Unknown to many students, the current North and South Rockefeller Halls actually represent the second instance of a Rockefeller dormitory to exist on campus. On a chilly December morning in 1922, disaster struck Mount Holyoke when a fire broke out in Rockefeller Hall at 8:30 a.m. The blaze was out of control within an hour. Fires were not an uncommon occurrence on campus at the time — in 1896 the original Mount Holyoke Female Seminary Building was destroyed by fire and later, in 1917, Williston Hall was also consumed by flames.
In 1894, John D. Rockefeller gave Mount Holyoke $2,000 to build a covered skating rink, with just one condition: that the building be completed by January 1, 1896. Construction was completed over the 1895 winter break, just in time for the students’ return to campus. Originally located where Porter Hall now stands, the rink offered a fun pastime and an opportunity for physical fitness during the cold winters.
Madeline Fitzgerald’s interest in Mount Holyoke was somewhat of a family affair. Her older sister graduated with the class of 2012, and Madeline remembers visiting her sister on campus as a small child. “At the time, Mount Holyoke seemed like the most magical place in the world,” she recalls. As she grew older and began to consider colleges for herself, she realized that she compared all other schools to Mount Holyoke — and that they would never measure up.
Katerina Alvarez ’20 came to Mount Holyoke determined to accomplish big things. A Posse scholar from Miami, Katerina demonstrated extraordinary leadership qualities even in high school. But it wasn't until she came to Mount Holyoke that she discovered exactly where to focus her interests. Now, as she prepares to graduate this December with a degree in statistics and sociology, Katerina is ready to make a difference. Armed with a wide array of accomplishments under her belt, along with the knowledge and expertise that she’s gained from her time at Mount Holyoke, she’s poised to achieve even bigger things beyond the gates.
Mount Holyoke College is known for its stunning campus: from the majestic stone buildings to its lush, varied greenery. Contributing to MHC’s beautiful campus landscape are the various trees that are scattered across campus. Dating back to the earliest plans presented in the late 19th century by acclaimed landscape architects, the Olmsted Brothers, the trees of Mount Holyoke have long been admired as an important part of the campus terrain.
Hailing from Lake Oswego, Oregon, Eloise Arnot ’20 was first drawn to Mount Holyoke’s welcoming student body when she visited as a prospective student. “I could feel the strong MoHo community and wanted to be part of it,” she remembers. “The students were so friendly and willing to help, and the absolutely beautiful campus made me feel like I never wanted to leave.” Mount Holyoke’s legacy of trailblazing women also convinced Eloise. “I wanted to be surrounded by empowered women!”
Caitlyn Richmond ’21 credits Mount Holyoke with helping her find her voice. The Northampton native was originally attracted to MHC after seeing current students and alumnae land opportunities that she thought could suit her well, too. Once on campus, Caitlyn started to blossom — gaining self-confidence and developing her leadership abilities.
The moment she stepped foot on campus, Verity O’Connell ’20, knew Mount Holyoke was the school for her. Surrounded by the majestic brownstone buildings and lush greenery, the College felt like a place she could grow into and make her home. Four years later, she’s found her place and still revels in the community and tradition that have so profoundly shaped her time here.
Philanthropy has always played a significant role in Mount Holyoke’s history. From the very beginning, when Mary Lyon traveled across New England with her green velvet purse collecting the donations and resources to open Mount Holyoke, the College has understood the importance of giving to a greater good. In the years since its founding, Mount Holyoke has remained committed to fostering a sense of community and to cultivating the understanding that the generosity of our community can create change and opportunities for decades to come. To commemorate MHC’s extensive legacy of giving, we'd like to share a new project we’ve been working on in the Division of Advancement!
North and South Mandelle Halls (often called the Mandelles or the ’Delles) were built in 1923, as Mount Holyoke prepared to welcome an expanding student body. The structure — which is actually made up of two separate, smaller halls that connect to form one large building — was originally named Hillside, in tribute to its location under at the foot of the sprawling Prospect Hill.