When Nancy Lewin Sun ’80 arrived on campus as a first-year student, she brought with her an extraordinarily broad worldview. Born in Uruguay to U.S. citizens, Sun grew up in Trinidad, Brazil, and Spain. It was during high school in Madrid that a friend of her mother’s told her about Mount Holyoke College.
“In truth, I wasn’t aware of Mount Holyoke’s long-standing international diversity when I applied,” says Sun, who majored in psychology and Spanish. “What attracted me was the College’s incredibly strong academic reputation.”
Since graduating, however, it is Mount Holyoke’s leadership in linking liberal arts excellence with global awareness that particularly inspires Sun’s work on the Annual Fund Committee, as well as her gifts to the Annual Fund Scholars Program. “Through that program, alumnae can provide a one-year named scholarship to a student with demonstrated need. I see this as a chance to help Mount Holyoke prepare a new generation of women to take on meaningful global leadership roles.”
Currently living in Hong Kong with her husband and two of their three daughters (their eldest daughter is a freshman at Bowdoin College), Sun believes that solutions to this century’s toughest problems can only be tackled and resolved by globally aware people working collaboratively.
“Coming together and learning from each other is what happens daily at Mount Holyoke,” says Sun. “When I tell people that over 20 percent of the College’s students come from nearly seventy countries, they’re genuinely astonished,” she says.
Though the international population was considerably smaller during Sun’s time on campus, she says that Mount Holyoke was ahead of its time in emphasizing the need to communicate across cultural boundaries and biases. “In recent years, so many colleges have been trying to position themselves as global,” she says. “But Mount Holyoke has set the standard for both cultivating global competencies and understanding, and building a global community.”
After graduating from Mount Holyoke, Sun pursued a career in banking. She was a managing director at Bank of America in Hong Kong—where her family moved in 1995—before retiring in 2002. She is active with the Mount Holyoke Club of Hong Kong, which meets several times a year, and also is very involved in her children’s school, the Chinese International School (CIS)—an International Baccalaureate school.
Coincidentally, Sun has found two other alumnae who are affiliated with CIS: Barbee Bartolome Chuidian ’90 and Sylvia Roldan ’00. “Finding alums there wasn’t surprising since, like Mount Holyoke, IB schools are committed to developing international awareness and global understanding,” she says. “We are especially excited that CIS sent its first student to Mount Holyoke last year.”
When Sun thinks back to choosing Mount Holyoke “sight unseen,” she never anticipated the lasting friendships she’d develop or the common ground she’d share with women from around the world.
"Because of Mount Holyoke, we all have the ability to succeed in any environment. We know how to collaborate with other people regardless of where they are from or what their experiences have been. That’s a legacy worth supporting.”