LCS Spotlight: Katia deSouza (Evans) ’99

By MHC Advancement on October 17, 2017 at 5:00 PM

"I come from a large family with big ambitions and tiny purses. My parents wanted the best for me and MHC gave me the opportunity to achieve those goals. To be a member of the LCS makes me feel proud and grateful. I’m proud to know that I can not only potentially help some young woman achieve her next step, but also grateful for a career that allows me to give back." —Katia deSouza (Evans) ’99

The Laurel Chain Society honors the generosity of all alumnae, family members and friends who support the College consistently each year. Their steadfast support of — and unwavering belief in — the College advances the mission of Mount Holyoke and empowers our students to change the world. Laurel Chain Society Member Katia deSouza (Evans) ’99 tells us why she supports Mount Holyoke:

Tell me a bit about your Mount Holyoke experience. What did you study? What was your favorite class? What was your favorite place on campus? What has been your path since leaving Mount Holyoke? I was biochemistry major, as I had planned to be since I was 10 years old. And I loved BIOCHEM 311. The independent research project and presentation were my favorite parts. That class really set the stage for where I thought my life/career was going to go and has gone. As planned, I pursued a doctorate degree in the sciences and graduated from Columbia University in 2005. I had always planned to be a professor and have a lab, but I left the academic world to pursue medical writing and medical communications, after a brief post doc. In November of 2013, I moved to Basel, Switzerland to pursue that work in-house at Novartis Pharma, AG.

Why did you choose MHC? I wish my story was more glamorous. My father suggested that I attend. I chose MHC sight unseen. I didn’t attend a campus visit program and only reviewed the PRINTED material that was sent to me. It was a leap of faith where I trusted my gut and said GO!

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LCS Spotlight: Kathy Schofield ’70

By MHC Advancement on October 17, 2017 at 5:00 PM

"My MHC education gave me confidence in my own abilities, reinforced my assertiveness in continuing to strive and instilled problem-solving skills, intellectual discipline and the value of hard work, which, like my mother and aunts, resulted in my success in graduate school and in my career." —Kathy Schofield ’70

The Laurel Chain Society honors the generosity of all alumnae, family members and friends who support the College consistently each year. Their steadfast support of — and unwavering belief in — the College advances the mission of Mount Holyoke and empowers our students to change the world.  Laurel Chain Society Member Kathy Schofield ’70 tells us why she supports Mount Holyoke:

Tell me a bit about your Mount Holyoke experience. What did you study? What was your favorite class? What was your favorite place on campus? What has been your path since leaving Mount Holyoke? Fine Arts, specifically painting and printmaking, was my academic home (determined based on being able to earn a grade better than a “C” after experimenting with French and Chemistry). Sculpture with Professor Leonard A Delonga, Professor of Art 1964-1991 was my favorite class; the art studios in Dwight were my favorite places.

My working life path since leaving MHC is complex and varied: secretarial; MBA from Amos Tuck School at Dartmouth; 30 years as an advertising executive in Chicago, Greenville, South Carolina and Baltimore; association marketing executive in Washington D.C.; a return to school to earn a third degree in Computer Graphics; adjunct instructor in Computer Graphics at a community college; finally full circle back to administrative assistant. Retirement in March 2015.

My path in private life: marriage at 20; divorce at 30; single until 40; 25 years of very happy marriage ending at the premature passing of my beloved husband; beginning my fourth year as a widow. No children.

Why did you choose Mount Holyoke? MHC is in my genes; when I matriculated in 1966, The Quarterly reported my status as fifth generation with my great-great-grandmother Mary Ballantine Fairbank having been a student of Mary Lyon and my being the 50-something girl from the Fairbank and Caskey families to attend MHC. My playmates as a child were my nine girls cousins from three sisters, all MHC alums, each of whom built successful careers in their chosen fields. Although my mother Mary Adelaide Wright Rainey ’43 had communicated her unhappiness during her four years at MHC, I accepted an invitation from my aunt Alice Wright Conkey ’41 to accompany her and my cousin to an application interview. Upon my acceptance, MHC’s beautiful campus was the deciding factor in my decision to attend along with its high educational standards and single sex education.

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LCS Spotlight: Joan Winkel Ripley ’55

By MHC Advancement on October 17, 2017 at 5:00 PM

"We were fortunate to be able to attend a women’s college that had great professors, wonderful traditions and provided a terrific education. I want other women to be able to experience the same." — Joan Winkel Ripley ’55

The Laurel Chain Society honors the generosity of all alumnae, family members and friends who support the College consistently each year. Their steadfast support of — and unwavering belief in — the College advances the mission of Mount Holyoke and empowers our students to change the world.  Lifetime Laurel Chain Society Member Joan Winkel Ripley ’55 tells us why she supports Mount Holyoke:

Tell me a little about yourself. While at Mount Holyoke, what was your major? What are you doing now? I married in 1956 and had five children. I now have 17 grandchildren and one great grandson. I majored in Chemistry, and only worked one year as a chemist before my husband was transferred to Georgia where there were no chemistry jobs. I became a statistician for George Washington University which was doing a project for the army.In 1972, after five children, I opened a bookstore in Chappaqua, New York.  I finally closed it 37 years later in 2009. During that time I became the first woman president of the American Booksellers Association and traveled all over the U.S. I am now retired.

