As the year 2021 draws to a close, it’s time to look back at the top 10 most-read news stories from this calendar year. A review of these news stories tells the story of 2021: they run the gamut from faculty news to adapting to the COVID-19 pandemic, from the Golden Globes to the Academy Awards and from record application numbers to celebrating the class of 2021.
Carmen Yulín Cruz, most recently the mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, has been appointed the Harriet L. Weissman and Paul M. Weissman Distinguished Fellow in Leadership at the Weissman Center for Leadership at Mount Holyoke College.
The Fellowship is made possible by a generous grant from Harriet L. Weissman ’59.
Mount Holyoke College announced the honorary degree recipients who will join the class of 2021 at its 184th Commencement, which will be held virtually for the first time. They are three trailblazing luminaries in the arts and public service.
Rabiya Javeri-Agha ’83, Yo-Yo Ma and Chloé Zhao ’05 are reshaping the world and are exemplars of founder Mary Lyon’s dictum to “go forward, attempt great things, accomplish great things.” The College will confer honorary doctorates of humane letters on all three at the Commencement ceremony on May 23, 2021.
Ten longtime stalwarts of the Mount Holyoke faculty will not be teaching on campus this fall, having elected, after decades of outstanding service, to retire. The ten faculty members, from across the disciplines, brought teaching and scholarly excellence to this community, as well as, in several cases, administrative excellence.
More than 500 seniors and 58 master’s degree candidates were honored at Mount Holyoke College’s 184th Commencement — its first virtual one — May 23, 2021. Students and their families tuned in from near and far, as the graduates represented countries and continents around the globe, to celebrate students’ phenomenal successes under extraordinary circumstances.
Mount Holyoke College senior Elena Frogameni ’22 has been awarded a Rhodes Scholarship for graduate study at the University of Oxford. She is the second Rhodes Scholar ever selected from Mount Holyoke and the College’s first scholar in over 25 years.
Frogameni is a French and politics double major, with a Nexus concentration in journalism, media and public discourse. She hopes to complete two master’s degrees: one in public policy and one in global governance and diplomacy.
Mount Holyoke College was recently lauded by U.S. News & World Report, The Princeton Review and Washington Monthly in their recent rankings of colleges and universities.
In its 2022 Best Colleges ranking, released on Sept. 13, U.S. News & World Report ranked Mount Holyoke College #30 for National Liberal Arts Colleges, up four positions from its ranking of #34 last year. Mount Holyoke is tied with Berea, Bryn Mawr, Kenyon and Scripps colleges.
Mount Holyoke College’s Common Read for 2021 will be “The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks about Race,” a collection of essays and poems about race edited by National Book Award winner Jesmyn Ward.
The essays on race and racism are “thoughtful, searing, and at times, hopeful,” said USA Today. “‘The Fire This Time’ is vivid proof that words are important, because of their power to both cleanse and to clarify.”
Mount Holyoke had a remarkable showing at the 2021 Golden Globes award ceremony, with Chloé Zhao ’05 becoming the first Asian woman to win for best director for her drama, “Nomadland,” and the best acting award going to Andra Day for her titular role in “The United States vs. Billie Holiday,” written by none other than Suzan-Lori Parks ’85.
“Nomadland” also took the highest honors of the evening with the award for best drama.
During the worst pandemic in 100 years Mount Holyoke experienced an application boom: in 2021 there were a record 3,946 applications for about 550 spots. That surpasses the previous application record set in 2019, and represents a 14% increase over the 2020 application level.
Chloé Zhao ’05 has made history with her wins at the 93rd Academy Awards, held April 26, 2021.
Her film “Nomadland” swept the awards, winning for Best Picture and Best Director. Frances McDormand also won Best Actress for her role as Fern.
Zhao is the first woman of color to receive an Academy Award for Best Director, and only the second woman ever to win in that category.