Honorary Degree Citation
May 23, 2010
Joanne, the tables have turned. Since 1996, you have bestowed honors to meritorious individuals upon this stage, and it is now our turn to return the favor.
As we look around our beloved Mount Holyoke, we find it much stronger today than at the start of your tenure as president fourteen and a half years ago. Your accomplishments in admissions, finance, campus renewal, and, most importantly, investment in the College's academic vitality, are well documented and have been rightly celebrated throughout this, your final year. Although you were new to women's colleges in 1996, you became one of Mount Holyoke's most transformative leaders. You saw the power and potential embedded in the College's mission, and you helped us take new pride in our leadership role as the longest-standing women's college in the world and the most international selective liberal arts college.
Your leadership extended far beyond the campus as well. Your public advocacy around standardized testing and rankings elevated these important national dialogues. As Director of Five Colleges, you brought new levels of creativity and cooperation to the consortium. Your term as chair of the Women's College Coalition was marked by high energy and a renewed sense of organizational purpose. It is counterintuitive, perhaps, that a woman who had been in coeducational settings throughout her career has now emerged as one of the most respected and visible advocates for women's education. You have provided new focus and attention to the unfinished agenda of educating girls and women around the world, a cause you will continue to advance into the future through your leadership of Women's Education Worldwide.
Today is your Mount Holyoke graduation day, too, even if it took you a little longer than the members of the esteemed Class of 2010 who sit before you. We thank you for the all the good you have done for our alma mater, for higher education, and for women around the world. We wish you all the best in the next chapter of your life. It is with great honor that I confer upon you the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa.