kid. Every day in a Texas classroom starts off with the Pledge of Allegiance, then the Texas Pledge, followed by a moment of silence. During the moment of silence, Jesús called my name. I shushed him, but I was surprised. Jesús knew not to talk during the moment of silence. He whispered, “Ms. Johns! There is a big rat in the trash can!” I stopped breathing for about three minutes, and during that time I managed to tie the entire trash can inside of a large plastic trash bag from our breakfast crate, set the whole thing outside of our classroom door, and call down to the office from the intercom to insist that a custodian come right now to room 204. Crisis averted, right? After lunch that same day, we were sitting on the floor in our classroom working with little centimeter cubes in cooperative groups to model multiplication problems. (For the record, cooperative learning is one of the mysterious Marzano strategies that I eventually picked up.) Things were surprisingly calm until kids started screaming. Another mouse had decided to wreak havoc on my classroom. Most kids froze with panic, but one student, Frank, was a good kid to have in a crisis and had the presence of mind to stand up and press the intercom button for his grateful teacher so that I could call for backup from the front office.

Five more rats later, I went to reclaim my terrified students from across the hall, and one little girl was sobbing and refused to come back inside. I mustered the most dramatic voice that I could and assured her, “The amazing people in this classroom have already saved you once today, and we would do it again if necessary.” The beautiful thing about teaching elementary school is that kids totally believe you, even when you are terrified yourself. I can’t say that we learned much that afternoon with all of the excitement and tears, but at least we survived.


rank ended up having the most significant growth that year. With that, though, he became my greatest concern. For the first two months of school, he just sat there there. He would not speak to me, and if I pushed him, I might get a one-word answer. He was held back by his dyslexia and the crippling fear that accompanied having it, especially when the task he was given involved reading aloud or writing. One of the first times that Frank spoke in class was when one of our vocabulary words from a district-mandated textbook was “burglar.” Frank informed the class, “My dad’s a burglar. He’s in jail.” In fourth grade in Texas, students take three state tests—TAKS Reading, TAKS Writing, and TAKS Math. The state of California uses fail-rates from similar tests to predict the number of prison beds that will be needed in the future. Frank had never passed one of these state tests. My principal told me that Frank was just not a “passer,” and that I should really focus on the borderline kids who could pass with less effort. This utterly broke my heart. In a way, I am grateful to my

principal for saying this, because from that moment on, Frank became my mission. I never had illusions that I was a great fourth-grade teacher—every lesson felt like climbing a mountain, and some days felt like freefalling—but I knew that I had heart and that I was very different from even the really good teachers at my school. At a certain point in teaching, I think you have seen so many kids that you lose your sense of shock and horror. You still care deeply about your students, but it becomes harder to pluck that little string of injustice inside your heart. Maybe it’s because you stop being crazy and thinking that you can change the world. I dragged Frank upstairs morning after morning to get ready for the first of these intimidating state tests, the dreaded TAKS Writing test. Students had to write a personal narrative to respond to a prompt, and Frank was writing single, ungrammatical sentences. I updated his dyslexia accommodations so that he would use the computer for his compositions, and I had to teach him how to doubleclick on Microsoft Word on our one functioning classroom computer and how to make capital letters with the shift key. Sometimes he would just sit there and stare at me, but most of the time you could see the little gears in his brain churning away, despite how quiet he was. He wrote a few compositions that he was really proud of, and I think he was a little amazed at the positive feedback that he got from other teachers and his mom. His mom called me one day after Frank wrote a really touching tale about his grandfather, who had passed away a week before, and how Frank had helped him build a doghouse. She thanked me for working with him, and all I could think of to say was to thank her back for Frank.


y principal and I clashed from the beginning, and as the year went by, she was more and m more and more critical of my teaching—and less and less able to give me the support I needed as a first-year teacher. Near the end of school, she pulled Jesús and a few other students out of my class because she worried that they would not pass the TAKS tests. She tried to pull Frank out too, but I begged her to let him stay. I think that because she believed that he was not a “passer” anyway, she let me keep him. As the TAKS tests approached, Frank’s attitude took a dive. He just looked scared, as though all of the stuff I had been feeding him about how he could pass if he worked hard and about how everyone believed in him were lies. He became a behavior problem in my class. In late May, our TAKS scores came back. Frank had passed the writing and math tests but not the reading test. My emotions were out of control. I was so excited that he passed two of three tests, but the reading test worried me. I also had the reality check: Passing these state tests did not mean that a student was on grade level. In fact, students could pass the math test with a score of less than 70 percent, which put them at about the level of being a month or two into fourth grade, when in reality, they had been in fourth grade for a whole year. Still, Frank was excited at the news. I think he had believed, deep down, that he was not a “passer,” just as the principal said. His attitude toward school changed again, and suddenly he was confident. I am not and never will be one of those

I think every teacher thinks he or she has the cutest, funniest group of kids, sort of like how every parent thinks his or her baby is the smartest and most handsome baby that ever lived. Still, my kids had some serious credentials as being both the greatest and the most heartbreaking group of kids in history.

