As a student at Mount Holyoke, Markeisha Miner '99 majored in African/African American studies with a concentration on history and politics, but she gained far more than an excellent education here. She knew that the minute she first walked on campus, her life was forever changed.
What's the greatest lesson you learned while at MHC? At Mount Holyoke, I knew I could be whoever I wanted to be and do whatever I wanted and dreamed of doing. Over the years, whenever I need to come back to my center, I think about the young woman I wanted to be, and started to become at Mount Holyoke—the goals and aspirations I formed there—because that is where I learned to find my own voice. I learned to speak with the courage of my convictions without drowning others out.
As an example, during the spring of 1997, early in President Creighton's tenure, I was one of the students who vocally protested the proposed reductions to the Office of Religious Life and the lack of cultural housing space. I learned that, even in the midst of principled, passionate protest, I could learn from and respect people on the opposite side of an issue, while fully hearing their points of view. President Creighton later called that "passionate commitment with dispassionate analysis"—a lesson I applied daily when I was a practicing attorney and that I still rely on now as a law school administrator.
What's your favorite spot on campus? As a student, my favorite place was the garden behind the greenhouse that has the sundial and the wooden stairs that lead up to Reese (even before those stairs were so beautifully renovated!). Every time I return to campus, I make time to walk through that space. I always find serenity there.
Was there a moment you knew your life was forever changed? The minute I walked on campus as a prospective student. When I saw the t-shirt project on the green to raise awareness about domestic violence, met the then-first year student who had just published her own poetry anthology, and saw all of the student organizations in Blanchard, I knew not only that MHC was the school for me, but that my life would be different for having gone there.