summer 2011 |
REUNION ALBUM | COMMENCEMENT 2011 | ONLY TO BE THERE | EYES ON THE UPRISINGS
Students cheer on their professors as they make their way through the Jewett archway up to the Academic Quad, where the 133rd annual commencement was held.
PATRICK BAZ/AFP/GETTY IMAGES
CHRISTOPHER SILAS NEAL
Features 22 . . . AND THE LIVING IS EASY Are you relaxationally challenged? Alumnae from the classes of 1949 to 2005 off ffer their suggestions for
From the Editor
Letters to the Editor
From the President
Window on Wellesley by Alice Hummer, Lisa Scanlon ’99, Jennifer Flint, Jennifer Garrett ’98, Amy Mayer ’94, Laura Rubenstein ’09, and Sidrah Baloch ’14
reading, watching, and not doing much of anything this summer.
28 EYES ON THE UPRISINGS By Anisa Mehdi ’78
Faculty, students, and staff ff with ties to the Middle East refl flect on the revolutions and protests this spring and what they might mean for the future.
WCAA—Your Alumnae Association
Endnote—Only to Be Th There by Monica Byrne ’03
By Anna Sherman ’92 As the disasters unfolded in Japan in March, Anna Sherman and her family struggled with the decision to leave their adopted home. Here, Sherman chronicles several tumultuous days in Tokyo.
42 REUNION ALBUM
Cover illustration by Christopher Silas Neal Commencement procession 2011, opposite, by Richard Howard
Editor Alice M. Hummer Associate Editor Lisa Scanlon ’99 Student Assistant Sidrah Baloch ’14
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 781-283-2342. 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!
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From the Editor
EXUBERANCE OF THE ANNUAL ALUMNAE PARADE always marks the beginning of summer for . By Sunday morning of reunion—when the parade whites, crazy hats, and feather boas come t—our biggest event of the year is drawing to a close, and the slower months of summer are peekover the horizon. But more importantly, the parade brings the feell of summer, with cheering, licking music, and wide grins on faces. This year was no exception. I was taking pictures by the Lulu when the class of ’46 rounded the corner. The brass band was belting out a ragtime tune, and the ’46ers were jiving along in blue beanies and scarves. One particular alum caught my eye: She was really strutting her stuff ff, kicking and twirling and having the best time. But her sandal had come undone, and she was in danger of tripping on dangling leather. Cautious me, I suggested that she might want to stop and buckle up. Her response, yelled over the music, made me smile: “I danced right out of my shoes!”” And off ff she went, bouncing down the road. I had to ask myself: When was the last time I danced right out of my shoes? When do any of us? Do we leave enough time for fun, and when we unplug, do we really unplug? I’ll freely admit that when I took a day off ff recently, I checked my work e-mail from the beach in Maine. I still have sand in my iPhone case to prove it. The relaxationally challenged among us may need a little encouragement now and then. And even those of you who have the vacation thing nailed may be looking for some books to lose yourselves in as you swing in the hammock. So we asked a group of alumnae—writers, teachers, businesswomen, professors, and others—to send us their best suggestions for what to read, what to watch, and how to dial down this summer (“. . . And the Living Is Easy,” page 22). The answers we got back were as varied as the group itself: novels, cookbooks, classics like The Great Gatsby and Casablanca, more recent favorites like Buff ffy the Vampire Slayer. What I like most about this article is the women behind it. Like the dancing ’46er, they have a great sense of fun. Who doesn’t want to be a “proud stick farmer” like Alice Kunce ’05 or become a practitioner of “the old bubble-bath technique” as advocated by Jana Riess ’91? But my favorite advice for relaxing comes from Nancy Wanderer ’69, who suggests climbing small mountains with views of the sea. (Can you tell she’s from Maine?) At the summit, she enjoys lying “back on the ground, facing the sun, and soaking up all the beauty in life.” Mmmmm, sounds good. By the time you read this, I plan to be watching the waves roll onto a Maine beach and dining on lobster. The pointy instruments of torture otherwise known as my white parade shoes will have long since been consigned to the back of the closet. I can’t say that I danced out of them—rather flung them off ff—but I was happy to switch into comfy sandals. At some point, even the sandals will come off, ff and I’ll burrow my toes into the warm sand, adjust the shades, and lean back to start a good book. Th That’s my idea of summer. A-yuh. Alice M. Hummer, Editor
Design Friskey Design, Sherborn, Mass.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Wellesley welcomes short letters (a maximum length of 300 words) relating to articles or items that have appeared in recent issues of the magazine. Send your remarks to the Editor, Wellesley magazine, 106 Central St., Wellesley, MA 02481-8203, or e-mail comments to email@example.com.
What a thrill it was to read “A Passion for Dance” in the spring ’11 issue. An avid ballet dancer in high school, I rediscovered dance— ballroom and Latin—about 13 years ago and now recognize it as the metaphor for life. How wonderful that it’s an activity available to Wellesley students. Here’s what dance will teach you, my young Wellesley sisters, if it hasn’t already: •
Your strengths and weaknesses on the dance floor are also your strengths and weaknesses as a human being. (Have a tendency to lead when it’s someone else’s turn? Need to work on that.)
Strengthening connection with your dance partner—and with other signifi ficant people in your life—is a worthwhile investment of your time and energy.
It’s important to be kind to the person you’re dancing with, no matter how much you enjoy his company or skill level; dancing affords ff as much opportunity to practice social graces as it does to master patterns and technique. Dance will get you through life’s rough spots, whether a challenging semester or a grueling divorce.
THE DANCE OF LIFE
All the world’s a stage, and the competition floor is where you pull it all together to showcase your hours of preparation and attention to how you present yourself. (Sorry, there are times when appearance counts. It just does.)
You know that place where your mind goes to when you dance? Th That place where you can’t think about the past or future because you have to live in the moment, in the beat of music? You need your mind to go there; take it there as often as possible. Take lessons from the best teachers you can aff fford, much as you’ve sought the best college education available. Kiki Knapp Michelli ’84 Alexandria, Va. ON STAY-AT-HOME MOMS
I applaud Sarah Milledge Nelson’s (’53) receipt of the Alumnae Achievement Award (“Bringing Gender to Archaeology,” spring ’11). She is clearly an admirable woman who has made valuable contributions to the world and to her own family. However, the comment from her Wellesley mentor that she was
“wasting [her] talents” on her three young children reminds me again that, at Wellesley, the one life choice it’s fine to denigrate is full-time mothering. I understand that this comment was included within the context of Ms. Nelson’s life story, but it echoes attitudes I have long found troubling at Wellesley. Th The idea that we waste our talents (and by insinuation our education) by committing to be full-time moms is as insulting as any other limiting judgment imposed by society on an individual. Who is to say what is valuable intellectual endeavor and what is a waste of talent? I firmly believe that “a hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove. But the world may be diff fferent because I was important in the life of a child” (Forest Witcraft). As a homeschooling mom of three, I long for the day I can peruse my Wellesley magazine in full confidence fi that my choices too are supported and respected by my Wellesley sisters. However, as long as this disdainful attitude goes unchallenged, that day will never come. I guess it’s a good thing I’ve learned to think for myself! Heather Farrell Bernard ’87 Staunton, Va. GAINING PERSPECTIVE
I was interested in the article in the winter ’11 issue, “When Life Doesn’t Measure Up,” by Karen Grigsby Bates ’73. I’d like to suggest that we develop a more nuanced perspective on both success and failure. Success is a relative term, not only
CONTRIBUTORS Anna Sherman ’92 (“Leaving,” p. 36) is a former editor and journalist for Financial Times Energy. A resident of Tokyo, she experienced the rippling earth during the recent quake.
For two decades, Anisa Mehdi ’78 (“Eye on the Uprisings,” p. 28) has reported, written, directed, and produced television news and documentary programs for media outlets such as National Geographic, PBS, ABC News, and CBS. Her work includes Muslims for Frontline and Inside Mecca for National Geographic.
Wellesley magazine is available online at www.wellesley.edu/magazine. Follow Wellesley on Twitter: @Wellesleymag.
an impressive letterhead, or an article on page 1 of the New York Times. I expect that even the Hillarys and Madeleines of the world have had moments when success felt hollow and meaningless; yet the woman in the article whose life spells a kind of success that many of us can only hope for, but who feels diminished whenever she reads the magazine, is diminishing not only herself, but the concept of true success. And failure is not simply the opposite of success. I would rather talk of struggles, challenges, and the hundred ways we find to meet them, that failure may be only a marker on the way to success. It may be true that young graduates feel the push to emulate the best, and (falsely) consider it a failure to come up short of the marker. But I hope and believe that as we age and absorb the many accrued life lessons that we also develop ways to view the variety of our lives in true perspective. Harriet Wald Schley ’47 Chestnut Hill, Mass. REACHING FOR SATISFACTION
The winter ’11 cover story “When Life Doesn’t Measure Up” couldn’t have arrived at a better time. Four years after graduating from Wellesley, I am a newly minted M.D. and feel like a failure. In medical school, I’ve failed to maintain any steady romantic relationship, other than a misbegotten series of “friends with benefits.” fi Worse, I’ve failed to obtain a desired “match” for residency—landing on the 7th choice on my rank list. Facing another four years of snowy purgatory in the Midwest, I wonder why I’ve merely managed to survive after Wellesley, much less thrive and grow into the successful young professional I had envisioned. Were my expectations unreasonable, or was I too limited to achieve them? Belonging to a community of such strong women is inspiring, but membership in this club encourages a hefty dose of self-pity and punishment, as well. (Continued on page 80)
From the President
I had the pleasure of attending a diaunderstanding of the world to share with their peers. Faculty and students logue between former US Secretary of State Madeleine Korbel alike tell me that classes with students who have recently returned from study Albright ’59 and Nicholas Burns, former undersecretary of state, on abroad are enlivened and enriched in very evident ways. In 2009–10, 51 percent of the junior class studied abroad, one of the largest the topic of “Revolt and Repression in the Middle East.” Wellesley political-science professor Roxanne Euben, an expert on Middle class percentages ever to study overseas. Even more interesting, among students Eastern and North African politics, moderated. In the questionwho do study abroad, there is a growing percentage who travel to unconvenand-answer period that followed, I listened as Wellesley students tional locations—i.e., fewer juniors that year traveled to western Europe. from China, Tunisia, and Ghana, as well as a student who had just returned There is no doubt in my mind that increased internationalization is from a semester in Egypt, spoke at the good for Wellesley. It is good for the microphone. At that moment, I was student experience, and it is good struck by two things: Not only do our for our campus culture. Our intelstudents consistently ask well-informed lectual community—any intellectual and highly thoughtful questions (no community—requires a diversity of surprise there!), but our students are also perspectives, viewpoints, and people. amazingly international in outlook, as As Alexa Barnes ’12 recently put it, “It’s important to see the world if you’re well as in composition. Our international student popugoing to make a difference ff in the world.” lation at Wellesley is certainly nothing The College’s board of trustees has new, nor is our successful study-abroad flagged this theme as a signifi ficant topic program, nor our global perspective. But to discuss. In April, they began the fi first it has become increasingly important for of many conversations about the imporstudents to have international experitance of internationalization at Wellesley. With so much internationalism ences and to acquire the ability to work, communicate, and solve problems with already happening on campus, where those around the globe. Every day, our can we go from here? Where should we go from here? Wellesley is currently in world becomes smaller and more interconnected than we of earlier generations ever could have the planning stages of two distinct initiatives that could ‘It has become increasingly imagined. As former UN Secretary General Kofi fi Annan benefi fit both students and women leaders in the world. important for students said, arguing against globalization is like arguing against The first involves using the impetus and energy to have international the laws of gravity. (It is a statement he made 11 years ago, generated on campus by the successful Madeleine Korbel experiences and to acquire q yet it is even more apt today.) Albright Institute for Global Affairs ff to focus on a plan the ability to work, What does an increased international focus at for how the College, and students and alumnae, could communicate, and solve Wellesley mean in the 21st century? It means that our benefi fit from bringing Wellesley to a larger audience vibrant campus culture is enriched by students with a around the world. We envision creating partnerships in problems with those around diversity of backgrounds, perspectives, cultures, and key cities to host events that would include alumnae and the globe. Every day, our would be organized around faculty interests. beliefs. Th These students come from China, Tunisia, and world becomes smaller and Ghana—like those who spoke up at the panel discusThe second is a burgeoning partnership between more interconnected than sion—but also from 68 other countries. In fact, over the US State Department, Wellesley, and four other we of earlier generations 20 percent of Wellesley students were born outside women’s colleges (Barnard, Bryn Mawr, Mount ever could have imagined.’ the United States. An additional number of students Holyoke, and Smith) to build and nurture a generation arrive at Wellesley with remarkable international expeof women leaders in public service. A fall colloquium is —President H. Kim Bottomly riences, including those who grew up moving from being planned to kick off ff this exciting partnership. country to country, or US expatriates who have never lived in this country. I’m proud that Wellesley—long a leader in this area—is a part of this At Wellesley, the otherwise simple question, “Where are you from?” has an eff ffort. I think Secretary Albright summed it up well when, before a cheering unusual variety of complex answers. audience during the panel discussion in April, she remarked, “Just remember: Two-thirds of the women secretaries of state graduated from Wellesley.” In addition, there are those many students who spend part of their junior years abroad, and then return to Wellesley with a new perspective and a deeper H. Kim Bottomly
N APRIL HERE AT WELLESLEY,
WELLESLEY A NOTEBOOK OF NEWS AND INFORMATION ABOUT THE CAMPUS BY ALICE HUMMER, LISA SCANLON ’99, JENNIFER FLINT, JENNIFER GARRETT ’98, AMY MAYER ’94, LAURA RUBENSTEIN ’09, AND SIDRAH BALOCH ’14
Won for The Team CALL IT THE ULTIMATE Hooprolling experience.
When Laura Stevens ’11 sprinted across the ﬁnish line in ﬁrst place on a late April morning, it was not just a triumph for her, but for all her pals on the Ultimate Frisbee team. Stevens, co-captain of Wellesley Whiptails, had a prime starting position, thanks to her team little sister and other players who arrived early to stake out the best real estate. “My strategy was to get out in front of the crowd and hope that my hoop didn’t wobble over!” says Stevens, a geosciences major. For most of the race, she trailed two leaders by about 20 feet. But when they bumped into each other at a bend in the road, Stevens saw her opportunity and went for it. Her wobbly hoop cooperated. After she claimed the winner’s bouquet, her teammates hoisted her onto their shoulders and gleefully marched her to Lake Waban. There, she received the ultimate sign of friend-
rig ig ght, Davis Davis Sc Scho olar ol ar Es Est sttel stell elll e Olson O ’11 inttrod roduce u s her rab bbit bit, Lucy ucy,, to Preside res eside id ntt Bo B tomly. Lucyy wore her Bot own wn n ’1 11 1 yell ellow ow w beanie be bea eanie to Ho Hoo op opr op prroll o ing ol ng g.
ship: being catapulted backward into the drink. JUSTIN KNIGHT
IT’S A BIT OF AN UNDERSTATEMENT to
say that Ganesan “Ravi” Ravishanker, Wellesley’s new chief information offi fficer, is well connected. A typical spring morning found him tweeting, updating his Facebook posts, and writing a blog entry—all from home, before the workday began. He also regularly uses social-networking tools like LinkedIn, foursquare . . . “everything,” he says. Why? “Because I need to be, because a part of the job is to understand the various demographics that we support,” he says. But clearly, that’s not the only reason. Ravi has a real passion for the place where technology and academia meet. These days, that’s far more than making sure the network is up and running. Ravi, who leads Library and Technology Services—the Colleege’s merged library/ information-technology departm ment—says that his team’s role is to support “the corre academic mission of the College. . . . That means engaaging with the faculty and students [to find] ways to takke advantage of technologies that support teaching, learn ning, and research.” He hit the ground To read Ravi’s blog, go to ru unning. Soon after blogs.wellesley.edu/ravisblog. Raavi began his job in Follow him on Twitter at November 2010, he twitter.com/#!/ravishan. ch hallenged his staff ff to come up with a list of 12 projectss that could be finished fi by Jan. 31. The list grew to 20, an nd Ravi is proud of what they’ve accomplished alread dy. To name just a few: Th They purchased 15 iPaads that members of the Wellesley community can borrow from the library; incrreased the capacity of the internet conn nection to 1 gigabit per second, about six times faster than it was previ-ously; and launched applicationss for smartphones, including one calleed “Where’s the Bus?” that tracks the location of shuttle buses to Cambridge and Boston via GPS.. But perhaps the most highprofi file change on campus is the coming move to gmail. (Don’t worry; our addresses will still end in wellesley.edu.) When Ravvi arrived, the College was in the prrocess of choosing a new e-mail system. He encouraged the Advisory Com mmittee
‘It’s a big challenge to get what you want to say in 140 characters. It’s a huge challenge. And I’ve gotten good at it.’ —Ravi, @ravishan, about Twitter
GANESAN “RAVI” RAVISHANKER, Chief Information Ofﬁcer
WINDOW ON WELLESLEY
THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY ACCORDING TO WILLIAM “FLICK” COLEMAN, PROFESSOR OF CHEMISTRY
I BEGAN TO BECOME SEMI-SERIOUS ABOUT
the initial appearance
photography in the fall of 2009, when I pur-
of a photograph if you
chased a Canon EOS XSi camera. Since that
become familiar with the
time, I have taken more than 20,000 photo-
various shooting modes
graphs. My subjects range from wildlife and
and controls offered by
landscape to architecture and outdoor art to
your camera. Perhaps
the drops of water from melting icicles. I have
the most important
found this to be a wonderful hobby, combining
controls to master are:
my interests in art and computers. Here are a
the aperture, which con-
few things I’ve learned:
trols the light-gathering
1. Read the manual. All camera manuals
well as the depth of ﬁeld
power of your lens, as contain important and basic information con-
in your photos; the shut-
cerning how to get the best possible images
ter speed; the exposure
from that particular camera. In addition, there
value, which controls
is a vast array of online sources of informa-
how bright the overall
tion about photography in general, and about
image is; the ISO value,
series of ﬁeld guides for various cameras that
This was taken on Sanibel Island in Florida. I post-processed it to bring out a measure of how sensi- the details of the feathers. tive the sensor is; the
I have found useful.