Teach For America teachers who end up in their promotional materials. My principal essentially let me and another Teach For America teacher go at the end of the year, partially because of budget concerns and partially because she may have sensed we weren’t committed to teaching forever. With help from Teach For America, I found an opening at a well-known charter school in San Antonio, KIPP Aspire Academy, and applied. I was hired as a fifth-grade math teacher. At KIPP, the principal would never tell you that a kid is not a “passer.” In fact, I believe that anyone who said that out loud would be fired on the spot—especially since we are all at-will employees. I am overjoyed at my new placement, and I have yet to cry this year. My colleagues are amazing, and I feel so proud to be a part of this team and family. Still, I worried about Frank. Would his next teacher care enough to work with him one-on-one? Would he or she know deep down that he is more than a “passer,” but an extraordinary kid with a heartbreaking story and a heart of gold? I overheard my new principal discussing enrollment in the fifth grade. Spots at KIPP are determined by a lottery system, and it is really tough to get a place in any grade, especially after fifth grade. To my shock, there was one available spot. I met with my principal and told him about Frank—about how amazing he is, about how much he struggles, and most of all how worried I was that his quietness would mean that his potential would be ignored. My principal agreed to let him have the spot if I could convince his mom to transfer him to KIPP within 48 hours. Frank is now one of my fifth graders at KIPP. I am still not an award-winning teacher, but I get up every morning because I know that kids count on me and that I have something to give them. In a way, Frank is my North Star. He proved to me that change is possible, but he also showed me how hard even the smallest successes are to achieve. It astounds me how a little success, even tempered with failure, can change your outlook. This is true for Frank, but it is even truer for me. fall 2011




Forty years ago, Wellesley began accepting nontraditional-age students. Today, the Davis Scholar Program draws women from all walks of life who have found their way to college by unconventional paths. The CE/DS alumnae class is Wellesley’s largest—diverse and vibrant.

The Class of All Colors

By Ruth Walker

Photographs by Richard Howard

34 wellesley


fall 2011



have walked

across the commencement stage

to receive Wellesley degrees in the last 40 years: women who have taken nonconventional paths to Wellesley. Before college, they may have run businesses, served in the military, overcome health problems, or danced professionally. Many have juggled parenting duties with writing lab reports and learning German verbs. They may be in their 60s—or in their mid-20s—but all are older than traditional-aged students. The Davis Degree Program, as it’s known today, began as the Continuing Education Program for women whose college study had been interrupted, often for reasons of marriage and family. Endowed by Elisabeth Kaiser Davis ’32 in 1990–91 and this year celebrating its 40th anniversary, the program has evolved, like the College as a whole, to include a population as diverse and committed to their dreams as any class at Wellesley. Maud Hazeltine Chaplin ’56, professor emerita of philosophy and a former academic dean, has been one of the program’s strongest advocates; her “Tea with Maud” gatherings for these older students became an institution. “The Davis Scholars,” she says, “more than any other group of students, want an education.” All Wellesley students, she says, take their education, and its expense, seriously. But for the Davis Scholars, the commitment is of another order of magnitude. “They come at great expense—in dollar costs and opportunity costs. They give up jobs. They have to cope with family jealousy. . . . But they’ve made a very conscious decision that this is what they Davis Scholar students and alumnae from a variety of years

fall 2011




want,” says Chaplin. And that ensures a high level of motivation on the part of the students. Wellesley’s venture in continuing education began during the heyday of the late 20th-century women’s movement, when many schools were experimenting with ways to bring older students back to campus. Bonnie Downes Leonard ’59, dean of continuing education at the College from the fall of 1983 through August 2002, likens this effort to “a GI Bill for women.” The first Continuing Education students at Wellesley were typically commuters from nearby suburbs, women whose husbands could afford their tuition. After a time, though, the College started recruiting more broadly. And a key feature of Wellesley’s approach was the decision early on to include returning students with the main student body, rather than to conduct separate classes for them (as, for example, Sarah Lawrence College did). Leonard’s own academic background was in special education, where the concept of “mainstreaming” was familiar. She worked hard to mainstream nontraditional students—getting them housing, getting them parking, getting them access to health and counseling services like other students, and even access to the golf course. Today about half the Davis students live on campus, and a higher proportion of them get financial aid than do traditional-age students. There’s even a student-founded organization called “Lifeline” that offers food, emergency funds, and services to fellow Davis Scholars. A turning point came in the mid-1980s. Academic requirements for the program were tightened: Continuing Education students, like traditional-age transfer students, would need 16 units on campus to earn their Wellesley degrees, instead of only eight as before. In exchange, though, they got access to 12-month housing and to financial aid on the same basis as traditional-age students. And their aid applications no longer required the signature of a parent or husband. “It was a perfect storm for change,” Leonard says. Today’s Davis Scholars range in age from early 20s to well into their 50s; their numbers ‘They T come at great are down compared expense—in dollar costs ex with previous decades, and opportunity costs. an They give up jobs. Th in part because of risThey have to cope with Th ing college costs and the family jealousy. . . . But fa availability of alternathey’ve made a very th tives, including online conscious decision that co study, elsewhere. Many this is what they want.’ th transfer from other col—Maud Hazeltine Chaplin ’56 — leges with credits under their belts and often are not on campus as long completing their degrees as CE/DS students were in the past. But the Davis Degree Program “does its best to replicate the experience of not just a liberal-arts college but a residential liberalarts college,” says Susan Cohen, class dean and director of the program. The Davis Scholars, who first paraded as a group at reunion in 1976 as “the class of all colors” behind a banner of red, green, purple, and yellow, now make up the largest alumnae class of the College. “And,” Cohen adds, “it’s the only one that keeps growing.” On the following pages, we profile nine of the 800 CE/DS alumnae, whose paths to Wellesley are as unique and inspiring as the lives they lead now.

