Fall 2018 Board of Trustees Meeting Summary

Updates on the fall Board meeting, the Community Center opening, and Inauguration.

Dear members of the Mount Holyoke community,

We write to update you on the recent Board of Trustees meeting, the formal opening of the Community Center, and Inauguration weekend.

Prior to Inauguration, the trustees convened on campus for their regular meetings. Two new officers of the College were welcomed: Kijua Sanders-McMurtry, Vice President for Equity and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer, and Robin Randall, Interim Vice President for Enrollment Management. Five new trustees were also welcomed: Camille Malonzo ’16, KC Maurer ’84, Anne McKenny ’79, Maria Z. Mossaides ’73 and Sarah Wells ’10.

In formal actions, the Board voted to award 10 undergraduates the degree of Bachelor of Arts and 23 graduate students the degree of Master of Arts in Teaching. The Board also approved the recommendation for the phased retirement for Christopher Rivers, Department of French.

In other meetings and during the regular reports of standing committees, the Board discussed a range of topics, including:

  • A recent review of the athletics department and associated recommendations.
  • A summary action plan linked to the Alumnae Engagement Benchmarking study, including the development of new opportunities for alumnae engagement, enhanced data management and additional parent/family outreach.
  • Recommendations from the Alumnae Marketing and Communications Working Group that focused on increased collaboration and integration of the staff and their work, the strengthening of reporting structures, the development of shared processes, policies and protocols, and the alignment of visual identities and design standards across the College and the Association.
  • A presentation on the work of the Career Development Center, during which current statistics on student use of the Center were shared. There has been steady growth in use among students, with over 80 percent of them taking advantage of a wide range of resources and programs offered by the Center.  
  • An overview of branding efforts underway. The primary focus of these efforts has been to bring forward a strong representation of the Mount Holyoke identity that will serve to differentiate the College and strengthen its recognition and visibility.

The Board enjoyed meeting informally over dinner on Thursday evening with members of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Steering Committee, and the executive board of the Student Government Association. Some students shared concerns about student worker compensation and employment opportunities on campus.

On the Friday evening, a special reception was held in Blanchard Hall to formally open the Community Center and to acknowledge the generosity of those who supported this project. Students conducted tours of the new Dining Commons. Trustees joined donors, leaders of the Alumnae Association, the architects and construction project managers, as well as Mount Holyoke College representatives in formally opening and celebrating this innovative new facility and all that it represents for the community.

The Board of Trustees is also delighted to report on the inauguration of our 19th president, Sonya Stephens, which took place in a beautifully decorated Kendall Field House on September 29. The event was attended by former and current trustees, former President Lynn Pasquerella ’80, delegates from colleges and universities in the U.S. and beyond, faculty, staff, students, community members, and colleagues, family and friends of President Stephens.  

The Five College West African Musical Ensemble drummed the academic procession in and out of the ceremony. A number of speakers, representing the Mount Holyoke community and higher education more broadly, offered their greetings and congratulations. The stellar musical performances included the Mount Holyoke Glee Club, which performed “What Shines,” a piece based on a poem written by Marjory Heath Wentworth ’80. Bingyao Liu ’19 played musical selections on the yangqin, or Chinese dulcimer. The V8s closed the festivities on Saturday night with a memorable acapella performance.

Throughout the weekend, community members and visitors enjoyed exhibitions in the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum and in the Archives, and, on Saturday morning, faculty and alumnae panels focused on the enduring value of the liberal arts and entrepreneurship. We express our deep gratitude to the faculty and alumnae who participated in these panels.

As always, we thank you for your continued support of the College and for the many efforts that contributed to a productive Board meeting and the celebration of the College during Inauguration weekend.


Barbara Baumann ’77
Chair of the Board of Trustees

Sonya Stephens