Bread and Roses: the origins of a Mount Holyoke tradition

By Rachel Nix ’20 on May 18, 2019 at 6:01 AM

This morning, as part of Commencement weekend, graduating seniors and alumnae will sing “Bread and Roses” at the conclusion of the Laurel Parade — a ceremony in which the graduates, donned in white, process across campus linked by two 275-yard laurel chains to the grave of Mary Lyon. But did you know that both the song and the attire that are such integral parts of the tradition are tributes to the women labor activists and suffragists of the early 20th century?

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Reflections of a graduating senior: my favorite Mountain Day

By Inayat Gill ’19 on May 17, 2019 at 9:02 AM

As a senior, the start of the fall semester was also the start of the countdown to my last Mountain Day. Every year, the anticipation and conversation surrounding Mountain Day becomes a staple at every lunch and dinner table in the Dining Commons. One person wants Monday off so they don’t need to worry about homework that’s due, another doesn’t want it on Monday because they don’t want to miss a work shift. Each day is filled with excitement and nervous mornings as October approaches. For seniors the anticipation is bittersweet, as we realize that our “lasts” at Mount Holyoke are about to begin.

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Donor Spotlight: Rochelle Thomas ’01. “It was the greatest academic experience of my life.”

By MHC Advancement on June 30, 2016 at 12:47 PM

Rochelle Thomas '01 recalls Mount Holyoke as being the greatest academic experience of her life: "I try to give something to MHC every year because I will never forget the experiences I had and hope that it continues to inspire more women for centuries to come. I am ever so jealous of the FPs, because I wish I could walk through the MHC gates with the knowledge of the world as I now know it. I don't think I would ever leave!"

What's the greatest lesson you learned while at MHC? We were all once fish!

What's your favorite spot on campus? So many! I always remember the flowering trees that were just outside of Buckland. They were probably insignificant to almost everyone else but it was a reminder of all of the touches of beauty around campus. But, the waterfall, the equestrian center, the path around the lake—the possibilities are endless!

You recently made a gift to MHC. Can you tell us what inspired you to give? I received a very generous financial aid package that enabled me to attend MHC and I hope many other women are able to benefit from such a gift in the future. Additionally, I hope that the College continues to attract such world class educators. Not a day goes by when I don't think about how much the faculty was invested in its students, taking the time to have lunch with us, invite us into their homes and answer e-mails about anything. A lot of learning happened outside of the classroom. And, the campus ain't too shabby to look at either!

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Donor Spotlight: Caitlin Reilly Smith ’98. “It is important for me to give back, and to help provide more young women the opportunity…”

By MHC Advancement on June 29, 2016 at 9:45 AM

Caitlin Reilly Smith '98 majored in anthropology at Mount Holyoke. As it is with so many other alumnae, the lessons learned and the confidence gained from her years at MHC continue to serve Caitlin throughout her life.

What's the greatest lesson you learned while at MHC? I learned how to listen carefully, think critically, write effectively, and speak thoughtfully. Lessons that have been used every single day of my life since graduating.

What's your favorite spot on campus? I always loved walking past Babbo's bench (next to the art museum) on my way to and from class, so now I like to stop and sit on it when I visit campus.

You recently made a gift to MHC. Can you tell us what inspired you to give? I support MHC so that it can continue to provide a top-quality liberal arts education to the women leaders of the future! I have been so impressed by every alumna I have met throughout the years. Their career accomplishments, leadership abilities, and sense of purpose in life are a common thread that I have found ties all MHC alumnae together. It is important for me to give back, and to help provide more young women the opportunity to build that same foundation that will serve them for the rest of their lives.

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Donor Spotlight: Felisa Ver Friesen ’06. “Our parents and MHC are two of the biggest reasons why my sister and I are the women we are today.”

By MHC Advancement on June 27, 2016 at 11:06 AM

As the end of Mount Holyoke's fiscal year draws near, we want to continue to celebrate all the alumnae and friends who are making a difference for students today. Whether it was an amazing class, an inspiring professor, or the lifelong friend you met your first-year, we all have different reasons for giving back and paying it forward. Felisa Ver Friesen '06 majored in sociology with a minor in dance when she was a student at Mount Holyoke. Her Mount Holyoke education prepared her well for life beyond the gates and made her the confident woman she is today but her reason for giving back was a very personal one.

You recently made a gift to MHC. Can you tell us what inspired you to give? My father passed away in February 2016. He was a hard working man who never wavered in his support for me or my sister, Ana Cecilia Ver '03. Our education and success were his priority and he was so proud that we were able to graduate from such a prestigious school, one that fostered our strengths. The gift was in memory of our father; without MHC's financial aid and our familial contribution, neither of us would have been able to attend MHC. Our parents and MHC are two of the biggest reasons why my sister and I are the women we are today: strong, thoughtful, and committed.

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Donor Spotlight: Ifeoma Aduba ’95. “Investing in the education and development of women is priceless.”

By MHC Advancement on June 24, 2016 at 10:41 AM

Ifeoma Aduba ’95 majored in politics with a minor in African American studies at Mount Holyoke. Now she's making a difference for her community helping victims of domestic violence as the Executive Director of A Woman's Place. Her life changed the moment she was accepted to Mount Holyoke—she knew then she would be seen and her voice heard.

