In this season of giving, support the next generation of changemakers.

By MHC Advancement on Dec 20, 2016 1:30:45 PM


Warmest wishes from all of us here at the College! As you gather with family and friends to celebrate and reflect, we hope you will think back fondly to your time at Mount Holyoke. In an ever-changing world, Mount Holyoke stands as a bright beacon, attracting passionate, dedicated, and driven students who bring light and joy into their communities and beyond.

During this season of giving, please consider making a gift to Mount Holyoke and supporting the next generation of changemakers. 

Best wishes,

Allison Butler '05
Acting Director, The Mount Holyoke Fund


Photo: Rand Abu Al-Sha'r '17

Leave a comment

A message from Kassandra Jolley, Vice President for Advancement

By MHC Advancement on Dec 8, 2016 9:05:00 AM

December 2016

As we come to the end of the calendar year and look ahead to new opportunities, Mount Holyoke's mission of educating women for effective leadership and purposeful engagement in the world remains critical. Your annual financial support ensures that our students are prepared to lead—challenged by a rigorous curriculum, nurtured in a supportive environment, and pushed to greater understanding of the complexities of our world. Your generosity also provides our esteemed faculty with the tools and resources needed to be leaders in their fields and to engage students in research, critical thinking, and discussion.

As we reflect on the past year here at the College, I'd like to celebrate some of the recent achievements and developments that demonstrate the vibrancy of our community:

  • Acting President Sonya Stephens and Dean of Faculty Jon Western have stepped into their new roles as leaders committed to moving Mount Holyoke forward and shaping a liberal arts curriculum for the 21st Century.
  • Our interdisciplinary minor in entrepreneurship, organizations, and society, as well as the Nexus in data science, illustrate our commitment to opening new academic vistas—and career opportunities—for our students.
  • The Plan for Mount Holyoke 2021 presents a strategy for the College to renew itself as a leading educational institution.
  • An impressive campus community center is rising in our midst and will play a key role in our ever­ evolving dedication to forging community.
  • Professor of Environmental Studies Lauret Savoy's recent book, Trace: Memory, History, Race, and the American Landscape, won a 2016 American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation.
  • Foundations and governmental organizations regularly recognize the groundbreaking research taking place at Mount Holyoke. More than one million dollars from NASA, NSF, and NIH supported work by professors Darby Dyar, Catherine Corson, and Kathryn McMenimen in recent months.
  • In October, more than 200 students took part in the annual LEAP Symposium to present insights gained from summer internships around the globe. LEAP Symposium is part of the cutting-edge Lynk program, which offers every student the opportunity to pursue a paid summer internship.

All of these successes are made possible by the impressive generosity and commitment of our extended community of alumnae, parents, and friends. As 2016 comes to a close and you look forward to new beginnings, please consider a gift to The Mount Holyoke Fund to help sustain the College and ensure the enduring power of the Mount Holyoke experience for our students in the coming year and beyond.

With warmest wishes for the coming year,

Kassandra Jolley
Vice President for Advancement

Leave a comment

The true magic of Mount Holyoke

By Rand Abu Al-Sha'r on Dec 5, 2016 11:35:30 AM

blog_Winter1.jpgMy first time seeing Mount Holyoke was when I arrived for international student orientation in August of my first year. What I felt when I drove through those gates is something that I will never forget and, as I stepped out onto campus, I knew that I had arrived to the place where I belonged.

From the beginning, I knew that I wanted visual mementos for myself of Mount Holyoke in all its enchanting colors and forms. From the lush greens and saturated blues of the summer, to the stunning warm hues of the fall, the majestic frostiness of the winter, and back to the soft greens and pastel pinks of the spring.

I began taking photographs my very first day here, and now, as a senior, I can proudly say I still exasperate my friends when I stop them in the middle of our walk to dinner in freezing temperatures to take a photo of just how perfectly those icicles are hanging from the frosty Chapin Hall window emitting warm light.

blog_Winter2.jpgComing from Amman, Jordan, I was used to seeing light snow once or twice a year, but that did not prepare me for what it would be like here. I remember my first snow during October break when I had decided to stay on campus. I switched my pillow to the other side of the bed in order to face my window and watch the snow fall all throughout the night. The next morning, I ventured outside into a magical world, and with everyone gone, the transformation felt even more exceptional. To me, Mount Holyoke had always embodied Hogwarts, but that day, I could not deny it had morphed into Narnia.

