In September, Professor of Chemistry Sheila Browne received a Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring at the White House. The program identifies outstanding mentoring efforts and programs designed to enhance the participation of groups underrepresented in science, mathematics, and engineering. Browne has served as adviser to Native Spirit and to Sistahs in Science, a group for students of color interested in science. She has personally mentored eighty-three student research assistants, 40 percent of whom are women of color. Accompanying the award was a mentoring grant for $10,000.
Studying in France doesn't automatically mean Paris any more. MHC will sponsor a junior year abroad program in the city of Montpellier, sending its first group of students there next fall. Participants will enroll at the prestigious Université Paul Valéry in this up-and-coming capital of the Languedoc-Roussillon region of Southern France. The program's on-site director is Amy Gosselin Loth '94, who teaches English at the medical school in Montpellier. Although MHC women have lots of foreign study choices, the Montpellier program will be only the second such program sponsored by Mount Holyoke; the other is in Senegal.
From Nepal and Nashville the new students came: some 470 traditional-aged first-year students from forty-three states and twenty-six foreign countries form the diverse and academically talented class of 2002. Nineteen percent of the class are students of color. Fifty-four percent of matriculating first-year students who were ranked were in the top 10 percent of their class in high school. Fifty-four transfer students (nearly double the size of last year's group) and sixty-two Frances Perkins scholars joined the first-years as the 1998–99 academic year got under way.
Among the new students was one whose family name is especially well known. Meghan Dickinson '02 of South Hadley is the sixth cousin of poet Emily Dickinson of Amherst. Like her ancestor, with whom she shares a quiet and thoughtful manner, Meghan enjoys writing, but prefers essays to poetry. She hopes to pursue a medical career in obstetrics or neonatology.
The Center for Leadership and Public Interest Advocacy (CLPIA) sponsored fall events on "Do Men and Women Communicate Differently?", "Promoting Change from the Bottom Up," "What Makes a Good Liberal Arts Education?" and "Women in Politics." It also launched a Web-based discussion series with a succession of accomplished alumnae. Each week, students had an online dialogue with the "alumna leader/advocate of the week" on such topics as decision making, ethical dilemmas, and how to create change.
Just in time for Oktoberfest, a campus pub (right) opened in Blanchard Campus Center. Stocked with beer, wine, soda, juices, and snacks, as well as a TV, jukebox, dartboard, and Internet-connected computer terminals, the pub gives students an evening hangout space on campus where they can socialize and relax. "The Lyon's Den" was created in response to student requests for a late-night gathering spot.
Mount Holyoke has completed the strongest fundraising year in its 162-year history. The College received $32,258,790 in gifts and grants from individuals, corporations, foundations, bequests, and other sources for fiscal year 1998. This unprecedented level of charitable giving represents a 53.9 percent increase over the $20.9 million raised in fiscal year '97.
Even though they're living on what's been deemed the most beautiful college campus in the country, students don't want to stay at MHC all the time. They now have more transportation options when the urge strikes to get up and go out, thanks to several initiatives started this fall. College vans and cars now make frequent runs to Northampton and to local shopping areas and entertainment centers; and they transport students to nearby towns for community-based learning, service activities, and social occasions. All this is in addition to the free buses that link the five area colleges.
Rasta and Rowdy - Reggae legend Burning Spear (left) and jazz great John Scofield were two of the big entertainment names who played Mount Holyoke this fall. Burning Spear, described as a "visionary musical prophet," has been nominated for six Grammy Awards. Scofield brought his "All-Star Groovathon" along for a night of high-octane music. n
After seven years as Mount Holyoke's director of admission, Anita Smith stepped down and eight-year MHC admission office veteran Diane Anci (below) stepped up. Anci was named acting director of admission in July, and is already well into the process of finding the class of 2003. During Smith's tenure in admission, the number of applications for admission climbed steadily and MHC became more selective. Dean of Enrollment Jane Brown called Anci "an extremely talented and well-seasoned admission officer who can provide strong leadership."
Conflict is all but inevitable in life, so the College is starting a peer mediation project to train students to resolve disagreements and misunderstandings amicably. The first group of student leaders will be trained in January; they'll teach other MHC women to resolve issues in a constructive, positive manner.
The Office of Religious Life is fully staffed once again, with the recent addition of Rabbi Donna Berman, an activist-theologian named chaplain to the College and adviser to the Jewish community this fall. Berman is a Reform rabbi with experience leading a congregation, working with a Hillel group, teaching religious studies, and writing scholarly articles. She is now completing her doctoral studies at Drew University.