36 wellesley


fall 2011


story of a lifework growing out of studies at Wellesley. But she also has a classic Davis Scholar’s story of how family concerns weigh on even the most gifted women when they pursue their education past the traditional college age. Her first college experience was taking courses free of charge at Columbia University because she was working there. But within a couple of years, she had married and moved away from the New York area and started a family. “But I felt I was missing something. I was limited in my plans for the future,” she says. Wright returned to school when her youngest daughter started first grade. She signed up for classes at Wellesley that let her meet her children when they arrived home from school. She studied in the evenings or when the children were at school. When she had started to pursue a degree at Columbia, she had thought she’d go into teaching. At Wellesley, though, she realized that anthropology was what she wanted to do. But then she realized she didn’t want to study contemporary peoples and “expose” them by publishing her research. Archaeology began to seem like a better fit. There wasn’t an archaeologist on the faculty at Wellesley at the time. But before she graduated, the College had hired Philip Kohl, so Wright was able to get some archaeology coursework done before heading off to graduate school, at Harvard. The work that led to her MacArthur Foundation “genius grant” in 1988 involved a scientific technique called “neutron activation analysis.” This technique can be used to get a distinctive “fingerprint” of the clay a piece of pottery

is made of, for instance. These fingerp prints can be compared to help s scientists determine whether two s shards from different sites share a c common origin. Wright used the technique on a distinctive type of gray ceramics f found in Iran and Pakistan. She f found the same clay showing up in c ceramics from sites far apart from o another. “It was an indication one o a wide trading network across of a considerable distance, which w unexpected in the absence of was a major nation-state in the area,” s explains. she This combination of hight technology research techniques b brought to bear on social questions h been a hallmark of her work. has H research today continues to be Her f focused on the interconnected nat ture of the ancient world. She’s also d done research on human responses t climate change in the ancient to I Indus civilization. This work r ects her interest in “bringing our refl k knowledge of the past full circle to t present.” the Now a professor of anthropolo at New York University, Wright ogy s says, “Wellesley as a place was my b biggest mentor—the whole experie ence. Nobody ever said, ‘Don’t go t graduate school, because you to w won’t fit.’” In particular, she cites A Anne-Marie Shimony, chair of the a anthropology department, as “an in inspiration,” not only as a scholar b as a scholar with a family. but “I’m sure that people on a trad ditional path have a lot of issues,” W Wright says of young women who s start college at age 18. But the s special challenges for students with f families persist, she says. “There’s a always the thought: How could y do this if you’re a woman with you c children?”

‘Wellesley as a place was my biggest mentor— the whole experience. Nobody ever said, “Don’t go to graduate school, because you won’t fit.”’ —Rita Corsi Wright CE/DS ’74

fall fall2011 2011





mercial real estate began the night of her husband’s funeral. Her brotherin-law, who had been her husband’s business partner, called her to ask, “Are you in?” A new building was in the works, and it was time to order the steel and concrete—or not. Griffith had no time to consider options, and so she said yes, she was in. She worked successfully with her brother-in-law for seven years before they divided the partnership into two separate businesses. By then, she had learned a fundamental truth about the real-estate business: “It’s like a volcano. Sometimes it rumbles, and sometimes it erupts—and when it erupts, you can’t ignore it.” But, she says, “I realized my income would be secure if I paid attention to the business.” A successful business, though, isn’t the same as a happy, balanced life. “I saw a need to take better care of myself,” she says, “and to be a better role model for my daughter.” Griffith’s own widowed mother had been unable to give her more than a couple years of college. “And then it was my brothers’ turn,” so Griffith never finished her degree. But after her husband died, she learned about the Davis Scholars Program at a Junior League luncheon. Griffith picked French studies as her Wellesley major. It was a subject with happy associations: She and her family had visited France before her husband died, and it was an interest she could share with her daughter. But after years of being defined largely in terms of relationships with others, she began to cast about for a project that

‘I saw a need to take better care of myself and to be a better role model for my daughter.’ —Cathryn Griffith CE/DS ’88

38 wellesley


fall 2011


Artist Susan Miller-Havens went from being a surgical and psychiatric nurse to having two of her paintings in the permanent collection of the National

would be truly hers—a forum in which to excel in her own right. Dean Bonnie Downes Leonard ’59 suggested a topic for a senior thesis: the new Musée d’Orsay in Paris, which opened in an old railroad station in 1986. The project plunged Griffith into the world of museums and adaptive reuse of architecture. After graduating at age 50, she took up photography, one course at a time— an approach that made sense for one who never knew when her “volcano” would erupt. She gravitated to the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, hungry for community. Then one of her professor friends asked her to join a trip he was organizing to Havana. “It sounded so appealing,” she remembers. So in April 2003 she went to Cuba for the first time. She had done no research at all. What she did bring was some old postcards of Havana she had stumbled upon in a flea market in Paris. “I didn’t know it, but I was hooked on photographing Havana.” One thing led to another, and Havana Revisited: Architectural Heritage was published by Norton last year. It showcases her photography of iconic buildings in the Cuban capital, alongside postcard images like the ones she had found in Paris, for a then-and-now perspective. And the project drew on a knowledge base she’d been building since her project at the Musée d’Orsay. The book was a turning point. “I had a different sense of myself,” she says. Before, she was an eager student looking up to her professors. “Now I feel more like a colleague among other practicing artists.” Today Cathryn Griffith is still involved in real estate, but it’s her artistic ventures that provide fulfillment. It’s not a bad life in the shadow of a volcano.

