A Community Thank-You

Interim President Beverly Daniel Tatum writes to the campus community with gratitude for memorable Commencement and Reunion celebrations.

Dear Colleagues,
As we prepare for our second weekend of Reunion festivities beginning this Friday, we can look back with pride on the very successful Reunion and Commencement weekend we just celebrated.  Hosting many hundreds of people — from the class of 1948 to the graduating class of 2023, their family and friends, our trustees, the honorary degree recipients, our president-elect and other special guests — all at the same time is a daunting task, yet together we did it with warmth and grace! I like to believe that it was our collective good energy that held off the rain so the Laurel Parade could proceed on Saturday, and even Jorge the Goose saluted our alums and graduates by leading a flock of geese flying in a V formation over our heads just as we gathered at Mary Lyon’s grave. I want to thank all of you for helping to make the weekend events such a success!
Though visitors often thank me because of my role, truly the credit for such a positive outcome must be shared. Of course, we must start with the faculty whose teaching and mentorship of our students prepare them for Commencement and inspire our graduates to return back to campus year after year. Our success when everyone assembles for Commencement/Reunion weekend is the result of a team of people — seen and unseen — planning together and working collaboratively across divisions to make sure all the essential tasks are taken care of in a timely and orderly way. It looks easy when it goes well, but we all know that it is the result of many people’s hard work. Every division of the College contributes to this success in important ways — the faculty and staff of academic affairs; the Alumnae Association; college relations; enrollment management; finance and administration (with special thanks to Facilities Management and auxiliary/hospitality services); LITS; student life (including Public Safety and Service effectively managing crowds of people and cars); student success; the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion; and the Office of the President. One of the goals this year at Mount Holyoke has been to facilitate better and more effective cross-campus communication. When we have a great series of events like the ones culminating this weekend, we know we are getting closer to achieving that goal. And to all who spent the weekend helping our guests find their way on our beautiful campus or find a seat at Commencement in Kendall, thank you!

There are too many people who deserve appreciation for me to name them all. However, I especially want to thank Bett Schumacher who leads the Commencement Committee and plans all year for that Big Day, and Imad Zubi who delayed his planned March 2023 retirement until the end of May so he could lend a very experienced hand to our Reunion and Commencement festivities. I also want to shine a spotlight on our development team in college relations, which does so much work behind the scenes in preparation for Reunion in collaboration with the Alumnae Association. Reunion is the time during which our returning alums present their financial gifts to the College, an important budgetary resource we rely on every year. I look forward to sharing with you later this month just how generous our alums have been.

Starting tomorrow, we will do it again (minus the Commencement). On Thursday we will celebrate some of our distinguished alum athletes who will be inducted into our Athletic Hall of Fame, an event originally planned for 2020 but delayed by the pandemic. On Friday we will welcome back the classes of 1958, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1978, 1993, 2008, 2018 and 2021. The class of 2021 is especially excited to attend their first Reunion and to recreate some events they missed during their senior year because of the pandemic. Sunny days are predicted, and I know once again the campus will radiate with the spirit of hospitality as we welcome this next cohort of Reunion-ing alums!

The poet Kahlil Gibran wrote, “Work is love made visible.” Your love for Mount Holyoke and your pride in our mission is truly visible. Thank you all for being a part of this community and for your commitment to the success of Mount Holyoke College.

I look forward to thanking you in person at our year-end ice cream social at the President’s House on Friday afternoon, June 2 (1:30–3:30 pm). I hope to see you then!


Beverly Daniel Tatum
Interim President