focusing mode; and the white balance.
speciﬁc camera models. Wiley publishes a
4. Don’t forget black and white. After more than 180 years of photography, black-and-
2. Learn about the controls. While you can
3. Learn to use some post-processing soft-
white images remain powerful. Although
achieve very nice results with the automatic
ware. It is my experience that all images, no
many digital cameras allow you to shoot in
mode, you will have much more control over
matter the level of expertise of the photographer,
black and white, I prefer to do the conversion
can beneﬁt from some post-processing. Most
from color in the post-processing stage. This
cameras come with some post-processing
allows you more control over the range of
software that is capable of performing simple
shades in your black-and-white image.
tasks such as resizing the image, changing light levels and color balance, erasing
5. Experiment and play. The fact that you
unwanted features (I almost always remove
can take hundreds of photographs of the
overhead power lines from photos), removing
same subject with different settings very
red-eye, and various other chores.
quickly, and at no additional expense, frees
Using Photoshop, or other advanced
you to try many things that you might not
image-handling software, will allow you to
have been willing to try using a traditional
have much greater control. Although Photoshop
ﬁlm camera. You may end up developing
is fairly expensive, there are less costly options
a distinctive style of your own, or, as in my
available (including some very nice free tools).
case, you may wish each image to carry a
The capabilities of Photoshop, and many
different style. What ultimately matters is that
similar programs, can be expanded by the use
you enjoy the process, whether or not anyone
of plug-ins. I use a set of plug-ins from Topaz
else ever sees your work.
Laboratories that gives me complete control over an almost unlimited range of effects that can be applied to my images. Do I want my photo to look more painterly? Do I want to This was taken outside of my ofﬁce in Sage Hall, then
emphasize details, or soften them? The list of
post-processed to add a touch of “painterly” look.
possibilities is endless.
Flick Coleman has a small set of photo galleries at www.ﬂicksstuff.com/photos/ pictures.html. He is always happy to answer questions or offer advice at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SENSE AND SENSIBILITY SINGS “If I could, I would bid you speak your mind, say there’’s very little time, if we want to make this real,” sings Elinor Dash hwood, played by Kirsten Scott ’11, to the tongue-tied object of her affection in Sense & Sensibility: The Musical, which had its ﬁrst full-scale production at Wellesley this spring. The lovelorn characters may not have been able to speak their tho oughts, but luckily for the audience, they were able to sing them—very well, and often with terriﬁc comic timing. The musical, by composer/lyricist Neal Ham m pton (conductor of the Wellesley-Brandeis Orchestra) and writer Jeffrey Haddow, was directed by Nora Hussey of th heatrestudies. An interdisciplinary collaboration, this production represented the ﬁrst time the music, theatre, and English departments had joined forces. The performance was also packed with Wellesley talent. In addition to Scott as the reserved, sensible Elinor, Joy Para adissis Playter, dean of the class of 2012, did a scene-stealing turn n as the formidable, cane-brandishing Mrs. Ferrars, and Marion Dry, the director of Wellesley’s music performance program, deliverred big laughs as the gossipy Mrs. Jennings. As the musical reac ches its happy conclusion, Mrs. Jennings congratulates herself by singing, “This really is the most excellent news, most welcome and won-
MATHEMATICS, HUNGARIAN STYLE
derful news; what a marvelous, glorious, fabulous day; I knew from the start it would end up this way, but it wouldn’t have happened if
STUDENT: Cornelia Mihaila ’12
that are more intense. For instance, in
I hadn’t acted as muse!” That’s not entirely true, of course, but the
MAJORS: Math and biology
my functional analysis class, my grade
musical itself was, indeed, most welcome and wonderful.
HOMETOWN: Sante Fe, N.M., and
is entirely based on my ﬁnal, which is
beyond intimidating. However, this class
STUDYING IN: Budapest, Hungary
is also one of my favorites, because
the material is very interesting, and the WHY DID YOU CHOOSE HUNGARY?
teacher is both brilliant and a little crazy.
Hungary has an amazing history in studying math, especially discrete
WHAT’S THE MOST SURPRISING
math. The Rubik’s cube was invented
THING ABOUT HUNGARY?
´ a famous in Hungary, and Paul Erdós,
The number of dogs in the city,
mathematician, is known for having
especially since most of them seem to
published more papers than any
be purebred. In Romania, which I visit
other mathematician. The program,
often, I usually only see mutts, and
Budapest Semesters in Math, is really
generally only in the country, but here
well respected by the professors in the
there are dogs everywhere!
math department. STUDYING ABROAD IN HUNGARY?
MATH PROGRAM IS . . .
Budapest is amazing. It has the Danube,
Intense. I have classes that run fairly
which is gorgeous, and a labyrinth of
similarly to my Wellesley math classes,
caves under Castle Hill. And of course,
although with a minimalistic respect for
it also has a very fun nightlife.
ofﬁce hours, and I also have classes
Joseph Marrella as Edward Ferrars, Kirsten Scott ’11 as Elinor Dashwood, Erica Spyres as Marianne Dashwood, and Eric Hamel as Colonel Brandon
DAVID BROOKS ANDREWS
WHY WOULD YOU RECOMMEND THE BUDAPEST SEMESTERS IN
LISA SCANLON ’99
SOMETIMES WHAT WELLESLEY REALLY NEEDS is a crazy dance
party. And on May 6, the last day of classes, Brooklyn, N.Y.-based Matt & Kim delivered. The synthesizer-and-drum-playing duo had the large crowd on Munger Meadow jumping, dancing, blowing up balloons, and, at one point, carrying drummer Kim through the audience. “I loved their energy and how personable they were—they hugged the crowd after the show!” says Ashley Lee ’11, a member of Schneider Board of Governors, which sponsored the concert. “Having the audience blow up balloons was genius. As they ﬂoated around in —LS
OBJECT OF OUR ATTENTION
SHOWING HER MEDAL AS BLING GOES, the Presidential Medal of Freedom
is pretty epic. But don’t take our word for it: The gold star bestowed upon Marjory Stoneman Douglas 1912 in 1993 by President Bill Clinton is receiving visitors in the display case outside College Archives until the end of the year. The award is the country’s highest civilian honor, designed to recognize those who have made “an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural, or other signiﬁcant ﬁ public or private For more about Douglas and her life of activism, visit scholar.library.miami.edu/ msdouglas.
endeavors.” In selecting Douglas as a recipient, Clinton praised her “leg-
LISA SCANLON ’99
the crowd, I wondered if we were actually at Wellesley or at a major music festival.”
activism on behalf of the Florida Everglades, a cause to which she dedicated many of her 108 spirited years. Her book, The Everglades: River of Grass, is widely credited with changing the popular
TWENTY-ONE MINUTES: That’s all the breathing room the
Shakespeare Society had at the end of their 24-hour Shakespeare-reading marathon. (They
perception of this unique ecosystem. The medal
squeaked in at 23 hours, 39 minutes.) From noon on Friday, April 1, to just before noon the
was given to the College after the 1998 death of the
next day, students read aloud all of the Bard’s 154 sonnets and 38 plays. The volumes, bor-
“Empress of the Everglades.”
rowed from the library in mountainous stacks, were organized into ﬁve categories: histories, —JF
tragedies, romances, problem plays, and comedies. In 2004, Wellesley was the ﬁrst to attempt such a feat, which has since been replicated by theater groups across the country.
Barbara Peterson Ruhlman ’54, whose gift endowed the conference, and President H. Kim Bottomly
THE RUHLMAN CONFERENCE
Ruhlman 2011: Celebrating 15 Years WILL ANYONE COME?
That was the concern of the program committee that organized the first Ruhlman Conference in 1997. That question is very far from anyone’s mind these days. The annual celebration of student achievement, modeled after academic conferences, attracts 250–300 student presenters each year, and students, faculty, staff ff, and alumnae come out in force to learn about everything from NGOs in China to the way humans see color. Why has it been such a success? “A student on the first program committee . . . suggested that ‘Wellesley was a very academic place, but it wasn’t as intellectual as it might be,’” recalls Lee Cuba, the William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor of Sociology and one of the organizers of the fi first conference. “By that I believe she meant that Wellesley students set high academic standards for themselves and their peers, that they worked hard to achieve those standards—but that they spend more time talking about how hard they work than about what they are working on.” Th The Ruhlman Conference is a solution to that problem, an “opportunity to applaud and celebrate the knowledge, understanding, and joy that come through serious intellectual engagement,” Cuba says. Here is a sampling of the student presentations from the 15th Ruhlman Conference. PHOTOS BY JUSTIN KNIGHT
TWITTER AS AN ELECTION PREDICTOR?
THE SOCIAL-MEDIA TOOL
Twitter is proving itself useful on a global scale—from transmitting information about the mundane to aiding the overthrow of a political regime. So could it be used to predict an election’s outcome, better and faster than traditional methods? That’s the question Jessica Chung ’11, a computerscience and econ major, set out to determine. Examining the tweets from the 2010 Massachusetts special election to fill the late Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat, Chung used “sentiment analysis” tools to try to assess whether any particular tweet had a positive or negative bias toward a candidate, even adjusting for sarcasm and humor. Currently available tools may not be sophisticated enough just yet, but Chung continues to experiment with other algorithms to improve the results. —JF
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RADICALS IN RETIREMENT
SARAH PARMELEE ’11
spent her Wintersession conducting ethnographic fieldwork at Alapine, one of the largest remaining communities of lesbian separatists—a group of radicals that came together in the early 1970s—to see how or if their political underpinnings have evolved. Through interviews and observation, Parmelee came to realize that the members of this community in northeast Alabama had many philosophical disagreements, down to the very definition of “separatism” in today’s world. What the community does share, on the other hand, is a belief in the continuing value of a women-only space, particularly as an alternative to more mainstream retirement communities. —JF
CHOCOLATE THROUGH HISTORY
MADELINE WEEKS ’11, a self-described “chocoholic,” wrote her thesis on the shifting role of chocolate in Mexican society and religion. The Olmec people, she explained at Ruhlman, were the first to use cacao in recorded history. Over the centuries, the drink called xocoatl (literally “bitter water”—made of ground cacao beans boiled in water) became central to Mesoamerican life. Cacao was considered “a food of the gods,” and the Mayans believed it grew in both heaven and on earth. When the Spanish arrived, the cacao tree even began appearing in Catholic depictions of heaven in local monasteries. The Spanish took cacao back to Europe, launching the world’s love affair with chocolate. Today, hot chocolate is served in Mexico and the US with foam or whipped cream on top, harking back to an ancient Mesoamerican belief that foam on a cacao beverage brought the drinker metaphorically closer to heaven.
Why don’t we harness all this free data we have out there from all these Twitter users, who are just tweeting of their own free will . . . about everything, including politics?
Jessica Chung ’11 in her Ruhlman presentation
Greater Than The Sum of The Pieces Stressed World El Anatsui 2011 Aluminum and copper wire
THE MARCH OPENING of When I Last Wrote to You About Africa, the retrospective of Ghanaian artist El Anatsui’s work on view through June at the Davis, also marked the debut of Anatsui’s Stressed Worldd (2011). A large, sculptural wall hanging constructed of bottle tops and copper wire, Stressed World is emblematic of the artist’s current material practices and larger thematic interests. While Anatsui has worked in a variety of media throughout his career, ranging from stone and wood carvings to works on paper, he has focused primarily on the bottle-top sculptures for the last decade. Much of Anatsui’s work deals with the themes of migration, movement, and narrative. His sculptures avoid overt didacticism and instead aim to engage the viewer in a dialogue. With Stressed World, Anatsui inaugurates this conversation by physically moving the viewer through the gallery space: multiple points of view are necessary to fully experience the work. From afar, one grasps the maplike whole of To view curators installStressed World, but loses a sense of the ing the El Anatsui exhibit at the Davis, visit http://www.vimeo. parts that compose it. Up close, the com/21652831. constituent elements reveal themselves. Ideas that are seemingly opposite—order and chaos, flux and stasis, lightness and density—all coexist within Anatsui’s work. In Stressed World, Anatsui maps a topography that is both abstract and real. The work not only encourages viewers to reframe
COURTESY THE DAVIS MUSEUM
Approximately 14 ft. by 19 ft. 5 in.
the way in which they are looking at the world, but also to think about the interstices and undefi fined spaces laid bare upon the map, about a collective of parts that coalesces into something greater than simply the sum of its individual pieces. —LR
When I Last Wrote to You About Africa closed on June 26, but it will travel to Raleigh, N.C., Denver, and Ann Arbor, Mich., in 2012 and 2013.
when you go out into that wide, wide world, I want you to ask for what you want. Very few things will be handed to you. You ask for that internship, you ask for that job, and I’m not saying that you have to do this but . . . I asked my husband to marry me. He got back to me in two weeks with a list of pros and cons. —Jane Condon ’73
C O M M E N C E M E N T 2011 Photos by Richard Howard IT WAS ONE of
those gray, overcast early mornings that made any number of people look at the sky and wonder whether the 4,670 chairs in the Academic Quad were soon going to get rained on. But the sun broke out on the golden class of 2011 as they gathered for pictures on Severance Hill and then marched into the Quad accompanied by brass and timpani. Laughter was the order of the day as comedian Jane Condon ’73 and Claire Ayoub ’11, a member of Wellesley’s Dead Serious improv comedy troupe, addressed the graduates. In all, Missed commencement? 577 seniors crossed the stage, received Watch the three-minute, their diplomas, and launched into time-lapse version at tinyurl.com/3h3ct77. the “wide, wide world.” summer 2011
JANE CONDON ’73 Excerpt From the Commencement Address I KNOW COMMENCEMENT SPEAKERS are expected to inspire. I’ll tell you the truth. Honestly? I got nothin’. But I’m Wellesley. So if I don’t have the answer, I know where to fi find it! I didn’t go to the library. I didn’t go to the internet. I went straight to my refrigerator door, where, in among all the magnets and the family photos, I found a few inspirational quotes. The first is from Ralph Waldo Emerson. His defi finition of success: “To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the aff ffection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to fi find the best in others [my dad always said even the bus driver has something to teach you]; to leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. Th This is to have succeeded.” President Calvin Coolidge said perseverance is key. He said, “Press on. Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.” And having lived in Japan for fi five years, I want to share my favorite Japanese proverb with you: Nanakorobi yaoki. Be a seven-times fall-down, eight-times get-up kind of person. Nanakorobi yaoki. That’s what I want for you. The only time you fail is when you quit.
Comedian Jane Condon ’73 won the Ladies of Laughter competition in 2004 and was awarded “Audience Favorite” honors on NBC’s Last Comic Standing in 2007. The Associated Press called her an “upper-crust Roseanne,” while the Wall Street Journal noted she is a “rarity among her fellows, a comic whose material never needs laundering.” She recently completed an off-Broadway run with her show Janie Condon: Raw and Unchained!
H. KIM BOTTOMLY Excerpt from the President’s Charge to the Class YOU MAY NOT YET REALIZE IT, but
you’ve spent the last four years preparing for this moment. And believe me, you are well equipped to live and thrive in this redefi fined world. . . . Why am I confi fident about this? Because for the last four years, you have been in an intellectual community. You have had access to faculty experts and mentors. Because you have been surrounded by debates and discussion about [world] events. Because you have been part of a very diverse and international student body. Most people could only read and hear about these events passively. You were able to directly appreciate the impact of these events in conversation with some of your classmates. You were able to understand the nuances of these events, and their potential eff ffects on our future. It was a gripping four years. You are fortunate to have To read the commencement been exactly in the right place speeches in full, visit web.wellesley.edu/web/News/ to fully appreciate it. It has truly Commencement/speeches.psml. been a revolutionary era.