Portrait Gallery at the Smithsonian. Feeling burned out from Vietnam, Miller-Havens enrolled at Wellesley to change the direction of her career. She didn’t leave the medical world behind entirely, however, as she had to work part-time in a clinic to support herself through college. Despite that, she says, “I wouldn’t be where I am now [without the Davis Scholar Program]. The program allowed me to work and study away from the ‘madding crowd.’” After majoring in studio art and art history, she went on to work as a psychotherapist and to earn an Ed.D. at Harvard, where she serves on the Arts in Education Council. Her portrait of former Red Sox pitcher Pedro Martínez (right) was installed earlier this year at the Smithsonian. —Jennifer Garrett ’99


When Melody Tossberg Cunningham CE/DS ’88 enrolled at Wellesley, determined to pursue her dream of a career in medicine, she was more than a little nervous. “I was not sure that I would remember enough math to pass my courses or have the stamina to study and work,” remembers Cunningham, who had previously left a nursing program at the University of Connecticut her junior year to live and work in Colorado. Instead, Cunningham found a warm and welcoming community where she thrived. She remembers an organic-chemistry class taught by David Haines, associate professor of chemistry. “He taught it in such a way that when I did ‘road map’ chemical reaction problems, I almost felt that I was within the molecules, knowing how they would react,” Cunningham says. And now, she does have a career in medicine, as medical director of the Pediatric Palliative Care Program at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., and associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Tennessee. People often ask her how she can work with babies and children at the end of their lives. “I believe that preventing patient suffering and helping families to have a chance to ‘say good-bye’ is a gift to them and a profound privilege for me,” she says. Cunningham, with patient Hayden Williams, who later passed away as a result of a genetic disorder

—Lisa Scanlon ’99

fall 2011




Ackroyd says that part of what she learned at Wellesley was how, in any given field, ‘to find a niche, to join the conversation and add to it, to see what’s lacking and supply it.’ 40 wellesley


fall2011 2011 fall

Ackroyd (left) and Woolf: Ackroyd has on a suit made of wool produced by their company.

PATRICIA ACKROYD CE/DS ’96 and ALLYSON WOOLF CE/DS ’96 GLASTONBURY, ENGLAND, and SHERBORN, MASS. MANY WOMEN COME HOME from unsuccessful clothes shopping trips boiling over with frustration. After Patricia Ackroyd CE/DS ’96 came home one day in 2009 from an unsuccessful attempt to find the kind of suit she wanted, she became determined to do nothing less than revitalize the British wool industry. What Ackroyd, who lives in Glastonbury, England, was looking for would seem not that hard to find: a suit made in Britain of pure new British wool. She found garments sporting the familiar Woolmark logo, indicating a garment of 100 percent new wool. She could buy garments tagged “Made in Britain.” But the whole package—made in Britain of 100 percent pure new British wool—was not to be found. She remembers asking, “Where can I go to get a length of wool that’s been scoured, combed, spun, dyed, and woven on this island? “And I was told, ‘You can’t.’ I went stiff with rage.” At this point it must be noted that Ackroyd isn’t just any random British shopper. She is descended from generations of families in the wool industry, going back to the early years of the 19th century and before. As she has written, “Over the span of my life, I have watched the industry diminish to a shadow of its former self and be overtaken by inferior products in the guise of luxury without durability or value for money.” The “epiphany” she had after that unsuccessful shopping trip prompted her to found Ackroyd & Dawson Limited. This new company is to supply bespoke tailors, fashion houses, and other clothing makers with fine woolen fabrics that have made the whole journey “from clip to cloth” in Britain, with no outsourcing of steps in the process just to cut costs. She feels she is being led back into the family business “by an obligation to everyone in our families to rebuild this industry,” she says. The goals include creating jobs, and in a sustainable, all-natural industry (“we’ve got 2.5 million unemployed,” she says); providing better markets, and ultimately better prices, for sheep farmers and artisans; and providing the garment industry with better fabrics. Her partners in this venture are her sister, Susan Kidder, and her friend Allyson Woolf CE/DS ’96, who lives in Sherborn, Mass.

Woolf says that for her, “It all began with a logo.” Ackroyd and Woolf met in one of Maud Chaplin’s philosophy classes at Wellesley and have been fast friends ever since. They learned early on that they could work well together, too. While still students, they collaborated to organize a conference on women’s health that brought big-name speakers to campus. Woolf’s contributions to the A&D venture have been in the realm of design and communications. And at this stage of a new business, there’s plenty to design and communicate. The partners spend many hours on the phone together, thanks to discount calling plans. After graduating from Brookline High in Massachusetts, Woolf studied at the Rhode Island School of Design but did not complete her degree. She worked as an artist, though, and ran an antiques business, and she also helped start and run a family-owned trucking business. At Wellesley, she designed an individual major in ethics. It was very “gracious,” she says, choosing the word carefully, of the College to allow her to do such a thing. “That is what I wanted. It could have happened only at Wellesley.” Today her portfolio of activities includes consulting in ethics. The logo Ackroyd asked Woolf to design incorporates two sheep to represent the 60 different breeds raised in Britain, plus an old-fashioned “drop spindle”—more common and lower-tech than the spinning wheel. The outline of the logo suggests a crown, still an important symbol in Britain. The wool venture speaks to Woolf’s concerns as an ethicist. “As an artist and an ethicist, I find the loss of traditional skills tragic,” she says. Ackroyd says that part of what she learned at Wellesley was how, in any given field, “to find a niche, to join the conversation and add to it, to see what’s lacking and supply it.” In her case, what was lacking was a whole industrial tradition that had disappeared. And when she decided to do something about it, it was natural to recruit her friend from Wellesley. In the case of both women, it’s easy to see how their time as Davis Scholars helped them not just to follow a chosen path but to create one. And the conversation between the two friends continues, virtually every day, across the Atlantic.


