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572 Women Graduate at College's
166th Commencement

With nearly 2,500 friends and family members cheering them on, the 572 members of the class of 2003, one of the largest classes in the College's history, received diplomas on Sunday, May 25, at the College's 166th commencement.

Novelist and children's author Judy Blume (right) offered words of encouragement: "Don't listen, don't ever listen, to those who would discourage you. Listen to your inner voice. And not the taunting inner voice, not the one who makes you afraid to go for it, but the one who says, 'Okay, so maybe you won't make it, maybe you'll fail. But you'll never know if you don't try.'"

Blume revealed that, in spite of a high school guidance counselor's desire that she enter Mount Holyoke nearly 50 years ago, her act of rebellion on the College Boards--"I picked up my number 2 pencil and filled in all those little circles at random"--put her on another course. "So, you see why this day means so much to me. It's not just that I'm here at last, it's that today I might be accepted as a freshman, thanks to your policy of no longer requiring a standardized test. Thank you to all of you on behalf of those whose minds work differently."

Also addressing the students were Jane Famiano Garvey, former administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, who received a master's from MHC in 1969; Nancy Woodward Hendrie '54, pediatrician and founder of an organization to assist orphaned and homeless children in Cambodia; James A. Joseph, former United States ambassador to South Africa; and Amartya Sen, the winner of the 1998 Nobel Prize in economics.

Delivering the student address was Chiara Davis Fuller '03 of Brookline, Massachusetts. "Within our time at Mount Holyoke College, we have experienced a personal as well as a collective sense of growth," Fuller said. "Each of us has undergone personal growth on spiritual, mental, physical and intellectual levels."

In addition to 572 bachelor of arts degrees, the College awarded four postbaccalaureate degrees, two master of arts degrees, and nineteen certificates for international students.

Several of the weekend's speeches (although, unfortunately, not Judy Blume's) are available on the MHC website:

Professor Lee Bowie's baccalaureate address
Jane F. Garvey's commencement address
Nancy W. Hendrie '54's commencement address
James A. Joseph's commencement address
Amartya Sen's commencement address

Members of the faculty (left) and the class of 2003 proceed into the commencement ceremonies.
Chiara D. Fuller '03 addressing her classmates and the MHC community.   President Joanne V. Creighton awards a diploma to one of the graduates.

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