What's the greatest lesson you learned while at MHC? There have been two that I have carried with me and grow in value for me every day—investing in the education and development of women is priceless for the whole community and to be thoughtful in building a case for support. They are lessons that I have benefited from and that have never failed me!

What's your favorite spot on campus? I love to wander and see what's changed over time... but I always come back to Upper Lake. That's where it started for me, living in MacGregor Hall my first year.

You recently made a gift to MHC. Can you tell us what inspired you to give? I give regularly to MHC—literally out of every paycheck I receive. I know that my experience at MHC and what I have accomplished since was made possible by the generosity of those who came before me and I try to honor that with a piece of every paycheck. That legacy of generosity and investment in women inspires me constantly.

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Alumna Spotlight: Naima McQueen '11. "Your Mount Holyoke College network will continue to be a powerhouse in your life as you move forward."

By MHC Advancement on February 11, 2016 at 2:00 PM

Naima McQueen '11 majored in psychology and African American studies at Mount Holyoke. Naima fondly remembers her years at Mount Holyoke—not only the amazing education which prepared her for success but also the incredible community.

What's the greatest lesson you learned while at MHC? Your peers and your professors truly invest in you, and in turn, you learn what investment looks like and how to then invest in others. Your Mount Holyoke College network will continue to be a powerhouse in your life as you move forward.

What's your favorite spot on campus? Rene Davis' Office. It continues to be a second home to me. She has always provided me a safe space to work through challenges, celebrate achievements, and find comfort when I needed it most.

Was there a moment you knew your life was forever changed? During my sophomore year, I took a course called the Inside/Out Prisoner Exchange Program. At the time, it was considered an English course. The course partnered a small group of Mount Holyoke students with a small group of women at the Western Massachusetts Women's Correctional Center for the duration of a semester. It was the most intense course I'd ever taken and I loved every minute of it. It was the first time that I'd challenged myself to think critically about access to education and opportunity. I went on to TA for the Inside/Out course my junior and senior years when Lucas Wilson took it on. The lessons I learned as a student and TA have continued to influence my work as a supplemental educator.

What are your top 5 favorite things about MHC?
1. My professors
2. The bold and brilliant alumnae
3. Driving on to campus (especially during winter when the main gate is wrapped in lights). Regardless of how stressed, exhausted, or aggravated you are, there is something about that first glance of campus after being away that catches you off-guard. There is a reason that MHC is consistently considered one of the most beautiful campuses in the world. I love coming back.
4. Prospect brunch
5. APAU

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Alumna Spotlight: Ruanjia Hu '05. "There's no time that is wasted. However many turns it takes on the road to your destination, every turn counts."

By MHC Advancement on December 30, 2015 at 12:53 PM

 

Ruanjia Hu '05 is currently a vice president in the mergers and acquisitions team of China Renaissance, a boutique internet and technology investment bank in Hong Kong. 

Ruanjia Hu '05 graduated magna cum laude from Mount Holyoke in 2005 with a double major in economics and psychology. She is grateful for the education she received at MHC, which led her to where she is today. We recently caught up with Ruanjia:

What's the greatest lesson you learned while at MHC? There is no time that is wasted. However many turns it takes on the road to the destination, every turn counts.

What's your favorite spot on campus? I like brunch time shared with friends at Prospect by the lake, starry night with a cup of hot chocolate at the observatory, and all the time I spent in the antique book room in the library. My ultimate favorite has to be Reese lower level which are all lab rooms and workshop.

You recently made a gift to MHC. Can you tell us what inspired you to give? I have given before. Lately work has been hectic and I have not got enough time to reflect. The recent mail I received from MHC "Because we met" was very touching and brought back many fond memories.

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Happy holidays from Mount Holyoke

By MHC Advancement on December 16, 2015 at 9:00 AM

Festive lights are up around campus and students are finishing up their coursework, eagerly anticipating the chance to connect with families and loved ones over the winter break. In this season of giving and good will, many of us are thinking about the ones with whom we share fond memories and those who made a difference in our lives. Here are a few of the meaningful Mount Holyoke connections you've shared with us:

"Ally and Asmaah, you are the sisters I never had and my uncommon partners in crime. Whether we are backpacking in Eastern Europe, plotting a hiking adventure to Peru, or texting about our daily lives, I know that I can always count on you. In true Mount Holyoke fashion, you are both exceptional in every single way. Your love of travel, food, and, yes, driving, is truly unparalleled. Because we met, Ally and Asmaah, I not only know the true meaning of adventure but the true meaning of sisterly love. " —Marija Tesla '11

"Mom...because I knew you...I received a greatest gift in Mount Holyoke. First, it was a beautiful brick and ivy dream; an aspiration I had, something powerful to work toward. Then, being there, finding academic success was a miracle. Finally, as a Mount Holyoke alumna my identity has been sealed, as if in a book of life. It is a source of pride that I wear as a badge; and it is a source of connection to you that I cherish. Now and forever. Thank you for the gift of my Mount Holyoke education and identity. I’m pleased to make this gift in your honor." —Susan Lowenthal Axelrod '84

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