LCS Spotlight: Katia deSouza (Evans) ’99

By MHC Advancement on October 17, 2017 at 5:00 PM

"I come from a large family with big ambitions and tiny purses. My parents wanted the best for me and MHC gave me the opportunity to achieve those goals. To be a member of the LCS makes me feel proud and grateful. I’m proud to know that I can not only potentially help some young woman achieve her next step, but also grateful for a career that allows me to give back." —Katia deSouza (Evans) ’99

The Laurel Chain Society honors the generosity of all alumnae, family members and friends who support the College consistently each year. Their steadfast support of — and unwavering belief in — the College advances the mission of Mount Holyoke and empowers our students to change the world. Laurel Chain Society Member Katia deSouza (Evans) ’99 tells us why she supports Mount Holyoke:

Tell me a bit about your Mount Holyoke experience. What did you study? What was your favorite class? What was your favorite place on campus? What has been your path since leaving Mount Holyoke? I was biochemistry major, as I had planned to be since I was 10 years old. And I loved BIOCHEM 311. The independent research project and presentation were my favorite parts. That class really set the stage for where I thought my life/career was going to go and has gone. As planned, I pursued a doctorate degree in the sciences and graduated from Columbia University in 2005. I had always planned to be a professor and have a lab, but I left the academic world to pursue medical writing and medical communications, after a brief post doc. In November of 2013, I moved to Basel, Switzerland to pursue that work in-house at Novartis Pharma, AG.

Why did you choose MHC? I wish my story was more glamorous. My father suggested that I attend. I chose MHC sight unseen. I didn’t attend a campus visit program and only reviewed the PRINTED material that was sent to me. It was a leap of faith where I trusted my gut and said GO!

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LCS Spotlight: Kathy Schofield ’70

By MHC Advancement on October 17, 2017 at 5:00 PM

"My MHC education gave me confidence in my own abilities, reinforced my assertiveness in continuing to strive and instilled problem-solving skills, intellectual discipline and the value of hard work, which, like my mother and aunts, resulted in my success in graduate school and in my career." —Kathy Schofield ’70

The Laurel Chain Society honors the generosity of all alumnae, family members and friends who support the College consistently each year. Their steadfast support of — and unwavering belief in — the College advances the mission of Mount Holyoke and empowers our students to change the world.  Laurel Chain Society Member Kathy Schofield ’70 tells us why she supports Mount Holyoke:

Tell me a bit about your Mount Holyoke experience. What did you study? What was your favorite class? What was your favorite place on campus? What has been your path since leaving Mount Holyoke? Fine Arts, specifically painting and printmaking, was my academic home (determined based on being able to earn a grade better than a “C” after experimenting with French and Chemistry). Sculpture with Professor Leonard A Delonga, Professor of Art 1964-1991 was my favorite class; the art studios in Dwight were my favorite places.

My working life path since leaving MHC is complex and varied: secretarial; MBA from Amos Tuck School at Dartmouth; 30 years as an advertising executive in Chicago, Greenville, South Carolina and Baltimore; association marketing executive in Washington D.C.; a return to school to earn a third degree in Computer Graphics; adjunct instructor in Computer Graphics at a community college; finally full circle back to administrative assistant. Retirement in March 2015.

My path in private life: marriage at 20; divorce at 30; single until 40; 25 years of very happy marriage ending at the premature passing of my beloved husband; beginning my fourth year as a widow. No children.

Why did you choose Mount Holyoke? MHC is in my genes; when I matriculated in 1966, The Quarterly reported my status as fifth generation with my great-great-grandmother Mary Ballantine Fairbank having been a student of Mary Lyon and my being the 50-something girl from the Fairbank and Caskey families to attend MHC. My playmates as a child were my nine girls cousins from three sisters, all MHC alums, each of whom built successful careers in their chosen fields. Although my mother Mary Adelaide Wright Rainey ’43 had communicated her unhappiness during her four years at MHC, I accepted an invitation from my aunt Alice Wright Conkey ’41 to accompany her and my cousin to an application interview. Upon my acceptance, MHC’s beautiful campus was the deciding factor in my decision to attend along with its high educational standards and single sex education.

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LCS Spotlight: Joan Winkel Ripley ’55

By MHC Advancement on October 17, 2017 at 5:00 PM

"We were fortunate to be able to attend a women’s college that had great professors, wonderful traditions and provided a terrific education. I want other women to be able to experience the same." — Joan Winkel Ripley ’55

The Laurel Chain Society honors the generosity of all alumnae, family members and friends who support the College consistently each year. Their steadfast support of — and unwavering belief in — the College advances the mission of Mount Holyoke and empowers our students to change the world.  Lifetime Laurel Chain Society Member Joan Winkel Ripley ’55 tells us why she supports Mount Holyoke:

Tell me a little about yourself. While at Mount Holyoke, what was your major? What are you doing now? I married in 1956 and had five children. I now have 17 grandchildren and one great grandson. I majored in Chemistry, and only worked one year as a chemist before my husband was transferred to Georgia where there were no chemistry jobs. I became a statistician for George Washington University which was doing a project for the army.In 1972, after five children, I opened a bookstore in Chappaqua, New York.  I finally closed it 37 years later in 2009. During that time I became the first woman president of the American Booksellers Association and traveled all over the U.S. I am now retired.

