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.