In May, the board of trustees voted unanimously to adopt the comprehensive six-year Plan for Mount Holyoke 2003. It reflects fifteen months' work, incorporates the ideas of hundreds of people in the worldwide College community, and will guide the College into the next century. Trustee chair Barbara Rossotti says the plan "outlines steps to protect the resources of the College - financial, human, technological, and physical - to ensure that the mission is fulfilled for generations to come."
The plan reaffirms the College's commitment to remain an excellent liberal arts college for women, maintains the College's current strengths, and outlines a number of new initiatives. These include establishing a Center for Leadership and Public Advocacy. Headed by Eva Paus, associate professor of economics, the center will "foster active citizenship and strengthen the College's role in preparing women for lives as leaders and agents of change." The plan also establishes a new Program in Speaking, Arguing, and Writing to be led by Lee Bowie, professor of philosophy. It will "emphasize the critical thinking, speaking, and writing skills that are fundamental to excellence across the disciplines, and that are necessary for women to play assertive and articulate roles in their professions and communities."
The document also calls for increasing the percentage of students of color from 17 percent to 25-30 percent; increasing productive ties among the Five Colleges; and improving access to new computer technologies. And the plan aims for an increase (to 2,600 by the year 2003) in the number of highly qualified applicants from a diverse range of economic, racial, and ethnic backgrounds; and specifies efforts to achieve budgetary equilibrium, including steps to slow the projected growth of financial aid over the next six years.
Finally, the plan includes a mission statement encapsulating the College's goals: "Mount Holyoke College reaffirms its commitment to educating a diverse community of women at the highest level of academic excellence and to fostering the alliance of liberal arts education with purposeful engagement in the world."
Secretary of State Madeleine Albright's words of advice to May graduates are equally apropos for others: "There is no doubt, if you aim high enough, that you will be confronted by those who say that your efforts to change the world or to improve the lot of those around you do not mean much in the grand scheme of things. But no matter how impotent you may sometimes feel, have the courage still - and persevere."
This academic year, interim dean of the chapel John Grayson (left) will head the campus chaplaincy. He is associate professor of religion and an ordained minister. President Creighton said having a dean responsible for spiritual and religious life "will allow for stronger leadership as well as closer integration and greater synergies within the academic and curricular offerings of the College." (Photo by Paul Schnaittacher)
Mount Holyoke women won several national and international fellowships and awards recently, including a National Science Foundation graduate research fellowship for Sally McFarlane 97, a DAAD fellowship (for a year's study in Germany) for Beth Demain 97, and a CBS Scholarship from the New England Colleges Fund for aspiring broadcast journalist Joanna Austin 98. Lydia Okutoro 98, Khanh Thu Pham 97, Cheryl Gittens FP, and Beverlyn Zebrowski 97 were named to All-USA College Academic Teams sponsored by USA Today.
Obie award-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks 85 returned to campus this past spring to direct her play Devotees in the Garden of Love (right). It was not only the first time Parks had directed a play at MHC since her graduation, but, ironically, the first time she'd seen a finished production of this particular play. (Photo by Fred LeBlanc)
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation's Teaching and Technology Program has awarded MHC a three-year grant of $361,490 to help the College broaden academic and administrative uses of the World Wide Web. The grant will support training students and faculty in Web use, increasing the amount of course-related and support material available to students, and improving a variety of administrative and budgetary functions.
Avery Ouellette 98 takes the reins of the Student Government Association as its president this fall. The Fort Bliss, Texas, resident is majoring in international relations and minoring in complex organizations, and was active last year as the SGA's secretary and treasurer.
For the first time in College history, MHC has cheerleaders. Erin Duffy 99 says the emphasis is on gymnastic stunts and "women supporting women in athletics." The group braved initial skepticism on campus (perhaps people were expecting fluffy Dallas CowboyŠtype cheerleaders?) in its first season, but will be back "loud and proud" at this fall's games.
MHC research fellowships funded six students' summer research on projects involving everything from "illegally adopted Native American children" to "insights for future foreign policy in Croatia" and a study of culture in Francophone countries.
The 526 members of the Class of 2001 will have arrived on campus by the time you read this, following what director of admission Anita Smith termed "a tremendous year" in student recruiting. The class, drawn from 2,306 applicants, includes 10 percent international students and 18 percent U.S. women of color. Eighty percent of them ranked in the top fifth of their high school classes, and the College's acceptance rate (a measure of academic selectivity) has been reduced to 60 percent from rates of between 65 and 78 percent in recent years.
When Russian studies major Stephanie Peacock 98 didn't get the grant she'd hoped would fund a summer research trip to Russia, she did what any red-blooded American would do: "maxed out" her credit cards and went anyway. Peacock studied special education in three western Russian cities.
Among the thousands of books in Williston Library is one (left) that's unique in this country. The fifteenth-century Latin religious work by theologian-poet Alain de Lille is one of only eight known to exist anywhere in the world. Librarians knew it was old, but only found out what a rare book it is this past spring. (Photo by Jen Pontius '97)
Although their schools usually compete fiercely for students and resources, forty-five career counselors from top colleges met at MHC in June to expand their collaboration in career development. The group (above) asked to meet at "the palace," referring to MHC's recently revamped, high-tech Career Development Center, to share job and internship information and plan a strategy to market their schools to employers. (Photo by Jim Gipe)
Thirty years after their first gig, the five-woman MHC band The Moppets returned to campus and rocked out during reunion in May. Although they broke ground in the 1960s as female rockers, played at parties throughout the northeast, and even signed a record contract, they'd never before played at MHC.
In memoriam: Ellen P. Reese died April 2 at the age of seventy. She spent her entire professional career at Mount Holyoke, finishing her fifty years on campus as Norma Cutts Dafoe Professor of Psychology. She retired in 1996, the same year the Reese Psychology and Education Building was named in honor of her and her late husband Thomas. Reese was named one of the one hundred most important female psychologists in history by the American Psychological Association. (Photo by Thomas Jacob)
"Show us the money," we said, and more than half of all living MHC graduates did. Alumnae generosity pushed the Alumnae Fund to a record $5.8 million during the 1996-97 fiscal year, boosted by unprecedented giving by the 15th, 20th, and 25th reunion classes. Overall, an impressive $20.6 million was raised to support the operating budget, student scholarships, and special projects, and increase the College's endowment.