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Pontigny Symposium Reprises Historic MHC Encounters

A Q&A with Vanessa James: Greek Myth Still Relevant Today

Staff Art Show to
Open December 1

Gudmundson to Teach New Latin American Studies Course

Hollywood Designer to Discuss Her Film Work

Great American Smokeout at MHC

American Ballet Theatre’s Studio Co. to Perform November 21–22


Nota Bene

Front-Page News

This Week at MHC

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

November 14 , 2003

Front-Page News

Uphill Battle Martha Ackmann, senior lecturer in women’s studies, was quoted, along with Smith economics professor Andrew Zimbalist, in a recent Gannett News Service report about how various women’s professional sports leagues are struggling. Here’s an excerpt from the article titled “Women’s Pro Sports Strain to Build Niche”:

“Nearly 30 years after Title IX opened the door for women to compete in college athletics, the jury is still out on whether a women’s pro league can carve out something more than a small niche in the world of multimillion-dollar sports.

Women’s sports, simply, are a hard sell in terms of sponsorships, attendance and television ratings.

‘It goes to show a lot about the state of corporate America that they’re willing to give a kid (basketball phenom LeBron James) $90 million, but not $2.8 million to a group of accomplished women,’ said Martha Ackmann, a professor of women’s studies at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts.

Five women’s pro sports leagues were launched off the buzz of the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. Two have failed—softball and basketball (the American Basketball League).

‘It’s not that the women’s leagues aren’t a good idea, it’s just many of them have been run into the ground trying to compete for dollars and sponsors in a very tough economy,’ said Andrew Zimbalist, a Smith College professor of economics who specializes in sports business. ‘It takes patience and deep, deep pockets to be successful. Nothing is an overnight success anymore.’ ”

In fact, according to the report, only professional women’s golf and tennis are doing well.

Pontigny Revisited Last weekend’s Weissman Center symposium, Artists, Intellectuals, and World War II: The Pontigny Encounters at Mount Holyoke College, 1942–1944, received press attention from the Valley Advocate, WFCR, the Daily Hampshire Gazette, and other papers. An article is also slated to run this week in the Boston-based Jewish Advocate.

“The idea is to get some of the best minds of today to revisit some of the concerns of the original Pontigny and to gauge their contemporary relevance,’’ Weissman Center codirector Christopher Benfey told the Gazette before the two-day event. ‘’We invited people who we felt could bridge what happened 60 years ago with the present moment."



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