Twenty years after leaving Drexel University

is currently director of government and

to marry and have a family, Desiree

community relations, responsible for the

Urquhart decided she needed to earn a

theater’s lobbying efforts to raise public

degree. Despite excellent performance

funds from Congress and the District of

reviews throughout her career, she was

Columbia. “Having a degree from Wellesley

laid off and repeatedly denied promotions

totally changed my world and how people

because of lack of credentials. A boss who

accept and respect me,” Urquhart says. “I

had dated an alumna suggested the Davis

can’t tell you the pride I feel when a new

Scholar program and sent her to Boston

business acquaintance says, ‘Oh, you went

to visit the College. Urquhart majored in

to Wellesley . . . well.’ It always fills me up

theatre studies, landing at the Arena Stage

as the greatest affirmation of achievement.”

in Washington, D.C., after graduation. She

—Alice M. Hummer

fall 2011





exactly what Wellesley did for her: “Wellesley made me make sense of what I went through.” What she went through was 30 years of an abusive marriage. Then one day she “escaped.” That’s her word. Her husband had dropped her off for her train to work as usual. But once inside the station, she realized she could wait for him to head off to his own workplace and then return to her home to gather some things and get away. Salvo had not been without options growing up. A native of the Philippines, she was the daughter of a well-known general in Ferdinand Marcos’s government. She had been accepted at Stanford. But at age 17 1/2, she decided to marry the young man who had been her first serious boyfriend. “I thought I had it all together. I was in love.” In hindsight, she realizes that she failed to notice some warning signs. And then children started arriving—five in all, eventually. Each made it harder to contemplate leaving her husband, despite his temper and controlling behavior. When Salvo was in her early thirties, she and her husband and children moved to the United States, settling first in Indiana and later in the San Francisco Bay Area. When she first struck out on her own, she landed in Southern California, where she started courses at a community college. This led to study abroad at Oxford University and a decision to enter Wellesley as a Davis Scholar. “You have a Wellesley aura already,” an alumna interviewer told her. Salvo had found Wellesley on a Wikipedia list of colleges in New England, and the idea of an all-women environment appealed to her. Wellesley turned out to be a good place for her to follow the counsel of her priest, who told her, “Find out who you are—by yourself.” Salvo is Roman Catholic, and her religion is a major force in her life—but one she didn’t understand very well before she came to Wellesley. Edward Hobbs’s course, Women, Sexuality, and Patriarchalism in the New Testament, was an eye-opener. “I’m Catholic but didn’t know squat what it means to be a Catholic woman.” This led to a major in religion, along with many psychology courses. Her interest was less in learning to counsel others than in making sense of her own experience. Nowadays she’s living in Tennessee, to be near one of her daughters and her newest grandchild, born the day before she got her master’s of divinity from Harvard. She’s writing a book about her life story, which she plans to wrap up this fall. After the book is finished, she plans to start a shelter for women escaping abusive relationships. She has a name picked out already: Reclaiming Authentic Womanhood. Authentic womanhood, she says, includes strength. She points out that the Bible often uses the image of a woman in labor to symbolize strength. And, she adds, “God didn’t rest until He’d made woman.” SUZANNE SALVO KNOWS


Melinda Rios decided to go back to school because of her daughter. Prior to Wellesley, Rios was a stay-at-home mom to a child with special needs. “I knew that she would have to face challenges in life that I never would have to,” she says. “I wanted to be a good role model for her.” When her daughter entered preschool, Rios began to consider returning to the workforce. To do that, she knew she needed to finish her degree. “I never thought I would actually be accepted to Wellesley,” she says. Rios was admitted and earned a degree in architecture, but it wasn’t easy. “I was pulled in many different directions,” she says. “It was challenging trying to juggle my family obligations with my academic life.” But ultimately, the Davis Scholar community helped her succeed. “I knew that other women were struggling like myself,” Rios says. “We looked to each other to provide emotional support and understanding.” Since graduation, Rios has been working as an administrative assistant in the College’s Office for Resources. —Jennifer Garrett ’99

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fall 2011

Ruth Walker, a former foreign correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor, is a regular contributor to Wellesley magazine.

‘Wellesley made me make sense of what I went through.’ —Suzanne Salvo CE/DS ’08

fall 2011







A New Face in CWS She graced the cover of the summer 2001 issue (below) as a graduating senior, light-heartedly blowing bubbles during commencement. Sullivan has come a long way since graduation—a doctorate in Ireland, research in Africa and South America—and she plans on using her experiences to provide career counseling ng to alumnae and students in her new role as associate director at Wellesley’s Center for or Work and Service. After graduating, Sullivan spent two o years as a research assistant at Harvard Business School, focusing on informationtechnology companies. Then, Sullivan jumped across the pond to get her Ph.D. in business administration from Trinity College in Dublin, focusing on pharmaceutical supply-chain management. Afterward, she returned to Harvard, working on the Global Health Delivery Project. Sullivan saw that job as a temporary, transitional position, but she wound up staying for four years. “Eventually . . . I ran my own research team, and I traveled all over Africa and South America doing research on how countries spent their money for HIV, TB, and malaria that came from international donors,” she says. However, the extensive travel started wearing on her, and she found herself in CWS, asking a staff member for advice on next steps. As it happened, a position was open in CWS, and the rest is history. Given that today’s students are very interested in nonprofit work, public health, and social-science research, Sullivan thinks that she could be a good resource for them. She’s also interested in working with the CWS on using technology to connect with alumnae. And, of course, Sullivan is thrilled to be back at her alma mater. “I’m just really excited to get to talk to Wellesley alums and Wellesley students every day,” she says.


