My grandmother, Sue Ewing, grew up as part of a prominent family in New Orleans, Louisiana, accustomed to the slew of traditions and expectations of women in the South in the 1940s. Deeply immersed in the social life of New Orleans, she recalls the Carnival Ball — a celebration where the upper echelon of society gathered for a lavish ball — being one of the most exciting events of the year. “I thought that New Orleans was the center of the universe,” she remembers. “Although, I was curious about what else existed.”
In July, Sonya Stephens will succeed Mount Holyoke's 18th president Lynn Pasquerella '80, who announced yesterday that she will be stepping down from her role June 30 to lead the Association of American Colleges & Universities. Stephens, currently the vice president for academic affairs and dean of faculty at Mount Holyoke, will serve as acting president for three years.
On the relevance of women's colleges in the 21st century, Stephens replies:
A women's college and a liberal education invite students to find meaning and a voice, to see themselves and the world anew, to find strength in who they are and a resolve to be who they want to be... An education for women is synonymous with opportunities, advocacy, and rights for all women, because what a Mount Holyoke education represents at its most powerful is self-determination, and we stand for that for every one of our students, and for every woman."