Why did you choose Mount Holyoke? I chose Mount Holyoke because back in the 1950s, if you did well in high school you were expected to attend a Seven Sisters school. I had never seen a college before entering the gates freshman year at Mount Holyoke in 1951.

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LCS Spotlight: Omaima Afzaal ’17

By MHC Advancement on October 17, 2017 at 5:00 PM

"As alumnae, we have all benefited in some way from the Mount Holyoke experience, whether it’s the academics, the community, or the opportunities MHC provided for us. It's up to us as alumnae to give back to ensure that future generations of students enjoy a MHC experience that’s just as incredible, if not better, than ours." — Omaima Afzaal ’17

The Laurel Chain Society honors the generosity of all alumnae, family members and friends who support the College consistently each year. Their steadfast support of — and unwavering belief in — the College advances the mission of Mount Holyoke and empowers our students to change the world.  New Laurel Chain Society Member Omaima Afzaal ’17 tells us why she supports Mount Holyoke:

Tell me a bit about your Mount Holyoke experience. What did you study? What was your favorite class? What was your favorite place on campus? What has been your path since leaving Mount Holyoke? I was an economics and politics double major. There’s no way I could pick my favorite class, but one class that particularly left an impact on me was “Economic Development in the Age of Globalization” with Professor Eva Paus. There were about 14 of us from about nine different countries, which made for lively conversation regarding globalization. There was a huge emphasis on participating and debating in the class, and I left each class more confident about my speaking and arguing skills. I am currently working as a legal assistant at a corporate law firm in New York, combining my interests in finance and law.

Why did you choose MHC? I was originally on the fence about choosing Mount Holyoke. That changed when I sat in on several MHC classes during accepted students’ weekend. I loved how passionate Mount Holyoke students were about their coursework, and I was impressed by how engaging and interactive the professors were in the classroom. The classes were much more than just lectures — students brought their own genuine curiosities, frustrations, and critiques about the course materials, creating an open, collaborative space to learn in. I chose Mount Holyoke because I knew it would provide the rigorous, yet supportive, environment I needed to grow as a student.

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Mount Holyoke ranks as one of the most diverse colleges in America

By MHC Advancement on July 14, 2016 at 9:17 AM

"Of the 10 most diverse liberal arts colleges on this list, five of them are all women’s colleges (Agnes Scott, Wellesley, Bryn Mawr, Smith, and Mount Holyoke). This trend may seem surprising, but it is supported by these school’s founding ideologies. Women’s colleges were created to educate people excluded from the ivory tower, and although this initially meant women, administrators applied the same inclusive attitude to admitting minorities."

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Mount Holyoke’s commitment to conversation, comradeship, and change.

By Sonya Stephens on July 11, 2016 at 11:33 AM

Dear Members of the Mount Holyoke Community,

This summer has brought so much tragedy to society and our screens that, as we find ourselves grieving one event, trying to make sense of the act and the loss, we are swept into another.  Some happen at a distance, while others happen here on US soil. Some are classified as acts of terrorism, and the others are, at root, also about fear. All strike close to home in a community such as ours at Mount Holyoke College, comprised of many races and ethnicities, religions, nationalities, gender identities, and political affiliations.

The senseless murders of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile in recent days—within a day of each other and less than two years after that of Michael Brown—reminded us, if we needed reminding, that this happens every day and everywhere in the United States, and of the urgency with which we all must act to protect black lives and to address the structural racism that allows such violence. It reminded us, as does the journalist Gary Younge, that “justice is indivisible,” and that anything less than justice for all is privilege for some.

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Thank you!

By MHC Advancement on July 1, 2016 at 9:19 AM

On behalf of all our students, thank you for your gifts to The Mount Holyoke Fund! Your gifts will support every part of the MHC experience for our students, from once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to beloved MHC traditions, as well as our amazing faculty and this beautiful campus. With your gifts, you have shared many heartfelt comments on what inspired you to pay it forward. Here are just a few:

"Mount Holyoke was the type of school that I needed after graduating from a small public high school with only about 30 students who planned to go on to college. I had been told that as a girl, I needed to keep my mouth shut and not to excel in ways that would make boys uncomfortable! I needed outstanding professors, but most of all I needed to be allowed to ask questions, seek answers, work hard, and do my best. I loved my liberal arts education and the breadth of experiences that was very different from anything I had experienced before. I loved having classmates and fellow students who were also interested in a variety of issues and subjects." —Claire Offutt Leonard '67

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Donor spotlight: Pamela Freeman Dear ’83. “My MHC education allowed me to become the person I am today.”

By MHC Advancement on July 1, 2016 at 8:35 AM

You recently made a gift to MHC. Can you tell us what inspired you to give? I give to Mount Holyoke every year because my MHC education allowed me to become the person I am today. I gained self-confidence that I didn't know I lacked and was able to stand up for myself in the working world because I had already done it at Mount Holyoke.

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Donor Spotlight: Christine Ianni ’15 pays it forward for future generations.

By MHC Advancement on June 30, 2016 at 3:47 PM

Only a few more hours left! Mount Holyoke's fiscal year ends tonight at midnight. Each year, every year, MHC counts on the community for support so that students today—and for generations to come—will have the amazing MHC experience. With so many opportunities and so many reasons to give, here's what inspired Christine Ianni '15 to pay it forward:

You recently made a gift to MHC. Can you tell us what inspired you to give? I couldn't be more grateful for the opportunities Mount Holyoke provided me and I hope my gift will help guarantee the same for others.

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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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