I WAS AT AN EVENT ONCE with
many impressive women. The question was, “What would you put on your tombstone?” I said, for me, “She brings joy.” Hillary, our Hillary, said, “I done my damn best.” And Estelle Ramey, a professor of endocrinology at Georgetown University, she said these words: “I have loved. And been loved. And all the rest is background music.” I’d like to repeat that. “I have loved. And been loved. And all the rest is background music.” —Jane Condon ’73
CLAIRE AYOUB ’11 Excerpt from the Student Commencement Speech ASK YOURSELF: How do you define fi
greatness? While our fi first instinct may be to look at those [alumnae] pioneers on the wall [in Alumnae Hall], I see greatness in every face I pass by here each day. I have seen friends get published for their beat poetry, friends who produced breathtaking works of art, friends who spent months in a lab researching better treatment for diabetes, and remarkable women who run a network to give better opportunities to blind youth in Lebanon. That is greatness. . . . I see women who will protest, women who will yell, women who will laugh and cry, sometimes at the same time. We are women who will make to-do lists, women who will tell other people about our to-do lists, and women who will get angry when other people tell us about their to-do lists because don’t they know how much work we have to do? I suppose accepting our quirks is greatness in itself. But most importantly, I see an army: Everyone To see a slideshow of has a place, everyone plays a part, everyone commencement photos, visit youtube.com/wellesleymag. has a skill, and together, we’re unstoppable. summer 2011
Above Par That’s all most golfers are looking for. At least, that’s what keeps Kimberly Eaton ’11 coming back to the game. “It’s just really challenging,” she says. “One day you go out and you shoot par, and you think, ‘Oh, I’ve figured out how to play golf.’ And then the next day, you go out and you shoot 15 over.” She laughs. “Then Th you think, ‘I guess I didn’t.’” But even when you shoot 15 over, Eaton says, there’s this one shot: “If I can just replicate that shot over and over again, I’d be really good,” she says. Eaton is, in fact, really good: A four-time All-American, Eaton won the Massachusetts Collegiate Championship in 2008. In May, she competed as an individual in the NCAA Division III golf championships for the fourth straight year and was in 49th place when the tournament was suspended due to heavy rains. She took home the division’s highest award, the Ping/ National Golf Coaches Association Division III Golfer of the Year. Last September, she was ranked No. 1 in the nation in Division III. At that time, her scoring average of 76.19 was the lowest of any Division III female golfer in the country. The ranking caught the low-key golfer by surprise. “I didn’t expect that, but I was really happy,” she says. While Eaton led the team on the greens, she was also a leader away from the course. Elected team captain, Eaton tried to help the younger golfers learn to balance athletics with academics. “Golf takes up a lot of time, and sometimes they get a little freaked out about midterms and tournaments,” she says. Eaton successfully balanced the rigors of academics at Wellesley with the demands of being a varsity athlete for the past four years. A biology major, Eaton ultimately wants to go to medical school, which means that this season likely was her last as a serious golfer. “It’s always been a recreational thing for me,” she says. “But I will miss it.” Eaton learned the game from her father and started playing seriously when she was 12. She eventually joined her high-school golf team—the boy’s team. “It was a little bit hard to get on the team,” she says. But the coach wanted her to play, and her family was supportive. When she came to Wellesley and joined the Blue, “it was quite a bit
SPORTS SCOREBOARD The CREW TEAM opened the season with a NEWMAC Championship, winning both the varsity-8+ championship and the overall team-points trophy. They also won the Malden Spirit Regatta and ﬁnished third overall at the New England Championship, their best ﬁnish in the program’s history. At the ECAC Championships, the Blue earned third place overall, sending them to the NCAA National Championships for the second straight year. The Blue crew took third place overall at nationals, a tie for the highest ever NCAA ﬁnish for a Wellesley squad. Coach Tessa Spillane was named the 2011 Division III National Coach of the Year. The GOLF TEAM, led by Kim Eaton ’11, had a solid spring season. Eaton won both the Vassar Invitational
ONE GOOD SHOT.
diff fferent,” Eaton laughs. “Not as much crazy goofy stuff ff going on.” That team camaraderie may be what she will miss the most about golf. “Even though golf is a very individual sport, it’s nice to have the support of being on a team,” Eaton says. “It’s so much more fun playing as a team than playing as individuals.” Between practices and team workouts and tournaments, golf has been a part of Eaton’s daily life for a long time. While that daily experience may soon be over, she intends to keep playing—and to keep looking for that one good shot.
and the Jack Leaman Invitational in back-to-back weekends, leading the team to eighth- and ninth-place ﬁnishes. Eaton ended her career at the NCAA Golf Championship, where she was named the 2011 Division III Golfer of the Year. (See proﬁle above.) The LACROSSE TEAM ﬁ nished the season with an overall record of 9–9, 2–4 in NEWMAC play. Britt Mscisz ’14, Jenny Holland ’11, Meredith Roy ’12, and Allison Robbins ’13 received Second Team AllConference honors. In addition, Mscisz was named NEWMAC Lacrosse Rookie of the Year. Blue SOFTBALL ended their 2011 campaign with a 24–13 overall mark, including an 11–5 record in the NEWMAC. Wellesley earned the No. 3 seed in the
NEWMAC tournament before bowing out to Springﬁeld and Babson. The TENNIS TEAM went 7–5 this spring, playing against nationally ranked opponents and lifting their ﬁnal season mark to 15–8. The Blue took home the 2011 Seven Sisters Championship, defeating nationally ranked Vassar, 4–1, in the title match. The OUTDOOR TRACK TEAM continued their impressive inaugural season as a varsity squad, with several strong meets this spring. As a team, the Blue ﬁnished sixth overall at their ﬁrst NEWMAC Championship. Camille Basurto ’13 won her ﬁrst NEWMAC Championship, taking the 5,000-meter race, while Cristina Lucas ’13 earned All-Conference honors in the 1,500-meter run.
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TWICE THE PRIDE
MAKING WELLESLEY DOUBLY PROUD, two
seniors—Michele Bornstein and Debbie Chen— were awarded Thomas J. Watson Fellowships
REPORTS FROM AROUND CAMPUS
this year. The $25,000 grants support one year of independent study and travel outside the US. Bornstein, a glassblower, HAND-TO-HAND ART
will study the history and
IN EARLY APRIL, Chinese martial arts were on parade in Jewett Auditorium as 29 students from Wellesley
practice of a 16th-century
Wushu leaped, ﬂipped, and kicked their way across the stage in choreographed formations. The performing-
arts group practices contemporary wushu, which has its roots in ancient combat techniques but is today
called cane by traveling to
known for its intensity and acrobatics. Debbie Chen ’11, who began studying martial arts as a child,
Egypt, Turkey, Italy, Spain,
founded the group in 2008 and taught other students to move and handle weapons—swords, staffs,
and the Netherlands. Chen will travel to Japan,
chains, and spears. “Wushu has been my light,” Chen says. “Although practicing wushu itself is my
South Korea, Indonesia, the Canary Islands,
passion, the wushu team has been an
and Brazil to learn a martial art unique to each
endearing and tight-knit family and support
country’s people and culture.
group for all my years here.” To learn more about wushu at Wellesley, visit tinyurl.com/65k99ot.
POET HONORED THIS SPRING, POET AND TRANSLATOR David
Ferry—Sophie Chantal Hart Professor of English, emeritus—received the Ruth Lilly Prize for Lifetime Achievement. The award, RICHARD HOWARD
given annually by the Poetry Foundation, carries a purse of $100,000 and is considered one of the most prestigious
BY THE NUMBERS: COMMENCEMENT FESTIVITIES
awards for American poets. “In a time when most poetry relies on intense surface energy, Ferry’s effects are muted and subterranean, but then, in their cumulative effect,
NUMBER OF CHAIRS SET UP IN THE ACADEMIC QUAD
seismic,” said Christian Wiman, editor of JOHN MOTTERN
Poetry magazine, making the announcement. Ferry later told the Boston Globe that he would be giving the prize money to charity.
NUMBER OF COMMENCEMENT
NUMBER OF SANDWICHES MADE FOR THE POST-CEREMONY FOOD TENT
NUMBER OF COOKIES AND PETIT FOURS MADE
NUMBER OF BOUQUETS SOLD AT THE FLOWER STAND IN THE QUAD
‘As I shared myy translations off Georgian g ppoetryy with myy ffriends, which I did ggraduallyy as I ffeel that ppoetryy is qquite ppersonal, I realized that these works were not meant ffor onlyy Georgians g or myself, but for everyone.’
PINANSKI PRIZES AWARDED THE PINANSKI PRIZE for Excellence in Teaching,
—Lela Jgerenaia ’13, from the Republic of Georgia, explaining why she and 23 other students created a book of English translations of literature from 17 languages
awarded annually at commencement, went
For more on Jgerenaia’s book, Translations From World Literature, visit www.amazon.com.
professor of Spanish; and Yuichiro Suzuki,
this year to Stacy Goddard, assistant professor of political science; Carlos Ramos, assistant professor of biological sciences.
EARLY IN HER CAREER, as an elementary-school teacher in Tacoma Park, Md., Soo Hong found herself unprepared for one aspect of her job: navigating the relationships with “hard to reach” parents. In the course of her B.A. and master’s in teaching, Hong received no guidance on how to work with families. “But I don’t think that’s unusual,” says Hong, now an assistant professor in the education department. “Teaching is not obviously about families. But there is a significant fi body of research that [suggests] when families and teachers and administrators and students are all aligned in their thinking about what the educational goals of a school might be, we get some pretty promising results.” In those early years, Hong realized that each of her students was “richly embedded” in a family and local community, all of which infl fluenced their education. “So for me to have a true understanding of who my students were so I could best meet their needs, I had to understand their families,” she says. After five years in the classrroom, “I left that teachiing experience thinking w we needed a much more iintentional strategy aaround parent and comm munity engagement.” One doctorate and nine years later, Hong has n p published a new book, A Cord of Th Three Strands, To llearn more about T b t that suggests a way forLSNA, visit lsna.net. ward for urban education. Hong began studying the Logan Square Neighborhood Association (LSNA), a grassroots organization in Chicago’s northwest side, for her doctoral work. Initially, she intended to document a case study of how community-organizing groups could improve the relationships between families and schools. “But what I found at the end of my time there was that they were actually presenting me with a pretty compelling
model of how we could reconceptualize our very understanding of parent involvement,” she says. Ten years ago, in this community of lowincome immigrant families, many of whom did not speak English, parents considered the public schools a fortress, designed to lock them out. A culture of “animosity, distrust, and misunderstanding between families and schools” dominated, Hong writes in her book. It was LSNA that ultimately accomplished what so many other organizations have struggled to achieve. The nonprofi fit draws together networks from all corners of a neighborhood: schools, businesses, social-service agencies, faith-based communities, and everyone in between. “Schools themselves are representations of the larger community,” explains LSNA’s lead education organizer, Joanna Brown, in Hong’s book. “If there are issues of poverty, violence, and a general feeling of anxiety or insecurity about your neighborhood, it is going to play out in schools and classrooms. We can’t
work on one—schools or communities—without the other.” And when they come together to share goals, strong communities make strong schools. To wit: Students, teachers, parents, and administrators in these Chicago schools will tell you that the culture is radically different ff now. Parents are present in the hallways, participating in the classrooms, tutoring students, organizing events, developing goals with teachers. “These Th are relationships that simply didn’t exist before the work of this organization,” says Hong. Freely acknowledging that for most schools this kind of transformation represents an uphill battle, Hong’s book presents a path for getting there. “True transformation will require commitments and responsible actors across the domains of family, school, and community. Without the focus on all three, meaningful change cannot occur,” she writes. But the schools in Chicago’s northwest side stand as powerful evidence that it can. —JF
A Way Forward For Urban Schools
WINDOW ON WELLESLEY ENGLISH
THE BOOK’S THE THING A BOOK ABOUT REPRESENTATIONS of
already begun work on her next project.
books—it’s kind of circular, if you think
In her research, she looked at
about it. And Sarah Wall-Randell ’97
how the printing press was received,
has been thinking about it for some
and she came across something un-
source, the author, an English Protes-
Wall-Randell recently ﬁnished writing
tant, casually mentioned the invention
a book about the representations of
of the printing press, “as the Sibyls
reading and books in Renaissance
foretold.” She laughs. “I was like, wait
romance literature. “The prevailing
a minute. The Sibyls foretold the print-
argument about books in this time
ing press? What?”
period is that, as the printing press
Wall-Randell was intrigued by
becomes more productive, as printed
the reference to oracles from ancient
books affect more people’s lives and
Greek and Roman texts, and that little
come to be more everyday objects,
tidbit has her researching the ﬁgure
then books become more ordinary
of the classical Sibyl in Renaissance
and more utilitarian,” she says.
literature. Her work looks at these
She argues the opposite. “Within
prophetic ﬁgures and what they say
these romance texts, books remain
about the Renaissance’s ideas of the
possible for me to have classroom
miraculous, mysterious, prophetic ob-
classical world, prophecy, and intel-
discussions about the actual kinds
than the Renaissance period. She also
jects, and my argument is that it isn’t
of things that I work on,” she says.
enjoys it because it’s collaborative.
about books at all,” Wall-Randell says.
When not diving into textual
She contends that books and read-
ing represent the space of the mind, a means of understanding the interior
“That’s really exciting for me.”
research skills on something other
“Scholarship is so many wonderful
She also pursues other interests
things, but it’s usually not collabora-
classes on everything from Spenser’s
by acting as a dramaturge—a literary
tive,” Wall-Randell says. “We human-
The Faerie Queene to the idea of the
and historical consultant—for local
ists, we sit at our computers and write.
life. She’s submitted the book to a pub-
garden in medieval and Renaissance
theater companies. Wall-Randell
And read some books and write some
lisher and is waiting to hear back. In the
literature. “I can range all over in my
enjoys the work because it gives
more. It can be lonely.”
meantime, however, Wall-Randell has
teaching, which means that it’s
her a chance to use her considerable
PROFILE OF A MAJOR
expected. While reading a historical An assistant professor of English,
HISTORY OFFERED LINDA LEE ’11 an approach to studying the world
that was less theoretical than some other disciplines.
taking a Russian history class, for example, because she loves chess. History also plays an important role in interdepartmental majors.
“The point of history is not for us to really predict or make a
“Virtually all of the interdepartmental majors that are not in the hard sciences
judgment based on what should happen or what would happen, but
will have to include history courses,” she says. In 2004, for example, the
rather to see what happened,” she says. She declared a history major
international-relations major was reorganized to offer three distinct tracks,
her sophomore year, opting to go with “what I like reading and what I like doing” and ignoring a question she saw many classmates pondering: whether their majors were practical.
including a history track, which currently has 18 students majors. Studying history, Lee says, “made me a stronger writer. It made me a very fast reader.”
