Investing in women’s education makes a bold statement.

By MHC Advancement on March 9, 2017 at 1:58 PM

While the 2017 International Women’s Day celebrations have come to an end, the call to #BeBoldForChange remains. Every day members of our community work towards creating lasting change, through work, advocacy, education, research, and philanthropy. In times when women are still fighting to have their voices heard, investing in Mount Holyoke makes a powerful statement — that you believe supporting women's education is the surest way to effect positive change.

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International Women’s Day –#BeBoldForChange

By MHC Advancement on March 8, 2017 at 7:00 AM

Today is International Women’s Day, a global celebration of the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, and a call for gender parity in the world. International Women’s Day has been celebrated for over a century, beginning in 1908, where 15,000 women marched through New York City demanding shorter hours, better pay and voting rights. Then, on February 28, 1909, the first National Woman's Day was observed across the United States. (Coincidentally, February 28 is also Mary Lyon’s birthday, whose contributions to women’s education and empowerment are certainly well known!)

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Thank you for a fabulous FebruMary!

By MHC Advancement on March 3, 2017 at 8:32 AM

Thank you to everyone who participated in our 4th annual FebruMary! In 28 days, we celebrated our amazing community and toasted our fearless founder for her 220th birthday through puzzles, photo campaigns, fundraising challenges and even finger puppets! (Mary even found her way to Antarctica!)

Thanks to the 2,865 alumnae who participated in this challenge, this was our most successful FebruMary to date! Together we raised over $340,000 for The Mount Holyoke Fund, a powerful statement of support for Mount Holyoke's mission.

Our challenges had some of the closest competition we have ever seen. Earlier this month we celebrated the classes of 1972, 1984, 1994, 2005, and 2010 and 2011 on their success in the 24-hour Decade Challenges. We are now happy to announce the winner of our New Donor Challenge, the Class of 1994, who brought in an incredible 125 new fiscal year 2017 donors this month, a new all-time record for FebruMary! Check out this infographic for even more information about the impact of FebruMary.

If you have any feedback for us, or you would like to share any additional stories or photos, please feel free to email us at Thank you again to everyone who took part in our FebruMary festivities!
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Elli Kaplan ’93 fights to stop Alzheimer’s before it starts

By Abigail Meisel on February 14, 2017 at 2:09 PM

Tests to predict the onset of diabetes or heart disease are commonplace — and they save lives. But there has never been a test to predict the likelihood of Alzheimer’s disease — until now.

Thanks to the innovations of the health care startup Neurotrack, anyone with a home computer can take a five-minute online assessment to predict their risk of age-related cognitive decline, such as Alzheimer’s. Elli Kaplan ’93, co-founder and CEO of Neurotrack, has been instrumental in making this assessment tool available to the public.

In the assessment, subjects sit in front of a computer and watch a series of images flashed onto the screen while the webcam tracks their eye movements. Some of the images are familiar and others are novel. People with healthy brains look at the new images first, while those whose brains are deteriorating are attracted to familiar ones.

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Decade Challenges Results

By MHC Advancement on February 13, 2017 at 3:32 PM

Last week 47 classes (1971-2016 and FPs) competed in our 4th annual FebruMary Decade Challenge, the most successful and most exciting year to date! After a week of intense competition, we ended with a new record — 2,616 donors contributed over $261,000 in just five days.  What a remarkable demonstration of the power of the Mount Holyoke community when we come together!

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Defining Community #7: Welcome Ceremony for New Alumnae

By MHC Advancement on February 8, 2017 at 10:01 AM

Commencement and Reunion are two traditions that work hand in hand to define a student's experience.  As a graduating senior, you eagerly anticipate the moment when you and your classmates carry the chains of laurel towards Mary Lyon’s grave surrounded by the smiling faces and cheers of encouragement from alumnae spanning the generations. As an alumna returning for Reunion, you can’t wait to enthusiastically help welcome the newest class of alumnae into the fold. For many years, the Laurel Chain Ceremony served as this first point of connection, but in 2011, a new tradition was formed that has quickly become a cornerstone of the Commencement/Reunion event.

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Celebrate Black History Month with APAU

By MHC Advancement on February 7, 2017 at 1:29 PM

February is Black History Month, where we honor the black leaders, artists, and activists that defined our past and shape our future. The Association of Pan African Unity - APAU has planned a number of wonderful events on campus throughout the month.

The 2017 Black History Month programming includes:

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Defining Community #6: FebruMary and a Tradition of Philanthropy

By MHC Advancement on February 6, 2017 at 6:32 PM

64’s skiing with Mary at Okemo

Philanthropy is in Mount Holyoke’s blood, and giving back is one of our oldest traditions. Since Mary Lyon traveled across New England with her green velvet purse, collecting charitable gifts from local citizens in order to found an institution of higher education for women, philanthropy has been important sources of institutional momentum. In 1837, the gifts of money, furniture, and bedding were vital in enabling Mary Lyon to open the doors of the Mount Holyoke Female Seminary. Mary Lyon knew that through rigorous education, women would be empowered to change the world, but without a community that invested in this bold vision, Mount Holyoke would not have been able to open its doors to the first class of 80 trailblazing women. Today, annual support from alumnae, families and friends of the College continues to have a profound impact on our student’s lives.

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Defining Community #5: Laurel Chain Ceremony

By Elana Tsogt-Erdene '17 on February 5, 2017 at 10:30 AM

An iconic and memorable part of a tradition-filled graduation weekend, the Laurel Chain Ceremony is also one of Mount Holyoke’s most time-honored traditions. The class of 1900 was the first to take the laurel--long associated with victory and honor--to Mary Lyon’s grave during commencement week. The following year, seniors honored Lyon with flowers, but the members of the class of 1902 were the first to wrap the now familiar garland of mountain laurel around her grave enclosure.

The laurel chain represents the unbroken linkage among all alumnae. The tradition has been modified and paused several times during its 116 year history. The seniors of 1923 carried a daisy chain in place of the then-endangered laurel, which until then had been picked in nearby mountains and the chain handmade by freshman. Class of 1924 honored Lyon with rose bouquets and long streamers. The laurel procession was revived in 1925 and carried on for decades until 1970 when seniors chose to carry peace symbols, an homage to on-going Vietnam War protests, and 1971 when seniors chose to abandon tradition in order to add money to the senior class gift. The class of 1972 voted to bring back the tradition, citing its importance to the community.

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Defining Community #4: Family and Friends Weekend

By Elana Tsogt-Erdene '17 on February 4, 2017 at 11:30 AM

In the Spring of 1946, a very exciting change took place at Mount Holyoke College. For the first time ever, parents were invited to participate in May Day festivities. Viewed as a welcome chance for parents to better acquaint themselves with their daughter's’ college lives, the popularity of the event inspired the college to host its first ever official “Parents’ Day” in 1951.

As then college President Roswell B. Ham writes in the event invitation, the special day was for parents to “see their daughters and the college in action.” The day’s itinerary began with visits to morning classes and a student-faculty basketball game and included a canoe meet, an archery exhibition, two water ballet performances, and concluded with the Dramatic Club Play, “The Constant Nymph.” The highlight of the day was the presentation of the May Queen and her court. Her identity kept secret until that moment, the May Queen was traditionally the most beautiful girl in the senior class and members of her court were likewise chosen by the student body for their beauty and grace. About 250 families attended that first Parents’ Day.

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