Posted: October 30, 2006
As a Mount Holyoke student, Dorothy Rooke McCulloch '50 successfully petitioned the administration to spend her junior year abroad. She was, in the words of Eva Paus, Carol Hoffmann Collins Director of the Center for Global Initiatives, "a pioneer when she traveled to France in 1949. It was a transformative experience for her, not least because she met there her future husband Sandy, who was also on his junior year abroad."
Fifty-seven years later, the McCullochs' commitment to international learning and their extraordinary generosity to Mount Holyoke College were celebrated at the October 28 dedication of the Dorothy R. and Norman E. McCulloch Center for Global Initiatives. The center--which was established in 2004--unites Mount Holyoke's international programs and advances students' understanding of global problems and solutions from cross-disciplinary, cross-cultural, and cross-national perspectives.
The McCulloch Center dedication, part of the launch of the $300 million Campaign for Mount Holyoke, began with a panel discussion in Hooker Auditorium on "The Middle East as Global Challenge." Moderated by Paus, the event focused on a crisis that she described as "a microcosm of the issues that the international community has to wrestle with; for example, the threat of nuclear proliferation and the role of non-state actors…."
Rather than focusing on Iraq or the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the event sought to look at the Middle East more broadly. The panelists were Anthony Lake, Distinguished Professor in the Practice of Diplomacy at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University; Rami Khouri, editor-at-large of the Beirut Daily Starand director of the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs, American University of Beirut; and Eynat Shlein-Michael, counselor for Middle Eastern affairs at the Embassy of Israel, Washington, DC. Lake, who was Five College Professor of International Relations at Amherst and Mount Holyoke colleges from 1981 to 1992, served as national security adviser in the Clinton administration. In 2004, Khouri was the first Global Scholar-in-Residence at the Center for Global Initiatives.
Each panelist discussed regional trends and perspectives, as well as what they regard as major security threats and their suggestions for real solutions. Addressing a standing-room-only crowd, they agreed to disagree about the details but all spoke with conviction about the desire of the "average person in the Middle East" for peace. As for whether peace is possible, Shlein-Michael urged the audience to "have faith in human nature and its willingness to live a better life." Likewise, Khouri noted "the important role of citizens and institutions such as this. We need to look at this issue collectively … and mobilize the vast majority who are ready for peace." Paus closed the session with a call for action, echoing the panelists' observations that "it will take all of us in our different spheres of action to bring a change about."
During the dedication ceremony that followed, President Joanne V. Creighton paid tribute to Dotty and Sandy McCulloch whose "irrepressible spirit and vision and commitment to excellent liberal arts education are unshakable, indispensable, and integral to the success of the College." Along with citing the numerous contributions already made by the McCullochs, including McCulloch Auditorium in Pratt Hall, two endowed chairs, the crew shell christened "The Rookie" after Dotty's nickname at MHC, and the McCulloch Scholars program for study abroad, Creighton hailed their "unwavering championing of international awareness as an important feature of liberal arts education." She credited them with long believing that "Mount Holyoke could and should pull together its disparate resources and services into an integrated, international center that would showcase and build on this historic strength and assert our leadership in this area…. We have now done this thanks to your wonderful support."
Testifying to the life-changing role of the McCulloch Center was Oluwafunmito "Funto" Phillips '06, who came to Mount Holyoke from Nigeria and now works as a research analyst at NERA Economic Consulting in Washington, DC. "I realized that my goals are not bound by geography," Phillips said. "Tokyo, Japan; Santiago, Chile; and South Hadley, Massachusetts, all were places I called home during a one-year period because of the center. It made me a global citizen for life."
Before joining her husband for a ribbon cutting with Creighton and Paus, Dotty McCulloch described the center as "a dream come true for Sandy and me." She described their hopes back in 1996 to fund an international center and the years of planning that brought it to fruition. "This center represents the College's willingness to commit to an ideal. Mount Holyoke has never been afraid of doing that. Go back to Mary Lyon and her ideal--that's why we're all here," said McCulloch. "Who wouldn't be proud of this institution?
A reception at the McCulloch Center for Global Initiatives--located in Porter Hall--concluded the dedication ceremony.