The snow is not the only thing that takes my breath away in the winter. The temperatures I’ve experienced here have also been staggering—quite literally. I've often found myself petulantly muttering “It’s below zero degrees.” I usually only remember to hastily add “Celsius, not Fahrenheit” when I see visible panic on my friends’ faces.

It’s now below zero degrees Celsius again, which means only one thing in my experience: winter is officially here, and finals are quietly approaching. You can feel the effects of this around campus, in bundled up forms huddled together outside for warmth, in the overflowing library carrels, and the visible increase of hot drinks consumed daily, however that may be possible. But with all the stress that the impending winter and finals impose, there is also a blanket of warmth and nostalgia which subtly settles over campus.

The fairy lights of the gate are twinkling again, and the frostiness of the outside world makes each nook and cranny in every building all the more intimate. This year, the nostalgia is profuse. As a senior, I think there is a delicate awareness that these mystical transformations are definite markers of the swiftly passing time. You inadvertently realize that this might be one of the last times you study by the common room fireplace as wind roars outside, or the last time you wake up to see Skinner Green engulfed in a mesmerizing sea of fog, or the last sunset that’s this exact stunning shade of pink.

blog_Fall7.jpgThese realizations have been slowly accumulating since Convocation, but at this point in the semester, it becomes impossible to ignore them. That’s why between my Architecture studios, English seminars, thesis work, and art museum tours, I find myself somehow carving out time every day to rediscover Mount Holyoke.

As class ends and I begin to rush to my next commitment, I often find myself slowing down and find my feet guiding me to longer less direct routes. I find myself walking Upper Lake trail, or lingering on Lower Lake bridge, or even exploring the never ending wonders of the library. I remind myself that this is real, because once I step out of those gates after Commencement, Mount Holyoke will effortlessly feel like a dream.

Within these contemplations, I realize that this campus which still takes my breath away years later is so special because it’s the physical vessel to everything else that happens within these walls. That comforts me, because I know that the true magic of Mount Holyoke is what it has taught me, and how it has transformed me. That is something I can and will carry with me wherever I am in the world.

As I sit by my window and watch another rainfall, I am moved by the love I have for this place. I try to etch Mount Holyoke into my memory, to take part of it back with me, because I know that when I graduate, I leave part of myself with Mount Holyoke.


Leave a comment

Donor Spotlight: Krystiane Cheetham Cooper '92. "Thank you, Mount Holyoke, for giving my voice a place to sing."

By MHC Advancement on Dec 2, 2016 2:11:02 PM

368.jpgKrystiane Cheetham Cooper graduated cum laude with a double major in music and religion from Mount Holyoke in 1992. She then went on to earn a master's degree in vocal performance at Washington University, followed by a master's in social work from New York University, but it was at Mount Holyoke where Krystiane felt that she truly found her voice.

What is the greatest lesson you learned at MHC? Women's voices have value!

You recently made a gift to Mount Holyoke. Can you tell us what inspired you to give? A few reasons—Reunion, the election, and my own daughter getting close to college age.

Mount Holyoke was one of the best decisions of my life. There, I found that I had a voice—a voice of my own—a voice of wisdom, curiosity, wit, compassion, and fire. Just as importantly, my voice was heard. My voice had value, weight, and nuance. My voice could change the world. My voice: big, grounded, cacophonous, melody and harmony. A composition of my own, blended in time with the voices of my Sisters. The gates of Mount Holyoke welcomed MY voice. Welcomed the voices of women from all over the world. Mount Holyoke gave voice to all of us, each one having the space to grow in volume, intensity, and duration. Thank you for giving voice to women's work, women's thoughts, women's dreams. Thank you, Mount Holyoke, for giving my voice a place to sing.

