Bring on Commencement

Grad feathered


Snell to Be Student Speaker

Elisabeth Snell bw

Elisabeth Snell and fellow seniors Natalie Wagner, Anne Rockwood, and Megan Gonzales (left to right) vacationing in Popham Beach, Maine, October 1999.


lisabeth F. Snell '00, a highly respected and outspoken women's studies major, has been selected by the senior class board to speak on behalf of her classmates at MHC's 163rd commencement ceremonies on Sunday, May 21. For Snell, representing her classmates is a particularly meaningful honor, as Mount Holyoke has played an important role in her family's history. She is the seventh Snell to graduate from the College. The first, Snell's great-great aunt, Ada Laura Fonda Snell (class of 1892), organized the College's first Glascock poetry contest and funded the Ada L. F. Snell Poetry Prize in English. The woman Snell describes as "a real spitfire, very loved, and very respected," also taught at the College for forty years and was chair of the English department. Many of Snell's great-aunts followed the nineteenth-century pioneer's path.
The twenty-first-century Snell was delighted to be selected as class speaker. "It was an absolute honor, really humbling because of the fierce competition," says Snell, who has done her great-great aunt proud. She is hard at work on her commencement speech and says she is enormously grateful for the guidance and support she received as a student at MHC. "I was able do a lot of thinking for myself," she says. "Free rein coupled with high expectations on the part of professors makes for a wonderful education at Mount Holyoke." Her speech, she notes, will focus on the power of education to help shape identity. She feels her years at MHC provided her with the tools to overcome mistakes and to maintain "a greater vision."
Most of Snell's activities during her MHC career supplemented her interest in women's issues and sociopolitical concerns. She cochaired the MHC Women's Center in 1999, helping to provide resources--information on everything from health to jobs--and support networks for women on campus. In the fall of 1998, she interned for the National Partnership for Women and Families in Washington, D.C. There, she assisted a team of lawyers working on family and medical leave legislation. "I was able to take two years of my MHC education and actually apply it," she says. "It was a wonderful experience."
For her senior project, Snell interned for ten to twelve hours a week for Linda Melconian '70 in the state senate majority leader's office, getting a feel for politics at the local and state level. The contrast with the pace of D.C. was striking, she says. She encountered "constituents coming in on a daily basis" at the local office, and she assisted with "everything from database maintenance to attending senators' dinners and other events."
Among Snell's favorite cocurricular activities at MHC was her involvement with the
V-8s, as singer and business manager. "It was an honor and quite a task to manage the fifty-eight-year-old group," she says.
Beyond graduation, Snell is making plans for a relaxing summer, and has not yet committed herself to a specific pursuit in the fall. With high LSAT scores under her belt, she says she is "thinking about law school in the distant future."
Commencement at a Glance
Friday, May 19
Mandatory Commencement Rehearsal
Gamble Auditorium
7:30 am&endash;noon
Saturday, May 20
Alumnae Parade
Woolley Circle (in front of Abbey and Buckland Halls)
Line up at 8:30 am, parade at 9 am
Abbey Memorial Chapel
Line up at 8:30 pm
Driveway outside Mary Lyon
Ceremony at 9 pm
Canoe Sing
View from MacGregor Balcony
10:30 pm
Sunday, May 21
Gettell Amphitheater (field house in Kendall if rain) Line up in Gamble Auditorium (Howard Gymnasium in Kendall if rain plan is used) at 9:30 am
Ceremony at 10:30 am