Mossaides ’73 presented with Steadfast Award

Mount Holyoke alumnae celebrate Maria Mossaides ’73, second from the right, at the Frances Perkins Center 11th annual Garden Party. 

By Susan Bateson ’76

Maria Mossaides ’73, the Child Advocate for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and president of the Mount Holyoke College Alumnae Association, was given the Steadfast Award by the Frances Perkins Center.

Mossaides was honored at the center’s 11th annual Garden Party on Sunday, August 18, 2019, at the Frances Perkins Homestead in Newcastle, Maine.

The event also celebrated the 84th anniversary of the signing of the Social Security Act, a signature New Deal program that benefits all Americans, thanks to the efforts of Frances Perkins, class of 1902, the driving force behind its enactment.

Peggy Rotundo ’71, board director of the Frances Perkins Center, presented the Steadfast Award to Mossaides, noting, “Each year the Frances Perkins Center honors a person whose life work has steadfastly promoted the values and ideals that guided Frances Perkins’ life. The board is honored to present this year's Steadfast Award to Maria Mossaides, who has worked tirelessly as a public servant to ensure that government works for all people, particularly children and youth, and that all have access to justice.”

In accepting the award, Mossaides highlighted Frances Perkins’ influence on her own career and commitment to public service.

“I was first introduced to Frances Perkins as an undergraduate at Mount Holyoke College, our mutual alma mater,” Mossaides said. “At the time, I could not have imagined that Frances Perkins would become a personal hero. Frances Perkins’ example has sustained me in the actual work of my over 40 years of public service.”

Mossaides continued, “Frances Perkins was the voice of the voiceless, the champion of working people and families. She created our safety net — Social Security and unemployment insurance. She established the programs that kept Americans from starving during the Great Depression.” 

After describing life for working Americans prior to the New Deal programs of the 1930s, Mossaides said, “For the past 30 years I have shared the story of Frances Perkins in a class I teach for public managers. I use her as an example of what one determined person can accomplish — I want Frances Perkins to inspire my students to ‘do the right thing,’ just as she has done for me.”

The Frances Perkins Homestead, a national historic landmark, was settled by the Perkins family in the mid-18th century on the Damariscotta River, contains Frances Perkins memorabilia, earlier homestead foundations and remnants of the family’s brickworks.

The Frances Perkins Center, founded in 2008, honors the legacy of Frances Perkins by sharing her commitment to the principle that government should provide all its people with the best possible life, and by preserving the place that shaped her character. The Center convenes leaders and future leaders in public policy, labor and related fields to generate creative solutions to today’s social and economic problems, and teaches students of all ages about a remarkable woman whose work continues to improve the lives of ordinary Americans. 

Susan Bateson ’76 is the board vice chair of the Frances Perkins Center.


Related News

Sara Schnadt ’92 standing in front of a NASA sign

Out of this world

Mount Holyoke alum Sara Schnadt ’92, an artist and software systems architect for NASA, is proof that art and technology can be deeply intertwined.

Dr. Megan Young ’99, left, offers support to Edouard Joseph, 91, moments after giving him a COVID-19 vaccination. Both are in Joseph’s living room and both are masked.

Bringing the vaccine home

Mount Holyoke alum Dr. Megan Young ’99 is a home-based primary care doctor who is bringing the COVID-19 vaccine to homebound elders. 

This is a photograph of Chloe Zhao raising her green mug to accept her Golden Globe at the ceremony which was held over Zoom.

Mount Holyoke alums at the Golden Globes

Alum Chloe Zhao won best director for best picture “Nomadland” and Suzan-Lori Parks wrote the screenplay that earned Andra Day the best actor award. 

This is a photograph of Sarah Paust standing at a podium with a microphone in the foreground.

Ethical and responsible research methodologies in light of COVID-19

Sarah Praust ’20, who won a Fulbright Study grant during her senior year, discusses the conversations being had in academic circles about a researchers ethical responsibility.

Tamia Williams looking directly into the camera and smiling.

Making physics fun

Mount Holyoke alum Tamia Williams ’18 combines her love of science and art to teach others how to enjoy physics.

Find more stories >