Department Chair Nina Tumarkin says it’s not just students who wonder
In the College’s early years, history focused on the United States and
whether history majors will ﬁnd jobs. “Parents often get the idea, somehow,
Europe, including Greek and Roman civilization. Next fall, the department
that history seems impractical,” she says. But as one of the oldest
will have 14 full-time faculty, with expertise in most regions of the
and most venerable disciplines, it’s served plenty of students well.
world. Lee’s geographic emphasis was Russia, but studying world
And it continues to do so, with about 60 majors in a typical year.
history helped her make sense of contemporary situations. “My
“History is an excellent preparation for many kinds of profes-
understanding of the news and of what’s happening in the Middle
sions,” Tumarkin says, including law, business, and government
East right now is really strengthened by my knowledge of what
work. Employers understand that, she adds. Still, the majority of
happened in the Middle East in history,” she says.
students who take history courses aren’t majors. Tumarkin says that’s because history is “a core and fundamental part of a
If that’s not practical enough, Lee also has a job lined up: teaching high-school history.
liberal-arts curriculum.” You could ﬁ nd a chemistry major
ShelfLife REVIEWS OF BOOKS BY WELLESLEY AUTHORS
The Battle for Women in Sports JERRY COOKE/SPORTS ILLUSTRATED/GETTY IMAGES
SUSAN WOLFE WARE ’72
Game, Set, Match: Billie Jean King and the Revolution in Women’s Sports University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, N.C. 296 pages, $30 ON THE NIGHT OF SEPT. 20, 1973, the battle of the sexes was to be decided once and for all. Or so promised the promoters of the infamous “Battle of the Sexes” match between 55-year-old Bobby Riggs, a former No. 1 men’s player turned tennis hustler, and 29-year-old Billie Jean King, then one of the top female players in the world. Even at his advanced age, Riggs had boasted that he could still beat the best in the women’s game. Th The subsequent match had both a “made in America” and an “only in America” feel to it: the Houston Astrodome, a national television audience, Howard Cosell with the call, King carried in on a divan and Riggs pulled in on a rickshaw by scantily clad models. King handily won the match, if not the larger battle, that night. In her excellent book, Game, Set, Match: Billie Jean King and the Revolution in Women’s Sports, Susan Wolfe Ware ’72, a historian of w women in the 20th century, details King’s numerous contributions to that larger battle in the years before and the decades after that evening. That long-ago match was just one data point in this woman’s multifaceted career as an athlete and a feminist. Ware views the history of the women’s movement in sports through the prism of King’s
Waaare W rree vvie iieeews ws tthe ws he his he isttooryy of the thhe woome w men’ men’ n’s mo m vveeme ment nt in sppoorrts ts throug th h u h thhe prris i m off K King’s’ achievements on and off ff the courrt. t
achievements on and off ff the court. Beyond her numerous athletic victories, King helped establish the Women’s Professional Tennis Tour, fought for equal prize money for men and women at the Grand Slam tennis tournaments, launched World Team Tennis (a coed league), worked on behalf of the enactment of Title IX, created a women’s sports magazine, and founded the Women’s Sports Foundation. Her legacy can be seen not only in such tennis stars as the Williams sisters but also in those women who have played on the World Cup soccer teams and in the WNBA. Ware also off ffers a clear-eyed perspective on the complexities and confl flicts within King. She was a firefi fi fighter’s daughter in a country-club profession, the willing recipient of cigarette money (Virginia Slims) as the backer of her tour, and a closeted lesbian in a very public heterosexual marriage to her business partner and most fervent supporter. Even after a notorious palimony suit from a former female lover, King remained married and
(somewhat) in the closet for many years. The gayrights movement was simply not her fight. Fortunately for many young girls, the role of women in sports and in the world was her battle. In her book, Ware doesn’t just serve up the headline of King’s match with Riggs as her major contribution to the women’s movement, as is the case in other biographies. Instead, she off ffers a thoughtful analysis of King’s rich and robust legacy to women everywhere. Because of King’s efforts ff in the 20th century, little girls in the 21st century can realize their dreams of growing up and playing sports as an adult. Jean McCormick ’81 Jean McCormick ’81 was the first female producer at ESPN, the winner of seven sports Emmy Awards, and the author of Talk Sports Like a Pro: 99 Secrets to Becoming a Sports Goddess. She is currently the managing director of content for the Corporate Executive Board in Washington, D.C.
student, I thought my attendings
AND GROWING UP
were gods. I thought they were
MICHELLE AU ’99
so smart and so worldly and so omniscient. I thought that after
This Won’t Hurt a Bit (and Other White Lies) Grand Central Publishing, New York 336 pages, $24.99
medical school and residency, then that would be it; I would STAN KAADY
In her memoir, Michelle Au ’99, an
job,” or viewed as kind of a
the way they do. If you aren’t going
anesthesiologist and mother in
cop-out. I think calling anything a
to advocate for your child, who else
Atlanta, describes her adventures
“mommy”-[blank] is infantilizing
do you expect will?
in growing up and becoming a
and a little reductionist, like defus-
doctor. She recounts stories of
ing what is ultimately a huge and
What has surprised you most
training, both banal and outra-
powerful societal demographic by
about becoming an attending
geous, and brilliantly details her
slapping cute pink pompoms all
physician (the top of the hierar-
struggle to pursue a life outside of
over it. Aside from pregnancy and
chy of medical training)?
the hospital. Here, Au discusses
breastfeeding, there shouldn’t be
motherhood, being a perpetual
“mommy” issues. There should be
How little I know! (Don’t be
student, and Café Hoop nachos.
Your opposition to the labels
How has mothering been differ-
“mommy jobs” and “daddy
ent than being a resident?
jobs” in medicine appears
When it came to care of a newborn,
throughout the book. What causes you to bristle? In most jobs, working 6:30 A.M. to
at home. I only had one patient to
5:00 P.M. ﬁve days a week is just
take care of, and I happened to love
known as “having a job.” But in
that patient beyond all reason. It did
medicine, somehow this has been
give me a lot of insight on parent-
referred to as having a “mommy
ing, though, and why parents act
like crossing a ﬁnish line. And of course, I know now that that is not true. You never get there. You’re always going to be a student.
What do you value most about your Wellesley experience now? Wellesley gave me the tools to see that I could have creative pur-
to say was: When I was a medical
call at the hospital, only I got to stay
knowledge and professionalism,
You’re always learning.
scared, patients!) What I meant
I compared it to being on overnight
have arrived at this pinnacle of
suits and experience how rewarding that process could be. I think a liberal-arts education should be, at least, encouraged for all students interested in going into medicine. Also, I remember those nachos I used to get at Café Hoop more than basically anything else I ever learned during my four years in college. —Molly Dorfman ’02 Molly Dorfman ’02 is a resident physician at UCLA Pediatrics.
The Power Of Secrets
KAMALA NAIR ’03
Julia Attaway (Julia Johnson Attaway ’82),
Ricki Ginsburg Robinson ’70—Autism
editor—Daily Guideposts: Your First Year of
Solutions: How to Create a Healthy and
Motherhood, GuidepostBooks, New York
Meaningful Life for Your Child, Harlequin Non-
The Girl in the Garden Grand Central Publishing, N.Y. 320 pages, $24.99
Claudia Lauper Bushman ’56, editor—Pansy’s
“UNTIL I HAVE GONE BACK
to the place where it all started, d and told you everything, I cannot wear your ring or call myself your wife.” These troubled words mark the beginning of Kamala Nair’s The Girl in the Garden and set the tone for this coming-of-age story set in Kerala, India. In this, her debut novel, Nair weaves an intricate tale of forbidden loves, tragedies, betrayals, and secrets seen through the eyes of a 10-year-old girl, Rakhee, the American daughter of Indian (Continued on page 81)
ﬁction, New York
History: The Autobiography of Margaret E.P.
Ira Trivedi ’06—There’s No Love on Wall Street,
Gordon, 1866–1966, Utah State University Press,
Penguin, New York
Linda R. Tropp ’92 and Robyn Mallett,
Diane Mott Davidson ’70—Fatally Flaky: A
editors—Moving Beyond Prejudice Reduc-
Novel, William Morrow, New York
tion: Pathways to Positive Intergroup Relations,
Vicki Jackson ’72—Constitutional Engagement in a Transnational Era, Oxford University Press, New York Jane Merrill ’68 and Chris Filstrup—The Wedding Night: A Popular History, Praeger,
American Psychological Association, Washington, D.C. Linda R. Tropp ’92 and Thomas F. Pettigrew— When Groups Meet: The Dynamics of Intergroup Contact, Psychology Press, London
Santa Barbara, Calif.
ILL LL LU UST ST T RAT TRAT R A IONS ION ON N S B Y C HRI HR STO TO O PHE PHER PH HE R SILA S ILA A S N EAL AL L
well lllessle l y 22 we 22
summ su mmer mm err 201 0 1
Suggestions for reading, watching . . . and doing not much at all this summer
summerr 2011 1
w llesley 23 we
H, SUMMERTIME . The days are longer, the to-do list seems a little less urgent, and we manage to escape the usual grind—at least long enough to curl up with a good read, lose ourselves in a movie, or unwind with a favorite hobby. As Wellesley’s campus began to empty and our thoughts turned to beach chairs and long, lazy evenings, we asked a handful of alumnae to share their favorite summer reads, films, and tips for relaxing. Our respondents range from the classes of 1949 to 2005 and hail from all over—from Hattiesburg, Miss., to Shanghai. As you would expect, their suggestions are diverse (À la recherche du temps perdu; Buffy the Vampire Slayer), but they all make us eager to unwind, unplug, and, as Nancy Wanderer ’69 suggests, “lie back on the ground, facing the sun and soaking up all the beauty in life.”
Susan Margulies Sheehan ’58
Kelly Guerrero Rao ’93
Writer Washington, D.C.
International marketing and business-development professional Dallas
A BOOK: An easy choice—my favorite book, The Great Gatsby. Each time I reread it,
I remember the joy of reading it for the first time—in Robert Garis’s English 100 class during my first year at Wellesley—and the joy it has given me during many subsequent rereadings. The prose is radiant: “In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars.” Th The novel also ends with my favorite last line in literature. “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” I’m no less fond of books with great fi first lines: “I had a farm in Africa, at the foot of the Ngong Hills” (Out of Africa). A FILM: Even easier—Casablanca. To see the beautiful young Ingrid Bergman, the
handsome Humphrey Bogart, and to listen again to “As Time Goes By.” If I were a betting person, I’d bet that more alums would choose this classic than any other fi film. A SUGGESTION FOR RELAXING: Reading children’s books to our first-born grand-
son (Charlotte’s Web, When We Were Very Young, and The Grinch Who Stole Christmass); traveling to faraway places with my husband; and daydreaming. If you’re not yet blessed with a grandson, borrow someone else’s.
A BOOK: Fiction, and I like all types, but if I had
to choose it would be something based loosely on reality or an event: Sarah’s Keyy by Tatiana de Rosnay, The Kite Runnerr by Khaled Hosseini, The Help by Kathryn Stockett, Snowflower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See. A FILM: Romantic comedy for sure. Sabrina
(new version), Roman Holiday, The Philadelphia Story, Notting Hill, Love Actually, The Proposal. Often-times, romantic comedies are all about human relationships and interaction, and I always appreciate a bit of comedy thrown in. A SUGGESTION FOR RELAXING: Take a walk,
meet a friend for a drink or coff ffee, see a movie, or curl up with a good book.
Carol Cheswick Wilson ’80
Alice Kunce ’05
Life coach Darien, Conn.
Teacher North Little Rock, Ark.
A BOOK: Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand d by Helen Simonson. The story revolves around a
retired English major and an English-Pakistani widowed shopkeeper in rural England. The characterization is quirky and fun, and the clashing of the two cultures makes it an entertaining, interesting read. A FILM: Doc Hollywood. This film is all about escapism. It’s a wonderful combination
of love story, life-perspective story, and idealization of small-town life in the lazy South. The script is well written and funny, the characters are endearing and amusing, and I love the soundtrack. It’s a great way to escape into the gentle breezes of the Carolinas. A SUGGESTION FOR RELAXING: For me, relaxing usually involves reading, being
with my friends and family, or exercising. In the summer, I have to be near the water— swimming, sailing, reading on the beach. It recharges me. If I am really stressed, I need to get out on the tennis court and smash the ball around. It’s amazing how that brings me back to center in terms of perspective.
A BOOK: As a middle-school English teacher, I’m surrounded by classics and “great” literature 24/7. When I want to unwind, I reach for romance. Rachel Gibson, Susan Andersen, Christie Ridgway, and Jennifer Cruisie help me laugh the day away. A FILM: Hallmark Hall of Fame. I’ll admit it, I love me a good “Love Comes Softly” movie. They’re faith-based tales of strong women, strong families, and strong faith. There’s something comforting about snuggling on the couch with a mug of ice cream and watching a family work as a team in a Little House on the Prairiee world. A SUGGESTION FOR RELAXING: Gardening.
I am now a proud “stick farmer.” I planted over 30 berry bushes this year and am looking forward to reaping what I sowed. Standing outside in the early morning with a hose in my hand as the dogs patrol the perimeter lets me know that all is right in my little corner of the world.
Jana Riess ’91 Editor, professor, blogger Cincinnati A BOOK: How impossible to choose just one! I’ve loved These Is My Words: The Diary
of Sarah Agnes Prine, 1881–1901 by Nancy E. Turner. Although the title makes it sound like a diary recovered from history, it’s actually a novel in the form of a pioneer diary— a gripping account of a woman’s evolution. It takes the genre of the male Western and turns it on its head with a deep feminist sensibility. I read it during a difficult ffi moment in my life, and it helped me to realize how strong and brave I could be. A FILM: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the television series. It’s funny, honest, bracing, and true. Plus, there are 144 episodes in the series, which allows for a lot of unplugging. A SUGGESTION FOR RELAXING: The old bubble-bath technique. What can I say? It’ss
a classic. When we remodeled our master bath in 2009, one area where we splurged was getting a tub that was longer and deeper than the norm. It took four people to haul that cast-iron monster up to the third fl floor, but every time I unwind in the bathtub at the end d of the day, I am so glad we did it.
‘I am now a proud “stick farmer.” I planted over 30 berry bushes this year and am looking forward to reaping what I sowed. Standing outside in the early morning with a hose in my hand as the dogs patrol the perimeter lets me know that all is right in my little corner of the world.’ —Alice Kunce ’05 summerr 2011
Nancy Liberman Ratliff ’52 Sally Katz ’78 Human-resources manager Paris A BOOK: I read short stories and novels, generally from the 20th century to date, with a few from the 19th century thrown in. Since moving to France in 1998, I also read short stories and novels in French for pure pleasure and to improve my French. I just read and recommend: The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million by Daniel Mendelsohn; Le Dernier des Camondo by Pierre Assouline; Saturdayy by Ian McEwan; La Symphonie Pastorall by André Gide. A SUGGESTION FOR RELAXING: My favorite
way to relax and unwind is to stroll the streets of Paris. Probably “the streets of Paris” is a big part of it, since I don’t recall strolling when we lived in Houston. So it’s probably not a good recommendation for many of my fellow alumnae, though we have the pleasure of welcoming visiting alumnae to Paris. (We receive inquiries/announcements of visits on our club discussion group in the WCAA’s online community, web.wellesley.edu/web/Alumnae.)
Retired Latin teacher Hattiesburg, Miss. A BOOK: One of my all-time favorite books is The Agony and the Ecstasy by Irving
Stone, which I have read several times. I am enthralled with all of Michelangelo’s work and made sure the students I took to Europe on six trips saw as much of his art and architectural feats as possible. One even said she thought I was Michelangelo’s mistress in another life. Yes! A FILM: I love the movie National Velvet and have watched it numerous times—both as a child and as an adult. My passion for horses started when I was young and continued after college when I taught riding for two summers. Th The movie is clean, scenic, full of thrills with the horse race, and has a surprise ending that keeps it from being saccharine. A SUGGESTION FOR RELAXING: I do several types of handwork that help me
unwind. My mother taught me to knit when I was 8, and I knit many of the sweaters I had at Wellesley. I have picked up enough crochet skills to make handbags, and I have done a lot of cross-stitching for family and friends. Th The detailed patterns may seem tedious to some, but the end result always justifi fies the work put into any project.
‘In the summer, I have to be near the water—swimming, sailing, reading on the beach. It recharges me. If I am really stressed, I need to get out on the tennis court and smash the ball around. It’s amazing how that brings me back to center in terms of perspective.’ —Carol Cheswick Wilson ’80
Gretchen Rous Besser ’49 Retired professor of French literature Morrisville, Vt. A BOOK: For a good anytime read, I’d choose Marcel Proust’s À la recherche du temps perdu for its exquisite language and vibrant characters. In addition to portraying every conceivable kind of love and musing on the quintessential topics of art, literature, and music, it provides a perspective on time and change that coincides with my senior experience. A FILM: My favorite film fi would be Casablanca because of the doomed romance between Bogart and Bergman, the charismatic performance by Claude Rains, Dooley Wilson’s “As Time Goes By” (echoing Proust’s basic theme), the long shadow of World War II (which also cast its pall on my childhood), and the eternal pain of separation.
Megan Tucker Orringer ’04 Writer Boston A BOOK: I read and reread Ann Patchett’s Truth & Beauty. I find it deeply relaxing because Patchett’s writing (as in all of her books) is so open, lovely, and funny all at once. Truth & Beautyy is the nonfi fiction story of a spirited, supportive friendship between two female writers. They both find success: one through disciplined work and the other through fl flashes of brilliance. I alternatively identify with one character or the other and always feel ready to get back to work. A FILM: Little Women. Why I love Little Women is probably best summed up by my
favorite line of the film: “Don’t be such a beetle; I could never love anyone as I love my sisters.” This is a great story of four very diff fferent sisters, first together at home and then flung out as individuals into the broader world. One sister makes it as a writer (!), and each finds love and contentment. As one of three sisters myself, I like returning to this film’s premise that our childhoods, our sisters, and ourselves are indeed most important.
A SUGGESTION FOR RELAXING: My preferred
A SUGGESTION FOR RELAXING: My husband and I like to take walks through
form of unwinding is skiing—alas, a winter pastime! In its stead, I should opt for tai chi—the equivalent of one Valium (no medical reaction), two margaritas (without the hangover), and an hour on the couch (no psychiatrist’s fee).
our favorite neighborhood and look at the houses that are for sale. Our favorite walk is to an empty lot that’s been on the market for a long time. Th The land is at the end of a cul-de-sac, which borders a maple grove. On our walk, we talk about saving up enough money to buy “our lot” and building a small home there with a big porch and lots of wood-burning fireplaces. What’s more relaxing than that?