 Krystiane with mezzo-soprano Alyson Harvey. The two have performed together in The Philadelphia Singers for over fifteen years.

Was there a moment you knew your life was forever changed? The moment my roommate and I first bonded, during the first days of first-year Orientation.

What is your favorite spot on campus? Abbey Chapel, when it's empty; and the path next to Pratt, leading to the bridge over Lower Lake.

What are your top 5 favorite things about MHC?
1. The knowledge that I am connected to every alumna, especially my sisters from '90 to '95.
2. The gates.
3. The Goodnight Song.
4. Upper Lake.
5. Professors who lit a fire in my mind (Louise Litterick, Jim Carpenter, John Grayson, Lynn Morgan, Tim Johnson, and Melinda Spratlan).

Can you tell us a little more about yourself? I am a classical singer and licensed clinical social worker in the Philadelphia area. My life has been devoted to singing, and giving voice to children who have experienced trauma and loss, especially those in deeply impoverished urban areas. I maintain a play and cognitive therapy practice for children and families; provide clinical supervision at The Center for Autism; and serve as staff soprano at the Church of Saint Martin-in-the-Fields in Philadelphia. I live with my husband of 22 years, Matt, and our three children: Katherine (16), Daniel (12), and Betsy (10) in Elkins Park, PA.

Members of the Philadelphia Singers and the Philadelphia Orchestra at the UN Summit on Climate Change in the fall of 2015. Krystiane is pictured towards the center, next to orchestra conductor Yannick Nezet-Seguin.


Want to share your favorite things about MHC for a spotlight? Leave a comment or email us at


Leave a comment

#GivingTuesday—a movement started by a Mount Holyoke alum

By MHC Advancement on Nov 29, 2016 10:48:18 AM

givingTues.jpgLeave it to a Mount Holyoke alum to start a global movement to improve the world!

Today is #GivingTuesday, the creation of a team led by Asha Curran '95, the Chief Innovation Officer of the Belfer Center for Innovation & Social Impact at the 92nd Street Y in New York City. Started five years ago as a way of complementing the “spend spend spend” messaging of Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday has become a movement embraced by millions. Last year, the CASE Foundation estimates that in the 24 hours of Giving Tuesday, $116.7 million was given by 698,961 online donors, which is a tremendous achievement!

This #GivingTuesday, we would like to honor the thousands of Mount Holyoke alumnae, students, parents, faculty, staff, and friends who invest their time, skills, creativity, and resources to support nonprofits in our communities and around the world. From schools and educational programs to arts organizations and advocacy groups, our alumnae support the great work these organizations do in so many ways—as board members, employees, volunteers, patrons, and donors.  

While #GivingTuesday may have started at the 92nd Street Y, it has taken off all over the country and the world. Comment below to let us know what organizations you are involved in, and why! And as you participate in #GivingTuesday, please consider supporting Mount Holyoke, where women find their voices, pursue their passions, and find ways to make their communities better every day.

#MHCforever #GivingTuesday

Leave a comment

To everyone in our community, thank you.

By MHC Advancement on Nov 23, 2016 9:00:00 AM

lake_DM151015_MHC-466_web-ready (1).jpg
Photo: Deirdre Haber Malfatto

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, a time when we gather with friends and family to reflect on what we are most grateful for throughout the year. We at Mount Holyoke have much to be thankful for this year: our talented and diverse student body, our inspiring faculty, our dedicated staff, and the generous and supportive alumnae who invest their time, skills, and resources to making Mount Holyoke a dynamic community.

We are especially grateful that the MHC community is filled with so many passionate leaders and individuals, all working to improve the world in ways large and small. From leading nonprofit boards and starting NGOs around the world to organizing bake sales in support of schools, we are invested in doing good wherever we can. Through research, advocacy, teaching, and engagement in the arts, we are bringing new information to light and making the world a better place every day.

We also want to recognize the hundreds of volunteers, spanning generations from all around the globe, who generously give their time, energy, and resources to support our community. They reach out to classmates to share exciting news from the College, and motivate them to connect and engage with one another and MHC. They inspire our students to accomplish great things, with the knowledge that wherever they are, there will be a network of support and encouragement lifting them up. They lead by example. It is thanks to their efforts each year that we are able to provide a transformational education for our students. Thank you for all you do!