—Lisa Scanlon ’99




fall 2011


The Wellesley Club of Switzerland hosted 14 people from all over the country, as well as France, at a luncheon in early summer in Geneva. Those in attendance ranged from the classes of ’58 to ’06, plus two current students and one who was entering Wellesley as a first-year this fall.




notes veteran: She has penned 37 columns, with three more to go before (fingers crossed) she passes the baton. She is a bit of a legend in the magazine office for respecting deadlines—even going to valiant lengths when Hurricane Katrina struck three days before a Sept. 1 deadline. It was seven weeks before Nancy’s Hattiesburg, Miss., home and computer were back up and running, but that didn’t stop her from filing a column. What keeps her motivated, and how can you make her job—and that of all class secretaries—a tad easier? A few things, it turns out. “Living down here, I am so geographically isolated from everyone, but as secretary I get the news first,” she says. “And I love being in the loop.” And it’s not just the news you read in her column: People share private information with her—news not fit for print, perhaps, like new octogenarian boyfriends. When there’s a death in the class, Nancy writes to the family to let them know the class is making a donation in the individual’s memory. Sometimes the

husbands or children write back to say they appreciate it. “To me it’s like a ministry,” she says. Beyond that, there’s just something special about the class notes. “I think it makes us feel more of a camaraderie, finding out what others are doing,” Nancy says. “And people are doing wonderful things. I haven’t done anything in these majestic terms myself, but we’re all talented in some way.” —Jennifer Flint

How to Be Kind to Your Secretary • Add her to your holiday-card mailing list. • Report on your classmates’ doings. • Keep Wellesley updated (recordupdates


announces the following events for 2011 and 2012. Unless otherwise noted, events take place at the College. For more information, call the Alumnae Office at 781-283-2331.



President Karen Gentleman ’77



President H. Kim Bottomly

speaking to the Tokyo Wellesley Club, 11:30 A.M., Imperial Hotel, Tokyo. For more information, contact Rachel Wang ’88 at ryhwang@hotmail.com. DECEMBER


“London Calling,” a two-day

event in London, featuring President

@wellesley.edu) if you

Bottomly, former Secretary of State

move or change your email

Madeleine Korbel Albright ’59, and

address. Many secretaries are

the faculty, staff, and students of

sending email blasts to solicit news.

the Albright Institute. At the London

Without your current address, they

School of Economics and the

won’t reach you.

Landmark Hotel. For more

• Mini-reunion, mini-reunion, mini-reunion: Did you have one? Drop a line to your secretary.

• Think small: You need not cure cancer or win an award to be “newsworthy.”

information and to register, visit sites.google.com/a/wellesley.edu/ london-calling/.


Everyone can relate to the simple


details of life.


Treasurer/Secretary Debra Drew DeVaughn ’74 Martha Goldberg Aronson ’89 Katherine Collins ’90 Aniella Gonzalez ’93 Karen Capriles Hodges ’62 Georgia Murphy Johnson ’75 Suzanne Lebold ’85 Willajeanne McLean ’77 Inyeai Ororokuma ’79 Yong Qiu ’08 Patience Singleton Roach ’92, chair of Alumnae Admissions Representatives Shelley Sweet ’67 Mei-Mei Tuan ’88 Karen Williamson ’69, president elect Sandra Yeager ’86, chair of annual giving Ex officiis: Susan Challenger ’76 Alice M. Hummer Katherine Stone Kaufmann ’67 Alumnae Trustees: Linda Cozby Wertheimer ’65 Nami Park ’85 Ruth Chang ’81 Sandra Polk Guthman ’65 Shelly Anand ’08

Alumnae Achievement Awards

16–17 WCAA board of directors



Executive Director Susan Challenger ’76


Stepsinging hosted by the

Director of Alumnae Events Heather MacLean

Senior lunch and induction

Director of Alumnae Groups Susan Lohin

4 WCAA 23

To learn more about the activities of the WCAA, visit web.wellesley.edu/web/Alumnae.

The Wellesley Club of France had a rendezvous in July in Paris, where they were joined by Joanne Murray ’81, Salwa Muhammad ’06, and Kate Miller of the Center for Work and Service.

This magazine is published quarterly by the Wellesley College Alumnae Association, an autonomous corporate body, independent of the College. The Association is dedicated to connecting alumnae to the College and to each other.