Geneva Overholser ’70 Professor of journalism Los Angeles A BOOK: A Short History of Women by Kate Walbert. It’s a look at several generations of women seeking to figure out how they fit into society and what their lives mean. It sets your mind to thinking about these things as well, in an engaging and delightful way. (D Don’t be misled by the title: Th This is defi finitely fiction!) A FILM: As for movies, I’d take myself right at the beginning of the vacation to the neareest
art-house theater to see whatever foreign film is showing. Get a popcorn (maybe even witth butter), slip into the cool, quiet dark of the theater at an hour when those not on break caan’t go, and head wherever the movie takes you. A SUGGESTION FOR RELAXING: Hiking. At any age. If you have kids, they’ll open up
on a hike as they won’t in any other setting. If you’re alone, out in the open air, your thou ughts will sail unfettered. If you go with your sweetheart, there’s nothing better to share.
Pamela Koehler Daniels ’59 Retired Wellesley class dean Boston A BOOK: When I am on break, I read cookbooks—to quiet the chattering mind, nourrish
the senses, and provide inspiration for my next meal in the works for friends and beloveeds. My current favorite is With a Measure of Grace: The Story and Recipes of a Small Town Restaurantt by Blake Spalding, Jennifer Castle, and Lavinia Spalding. Runners-up are The Olives Tablee by Todd English and Sally Sampson, Sunday Suppers at Lucques by Th Suzanne Goin, and Madhur Jaff ffrey’s Indian Cooking. A FILM: In the same vein and for similar reasons, this summer I will watch (for the umpteenth
time) Julie and Juliaa by Nora Ephron ’64—a beautiful “food movie” that is about so much more.
Nancy Wanderer ’69 Professor of legal writing Topsham, Maine
A SUGGESTION FOR RELAXING: What do I do to relax and unwind? No mystery
A BOOK: Anything by Barbara Kingsolver, particu-
there. I cook.
larly her fi fiction books like Prodigal Summerr and The Poisonwood Bible. I love the way Kingsolver observes the richness of nature and how she tells the story of ordinary people who reach extraordinary depths and heights through their interaction with nature.
Mrinalini “Mishi” Saran ’90 Writer Shanghai, China A BOOK: The Far Pavilions by M. M. Kaye, a big, meaty romance, set in the British Raj.
It’s chock-a-block with action, adventure, and best of all, it showcases the author’s keen eye for history as it elegantly brings alive a controversial time in India’s past. A FILM: That’s easy. Pride and Prejudice, the 2005 version starring Keira Knightley and Mat-
thew Macfadyen, who do excellent work. It’s Jane Austen’s trademark literary fl flair translated onto the screen with all that delicious romantic tension heightened by some stylish film editing. I’ve seen it three times and would gladly see it again. A SUGGESTION FOR RELAXING: For those of us who live in smoggy Asian megapolises,
we hunt down the nearest urban park, grab whatever mobile-music device is at hand, slap on headphones, and go walking in the evenings and pretend the scratchy scattering of trees is really nature.
A FILM: The Joy Luck Club. I love the diff fferent layers of that film, the way it examines the relationships between the Chinese-American mothers and daughters by flashing back to the mothers’ struggles in China and the daughters’ struggles in modern-day America. The music and scenes of China are also magnifi ficent. I really lose myself in that film (and cry and cry and cry). A SUGGESTION FOR RELAXING: I absolutely
love hiking, especially when climbing small mountains with a view of the ocean. It is particularly rewarding when I have something delicious in my backpack to eat when we reach the summit. Th Then I love to lie back on the ground, facing the sun and soaking up all the beauty in life. summerr 2011
Thousands of people turned out in Cairo’s Tahrir Square in February, ﬁrst to protest the Mubarak regime (below) and later to celebrate the long-time president’s departure from ofﬁce (opposite).
PATRICK BAZ/AFP/GETTY IMAGES; OPPOSITE PAGE: PEDRO UGARTE/AFP/GETTY IMAGES
on the Uprisings
The world stood riveted as revolution and protest boiled across the Middle East this spring, and Wellesley was no exception. Here, faculty, students, and staff with ties to the region reďŹ‚ect on where and when this transformative chapter began, and what it might mean for the future. By Anisa Mehdi â€™78
HIS DIDN ’ T START T LAST DECEMBER !”
stresses Rachid Aadnani, sitting in his tidy office ffi on the fourth floor of Founders. It is a ggray spring day. We are talking about the wildfi fire of poopular revolt that has spread across Arab-speaking naations since the self-immolation of Mohammed Bou uazizi in Tunisia at the close of 2010. “Anger has been simmering a long time,” Aadnani says. “Th These are n not the sprouting seeds of America’s eff ffort to export deemocracy.’” In fact, he beelieves one result of the uprisings may be a widening gap between the peoples of the Middle East and the United States as they forge new ground rules for self-governance and national dignity. Aadnani is an assistant professor of Middle Eastern studies at Wellesley and a winner of the 2007 Pinanski Prize for Excellence in Teaching for his skill in Arabic instruction. Students praise him for making a very diffi fficult language accessible. He did the same with the complex, nuanced, and rapidly unfolding events of this liminal chapter in Middle Eastern history, during his course this spring called Resistance and Dissent in the Cultures of North Africa and the Middle East. “Pressure builds to an explosion,” Aadnani says. “Th The countries that have had tighter control on that simmering anger are the ones that are exploding with more violence now. That’s why the uprisings in Syria have been violent. Also in Libya.” Reasons to rise up and resist echo across national boundaries, but Aadnani emphasizes that the region is not one undiff fferentiated whole. “Countries that have invented even window-dressing reforms, like Morocco and Jordan, have been able to navigate these storms without as much trauma,” he says. A computer screen dominates Aadnani’s desk. He pulls up a website where citizens may comment on the Moroccan constitution and give a “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” on the role of the king; he Googles public testimony on gruesome human-rights abuses in Moroccan prisons that is now revealed on the web. Aadnani grew up in Morocco and recently got US citizenship. He is keyed into the impact of social media,
which have played a role in bringing broad swaths of segmented societies to the streets of Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen, Syria, and elsewhere. Students from his class, Resistance and Dissent, opened Facebook and Twitter accounts last semester to keep a virtual connection with protesters in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. The pretext for the course, which was launched in 2007, was to explore literature by people living under oppression. Long before the current uprisings, people were jailed daily for their principles, Aadnani says. “Th They’d challenge the existing system, talk about taboo subjects like governance and sexuality, and get arrested. In Morocco, there is a growing literary genre, for example, called prison literature.” In authoritarian regimes, dissent is often an anonymous act because people fear detention or threats to their loved ones. But today’s literature of protest across North Africa and in the Middle East—from real books to Facebook—shows full frontal identity. “Now it’s, Here I am, here’s my face and my ID card number, and I’m going to the protest,” Aadnani says. “It gives you a sense of the acquired freedoms already in place in some of those societies.”
cross the Academic Quad in Pendleton East, Roxanne Euben has also been carefully watching the uprisings in the Middle East. While the egalitarian aspect of social media encourages her, she remains cautious about overemphasizing its role in the success of the uprisings. “We don’t have a full picture of the key players in the Egyptian scenario,” she says, “but we do know important roles were played by conventional labor organizations and women.” The Ralph Emerson and Alice Freeman Palmer Professor of Political Science, Euben has written books on Islamic fundamentalism and Muslim political thought; her bookshelves brim with titles on Islam and feminism. Women have been a major presence in demonstrations from Tunisia to Yemen. “Social-networking devices have given women greater freedom to participate, particularly in villages or communities where their physical movement may be slightly constrained or under supervision,” notes Euben. But she points out that the media typically highlight their sexual victimization, emphasizing, for example, the brutality of the Qaddafi fi regime and the Egyptian military’s “virginity tests” on a number of women at the Egyptian Museum in March. “What’s paid attention to and what’s not seems to me quite revealing of what we as a culture
CARSTEN KOALL L/GETTY IMAGES
seem to be looking for,” she says, “rather than an accurate representation of what’s happening on the ground. We get a version of the world that most closely replicates our own preoccupations.” In addition, she notes that although new-media tools facilitate a massive quantity of real-time communication, there is a dearth of authenticated facts and not enough time for thoughtful analysis. Euben is particularly concerned that academia does not pay enough attention to the significant fi distinctions within Muslim-majority societies. “There Th are entire semesters spent on the history of one country, 200 or 300 years in the history of France, or on three Enlightenment thinkers. And yet there are entire courses on the history of Islam, or Muslim political thought. How is that legitimate?” With so much happening and so much not yet known, Euben, Aadnani, and other Wellesley professors urge students to delay judgment about the future of the region and to examine the distinctive elements of each separate situation. Arab nations, governments, and peoples are not monolithic, they reiterate. Each
‘Pressure builds to an explosion. The countries that have had tighter control on that simmering anger are the ones that are exploding with more violence now. That’s why the uprisings in Syria have been violent. Also in Libya.’ —Rachid Aadnani, assistant professor of Middle Eastern studies
uprising is unique and dependent on preexisting government structure, economy, class system, religious and ethnic demographics, and history.
uestions about where and when this transformative chapter began for the Middle East have occupied students and faculty alike. Anger has been simmering in the region since the end of World War II, says Aadnani, when many Arabicspeaking countries won independence from European rule: Algeria won independence from France; Libya left Italy; Bahrain broke from the British. summerr 2011
Some say today’s popular movements for political e inclusion began in the region with the Iranian Revolution of 1979. By that time, dictatorships were flourish fl ing throughout Southwest Asia and North Africa. Aadnani points to the 1980s in Morocco, when popular riots in Rabat forced King Hassan II to begin making cosmetic reforms. “Now if there’s a protest in Casablanca, the police stand aside while the people demonstrate and then watch them peacefully disperse.” Consequently, media lenses are not focused on Morocco. More recently, it’s possible that the 2009 “Green Revolution” in Iran was a springboard for regional unrest. Many Iranians took to the streets to protest what they called a stolen presidential election that June. Leila Chaieb ’13—a Tunisian national who was one of nearly 30 students from the Middle East or North Africa studying at the College this past year— takes the region’s past into consideration, but when asked why the protests are taking place now, she answers that it’s the economy. “It’s not entirely the president’s fault that people are unemployed,” she admits, glad that Tunisian President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali stepped down after 23 years. But, “corruption is so pervasive that you can buy a job,” she says. “Sometimes, someone 10 times more appropriate for a job has to die of hunger while an unqualifi fied person works.” The tragic death of Mohammed Bouazizi, a man with a computer-science degree who tried to make his living selling vegetables, may have been the spark that caught media attention, but Chaieb says she had been seeing signs of revolution in Tunisia on the internet for over a year. It was a protest against censorship.
‘We don’t have a full picture of the key players in the Egyptian scenario, but we do know important roles were played by conventional labor organizations and women.’ —Roxanne Euben, Ralph Emerson and Alice Freeman Palmer Professor of Political Science
“When a site was censored, you would see the announcement ‘404 Not Found.’ People would call it ‘Aamar 404,’ meaning ‘Big Brother 404.’ Aamar stands for the guy who is supervising the internet.” During the protests, Chaieb watched events unfold in her homeland from Wellesley. “When the police started firing on people, I was very afraid for my family. But the next day, the president was gone!” (To read more on Chaieb’s experiences at the College, see “Turnover in Tunisia” on page 35. And to learn about the experiences of Sana Saiyed ’12 in Cairo this winter, go to “Eyewitness to a Revolution” on page 34.)
h turbulence and triumph in he Egypt and elsewhere this year have E rrippled into a plethora of activity at Wellesley. As daffodils W ff raised their ffaces against a relentless spring rain, the campus bloomed with events aimed at deepening the community’s appreciation and understanding of the situation in the Middle East—lectures, films, and panel discussions. The Madeleine Korbel Albright Institute for Global Aff ffairs presented “Revolt and Repression in the Middle East.” On April 11, Roxanne Euben moderated the discussion in a crowded Alumnae Hall between former Secretary of State Madeleine Korbel Albright ’59 and former Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs ff Nicholas Burns. The Wellesley Arab Women’s Association was one of several student groups stepping up. Earlier in the semester, they presented a panel on the Egyptian revolution. “Th The Pendleton Atrium was jam-packed,” smiled Bahia Zoe Wahba ’12. “I’ve never seen such a turnout for an event put on by students.” Wahba, a chemistry major, is half-Egyptian. “Students were crying. It was really emotional. There was a general feeling that things were changing in a big way.” Even at the Collins Café, there was excitement about possibilities for the future of the Middle East. Getting coffee ff one afternoon, Wahba heard café employee Ashraf Youssef tell a customer, “I’m Egyptian.” Wahba reached out her hand and said in Arabic, “Ana misriyya kamaan!”” or “I’m Egyptian, too!” Student and staff ff member beamed, sharing an unshakable pride with countrymen and women 5,400 miles away. “We won. We are putting Mubarak in jail!” they said. “It’s frustrating,” Wahba said later, “to be here and care so much about what’s going on over there.”
‘The dynamics are permanently changed. The barrier of fear is down. . . . We have rounded an important corner. And no matter how ruthless the regime you’re talking about, if they survive these protests, they’re going to have to play by different rules now.’ —Rachid Aadnani, assistant professor of Middle Eastern studies
She chafes at what she sees as a focus on American interests in the region. What’s happening on the Arabic-speaking stage, say many experts, is first and foremost a struggle for dignity and human rights. Looking only at US interests in the region diminishes the intrinsic value of that effort ff and limits our understanding of the bigger picture, contends Aadnani. “Th The dynamics are permanently changed. Th The barrier of fear is down.” Aadnani sums up this remarkable season. “We have rounded an important corner. And no matter how ruthless the regime you’re talking about, if they survive these protests they’re going to have to play by diff fferent rules now.” Anisa Mehdi ’78, a 2009–10 Fulbright Scholar in Jordan and a documentary filmmaker, has done extensive work on the Middle East.
On a Bookshelf Near You
Alumnae interested in the Middle East may enjoy delving into the required readings for Aadnani’s course. Woman at Point Zero, by Nawal El Saadawi. Translated by Sherif Hatata. Zed Books, New York Children of the Alley, by Naguib Mahfouz. Anchor, New York The Last Summer of Reason, by Tahar Djaout. Translated by Marjolijn de Jager. Bison Books, Lincoln, Neb. The Yacoubian Building, by Alaa Al Aswany. Translated by Humphrey Davies. Harper Perennial, New York For Bread Alone, by Mohamed Choukri.
Translated by Paul Bowles. Telegram Books, London Voices of Resistance: Muslim Women on War, Faith and Sexuality, edited by Sarah Husain. Seal Press, Emeryville, Calif. New Media in the Muslim World: The Emerging Public Sphere (second edition), edited by Dale F. Eickelman and Jon W. Anderson. Indiana University Press, Bloomington, Ind. In the Country of Men, by Hisham Matar. The Dial Press, New York Qur’an and Woman: Rereading the Sacred Text from a Woman’s Perspective, by Amina Wadud. Oxford University Press, New York summerr 2011
Sana Saiyed ’12 was enjoying her junior year at the American University of Cairo when the city erupted in protest in January. Saiyed grew up in a suburb of Louisville, Ky.; Cairo dwarfed her hometown. It was a perfect place for the anthropology major to study ancient civilization and to appreciate another, current culture. “I was one of the few American study-abroad kids who did not hang out with Americans,” she says. “I feel it’s very important when you study abroad to get to know people who live there.” A friend sent Saiyed a Facebook invitation to the Jan. 25 protest in Tahrir Square; she received it while at her internship with Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities. “I didn’t go the fi first day. I was working,” she says, but she did go the next day. “There Th was water everywhere because they used hoses during the protests. Th There were police keeping the crowds down. Th They told us ‘You have to keep going.’” Shortly after Saiyed left, another huge demonstration started in the square. “From our apartment roof, we could see things burning and the police throwing tear gas.