What are you thankful for this year? Comment below and share your thanks!

Leave a comment

Make your statement—for women's education, for change, for the future.

By Allison Butler '05 on Nov 16, 2016 12:49:38 PM

students_5.pngAs a community, Mount Holyoke is deeply committed to social justice, equity, and purposeful engagement. We live and breathe our mission to educate and elevate women to be leaders in their communities and the world.

Mount Holyoke women speak up for what we believe in, strive to make a difference, and influence positive change. No matter our views on any single issue, we are taught to engage with conviction, logic, factual support, and empathy for the complex world in which we live. The support of committed alumnae, parents, and friends ensures that our students are prepared to go out and lead, joining the tens of thousands of Mount Holyoke graduates blazing trails and breaking glass ceilings in all corners of the world.

Mary Lyon's legacy has stood strong for nearly 180 years. Your investment in our community makes a powerful statement—that you believe supporting women's education is the surest way to affect positive change.

Make your statement today and join us in supporting tomorrow's leaders.

Allison Butler '05
Acting Director, The Mount Holyoke Fund

Leave a comment

Donor Spotlight: Sarah Hoke '08. "At Mount Holyoke, I learned to not be afraid to speak up."

By MHC Advancement on Nov 11, 2016 10:21:35 AM

sarahhoke08.jpgSarah Hoke '08
was a French major and art history minor as a student at Mount Holyoke. It's been over 8 years since she's left the College gates, but to this day, Mount Holyoke continues to change her life in so many ways.

What is the greatest lesson you learned at MHC? To not be afraid to speak up, even if my viewpoint doesn't match those around me. I'm a people pleaser at heart, so learning to stay true to my own moral compass was hard at times. But I was often encouraged to say my piece at MHC in a thoughtful and respectful way, which has carried me well through my interactions in the real world.

Was there a moment you knew your life was forever changed? I wouldn't say there was one single moment—that moment is still going on. I recognized the value of what MHC had provided me with (in terms of a solid education, reasoning skills, social skills, and more) before I graduated; but, when I came back for my 5-year reunion I realized how strongly our shared time at MHC had bonded my class together. I spoke with people that I'd never interacted with during my time as an undergrad, and found that we had so much in common, even beyond our time at MHC—this shared understanding will only deepen as time goes by I believe. As I interact with other MHC grads around the world, I continue to experience this phenomenon, which allows me to feel connected even when other areas of my life might be in flux.

What is your favorite spot on campus? Tough to decide, but the falls at Upper Lake or the library.

graduation.jpgJoanna Cogan, Sarah Hoke, Elizabeth Brick, and Stephanie Forbes after Commencement 2008.

You recently became a sustaining donor to Mount Holyoke. Can you tell us what inspired you to give? Because as every year passes, I appreciate and value my experience there more—and I want the same experience for others.

What are your top 5 favorite things about MHC?
1. M&Cs.
2. The Laurel Parade.
3. My friendships.
4. The faculty and staff.
5. The library.

Can you tell us a little more about yourself? A New Hampshire native, I grew up thinking that all maple syrup was the "real stuff" and that it was normal to frequently see moose, deer, and bears. After graduating from MHC, I worked for a book vendor for six years (living in New Hampshire, Georgia, and North Carolina). I am currently living in Montreal, QC where I practice my French and am working on completing my Masters in Information Studies at McGill University. I am hoping to pursue a career as an academic librarian once my degree is complete.

 The Mount Holyoke College Montpellier Study Abroad program in 2006-2007 enjoying Thanksgiving dinner with director Amy Loth '94 and her son.


