Gail Holt, Cochair of Staff Council

Convocation Address
September 6, 2011

It is a pleasure and an honor to welcome all of you to Mount Holyoke College on behalf of the hard-working and dedicated staff members on this campus. You may have chosen MHC due to our highly rigorous reputation, the rich traditions or the nurturing and safe community. For those of you from the Midwest, rest assured, we don’t have least not in the last three months. For those of you from the West don’t worry; we don’t have earthquakes…at least not in the last two weeks. For those of you from the South, we don’t have hurricanes either…at least not in the last week. It has certainly been quite an unusual weather year. These 100-year storms though have nothing on the MHC spirit. 

You began getting to know the MHC staff when you were first considering applying to Mount Holyoke. You will continue to get to know staff you see daily in your residence hall, academic buildings and dining halls. Some will be there for you if you get sick or if you get locked out of your room or can’t find that elusive book you need for your first research paper. Some staff will be ready to help you apply for an internship, prepare for a job interview, or study for the LSATs. Some of the staff you will greet with enthusiasm and others, like those in Student Financial Services, with even greater enthusiasm! 

There is likely no doubt that by the time you leave Mount Holyoke you will take with you memories of favorite professors, challenging classes and a strong network of friends. MHC is full of memorable traditions that make it stand out from all those other colleges that you applied to. MHC staff becomes involved in student lives in ways that will enrich your college experience. I am sure that you will take with you memories of ways in which MHC staff members have been there to guide you, comfort you, challenge you and certainly educate you.

All summer long the staff of Mount Holyoke has been preparing for the arrival of the abundant class of 2015 and the return of the classes of 2014, 2013 and 2012. September always brings a sense of awe on campus, but as Michelangelo said, “If you knew how much work went into it, you wouldn’t call it genius.” Each year Wisconsin’s Beloit College publishes the mindset list to reflect the world view of entering students. Well, you may be interested to learn more about the mindset of MHC staff as you get settled into campus. As nearly every one of you has a cell phone (or even a smart phone), some of us started out in mobile technology with a bag phone. The only Red Box that some staff has experienced was the marking of a failing grade at the top of their term paper. Regardless of their mindset though, know that the staff of Mount Holyoke is here to greet you with a warm smile and helping hand. 

As you begin this year, whether it is your first year, second year, third year or final year before commencement, slow down and take a real look around MHC. Who has been there to make sure that your Mount Holyoke experience is really the best it can possibly be?   I have the pleasure of working every day with staff members who I know give this institution and you, the students, their all every day. Make time during this year to appreciate the incredibly dedicated staff that is part of the rich tradition and fabric of this great college that you have made your home away from home. 

On behalf of the Staff Council and the staff of Mount Holyoke College, I want to welcome to campus the class of 2015, our newest transfer students and Frances Perkins Scholars! And, of course, welcome back the class of 2014…and 2013…and the graduating class of 2012!

(Note: This printed text may vary from the speech delivered.)