You could hear people screaming from across the river and cheers and chants,” Saiyed says. Many of her friends were from Egypt’s wealthy, privileged class—individuals who, at first, fi eschewed participating in the protests. “They Th were saying, it doesn’t really concern us that much,” she says. But slowly it dawned on them that this was not about the economically disenfranchised. They began to understand that it was about all Egyptians. “So they left that night, and we all knew they were going to the protest on Friday.” At first, Saiyed could check their status on the internet and Twitter. “You could see the updates: demonstration starting now, starting now.” But on Jan. 28, there was a communications blackout. “Once the internet was turned off ff and phones were down, we had no idea what was going on.” That’s when it got confusing, but still not scary, she says. “We didn’t have news, and internet was down. We only had a Syrian TV channel, and that showed nothing,” she remembers. But nothing happened to her friends. “I think the news just
focused on the bad that happened. Throughout the entire situation I was never afraid for my life. I was never scared.” But her parents insisted that she come home and sent her a plane ticket with no wiggle room. Saiyed returned to the US, reluctantly. It was difficult adjusting back to life at Wellesley, she says. “I think the first two weeks I was back, all I would do was watch the To view a short video Saiyed made during the protests, news, try to figure out what was going visit tinyurl.com/5t7mc3s. on, try to keep in touch with my friends.” Saiyed left “a lot of stuff ff” in Egypt and told her doorman to give it away. She returned home without the souvenirs she expected to buy, including an Egyptian flag. “I thought I’d be there for another three to four months, so I figured I’d get them later.” But the biggest loss, she says, is face time with friends. Instead she relies on Facebook and Skype to stay connected. “I learned that being abroad for such a long time, you really form great relationships that are never going to leave.” —AM
Eyewitness y To a Revolution
Leila Chaieb ’13 first came to the
United States as a high-school student through the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study Program, sponsored by the US State Department. Life in Wisconsin “opened my eyes to the possibilities that I have and to the opportunities that are in front of me,” including pursuing a college education in America. She chose Wellesley even though in her homeland of Tunisia, single-sex schools “are outlawed.” When news broke about rebellion in her homeland, Chaieb was at Wellesley. “My friends would call me every day and say, ‘You should have been here. There’s so much going on!’” The sophomore was skeptical. It wasn’t that she didn’t hope for change. Rather, she thought the uprising would be put down—as usual. She watched in wonder as events developed. “I realized that this was the most important historic event in my country in my lifetime, and I missed it.” As disappointed as she was to be away from home, Chaieb knows there will be much to do in the future. Rebuilding a nation is not a short-term task. She is a biology major, and her dream is to create a research center in Tunisia comparable to America’s National Institutes of Health. As a young girl in Tunisia, she thought Madeleine Korbel Albright ’59 was “the coolest thing ever!” Older now, Chaieb hears Albright-the-diplomat To watch a recording of the Albright Institute program, “Revolt and Repression in the Middle East,” visit www.wellesley.edu/ albright/video/2011-revolt-andrepression-in-the-middle-east.html.
talking, putting American interests before all others in the region. When Secretary Albright addressed the Wellesley community in April, Chaieb asked her about US commitment to democratic elections in the region. “What if people elect leaders they want, but the US doesn’t like the winner? What if an Egyptian president is elected who intends to abrogate the Camp David treaty with Israel, then what?” “I think the United States is used to living with governments that we don’t like,” Albright responded. “We don’t have to have complete obedience from all various countries. . . . If there are democratic elections, then the United States will recognize them.” Professor Roxanne Euben, who was moderating, raised the countervailing example of Hamas, which won a majority of seats in the Palestinian parliament in 2006. The Th US refused to recognize the new government. Albright reasoned that Hamas had not met basic entry-level criteria for governance: “To give up violence, fi first.” That didn’t satisfy Chaieb: “I knew that I would not get much, but I thought that people needed to think about that.” Wellesley has given Leila Chaieb the freedom to think and to ask questions she couldn’t have posed in Tunisia’s previous regime. “It’s given me a space to practice,” she says, over fruit juice in the Lulu Chow Wang Campus Center, “and a way to talk and express my opinions and fi find either an agreeing or opposite opinion and think about it.” She is using the opportunity to “fi fix the rough edges.”
Turnover In Tunisia
‘When the police started ﬁring on people I was very afraid for my family. But the next day the president was gone!’ —Leila Chaieb ’13
L E AV I NG Photos by Adam Pretty
L E AV I NG By Anna Sherman â€™92
When the earthquake hit, I was in a car near my 7-year-old son Alex’s school in western Tokyo. The earth rippled, and then the asphalt began to roll in earnest. The buildings appeared strangely still, though the ancient elms lining the boulevard were flailing as if in a high wind. People were screaming and stumbling out of shops. The bucking went on and on; I felt nauseated, as if the car were a boat struggling in heavy seas. After the tremors finally stopped, traffi ffic began crawling forward; people clustered in doorways, smiling. Th The atmosphere was almost carnivalesque. At school, the children were huddled underneath desks, so the mothers waited, looking up at the building’s glass cladding, which glittered for five stories above us. “We shouldn’t be standing under all that,” said one mother, but no one moved. When Alex came out, I held him fiercely. “Mom!” he shouted, his face alight. “It was like being on a roller coaster!”
As we were leaving, my husband, Ian, shouted for me. He works for a bank in Otemachi, but by chance had been one train stop away from Alex’s school when the quake struck. I’d thought he was on the underground and imagined him trapped beneath Tokyo, since none of my texts had gone through. Nor did any to our babysitter, Neva, who was with our 3-year-old daughter, Laura. I texted Neva again and again: Are you alright. Where are you.
3.12.11 3.12.2011 Before noon, the baker’s shelves were almost stripped bare. In the grocery, instant noodles and flashlights disappeared first. That night, I dreamed about a thin bubble blooming north of Tokyo—radiant, invisible.
3.13.11 3.13.2011 At noon, a friend phoned. “I’ve got tickets out. My husband couldn’t get anything today or tomorrow. . . .” I phoned another friend. “What are you doing?” I asked, with no preamble. “I’m already in Osaka.” After we hung up, I called Cathay Pacific fi and reserved tickets for Wednesday, though I hoped we would never use them. Th The Japanese electricity company would announce an “all clear.” And my scattered friends would return. My father once told me a story about Douglas MacArthur and George Patton, who met during a World War I battle. Patton (then a lieutenant colonel) began to salute MacArthur (then a brigadier general), but ducked mid-salute to avoid an incoming shell. Later, MacArthur said, “I remember Patton. He ducked.” That’s what I wanted to feel about people who were leaving. They were ducking. I wouldn’t duck. That they might be smart, and I reckless and sorry, was something I didn’t want to believe.
3.14.2011 3.14.11 A day of rumors and apocalyptic e-mails. You can’t rent cars anymore, or book taxis. The French ordered their nationals out and said to tape up windows and not drink the water. The airport road has been damaged. The trains aren’t running. Th There’s no more food. There are long lines for gasoline. Ian was torn; he wanted to stay with his Japanese colleagues, but he also wanted our children safe. “Let’s stick it out?” he said.
3.15.11 3.15.2011 The day began with a text from my cousin, Joel, in Los Angeles. “Run. Run. RUN!” My cousin had promised me that he would wake me if something terrible happened. “If we have to drive to Osaka, I need to know fast,” I said. “You wouldn’t get far,” he answered. “You could run out of gas and then you’d be even more exposed to . . . to the . . . the elements. You’re safer where you are.”
Another cousin, a nuclear physicist, wrote: “The Th situation is bad and will probably get worse.” I read his e-mail and knew: We were done. At his offi ffice, Ian off ffered to pay for his three remaining staff ff’s tickets out. They were all Japanese, since most gaijin (foreigners) were already gone. No one took up his offer: ff One had flown his wife and two daughters south to Shikoku; another trader called Nobuyama-san couldn’t leave, since his wife is a doctor and refused to abandon her patients. That morning, Alex and I went to make rice cakes—onigiri—for i our neighborhood’s homeless, about 120 people who sleep outside or in blue tarp tents in Yoyogi Park. Though flimsy, the tents have entryways where shoes are lined up. (Homeless or not, the Japanese never track dirt where they sleep and eat.) Usually, I made rice cakes on Th Thursdays, but I wanted to participate before leaving. I hoped making rice cakes would make me feel better about leaving. No chance. We parked by Tokyo Union Church, where rice cakes are made in the basement kitchen. There were two older Japanese (Hiroko-san and Kumiko-san) and three gaijin. All the gaijin were leaving. While we were making the onigiri, Hiroko-san got a phone call from her niece in Sendai. “My brother and mother are safe!” Hiroko-san cried, lowering her eyes while she crammed rice into the triangular molds. “It’s such a relief to know!” “Your family house?” I asked, hesitantly. She shook her head, and a single tear fell. About the earthquake, we all agreed: “There Th aren’t the words.” “I read . . . that Japan is . . . wider now,” I said. “And that the quake changed the Earth’s rotation.” I didn’t know the Japanese word, so I made a spinning motion with my hands. The two women cheered up. “Bigger is good. I thought we had lost land.” “I heard,” Kumiko-san said timidly, “that the Russians are off ffering electricity. It will be good if this horrible experience brings people together.” “Th The Russians!” Hiroko-san said fiercely. “Japan could really set a precedent for switching to renewables.” I said. “Solar. Wind. Waves. If Japan gets behind those, everyone else will follow.” Hiroko-san sniff ffed. “Did you Americans quit building nuclear power plants after Th Three Mile Island?” I wondered who would make rice cakes next week; most volunteers are foreigners. My group’s only Japanese member is an older man called Higuchi-san; he was born in Nagasaki. One hand has webbed scars, where the skin once melted. I have never asked him what caused the marks. As we were leaving, Hiroko-san asked, “Where are you from?” “Arkansas,” I said. “Clinton’s jikkaa [home place]. Also MacArthur’s.” The two women fluttered. “Truly your state’s land produces great people!” “Well, MacArthur’s mother was upset when he was born early in Little Rock. She wanted him to be born in Virginia.” Kumiko-san looked blank. “But it’s the same, isn’t it?” I laughed. “Virginians are like people from Kyoto. Th They think everywhere else is a lesser place! But I love Arkansas. We grow rice and have onsen [hot springs], just like you.” Alex and I fed our parking meter and went up to the Omotesando Crossing. The wind had shifted, and the gauzy blue winter skies were gone; the light was stale and milky. I licked grit off ff my teeth. Later, I saw online Geiger readings that showed a morning spike in Tokyo’s radiation levels. We had no warning. When we got home, I made Alex strip off ff his clothes. Then I made him shower.
I saw online Geiger readings that showed a morning spike in Tokyo’s radiation levels. We had no warning. When we got home, I made Alex strip off his clothes. Then I made him shower. Near the Crossing, Alex and I went into a coffee ff shop so I could say good-bye to Daibo Katsuji-san. He is about 70 and wears his hair cropped short, like a Buddhist monk’s. Daibo-san serves coffee ff in austere tea-ceremony bowls. I ordered one. There were so many things I wanted to say, and I said none of them. As I paid my bill, I glanced down at the glossy battered wooden bar which flows unbroken for 15 feet. It was made from a single tree. I touched it, fl and then I bowed to Daibo-san and walked out. Downstairs, I pressed the heels of my hands against my eyes and keened like a child. Alex said, “Mom? Mom!” I sat down, with Alex’s small hand on my shoulder. “I don’t want to be the only safe ones,” I cried. “I want everyone to be safe.” That evening I took our fresh food—milk, cheese, vegetables—to Th our building’s supervisor, Ishizaki-san. He’s usually a cheerful 20-something, a little vain in his waistcoats and slightly foppish haircuts, but he was somber when I asked him to book an airport taxi for the next morning. He brightened when I off ffered him the food. “I’ve got other stuff ff,” I said hesitantly, “But it’s been opened . . . sausages . . . bacon.” “I’ll eat it,” he said swiftly. My offer ff and his answer would have been unthinkable before the earthquake: In Japan, the package is as important as the present. Wrapping was once a samurai skill. I brought him everything we had, along with a coat for dry-cleaning. He took my coat joyfully; it was an echo of prequake normalcy. “I’ll be back for it soon!” I said. He smiled wistfully. “Until then, I’ll be lonesome.” Back in our apartment, Ian was wrenched about leaving his staff ff but unwilling to keep our children in Tokyo any longer. “What will the Japanese think?” he asked. “You were here for the food and the lifestyle, but when it was tough, you left?” “We can’t take the risk, not with the children.” Ian lay on our bed and stared at the ceiling. “When I was in school, we used to worry about a nuclear catastrophe. Mostly, that it would happen before we had ever had sex. So we used to say, after you heard the Four Minute Warning, you’d have to find a girl and convince her that no one should die a virgin. . . . What? Wouldn’t you want to have sex before you died?” “I doubt that would be my last thought.” I quit shoving things in bags and sat on my heels. “Mostly . . . I’d want to look at the world before it was gone.”
3.16.11 3.16.2011 I slept for two hours and then woke: What if the taxi didn’t come? What if our fl flight was cancelled? What if Fukushima Dai-ichi really blew up? At 5 a.m., I woke Alex. “I’m ready! What can I do?” “You’ve been so brave. . . . What you can do is share that. Not everyone feels brave, not even grown-ups.”
Our flight was packed. Across the aisle, a Japanese woman stared past me out my window. She stared until the plane taxied and the land was gone and she could see only air and vapor. Th Then she looked away and covered her face with a blanket. As the plane climbed, I kissed Laura’s hair. And I thought of my neighborhood below. About the homeless men (they are almost all men) and their fragile dwellings. About Sato-san the baker. Th The florist Horikawa-san. And Takahashi-san the calligraphy master; 70 herself, she cares for her 100-year-old mother. Would they evacuate? And I thought about Nobuyama-san, whose wife the doctor won’t leave her patients. And I wonder if the Japanese I lived among will say: She ducked. Because I did.
A former editor and journalist for Financial Times Energy, Anna Sherman ’92 lives in Tokyo, where she works as a freelance editor. She is writing a book on her adopted city.
Postscript Sherman and her family evacuated to Hong Kong and stayed there until April 17, when the US State Department revised its travel warning for Japan: “The Th health and safety risks beyond the 50-mile evacuation zone are low and do not pose significant fi risks to US citizens. The situation at the plant is dramatically different ff today than it was on March 16, when we saw signifi ficant ongoing releases of radioactivity, the loss of eff ffective means to cool the reactor cores and spent fuel, the absence of outside power or fresh water supply for emergency management, and considerable uncertainty about the condition of the site. Today, while the situation remains serious . . . planning has begun to control radioactive contamination and mitigate future dangers.” On her return to the city, Sherman found Tokyo very little altered, at least on its surface. Stores continue to limit each shopper to only three bottles of water or tea; many of Sherman’s neighbors are importing water from Hawaii and even from as far away as France. Groceries feature maps of Japan pinpointing where produce originates; nothing from Fukushima is on the shelves, and very little from Fukushima’s surrounding prefectures. To conserve electricity, lights are switched off, ff or dimmed, so that in gyms and on train carriages, a strange half-light prevails, even at midmorning and noon. Sherman visited Daibo-san very soon after her return; he did not ask whether she had been away. Th The homeless men in Yoyogi Park stayed through the crisis, even as other Tokyoites— Japanese and foreign residents alike—left the city. “Th They are strong,” said Higuchi-san, the man from Nagasaki who helps run a rice program for Tokyo’s homeless. “Th They can carry everything they own on their backs. They have nothing to fear.” summerr 2011
YOUR ALUMNAE ASSOCIATION
NEWS AND INFORMATION FROM THE WORLDWIDE NETWORK OF THE WELLESLEY COLLEGE ALUMNAE ASSOCIATION
WAAD Worldwide ON MARCH 13,
close to 150 members of Wellesley Alumnae of African Descent (WAAD, pronounced “wade”) convened at locations across the country to launch what many hope to be a new tradition. Over tea or breakfast buff ffets, hors d’oeuvres and dinner, alumnae got together to build new relationships and renew existing ones—and talk about ways to support one another, area alumnae, and students of color. Herewith, a sampling of events, all of which cited good food and good fellowship, in equal measure: In Northern California, eight attendees toasted incoming Mills College President Alecia DeCoudreaux ’76 and decided to hold twice-annual events to strengthen their bonds. Across the country in the nation’s capital, 31 alums from classes between 1969 and 2008 talked about ways to increase participation in Washington Wellesley Club events. In the City of Brotherly Love, members also discussed ways to boost involvement, possibly by attending a performance of the Black Pearl Orchestra led by Jeri Johnson ’93 or the accepted-student reception. In Chicago, alumnae set plans to meet quarterly, possibly visiting museums or galleries. And Atlanta alums capitalized on President Bottomly’s visit to the Atlanta Girls’ School with a reception hosted
Clockwise from top: WAAD Atlanta, with President H. Kim Bottomly and Alecia DeCoudreaux ’76, Chair of the Wellesley Board of Trustees; WAAD Indianapolis; WAAD Los Angeles.
by Alecia DeCoudreaux, outgoing chair of the Wellesley College Board of Trustees. An informal networking event in New York’s Harlem brought together 36 alumnae from 1974 to 2010 who toasted their historic gathering. At Wellesley’s own Harambee House, New Englanders brainstormed ways to engage other alums and promote WAAD, while recruiting and admissions were topics
of interest for those at the Los Angeles event, a casual tea like those served in the dorms. The Indianapolis event was a fashion show organized by Sola Adelowo ’00 to coincide with Midwest Fashion Week, and in Michigan, attendees talked about how to restart the Southeast Michigan Alumnae Club. To find out more about WAAD or find a group near you, please visit www.wellesley. edu/Alum/Groups/WAAD/index.html or waadblog.blogspot.com. —Jennifer Flint
THE SYRENA STACKPOLE AWARDS went to Christine Grimstad Franklin ’61 and Lia Gelin Poorvu ’56. Th The award is given annually at reunion by the WCAA in recognition of an alumna’s dedicated service and exceptional commitment to Wellesley. Following graduation, Franklin maintained close ties to Wellesley through various club roles including “acquaintanceship chair of the Chicago junior Wellesley Club” and later admission representative and president of the South Shore club in Massachusetts. Over the years, Franklin has also served her class as president, special-gifts chair, and reunion treasurer. From 2000 to 2003, she was president of the Alumnae Association. Her goals as president were to include perspectives of young alumnae; to increase the use of technology; and to enhance leadership capacities and the overall eff ffectiveness of WCAA board of directors and class, club, reunion, and admission volunteers. Th The alumnae board is still focused on these important goals today. Poorvu has been a strong Wellesley volunteer serving Wellesley in many capacities: helping to raise money for W in special gifts, annual giving, and the Wellesley Development and Outreach Council; assisting with reunion planning for her class; and joining the Business Leadership Council. She has also served on the board of the Wellesley Centers for Women, chaired the Durant Society, and was a member of the Alumnae Achievement Award Committee, the Alumnae Trustee Nominating Committee, and Friends of the Library. From 2000 to 2006, Poorvu served on the Wellesley College Board of Trustees as an alumnae trustee.