Alumnae Office Financial Administrator Greg Jong

To read Wellesley magazine online, visit www. wellesley.edu/magazine.

fall 2011


wellesley 45


!"#$%&'"()"*%++%,+%- " Wellesley College

(Continued from page 3)

intellectually jarred by Nora Hussey’s listing of “Plays You Shouldn’t Miss,” beginning at No. 1 with August Wilson’s Joe Turner’s Come and Gone and followed by Hamlet. Yes, Joe Turner is a very good play, but considerably less “great” than Hamlet, Macbeth, King Lear, Othello, Oedipus, and A Long Day’s Journey Into Night, which did make the list. Ms. Hussey’s obvious “politically correct” listing is not intellectually worthy of Wellesley. Jane Randall ’50 New York A response from Melinda Lopez of Theatre Studies: I helped create the play list with my boss, Nora Hussey. Given a free evening, a babysitter, and new dress, I would rather go see Joe Turner than Hamlet. I’ll stand by that. But I’d rather see Hamlet than Rent. I prefer Bernini to Michelangelo, and Frank Gehry to Frank Lloyd Wright— just barely. I prefer Chicago to New York and Buenos Aires to Paris; Dr. King to Spartacus, and Mac to PC. That’s my opinion. I teach both Othello and Blasted (Sarah Kane) at Wellesley, because both plays challenge everything we thought we knew about political correctness and our understanding of the human condition. That’s my job. Ms. Randall is free to see whatever plays she likes, and I’ll join her in a spirited uptown/ downtown discussion of theater. But don’t impugn my dedication to this College, nor this College’s dedication to me and my esteemed colleague.

MT. FUJI: A HINT (Continued from page 14)


Taylor offers her students the same basic assumption that an MIT professor supposedly used to screen prospective teaching assistants. Assume that every 15 minutes, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, a big dump truck gets filled instantaneously and is driven away, off to the other site without getting in the way of any other trucks. How long would it take to move the mountain? “From there, it’s up to the students to spell out their assumptions out loud, describe their plan for addressing this problem, and do it, step-by-step,” says Taylor. “I love that this problem involves geometry (volume of mountain, volume of truck bed), unit conversions (from truckfulls to time), large numbers (so scientific notation is helpful), and estimation (how high is that mountain, about what is its radius, how big is one of those big trucks?). Such a great problem!” And as for how long it would take, Taylor estimates more than 10,000 years.



I very much enjoyed the article about the recent renovations to the Whitin Observatory (“A Star is Reborn,” spring ’11). As a first-year student housed in Bates Hall, I clearly had to take a class at the observatory since it was so close to my wonderful new college dorm room! As a true Wellesley woman, I certainly took to the Wellesley idea of grabbing every opportunity presented to me as soon as I set foot on campus. To me, this meant the crew team. So there I was, waking up at 4 a.m. to be on the Charles River by 5 a.m., rowing for a hard two hours, only to return to the Whitin Observatory for Astronomy 101. The only thing that kept me awake during those early morning hours was Professor Wendy Hagen Bauer. With two braids, a bright smile, and an incredible passion for astronomy, she made astronomy come alive! It never mattered how cold that Charles River was, or how tough the workout was, Wendy engaged my brain with nebulae and galaxies. I enjoyed my classes so much that I became a night lab assistant, helping 101 students after my first semester. Every part of my experience was made brighter by Wendy. It never mattered if the observatory was falling down around us. We were all looking up at the beautiful stars made even better by Wendy’s expertise. So while it is fantastic that the observatory got the facelift it needed, let’s agree to never overlook the people inside the buildings who make Wellesley the incredible school that it is! If you haven’t heard an original song by Wendy Bauer, you are truly missing out! Ellen McConnell ’95 New Orleans PIPING UP

Hooray for the Fisk organ anniversary and special concert (“A Great Set of Pipes,” spring ’11). Admittedly space was quite limited, but it’s unfortunate the the dream and dedication of Prof. Owen Jander to have the organ built could not be told. I have two special memories of the organ as an alum—the silhouette of Owen against the rose window as he enthusiastically climbed backward to pump the organ and the Gustav Leonhardt recital on it. When Harvard celebrated its 300th anniversary, their music department chose to celebrate the occasion with a Leonhardt concert. He asked if he could also play the Wellesley organ, and that was the concert I attended. Dorothy Stock Freeman ’50 Stone Mountain, Ga.

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Honor with

Books A GIFT THAT CAN BE OPENED AGAIN AND AGAIN ~ Honor a Graduate ~ Celebrate a Birthday or Anniversary ~ Recognize a Special Occasion ~ Remember a Classmate For each $100 gift to Honor with Books, the Library will place a bookplate bearing the name of the person you are honoring, as well as your name, in a newly published book.

To request information regarding Friends of Wellesley College Library Call 781-283-2872 or visit www.wellesley.edu/Library/Friends


It is lovely to see the word “lay” used correctly on page 36 of the spring ’11 issue, but what happened in the last sentence on page 80? Please do not abandon the use of the intransitive verb “lie.” Louisa Turner ’62 New York

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n addition to having been a math professor at Wellesley, I occasionally worked with the Planned Giving Office. Having learned of many ways over the years to make a gift to the College while providing income to a donor or beneficiary, it occurred to me that I could make Wellesley a beneficiary of a portion of my retirement funds, with the understanding that these funds would be used to provide a Charitable Gift Annuity for my wife, should she survive me. This turned out to be a simple plan to put in place and will guarantee Karen a life income, with Wellesley receiving the remainder value at her death. Though this was an unusual plan, help from the Planned Giving Office made this seem easy. All I had to do was adjust the beneficiary form for my retirement account, and they handled the rest. Howard Wilcox

Karen and Howard Wilcox, of South Natick, Mass., are now both retired from Wellesley College: Howard, after 37 years as a mathematics professor, and Karen, after 13 years as associate director of financial aid. The couple met while singing with the Boston Symphony’s Tanglewood Festival Chorus. They now enjoy travel, tennis, and singing with various choral groups.