Want to share your favorite things about MHC for a spotlight? Leave a comment or email us at


Leave a comment

Stand with every student this Founder's Day

By MHC Advancement on Nov 8, 2016 10:23:37 AM

foundersday.jpgOn November 8, 1837, Mount Holyoke Female Seminary opened its doors to 80 courageous, ambitious students who were ready to redefine what it meant to be a woman. For years Mary Lyon traveled from door to door sharing her vision for what women can achieve with education and opportunities, and inspired the community to invest in this revolutionary vision. After receiving much needed support—from coins, to dollars, to food and furniture—she was able to open the seminary doors to the first class of trailblazers. These women paved the way for the thousands of alumnae who followed in their footsteps. Now 179 year later, the world needs even more smart, inquisitive, compassionate women to lead change in this global, diverse society.

quote-Hutton.jpgAlthough we know the profound impact that Mount Holyoke and our alumnae have had in shaping our world over the generations, Mary Lyon struggled to find the funds. Imagine her relief if she could have relied on consistent support, every month, year after year. Imagine the sense of pride and encouragement that first class of 80 students would have felt if there were alums and friends investing in their success, looking out for them, each and every month. Today, you can provide that sense of relief and encouragement to current students.

This Founder's Day, maximize your support by becoming a sustaining donor. A little each month adds up to big impact over time. There are already 80 alumnae who have become sustaining donors, which is fitting for this Founder’s Day. We have 80 sustaining donors—one for each of the 80 original Mount Holyoke students.

The Challenge

We challenge you now to stand with every student in the Class of 2020—all 571 studentsby becoming a sustaining donor. From now through December 31, for every 5 alumnae in each class who make a sustaining gift, that class will receive $1,000 towards their Mount Holyoke Fund class total. Will you stand with every student?




Leave a comment

Donor Spotlight: Elizabeth Cook Babbin '96. "Thank you, Mount Holyoke."

By MHC Advancement on Nov 2, 2016 2:40:52 PM

ElizabethBabbin_96.jpgElizabeth Cook Babbin '96 graduated cum laude from Mount Holyoke with a degree in history and a special minor in journalism studies. This past spring, Elizabeth returned to campus to celebrate her 20th Reunion and reflected on what Mount Holyoke means to her: "I had no way to know how many gifts I would receive here, and I don't want to imagine where I'd be without them. Thank you, Mount Holyoke."

What is the greatest lesson you learned at MHC? That I am an intelligent, capable woman who can stand on the shoulders of my predecessors to achieve anything.

What is your favorite spot on campus? Just one? The newsroom. The barn. The green. The library...

You recently became a sustaining donor to Mount Holyoke. Can you tell us what inspired you to give? Mount Holyoke changed the course of my life. I would like to help the College help other students in the same way.

Was there a moment you knew your life was forever changed? The privilege of attending Mount Holyoke changed my life, my path, and most importantly, my view of myself and my potential. While at Mount Holyoke, I learned: how to write, edit, communicate, shed light in darkness, and argue; how to not only ride a horse, but compete on the team by my senior year; the rewards of true, deep friendships; and that I have intelligent contributions to make in the world. After graduation, a Mount Holyoke alumna served as a reference for me when I got my first job. I remember the human resources person telling me afterwards that the alum's only concern was whether the job was good enough for me. The job was an outstanding launch to my career.

What are your top 5 favorite things about MHC?
1. The fiercely intelligent, compassionate, and ambitious people who entered my life through Mount Holyoke. This includes faculty, fellow students, and alumnae.
2. Mount Holyoke taught me to think critically, to articulate my positions, and to dig deeper by asking the tough questions. These are skills that have shaped my life.
3. The many ground-breaking Mount Holyoke women who paved the way for me and others, and continue to inspire and motivate me.
4. The endless list of opportunities, both on campus and off, that the College helped me access.
5. The gorgeous campus.

Can you tell us a little more about yourself? I am currently in the last leg of the journey to complete my doctorate in educational leadership at Lehigh University. I work in a middle school, watching out for at-risk students and working with teachers to create systems and curricula that meet our students where they are in their learning. I collaborate with, a non-profit resource for parents that aims to support kids with learning or attention challenges. My husband and I own and run a Sylvan Learning Center in Easton, PA. But most importantly, I am the mom of two wonderful boys, ages 5 and 10.


Want to share your favorite things about MHC for a spotlight? Leave a comment or email us at


Leave a comment