Clockwise from top: Boston-area alumnae at Harambee House; individual alumnae at WAAD New York City (three photos); WAAD Washington, D.C.
THE 2011 SYRENA STACKPOLE AWARDS
YOUR ALUMNAE ASSOCIATION
REUNION ALBUM 2011 1936
PHOTOGRAPHS BY RICHARD HOWARD
To see a slideshow of reunion photos, visit youtube.com/wellesleymag.
YOUR ALUMNAE ASSOCIATION
NEW ALUMNAE ASSOCIATION BOARD MEMBERS
The following alumnae were elected to the WCAA Board of Directors at the association’s annual meeting on June 6.
KAREN WILLIAMSON ’69
“I spent the second semester of my junior year studying in Kenya and traveling around East Africa. One of the greatest experiences of my life was made possible through the Wellesley Waddell Scholarship and other generous fi financial aid.”
WCAA president-elect, 2011–12 WCAA president, 2011–15
WHY SHE VOLUNTEERS FOR WELLESLEY: CAREER AND VOLUNTEER ACTIVITIES: • Owner and principal consultant, KEW Consulting, 2011–present; chief
of policy and programs, DC Primary Care Association, 2009–10; vice president for development, Administrative Services, Inc., 2007–09; various positions, AmeriChoice/UnitedHealthcare, 1989–2006 • Earned an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago • Board member, Wellesley College Alumnae Association, 2005–09; chair, founding committee, Wellesley Alumnae of African Descent (WAAD), 2009–10; class president, 1994–99; class special-gift committee member, 2003–04; president, Washington Wellesley Club, 2000–02 • Currently serving as board member for YWCA National Capital Area and Community Health Partnership INTERESTING FACT:
“I must like to ‘found’ things. I was a cofounder and fi first president of Ethos. After graduate school, I was a founder of the National Black M.B.A. Association, which now has over 40 chapters and many thousands of members. I recently served as chair of the founding committee for WAAD.” WHY SHE VOLUNTEERS FOR WELLESLEY:
“I am very honored to be asked to continue serving Wellesley as president of the WCAA. Throughout my life, Wellesley has been a wonderful door to lifelong learning, great friendships, and unexpected opportunities. I look forward to working with the entire Wellesley community on behalf of Wellesley alumnae everywhere.”
PATIENCE SINGLETON ROACH ’92
Washington, D.C. Chair, Alumnae Admissions Representatives, 2011–13 CAREER AND VOLUNTEER ACTIVITIES: • Advisor, Offi ffice of the Secretary, US Department of Housing and Urban
Development, April 2009–present; counsel, US House Committee on Financial Services, 2007–09; Democratic counsel, US Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, ff 1998–2007; attorney, Shaw, Pittman, Potts and Trowbridge, 1996–98 • Holds a J.D. and M.P.P. from Harvard University • Washington Wellesley Club book-award chair, 2008–10; alumnae admissions representative, 2002–06
“I volunteer for Wellesley because Wellesley invested in me. My years at Wellesley were full of tremendous personal growth, discovery, and intellectual maturity. In addition to providing me with a strong academic foundation, Wellesley provided a nurturing and supportive environment that encouraged me to pursue my dreams and interests. Because I know that many young women would similarly benefit fi from the strong sense of community and rich educational experience, I have worked to expose high-school women from all socioeconomic, ethnic, and religious backgrounds to the benefi fits of Wellesley and encouraged them to apply. As a member of the alumnae board, I will continue this commitment.”
YANG QIU ’08
Cambridge, Mass. Young Alumnae Director, 2011–14 CAREER AND VOLUNTEER ACTIVITIES: • Doctoral student in environmental health at Harvard School of Public
Health, 2011–present; master-of-science student in global health and population, Harvard School of Public Health, 2009–11 • College Government vice president 2006–08; CG organizations coordinator (SOAC), 2005–06; student representative to Board of Trustees, Building and Grounds Committee; member of College Government, 2004–08 • Volunteer for Blindness Prevention Program, Sichuan Province, China 2004–present; board of advisors, Harvard College Global Health Review 2009–present INTERESTING FACT:
“A friend of mine called me an ‘integrator.’ With training in both the social sciences and the natural sciences at Wellesley, I have continued the interdisciplinary approach during my graduate study by combining global-health studies with environmental-science research. For the past couple of years, I have been working on creating a social enterprise for blindness prevention by integrating a business model into cataract-surgery delivery.” WHY SHE VOLUNTEERS FOR WELLESLEY:
“Wellesley years taught me to stay open to different ff perspectives, to take time and learn, and to have the confidence fi and courage to explore. I would like to continue to share valuable experiences like this with fellow members of the Wellesley community. More importantly, to connect people, ideas, and perspectives, to support Wellesley people as they learn and explore.”
FACULTY-STAFF SERVICE AWARD
THE 2011 FACULTY-STAFF SERVICE AWARD was presented
THE ALUMNAE ASSOCIATION announces the following
by the WCAA to Kevin Reardon, operations manager at the
events for 2011–12. Unless otherwise noted, events take place at the College. For more information,
Wellesley College Club. Reardon arrived at Wellesley 23 years ago and since then has become the face of the club to generations of alumnae. “Kevin goes above and beyond what his title implies and provides a level of hospitality and attention to detail that are widely recognized by anyone who frequents the Col-
WCAA BOARD OF DIRECTORS:
10–11 Day to Make a Difference, Wellesley’s worldwide community-service event
President Karen Gentleman ’77
30 through Oct. 3 Class of ’55 mini-reunion in the historic Hudson Valley. For more information, contact Marilyn Horlick Fishel ’55,
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
Executive Director Susan
Challenger ’76 in present-
WCAA board of directors meeting
ing the award. “In fact, in
Alumnae Leadership Council
my travels many alumnae will often ask me ‘How is Kevin?’ with the same fondness and appreciation they have for a favorite professor.” His smile, warmth, and unﬂappable attitude are his hallmark, she added.
Alumnae Achievement Awards
WCAA board of directors meeting
Ex ofﬁciis: Susan Challenger ’76 Alice M. Hummer Katherine Stone Kaufmann ’67
GOLD GOLD GO LDEN EN VOI OICE C S AT CE A S STE TE EPS P IN NGI GING NG G The da The ay may hav ave e been bee een e g en gray,, bu b t the the yel ye low class a of 20 2011 11 bro 11 brough ughtt som ugh ome su sunsh nsh shine ine to St Ste epsinging on May 6. Students from all fo all four ur cla c sse sess and and Dav Da avis is Sch hola olars rss (pl (plus us a few fe ew w dea deans— ns— s— —John Joh ohn O’Ke Keeffe fe, belo fe, belo ow) bel belted ted ou outt old favorites like “O Thou Tupelo, lo ” “Th The e Well el esl esley ey Compos Com ompos p ite po ite,”” and and,, of of cour ourse, se, “A Amer merica ica,, the ica the Bea B uti Be u fu ul.” ul.” ul . The here re e wass al also so o some of the traditional sma ack k talk:
Alumnae Trustees: Linda Cozby Wertheimer ’65 Nami Park ’85 Ruth Chang ’81 Sandra Polk Guthman ’65 Shelly Anand ’08
““2“2 2-0-1 0 -1 Wel Welles We les esley ley,, rah! ley ah! 2-0-1 2-0-1 0- -1, -1 Welle Welle llesle sley! sle y! Jun Ju iorrs, s, why h ar are e you you u sti s ll her here? e? ? You o sh s ould have gone abroad th his yea e r!” As Ste t psi psingi nging ngi ng dre drew w to a cl close os , the sen ose senior ior o s were were e re reluc r luc uctan tant a t to to leav a e th thei heir eir prim prim rime e spot ot on th t e steps of the e Chapel. Don’ n t worry, ’11 11 1ers e , we’ we’lllll see ee yo you u Step epsin singin sin ging gin g agai agai gain n at at reun reun eunion ion o in i 20 2 16!
ALUMNAE ASSOCIATION SENIOR STAFF:
Executive Director Susan Challenger ’76 Director of Alumnae Events Heather MacLean Director of Alumnae Groups Susan Lohin Alumnae Ofﬁce Financial Administrator Greg Jong
To read Wellesley magazine online, visit www.wellesley.edu/magazine. LISA SCANLON ’99
lege Club,” said WCAA
call the Alumnae Ofﬁce at 781-283-2331.
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.
To see a slideshow of commencement and reunion photos, visit youtube.com/wellesleymag.
HEIDI AVERY ’89
When Disaster Strikes
eidi Avery ’89 has a single goal each day: keeping America safe.
Threat Integration Center in 2003, which evolved into the National Counter-
As the deputy assistant to the president for homeland secu-
terrorism Center in 2004. One of its goals is to fuse threat information from
rity and the deputy homeland security advisor, Heidi is charged
different sources so the United States
with helping to respond to and prepare for any type of homeland security
can act to disrupt plots and stop indi-
challenge—including acts of terrorism, natural and manmade disasters like the
viduals before an attack takes place.
Deepwater Horizon oil spill, and global health epidemics like the H1N1 ﬂu outbreak—affecting the United States.
Heidi’s work is based in Washington, but she traveled with President
When an incident occurs, Heidi promptly talks with leaders in federal
Obama last year to survey the damage
agencies to appraise the situation and learn what the federal government can
from the Deepwater Horizon spill. She
do to provide assistance quickly. She then works to keep ofﬁcials, including
also accompanied Homeland Security
President Obama, informed and to ensure that the government is offering the
Secretary Janet Napolitano on a trip to
right help to people on the ground.
Afghanistan over New Year’s.
Heidi’s interest in national security began at Wellesley, particularly during
To help cope with the stress of
an international security class taught by Robert Paarlberg, the Betty Freyhof
work, Heidi tries to get out on the
Johnson ’44 Professor of Political Science, where she learned about globaliza-
Potomac, often at 5 A.M., to row three
tion and “the interdependence of the world we live in.” A political-science major,
or four times a week. It’s a sport she
Heidi spent her senior year at Oxford University and stayed on to receive her
participated in during her sophomore
master’s degree in modern history.
and junior years at Wellesley. “You
As the nation prepares to mark the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror-
don’t get a lot of time to think” at
ist attacks, Heidi believes the country is safer now than it was then. Heidi, who
work, she says. “It’s fast action all the
also served for 2½ years as director of intelligence programs at the National
time, going from meeting to meeting.”
Security Council under President George W. Bush, says President Obama’s
Spending time on the water, she adds,
efforts have “very much been continuing to build on efforts that came before.”
offers “a little bit of time to think more
The killing of Osama bin Laden marked “the culmination of years of diligent effort by our intelligence community and beyond, and there was a sense of relief that justice was served,” she says. While defending the United States from every possible type of terrorist act is not possible, the government is pursuing initiatives to reduce the risk of a catastrophic attack, she says. Heidi was involved in launching the Terrorist
strategically.” But Heidi clearly enjoys what she’s doing. Calling herself very “missionfocused,” she says Wellesley helped her develop a “strong sense of duty to others.” Now, she adds, “everyday, whatever the circumstances or challenges, I draw from my experience at Wellesley to ﬁgure out the answers.” —Mary Lynn F. Jones ’96
SHUKRI ABDI ’01
hukri Abdi ’01 has been known to run across studio lots when a golf cart is not available, work seven days a week, and do all-nighters when the job requires, all while barely batting an eye. Regardless of where she ﬁnds
“I can see something go from my mind to being shot in days or weeks,” she says. “It’s really cool.” While her future goals involve starting a family and possibly exploring the
herself, Shukri is grateful for the life she has found in the world of reality television.
world of stand-up comedy—
Appropriately enough, her ﬁrst name derives from the Arabic word for thankful,
which she dabbled in at Welles-
which she says ﬁts her to a T.
ley, where she performed weekly
“I’m so grateful,” Shukri says. “It can be a stressful job, but it’s very rewarding. I like to take advantage of every minute of the day.” Nestled on a studio lot in Hollywood, Shukri heads the games department
at Molly’s Pub—right now her priority is being the best at what she does.
for the second season of Oxygen Network’s reality show Hairbattle Spectacular. A
“You want to see all the
veteran of a Minute to Win It and The Apprentice, Shukri is accustomed to the ways
contestants succeed,” she says.
of reality television. She’s worked in the business now for more than six years, and
“I owe it to these contestants to
while thinking up games and challenges for reality show contestants has become
give them every opportunity to
her forte, there is no challenge for her that is too great. “Find a way or make one”
succeed at every challenge I’m
is her mantra, a motto she learned at her all-female high school in Bethesda, Md.
putting them up against.”
“Not being able to do it is not an option,” she says.
Seeing the contestants on
It would appear this type of attitude is what helped her land a gig in reality
Hairbattle Spectacularr swoop up
television in the ﬁrst place. A chance reconnection with a high-school friend in New
their best fantasy hairstyles has
York got her an audition for the second season of The Apprentice. Hired initially as
helped her gain an appreciation
a production assistant, or “PA” in Hollywood lingo, Shukri didn’t hesitate to aim for
for their artistry and dedication.
a bigger role. By networking on the show, she found out they needed someone to
Being dedicated to the job is
help ﬁll the audience for the show’s ﬁnale. The challenge: It was in 48 hours, but
something she can deﬁnitely re-
Shukri was up to the task.
late to on a daily basis.
“I walked around New York with a sign that said, ‘Free Tickets to NBA Game,’” she recalls. Shukri’s strategy worked. Hundreds of people showed up, and her bosses were impressed. Her tenacity landed her in Los Angeles and onto the set of Minute to Win It. Having worked there, as well as for a production company pitching unscripted shows to networks, Shukri is fast becoming a television production
“I think at Wellesley what really helped prepare me was . . . the whole work ethic of, it has to be done, and what you turn in is not going to be crap, it has to be great,” she says. She credits her success to her family’s support. “There are really long hours,” she says. “But it’s really exciting always thinking on your toes.” —Karen Jordan ’91
JEEYUN LEE ’06 AND YENA JUNG ’06
Business Is Blooming
eeyun Lee ’06 and Yena Jung ’06 are in love with ﬂowers. So in love, in fact, that they ditched corporate life to start their own ﬂoral and event design company, Blush Designs, in New York City. For Yena, this love affair started when she was events director at Flow-
ers of the World, covering the Trump Soho and the Ritz Carlton Battery Park. “I knew that I wanted to do it all for myself someday,” says Yena. After Wellesley, she tasted the world of banking with a full-time position at Banc of America Securities, but she comes from a family of entrepreneurs and had always wanted to start a business of her own. “It was always just a matter of what kind of business and when I would launch it,” she explains.
ering the event industry, she and Yena sat down to talk about life and brainstorm where they wanted their careers to take them. “The idea of Blush came about pretty organically,” says Yena. “We nailed
Meanwhile, Jee started her career in publishing and photography at Condé Nast. While Jee was working as the photo editor at BizBash, a trade magazine cov-
down the event design and styling company idea given my background in ﬁnance
Jeeyun Lee ’06 and Yena Jung ’06
and event design and Jee’s background in styling, photography, and magazines.
to Yena, like when the pair is asked to create animal sculptures covered in ﬂowers
The name wasn’t as easy to come up with, though!”
or when ﬂowers come in from Holland in the wrong color. “One of our favorite lines
With their powers combined, the blueprint for an event design ﬁrm took
is, ‘Just make it work,’” says Jee, quoting fashion consultant Tim Gunn.
shape. Yena and Jee sought to create an aesthetic with a softer feel—modern, but
Though Jee and Yena have very different personalities and backgrounds,
still warm and romantic. Still, Jee acknowledges that as a young design ﬁrm their
they agree that Blush Designs is a harmonious blend of their strengths. “Our
“design aesthetic is always changing and growing,” which makes them adaptable
backgrounds and experiences come together really well, so that we can cover
to their clients’ tastes and styles.
everything by ourselves—design, marketing, business development, and ﬁnance,”
In the event planning business, adaptability is key. There is no such thing as a “normal week,” and a single day might take the pair all over New York City. “One week we’re staying up for two days straight working on the 14 Valentine’s Day weddings at the Empire State Building. Another week we’re cleaning 1,500
explains Yena. “Doing it together makes us feel like we can do it all.” “We share this crazy intensity and passion for our work,” says Jee. “This intensity is what gets us through everything we do. We won’t throw in the towel, no matter how hard it gets.”