Why did you choose Mount Holyoke? I chose Mount Holyoke because back in the 1950s, if you did well in high school you were expected to attend a Seven Sisters school. I had never seen a college before entering the gates freshman year at Mount Holyoke in 1951.

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LCS Spotlight: Omaima Afzaal ’17

By MHC Advancement on October 17, 2017 at 5:00 PM

"As alumnae, we have all benefited in some way from the Mount Holyoke experience, whether it’s the academics, the community, or the opportunities MHC provided for us. It's up to us as alumnae to give back to ensure that future generations of students enjoy a MHC experience that’s just as incredible, if not better, than ours." — Omaima Afzaal ’17

The Laurel Chain Society honors the generosity of all alumnae, family members and friends who support the College consistently each year. Their steadfast support of — and unwavering belief in — the College advances the mission of Mount Holyoke and empowers our students to change the world.  New Laurel Chain Society Member Omaima Afzaal ’17 tells us why she supports Mount Holyoke:

Tell me a bit about your Mount Holyoke experience. What did you study? What was your favorite class? What was your favorite place on campus? What has been your path since leaving Mount Holyoke? I was an economics and politics double major. There’s no way I could pick my favorite class, but one class that particularly left an impact on me was “Economic Development in the Age of Globalization” with Professor Eva Paus. There were about 14 of us from about nine different countries, which made for lively conversation regarding globalization. There was a huge emphasis on participating and debating in the class, and I left each class more confident about my speaking and arguing skills. I am currently working as a legal assistant at a corporate law firm in New York, combining my interests in finance and law.

Why did you choose MHC? I was originally on the fence about choosing Mount Holyoke. That changed when I sat in on several MHC classes during accepted students’ weekend. I loved how passionate Mount Holyoke students were about their coursework, and I was impressed by how engaging and interactive the professors were in the classroom. The classes were much more than just lectures — students brought their own genuine curiosities, frustrations, and critiques about the course materials, creating an open, collaborative space to learn in. I chose Mount Holyoke because I knew it would provide the rigorous, yet supportive, environment I needed to grow as a student.

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

By MHC Advancement on December 2, 2016 at 2:11 PM

Krystiane 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.

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Donor Spotlight: Sarah Hoke ’08. “At Mount Holyoke, I learned to not be afraid to speak up.”

By MHC Advancement on November 11, 2016 at 10:21 AM


Sarah 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.

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.

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Donor Spotlight: Elizabeth Cook Babbin ’96. “Thank you, Mount Holyoke.”

By MHC Advancement on November 2, 2016 at 2:40 PM

Elizabeth 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.

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Donor Spotlight: Scott Cantor P’12. “I could sense that Mount Holyoke would become a special place in my daughter's heart.”

By MHC Advancement on October 21, 2016 at 3:40 PM

In honor of Family and Friends Weekend, a beloved fall tradition that brings the extended Mount Holyoke community together, we share the reflections of an MHC father, Scott Cantor P'12, who saw his daughter, Miriam Cantor-Stone '12, find her voice at MHC:

What's the greatest lesson your daughter learned while at MHC? How to create special bonds with classmates.

What inspires your giving to MHC? Quality academics on an outstanding campus, creating a special experience for women.

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Donor Spotlight: Miriam Cantor-Stone ’12. “Mount Holyoke gave me so much... so I give back!”

By MHC Advancement on October 21, 2016 at 9:00 AM

Miriam Cantor-Stone '12  majored in religion at Mount Holyoke with a minor in gender studies. Miriam knew from the start that she would have extraordinary opportunities at Mount Holyoke. As an alum, she remains connected with the College community and now, is paying it forward to current students:

What's the greatest lesson you learned while at MHC? The greatest lesson I learned while at MHC is that while I can beand thrive at beingindependent, having a supportive, tight-knit community is even more worthwhile. The community I’ve created via Mount Holyoke is ever growing and always inspiring.

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Donor Spotlight: Charlotte Dye ’15. “Mount Holyoke is an institution that does important things for its students and for the world.”

By MHC Advancement on October 13, 2016 at 11:48 AM

Charlotte Dye '15 graduated from Mount Holyoke with a dual degree in computer science and gender studies. She currently lives in the Greater Boston area and works as a software developer for IBM. Originally from Bethesda, Maryland, Charlotte knew during her first campus visit that Mount Holyoke would be an incredible and unique experience in so many ways, from the lessons she learned to MHC's passionate community:

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