For a financial proposal tailored to your circumstances, please contact Patricia Galindo, Director, Office of Planned Giving, 800.253.8916.

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There is strength in numbers: last year, more than 14,000 alumnae made a gift ranging from $10 to $250,000. This annual investment allows Wellesley to offer the very finest liberal arts education. The number of alumnae who give is also a key factor in determining

a school’s ranking in publications such as U.S. News & World Report because it is seen as a measure of alumnae satisfaction. So let’s go for 50 percent participation this year—that would be 15,647 gifts… and that would make a big difference indeed.

HAVE YOU MADE YOUR GIFT THIS YEAR? Give today at www.wellesley.edu/give

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Walking Tributaries By Sejal Shah ’94


OWA RETURNS TO ME. I remember the view from the top of the hill where I lived. This was the Christiansons’ home, the buttercream colored house at 110 Pleasant Hill Road—a house with a Norwegian name—Soli Høgda or “Sunny Heights.” I can feel the sun heating up the small, square living room, warming my face and legs. Most days, I sat gazing from this perch at the First Lutheran Church steeple, the dark red brick of the old middle school, and the miniature downtown. I drank my coffee or $8 red wine and looked toward the center of town, which once held views of water before the Upper Iowa River was rerouted to control flooding. The sky gathered streaks of pink and purple, deepened, and streetlights emerged on the downtown main street, Water Street. I stayed for nine months: enough time to gestate a living being or spend an academic year as Writer-in-Residence, renting the house of another college professor. Three years later, I return to this same small town, Decorah, for three weeks in the summer. I am without a car this time and rent a bike in order to get from campus to town to the house where I’m staying. Ben at Decorah Bicycles, next to The Whippy Dip, the local soft-serve icecream place, takes a brown Trek bike down from the racks. He’s handsome in a blond, Midwestern, athletic way; were I 10 years younger, I’d allow myself a 10-minute crush. Outside, he shows me the gears. “Remember, to change the gears, you have to be pedaling,” Ben says. When have I ever felt this old? He leaves me to push up onto the bike, circle the parking lot like a 7-year-old, find my balance. I concentrate on making circles and loops in the parking lot, remembering the freedom I felt when I first learned, late at 10 years old, to ride a bike. In Iowa, I felt free, felt the flat edges of the world curl up against my fingers, pressed myself into the earth and felt, for a moment, held. Far from the ballast of family and familiar places, far from everywhere I had lived previously, I felt weightless, unanchored by the past. First it

Sejal Shah ’94 writes short fiction and creative nonfiction essays. You can find her recent work online at The Kenyon Review; email her at fictionalsejal@gmail.com.

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was startling, disconcerting. I found my footing as I found the familiar in the unfamiliar. My last time in Decorah, I worked with a community-based collaborative dance company. Leigh, fierce, athletic, and entirely unsentimental, took the time to memorize one of my poems. She read it with such feeling and intensity we were both brought to tears. She walked across the stage, moved through the words and the story they told about driving along the Mississippi. The words became current—a current— connecting me to someone I barely knew. She inhabited my words and I believed them again; I believed in words and movement and how they can, briefly, elevate a moment from the past and deliver it to us again. Water is what I will remember about New York City, too—the East River—its sometimes pungent brackish ocean smell, the swirls and eddies, looking across to the lighthouse on the northern tip of Roosevelt Island—a few blocks away from where I live. When I am away from any place I have ever loved, it is the view of water that brings me back. I feel the desire to return to Iowa every summer. What I know how to do, what I love to do is to rubberband back, is to walk through a landscape with the layers of every other time I’ve been there underneath and around me shifting as I walk. I am five years ago and now with every step. I am 10, balancing on two wheels, pedaling forward and then pedaling back to brake and then gliding before I realize I can ride—that I have been riding for two minutes when two minutes before I did not know how. It has been more than 20 years since I first saw Lake Waban. Still, I remember running around the lake with the rest of the Bates Hall residence staff, jumping in, our shrieks at the cold water, our walk uphill in the late summer air to one of the dining halls. These simple pleasures of water and of view, whether in Iowa or Massachusetts; the cerulean sky, pinpricked with stars; walking back from Clapp and trudging up another hill; riding my red mountain bike to dance class at the sports center. It was night, I was heading home in the inky darkness, knowing I was blessed to be there, eyes bleary from hours spent in the Mac Lab and muscles sore from moving in dance class. I am here, through these words, seeing that sky and the water; seeing that walk or glide homeward, once more.


“We are walking tributaries. The smell we sense in rain, in an ocean, or on the banks of a midwestern river attracts us because its familiarity runs deep.” —David Faldet, in Oneota Flow: The Upper Iowa River and Its People



Wellesley’s rock climbers have to cultivate, speed may have been the most critical in the past—because last time the course was offered, all 28 spots in the class, which was formerly held at Dana Hall School, were claimed within 14 seconds after registration opened. No longer. The field house is now home to Wellesley’s own climbing wall, 26 feet high and 24 feet across, with six different routes and 20 to 40 holds per route. The wall was custom designed by High Five Adventures in Brattleboro, Vt., and inspired by Trango Towers in Pakistan. It features elements intended to appeal to both the novice climber and those aiming for Everest. Britt Salapek, an assistant professor and director of recreation, intramurals, and club sports, says that in addition to the climbing class, the wall will open for recreational use by the spring semester. Students will undergo a certification process and ultimately oversee its use. Photo by Richard Howard




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