ﬂowers that just came in from Colombia for a wedding,” Yena explains. Sometimes clients can be demanding, and there have been some “hairy moments,” according
—Anna K. Johns ’09 To learn more about Blush Designs, visit www.blushdesignsny.com.
LETTERS (Continued from page 3)
Perhaps it is time to feel satisfied fi with what I’ve got, and look for ways to remove the capital “L” I’ve stuck on my forehead. Anonymous ’07 CAN WE HAVE IT ALL?
Bravo for including Karen Grigsby Bates’ article “When Life Doesn’t Measure Up” in the winter ’11 issue. As a Wellesley woman who has strived to “measure up” through pursing a Ph.D. and becoming an assistant professor of English, I’ve seen— and lived—fi firsthand the diff fference between a life that looks good on paper and a well-lived life. In the face of higher-education budget cuts and hiring freezes, even graduate students who have done everything right cannot find full-time teaching jobs; likewise, fi many of us who have “measured up” in postgraduate life tend to hide the hidden costs of success. Th The challenge in the “Wellesley way”—and in American life more broadly—is to find a mode of self-measurement that accounts for, and openly acknowledges, the fact that none of us can have it all. A fantastic article—simply one of the best pieces I’ve read in the magazine! Lisa Hinrichsen ’99 Fayetteville, Ark. THINK LESS ABOUT OTHERS
First, let me say that my connection to Wellesley at this point is nebulous at best. I have never attended a reunion. I only keep in touch with a few people from that time in my life. I only contribute to the College if I accidentally answer the phone during the donor drive. I am much more likely to give both time and money to Teach for America (perhaps because their alumni have reached out to me many times with requests for help and personal contact, as well as the fact that those years were a much happier period in my life than my time at Wellesley). I also rarely do more than glance at my Wellesleyy magazine. However, I read the winter ’11 article by Karen Grigsby Bates ’73 all the way through. Her name caught my eye because I recognized it from NPR, but the article was fascinating. I love my life and consider myself very lucky to have been happily married for 13 years, to have two wonderful, healthy children, and to have a career I really enjoy. However, I completely understand that feeling of inadequacy you can get from hearing about
the success of other alumnae. Does my life measure up? I have no idea what others think, but the less I pay attention to what other alumnae have accomplished, the less I worry about it and the happier I am. I will likely go back to generally ignoring my Wellesley connection for the most part. If people ask where I went to college, I tell them. It isn’t that I am embarrassed. I just tend not to bring it up myself. Liisa Hiatt ’91 Redondo Beach, Calif. VOLUNTEERING FOR SUCCESS
One way to deal with failure is to try something else. I have no job and have had no luck finding one. Few people in my profession want to hire a 62 year old. However, I found something else to do. I have been teaching 5th and 6th graders how to knit. It involves a little bit of history (my major) and promotes communication between the right and left brain. It is supposed to improve hand-eye coordination and help children learn to focus. I do this for “free.” I start up simple garter-stitch washcloths and show each student how to do the knit stitch, as often as needed. I fix up the mistakes that can be fixed and help sew up any loose ends. An important lesson is that we are not aiming for perfection when we learn a new skill. The process, not the product, is important. Quite a few of the students have progressed to “monsters” (Th The Big Book of Knitted Monsters by Rebecca Danger). As it turns out, knitting is really good for people with ADD. I wasn’t diagnosed until I was in my fifties, but I had knitted in meetings for years, because I realized that I could listen better, and that my thoughts were far less likely to wander when I was knitting. So, I hope that the lessons I teach to the students will help them in their lives. The students and the teachers have been very enthusiastic, and I am having a wonderful time. One of the most interesting observations I have made is that very few children know how to make things, and they are thrilled to create a product that someone can use. Th They have also been amazed that I give them the needles and yarn. I have been thanked many times. If I see them around town, they greet me. I would suggest that volunteering at schools is a great way to feel like a success! Linnea Priest ’70, M.D. Traverse City, Mich.
NO NEED FOR RECOGNITION
I found the article “When Life Doesn’t Measure Up” magazine both interesting and timely (perhaps long overdue?). I think perhaps that the real “problem” is not failure to achieve but is simply a diff fference in degrees of recognition. Our culture (and Wellesley College?) seems to focus on recognizing spectacular achievements but cannot seem to recognize small, quiet ones, which are every bit as important to the smooth running of the world. I wrote in my 40th-reunion record book: “Letting go of the need for recognition (of any kind or degree) has been enormously liberating. Anonymity is delightful!” Perhaps all of us who are “not Hillary” should simply ask ourselves if we have made the world run a little more smoothly. And ask: Didn’t Wellesley equip us to make the distinction between “spectacular” and “valuable”? Kathy Kitch Hagerman ’61 Sante Fe, N.M. WEIGHT AND SUCCESS
I read the article “When Life Doesn’t Measure Up” in the winter ’11 magazine and was saddened that the article did not address weight issues as part of the inferiority concerns of some Wellesley women. Are we to assume that no one from Wellesley struggles with weight and feels she doesn’t live up to Wellesley standards as a result? Let’s not fool ourselves. Weight is an enormous component of the Wellesley woman’s identity. Aren’t eating disorders a hidden truth for many Wellesley undergrads? As we age, some of us have struggled with our weight and do not attend Wellesley functions as a result. We know that we are bound to stick out and be judged. Without question, despite my education, my family status, and vocation, I am certain that I do not measure up because I am overweight. Lorraine Leist ’92 Lafayette, Colo. SISTERLY SUPPORT
“When Life Doesn’t Measure Up” is a fantastic article. It could also have a title, “When My Goals Don’t Measure Up.” It’s a wonderful subject, and I suspect will generate many additional submissions. I hope you will continue publishing them, so that we will see that one of the most valuable resources of our College is the wisdom, humor, and support found in sister graduates. Doreen Wellens Banks ’78 East Williston, N.Y.
SHELF LIFE (Continued from page 21)
A COMMITMENT TO CHANGE
Many thanks for posting the incredible story of perseverance and commitment to equality, as exemplified fi in Beth Coye’s “‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’: A Personal Journey to Activism” (winter ’11). So inspiring and a reminder how integrity and an unfailing commitment can lead to real societal and professional change. Brava for sharing this story—and to Beth for her work in the military. That’s truly a Wellesley sister in action! Thank you so much. My heart is touched and my mind, inspired. Alexandra Loria ’89 New York DADT: A WELLESLEY CONNECTION
Thank you for printing Beth Coye’s story in the winter ’11 magazine! I now work on DADT repeal with the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, where Beth is a member of our Military Advisory Council. She was one of the fi first to welcome me to the organization with a bubbly note pointing out our Wellesley connection. As my interest in the military grew at Wellesley, I searched for alumnae who could relate, and I feel grateful to have found Beth, who also understands about DADT, which has thus far barred me from following in her military footsteps. On a related note, it is always heartening to me to see references to Wellesley’s LGBT alumnae in the magazine. It is refreshing to see that my alma mater does not hide its LGBT population in the same way as my Catholic high schools! Elizabeth Shirey ’10 Washington, D.C. CULTIVATING LOYALTY
After reading the winter ’11 story, “The Th More Things Change,” I now understand the meaning of undying loyalty and how it is created and nurtured. I am prouder than ever of being married to Vicki Young ’72 and to count as friends many of her fi fine classmates. Bill Bucy Palo Alto, Calif. HERE’S TO DON LEACH
Th Thank you for the delightful interview with Don Leach, assistant director of residential life/resident director, Lake House (“In Residence,” winter ’11). I was an R.A. and first-year mentor in Stone-Davis when Don was the resident director there. He truly made Wellesley a wonderful place to live. From the hikes he would take us on around Lake Waban, to leading by example, enjoying a cup of tea and a book
of poetry in the courtyard on a sunny day, he quietly helped us to appreciate the little things in life. Wellesley is very lucky to have him. Talia Schatz ’08 New York JOINING THE PROTEST
I hesitated to write before about the size of the type in the alumnae magazine since I am in my 80s and I thought my complaint would automatically be discounted. However, since I note there are several letters in the recent issue from readers younger than I, I would like to add my protest to theirs. I can read the magazine but with difficulty. ffi Therefore, my impulse is to skim the contents— except for the class notes—and then discard it. I would appreciate your considering larger and more legible type for future issues. Jane Carman Bradford ’46 La Jolla, Calif. THINK OF OLDER READERS
I am very unhappy with the font and glossy paper of the magazine. I’ve been trying to read an interesting article in the winter issue and just can’t continue. It was extremely diffi fficult reading this small print on refl flective paper, and I now have a headache. Please, please, please, consider those of us who are on the older end of the age spectrum and who love Wellesley and continue to be interested in reading stories relating to Wellesley and who not only contribute to the College but also to the magazine. Do you really want to alienate such a large population??? The magazine is indeed beautiful and is full of interesting articles I would love to read if I could. But I should think your goal would be sharing information rather than producing a piece of art. Elizabeth Schwartz Lourie ’58 Washington, D.C.
immigrants, who must travel to the house of her ancestors in order to find truth and redemption within its walls. The infl fluences of the stellar canon of Indian writing are clearly visible in Th The Girl in the Garden: The novel is preceded by a family tree, in the tradition of the family sagas of Vikram Seth and Salman Rushdie; the exotic setting of Kerala, with its lush vegetation and Malayalam customs, owes more than a nod to Arundhati Roy; and there is no Indian novel in which love and tragedy do not play a major role— even the Hindu holy scriptures have their share of both. But Nair manages to make this story her own. Rakhee knows she cannot marry her fi fiancé because she has never faced the demons of her past; to do so, she recounts the story of a seemingly idyllic childhood in Plainfi field, Minn., with her scientist father and beautiful but troubled mother. The even pace of her ordinary childhood is interrupted when Rakhee’s mother, after receiving a mysterious letter from India, decides to take her to visit her long-lost relatives. Rakhee reconnects with her family: her aunt Sandhana, uncle Vijay, and three female cousins, Meenu, Krishna, and Gitanjali, who quickly become like sisters to her as they romp through the hot summer in Kerala. But when Rakhee learns about the mysterious garden where no child is allowed to go, her curiosity is piqued, setting in motion a chain of events that causes all the secrets of the Varma family to unfurl. A Gothic tale of horror vies with the redemptive power of love and sisterhood, and Rakhee fi finds herself both savior and saved when she finally comes to terms with who she is and where she comes from, in this compelling, bittersweet tale. —Bina Shah ’93 Bina Shah ’93, author of Slum Child, is a novelist and short-story writer based in Karachi, Pakistan.
TOO MUCH GLARE
The new magazine format is very attractive. However, the paper is a high gloss which causes frequent readjustment d of the pages to avoid glare. The larger width of the magazine makes it more difficult ffi to change position as the pages are fl floppy. I’m sorry to add more negative comments to a change that should be receiving congratulations for its graphic design, but between the glare and the smaller typeface the magazine is more diffi fficult to read, and read it is what we do. Janet Buck Crowther ’63 Dalton, Pa.
FRESH INK (Continued from page 21)
JL Williams (Jennifer Brailey Williams ’99)— Condition of Fire, Shearsman Books, Exeter, England Stephanie Williams (Stephanie Williams Knight ’70)—Running the Show: Governors of the British Empire 1857–1912, Viking Adult, New York
Annual Not Giving
It lights the way. Your contribution to Wellesley creates opportunities for the countryâ€™s brightest young women to shine. And with their Wellesley education, they will make a diďŹ€erence in the lives of others. Thank you. 82 wellesleyy
Office for Resources
Only to Be Th There
HEN I CAME BACK
to Wellesley for my fifth reunion, I had a plan. First, I would visit the Secret Shower in the Science Center, the one with the suspiciously well-used bottles of Suave. And then I would find the doorway to the tunnels—the one in the greenhouse with the clouded panes and rusty doorknob. And fi finally, I’d seek out Tupelo Point, where my a cappella group used to break in our newbies with a starlight serenade and (surprise!) skinny-dip. But something weird happened. When I went to look, I couldn’t find them. The path I thought I knew to the Secret Shower—up the ancient elevator to the sixth floor, across the catwalk, beyond the psych offi ffices and down the hall-of-many-windows—led nowhere. And the doors in the greenhouse foyer all looked unfamiliar, and didn’t budge when I tried the knobs. So later, when I stood on Green Beach staring off ff toward the trees, I didn’t even trust myself to find the path to Tupelo Point. I was scared the sacred place had disappeared like all the others. It’s as if the campus had shifted to obscure them. I felt so confused. Had I dreamed these places? For me, and for all of us, Wellesley is a memory palace. But memories aren’t static; they’re live and mutable things. My memories resurface and reform in my dreams—I dream about Wellesley all the time, even eight years after graduating. Sometimes, I’m fretting about scoring the perfect room for senior year. (In real life, I actually did get the perfect room—Tower Court West 6, with a lake view—but it seems my subconscious still can’t believe my luck.) Or I realize that it’s exam time, and I forgot to drop that mysterious math class where students triangulate in a hot sunny room. (I’m never anxious about my humanities classes. Imagine that.) But many times, the dreamed “memories” are not of real places at all. Often, I visit a many-chambered library of red velvet, known to be haunted
Monica Byrne ’03 is a writer and playwright based in Durham, N.C. Her website is monicabyrne.org.
by ghosts. Or a rampart marking the borders of campus, bearing different ff flowering trees, and sweethearts strolling along it two by two. Or a pool set in the grass of Green Beach, swampy and overgrown, but unspeakably sacred. All of these sites are “memories” that aren’t real. So Wellesley exists in the real, the dreamed, and the imagined space like colored circles overlapping. Where they overlap is where I stand, trying to make sense of my life since leaving Wellesley. I know now that every time I come back, I’ll never see the same place, nor be the same person. When I visited in the fall of 2003, I was a single, stubborn MIT graduate student, intent on making my career in a field that was both diffi fficult and unsatisfying to me. When I visited on a sweltering summer day in 2005, I had decided to leave science, and came with a lover-friend who played piano in Tower Great Hall while I snuck away to take a shower with all my clothes on. When I visited in the summer of 2008 for my fi fifth reunion, I had tentatively decided to make writing the center of my life, and brought my partner, a fellow artist with whom I’d wanted to share the beautiful campus. It would be our last trip together before our upcoming separation—of which I was terrified—when I would take a round-theworld trip for writing research. When I visited in the fall of 2009, I was single. And changed. And more sure of what I wanted than I ever had been in my life. Paradoxically, that understanding had made the world seemed a thousand times bigger. I walked around campus in a calm and grateful daze, not seeking out any secrets, but letting them come to me. I feel as though the campus understands these things. It will always show me what I need to see, but not more. When I was a student, some doors were open to me, like the Secret Shower and the greenhouse portal to the tunnels. But now that I’ve gotten older, those doors have closed. It doesn’t matter whether they exist for other people. I have tremendous love for my 21-year-old self, but she lives in a world that’s as good as gone. But it’s really OK. The Galenstone will still preside over June commencements, and Lake Waban will still sparkle in October sunlight. The mainstays of Wellesley’s sacred geography will stay the same, but she is shifting her details, as I am shifting my dreams.
By Monica Byrne ’03
2011 To see a slideshow of commencement photos, visit youtube.com/wellesleymag. For more on the dayâ€™s ceremony, see page 13. PHOTOS BY RICHARD HOWARD
RICHAR RICHA RICH RIC R ICHAR ICHA ICH IC CHAR CHA C HAR HA H AR A RD H HOWARD HOWAR HOWA HOW HO OWARD OWAR OWA OW O WARD WAR WA W ARD AR A RD R D
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