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College Celebrates 165th Commencement May 26

Fulbright Scholarship to Take Jennifer W. Kyker '02 to Zimbabwe

Boram Lee '04 Wins International Public Policy Fellowship

Suchi Saria '04 Wins Full- Tuition Scholarship from Microsoft

Sure to Be a Virtuoso Performance: Sara Curtin '02 Speaks for the Class of 2002

Red Pegasus Class Takes Wing

DAAD Scholarship Music to the Ears of Katherine Kaiser '02

2002–2003 Budget Meets Financial Goals of Plan for 2003

Storm Ends Everest Bid Just Short of Summit

Students Teach Each Other about Bioethics by "Cloning" National Council

Mount Holyoke Actors Take to the Italian Stage

Three Faculty Members Retire as Emeriti

Mary Renda: Teaching Students to Think Historically

Theresa Grof: Fulfilling a Dream at MHC

Weissman Center Honors Students

On Broadway with Suzan-Lori Parks '85

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Mount Holyoke College News and Events Vista The College Street Journal Archives

May 24, 2002

Red Pegasus Class Takes Wing

By Nandita Singh '03

For nearly one hundred years, Mount Holyoke classes have affiliated themselves with particular animal emblems. It is not clear exactly why. The class of 1905 selected a lion, a fitting choice for a College that boasts brave and strong Lyon athletic teams, but a pick made with no more (recorded) explanation than the adoption of the unicorn, tiger, or dragon as symbols by the classes of 1906, 1907, and 1908 respectively. In 1909, according to The First One Hundred Years 1872–1972 by Mary Higley Mills '21, the griffin, Pegasus, the sphinx, and the lion became new MHC standards, along with the colors green, red, yellow, and blue. These creatures have represented MHC's classes on a four-year rotation ever since, the mystery of their origins as symbols only adding to their appeal. As they prepare to take wing on May 26, members of the class of 2002, a red Pegasus class, should have a bright future in store. What else would you expect from a class that has for its emblem a golden-winged horse long known as a symbol of fame?

Greek mythology gives us many stories about Pegasus, the most common being that Pegasus arose from the blood of the dead body of the Gorgon monster Medusa, when she was beheaded by the hero Perseus. Initially wild and free, Pegasus was ultimately tamed by Bellerophon, who was given a magical golden bridle for this purpose by the goddess Athena. In one story, it is said that Bellerophon tried to ride the winged horse to Mount Olympus to become a god. Pegasus refused to be party to Bellerophon's act of prideful ambition and threw him from his back (in another version of the tale, Zeus sends a gadfly to sting Pegasus, who then bucks Bellerophon off). To reward his courage and goodness, the gods named Pegasus the horse of Zeus, and raised him to the heavens, where he appears as a northern constellation. According to another legend, a kick from his hoof opened the fountain Hippocrene on the Muses' mountain Helicon. Hence, the winged horse has often been associated with the arts, especially poetry. The sixth-century mythographer Fulgentius connected Pegasus with another winged creature of antiquity, the female figure of Fame.

Whether she and her fellow graduates will go on to fame, creative genius, or great acts of courage and goodness, Lauren Snead '02 cannot guess. But, like so many MHC artists before her, the theatre major and studio art minor felt inspired to express her classmates' unique qualities by giving new form to her class icon. She created an abstract, woodcut-style Pegasus design, which last year decorated the banners at Junior Show and this year graces the College's commencement handbook. "While the Pegasus looks ready to take flight, it is also contained within a circle, which for me represents community," said Snead of her design. "Circles are never ending, which give them that sense of movement, motion, and energy—characteristics that not only describe the Pegasus symbol, but our class, full of energy and motion, ready to take flight, yet held by and part of this great community."

Left: Emblem designs through the ages, from top to bottom:
1946, 1954, 1958, 1962, and 1986

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