Thank you to everyone who participated in the MHC Class Color Cup challenge this February! This was the most successful FebruMary participation challenge to date! In this short month, 3,650 donors raised $577,843 for The Mount Holyoke Fund. See the infographic below to see your impact and the winning classes as well a a full breakdown of the MHC Class Color Cup results. Congratulations to everyone for showing the power of the MHC community when we come together!
Mount Holyoke's founder, Mary Lyon, was born on February 28, 1797 in Buckland, Massachusetts. In founding the Mount Holyoke Female Seminary in 1837, Mary Lyon gave generations of women — and the world — a gift. Mary Lyon knew that women can accomplish great things when provided a rigorous education and a chance to find their voice. Now, 180 years later, Mount Holyoke students and alumnae continue to follow in her footsteps and change the world.
Mary Lyon's story resonates deeply with many in our community. Mary had an insatiable thirst for knowledge, but growing up as a young woman with modest means, she struggled to find adequate educational opportunities. She started teaching at the age of 17, and over the next 20 years became recognized as an authority on the education of women. Mary worked hard to expand academic opportunities for young women like her who came from modest means, and in 1834 decided to found an institution of higher education for women. Over the next three years Mary traveled from door to door engaging with members of her community, sharing her vision for what women can achieve when given a rigorous, challenging education, and inspiring them to invest in her bold vision. After receiving much needed support, she was able to open the seminary doors to the first class of trailblazers, who paved the way for the thousands of alumnae who followed in their footsteps.
All are welcome to join us for a celebration of our founder and the Mount Holyoke community on Wednesday, February 28 from 3-5 p.m. The celebration will be held in Archives and Special Collections, located in the basement of Dwight Hall. The festivities will include cake, coloring contests, button making, selfies with Mary Lyon, and a curated look at some incredible artifacts from Mount Holyoke's archives.
This short month has been filled with excitement as we launched our inaugural MHC Class Color Cup, where classes had just three days to show who had the most class pride. With 3,164 donors giving $411,367 to The Mount Holyoke Fund in support of MHC and our community, this challenge was a huge success!
It was wonderful to see Yellow Sphinxes, Red Pegasi, Green Griffins, Blue Lions and Purple Phoenixes from all class years show their incredible class pride as we worked together to support our alma mater. In honor of the Class Color Cup, we wanted to share some of our favorite photos of the Mount Holyoke community.
Do you have a photo that can top these? Please send us your favorite photos of you decked out in your class colors with us!
This month we are celebrating one of Mount Holyoke's defining traditions - our beloved class colors and animal mascots. We are united across generations by a unifying color and animal, whether you graduated Mount Holyoke in the 1940s or the 2010s. Ask any Mount Holyoke alumna what their class color and animal is and they will proudly proclaim their allegiance to their iconic class symbol.
Many alumnae were first introduced to their class animal and color through a Freshman Handbook mailed to their homes in the summer before they arrived on campus for the first time. On the cover, the upper classmen would decide on their own unique way to depict the class animals. The hand drawn illustrations were often stylized to show the incoming freshman class as a cute, young animal, like a Green Griffin standing with a suitcase puzzling up at the Gates or a bashful Blue Lion extending a paw to the student sitting beside it. The handbook, like a time capsule, contained helpful tips from current students, like only being allowed one appliance to be plugged in per dorm in the 1940’s, so choose your lamp or your radio wisely!
Each upper class from the early 1900’s all the way through to the 1980’s was tasked with designing the front cover of the Freshman Handbook, which resulted in some creative interpretations of each class animal. Some classes chose to show the freshman class as confused or naïve, and some chose to paint them as enthusiastic animals eager to join the campus community. As time progressed, the classes of the 1970’s opted to move away from showing the class animal on the cover, before the classes of the 1980’s resumed the tradition with a more formal and noble looking lion!
Check out the gallery below or this look at the Freshman Handbook Evolution for a walk through time as the class animals have evolved. Although our beloved mascots have taken different shapes throughout time, the underlying message remains the same: whether you are a Yellow Sphinx, a Blue Lion, a Green Griffin, a Red Pegasus or a Purple Phoenix, all are welcomed with opened gates!
Check back for more information on our class colors and animals throughout this month, and share your favorite photos, artworks, memories, or mythical animal facts with us.
If you visit the Alumnae Association office on the first floor of Mary E. Woolley Hall, you will see a magnificent set of stained glass ‘windows’ hanging in the hallway. Each of the four windows showcases a beautiful multi-colored image of one of Mount Holyoke’s four main class animals; the pegasus, sphinx, lion, and griffin. Many people have seen these breathtaking images — either in person, or as replicas on stationary from the Alumnae Association — but not many know the history behind them. These windows were created by Ann R. Thompson ’58 and Ted Traver (Traver Artisans 1980-1988). Ann shares her story below:
Happy FebruMary! This marks the 5th FebruMary celebration, and we are focusing on celebrating one of our defining traditions - our beloved class colors and animal mascots. Whether you graduated Mount Holyoke in the 1950s or the 2010s, we are united across generations by a unifying color and animal.
Who can forget MHC’s four iconic class symbols: the lion, unicorn, tiger and dragon.
The five current animals and colors (Yellow Sphinx, Blue Lion, Green Griffin, Red Pegasus and Purple Phoenix) have been a part of the Mount Holyoke ethos for decades, but many people do not know the full history of this important tradition.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the The Association of Pan African Unity (APAU), an organization for persons of African descent that plans and implements activities and programs designed to increase awareness of Africa's unique and diverse cultural heritage within the community. The APAU has been working with partners across campus to organize a number of events for Black History Month, with the theme of “I Belong Here: 50 Years of Black Excellence”. Many events are free and open to the Mount Holyoke community. Read more about the exciting events planned for this Black History Month celebration. We encourage you to join us in engaging in important conversations and celebrating this important milestone.
Join us for the first event on Thursday, February 1 at 7pm in Hooker Auditorium for the opening lecture. Dr. John H. Bracey Jr. of the UMass Afro-American Studies Department will be discuss how to connect the APAU’s 50 year legacy with the Black Power Movement and how the national discourse on race has translated to college campuses and student life.
Tomorrow we launch our 5th annual FebruMary celebration, a time when we see the power of our diverse, global community in action! There are a lot of exciting things planned for this short month, so make sure to keep your eyes out for information on our FebruMary celebration and exciting Black History Month events.
What’s new this FebruMary?
- New competitions: This year, we are introducing the MHC Class Color Cup. This challenge will run from February 13-15, with the competition structured around your class color.
- More chances to win! A group of anonymous donors have offered a challenge pool of up to $200,000, and there are many ways for your class to win. Check out our Class Color Cup page for more information.
- New platform and resources! This year we are using GiveCampus, which means real-time updates, easy sharing, and incentives for our top advocates. Check out our Digital Resources page for tips on how to be successful, downloadable images, and helpful guides.
Gifts to The Mount Holyoke Fund have a direct effect on every aspect of campus life and provide immediate support to the College’s most critical needs. When you choose a destination for your gift through The Mount Holyoke Fund, you put your money to work where it matters most to you.
Meet April Albrecht FP’19, who lives with her family in Belchertown, Massachusetts. A gender studies major, April was drawn to Mount Holyoke as a space for respectful challenging of personal and group ideologies. She is inspired by her professors, who have guided her studies to allow her to combine her interests in women's health and reproductive justice, biology, and critical theory. She hopes to pursue the Women, Gender, and Sexuality PhD program at UMASS when it launches in 2020.