Weissman Center for Leadership Tenth Anniversary
March 27-28, 2009
This weekend honored the visionary commitment of Harriet Levine Weissman ’58 and Paul M. Weissman.
We celebrated the history and future of the center that is committed to supporting Mount Holyoke students as they become engaged, inspiring, and accomplished leaders and agents of change in their chosen professions and communities.
Mary Lyon believed that there were “peculiar sweets derived from gaining knowledge” and in so many ways the Weissman Center is committed to this pursuit and enjoyment. The Center’s focus on student engagement, intellectual connection, and leadership development is enriched broadly and deeply by faculty, alumnae, and staff whose shared love of learning and belief in the transformative power of a dynamic liberal arts education fuel and sustain our center.
WCL Director, 2005-June, 2009
The Center is indeed a Center for Leadership and the Liberal Arts. And now, faced with the challenge to demonstrate why and how a liberal arts education at a women’s college matters in the 21st Century, we can simply turn to the testimony of current students and alumnae. They demand and expect that thinking critically go hand in hand with creative convergences of theory and practice.”
WCL Co-Director, 2000-2005
We were lucky to have Porter Hall as our home base: by its very location, the Weissman Center has always been central to our beautiful campus. A big surprise was our discovery that Porter was haunted. During World War II, Porter had served as the meeting place for intellectuals and artists—including Hannah Arendt, Marc Chagall, and Claude Lévi-Strauss--in flight from Fascist Europe. During summers at Mount Holyoke, a bright place in dark times, they exchanged bold views concerning the future of Western civilization. These “Pontigny” gatherings, as they were known, seemed an uncanny foreshadowing of some of the things we tried to accomplish at the Weissman Center.
WCL Co-Director, 2000-2004
Students have greatly benefited throughout from the incredible opportunities offered by the Center, whether as SAW mentors, as contributors in a speaking-intensive class, in a CBL class, in the senior symposium, in a discussion with alumnae in a particular career area, or as participants in events about critical issues with authorities from different walks of life.
WCL Co-Director, 1999-2000
But through all the change the Center has undergone, it is remarkable to see how firmly rooted it remains in some of the core ideas that inspired its conception - a concept of leadership that is inextricably tied to the curriculum and the intellectual mission of the College; the corresponding idea that change worth promoting is rooted in knowledge; and the conviction that leadership must be infused throughout the intellectual spirit of the College rather than standing alongside it.
WCL Co-Director, 1999-2000