Mary Patterson McPherson, president emeritus of Bryn Mawr College and vice president of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, was the commencement speaker at Mount Holyoke's 163rd commencement ceremonies May 21 and received the degree of doctor of humane letters. Honorary degrees were also bestowed upon Roberta Guaspari, Glenda A. Hatchett '73, Samuel Rudolph Insanally, and Dorothy Rooke McCulloch '50.
Mount Holyoke 's equestrian team bested fourteen top riding teams May 12 and 13 to win the Miller's Collegiate Cup, the country's most prestigious championship for college equestrian teams, at the annual Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) national show in Conyers, Georgia. Jessica "Jess" Webb '03 and Elisa Panetta Villareal '03 placed first in their events, winning individual Miller's championships.
Even before she arrived at Mount Holyoke, Beth A. Polzin '00 knew she wanted to study abroad, perhaps in Ireland or England. But a class she took in African history during her second semester at the College sparked her interest to the point that she shifted continents. Polzin ended up spending her junior year at the University of Ghana at Legon--where her courses ranged from African dance to African sociology. Back in South Hadley this year, she missed the hustle and bustle of the African marketplace and her Ghanaian roommates, but not for long. Polzin will return to Ghana next year on a Fulbright grant to conduct research on dispute resolution patterns.
On March 31, more than 1,000 people attended a special ceremony at the College to open a one-hundred-year-old time capsule. Created in 1900 by Mount Holyoke's senior class of that year for the graduating class of 2000, the capsule was featured in the commencement exercises in 1900. In a letter included in the capsule, Margaret E. Ball (class of 1900) voices the class's hope that "if your science shall have taught you what some believe will be one of the commonest elements of your knowledge--the power of communication with the unseen world from which we may possibly be overlooking your destiny--we beg you to reply to this message of ours." Highlights of the box included a black beret with the words Mount Holyoke on it; a blue book used for "examinatories"; and a photo of the class of 1900. More than a dozen members of the media, including representatives from the New York Times and National Public Radio, covered the capsule's opening. During this year's commencement weekend, the class of 2000 dedicated a time capsule to the class of 2100.
In an impassioned speech to a packed house at Mount Holyoke March 24, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., environmental lawyer and author, underscored the power of individuals to effect change and urged those concerned for the welfare of the nation's land, air, and waterways to join environmental groups. Kennedy's speech was sponsored by the College's Center for Environmental Literacy (CEL) and kicked off the campus celebration of the thirtieth anniversary of Earth Day.
Mount Holyoke has recorded the largest applicant pool in its history. A record number of high school seniors, 2,613 to be exact, applied to the College for entry into the class of 2004--surpassing last year's pool of 2,438 (another record year) with an increase of 7 percent. As of mid-May, 552 students had accepted the offer of admission, and 535 are expected to enroll.