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.”
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.
Kira Kmetz FP'06 majored in geography with a minor in history at Mount Holyoke. She currently lives in San Francisco, CA with her partner of twenty years. Kira writes poetry and is currently working on a historical novel. She also tutors elementary school students, volunteers at the San Francisco SPCA, and enjoys practicing and performing the Japanese ensemble-drumming art of taiko. With all her activities, Kira finds the time each year to give back to her alma mater:
What's the greatest lesson you learned while at MHC? That women's colleges are truly vital and must be supported and championed, so that current and future generations of smart, eager women have the opportunity to become their best selves.
With every gift, you can inspire, motivate, and drive our students to do more. Continue paving the way. Please make your gift by June 30.
Emily Kyte ’17, a geography major and Arabic minor, left her comfort zone far behind to study abroad in Amman, Jordan this past spring semester. With support from Lynk-funding, she has taken on a new challenge this summer and is making a difference in the lives of refugees, working as an intern for Alhadaf, a non-profit in the Hashemite Kingdom that serves marginalized populations through education, training, psychosocial support services, and medical campaigns. So far this summer, she has designed and taught an ELL (English Language Learner) course for Iraqi refugees, worked with logistics and translation at a health clinic, and is helping to open a new community space for refugees. She writes to us from Jordan:
At Mount Holyoke, Sarah Tobias majored in art history and graduated magna cum laude in 1976. Sarah treasures her time at Mount Holyoke, where she "made lifelong friends and was inspired by so many wonderful professors like Jean Sudrann."
What's the greatest lesson you learned while at MHC? The greatest lesson I learned is how much I love the liberal arts.
You recently made a gift to MHC. Can you tell us what inspired you to give? Four incredible years on campus that continue to inspire me and from which I draw strength.
What's your favorite spot on campus? The sundial and pathway from Porter to the library.
Was there a moment you knew your life was forever changed? Graduation day.
When Holly Thompson ’81 first came to Mount Holyoke, she, like many other Mount Holyoke students took advantage of the broad range of liberal arts courses, intending to double major in biology and music. Her Mount Holyoke journey would lead her on a different path to find "her heart's home"—her true passion of creative writing.
What's the greatest lesson you learned while at MHC? There are so many! Here are a few: To have the courage to try things far outside my comfort zone. To be present, active, caring and positively engaged in this complicated world. To learn from others yet trust my own uncertain voice.
What's your favorite spot on campus? The copper beech tree by Dwight Hall. Every time I visit campus, I stop for some moments with this tree.
You recently made a gift to MHC. Can you tell us what inspired you to give? MHC has played such an important role in my family—my mother, my two sisters and I all graduated from MHC, and my daughter is currently attending. MHC has shaped, inspired and empowered us all, and by extension has impacted our families, our colleagues, and our communities.
Robin Bliss ’87 credits Mount Holyoke with changing her life: "I would not have had the opportunities I have had without the education I received at Mount Holyoke."
What's the greatest lesson you learned while at MHC? I learned how to think at Mount Holyoke, and for that I am forever grateful. I learned how to process an oral or written presentation, and determine what was and was not being said. I learned how to play devil's advocate, how to find holes in peoples' arguments, how to think through problems myself, and how to apply what I learned to different situations. I also learned how and when to ask questions, and not to be afraid to ask questions.
These skills have been enormously helpful in my professional life as a statistician, where I need to be logical and detail-oriented, as well as in my personal life, because I have a dissociative disorder (multiple identities), and I need to observe my thoughts, emotions, and actions in order to to tell how grounded or dissociated I am and to guess who I might be (myself or an alter).
What's your favorite spot on campus? My favorite place on campus is a specific spot just off the trail around Upper Lake, where I used to go to watch the water ripple when I was a student. It was a place of peace, where the birds would come down from the trees on the opposite side to take a drink.
You recently made a gift to MHC. Can you tell us what inspired you to give? It was the end of the academic year. I always try to remember to give every year, even if it is only a gift of participation.
At Mount Holyoke, Marcia Katz Birken ’71 majored in mathematics with a minor in religion. The liberal education Marcia received here prepared her well for a successful career and a lifetime of rich experiences:
What's the greatest lesson you learned while at MHC? To be independent and believe in myself.
What's your favorite spot on campus? Lower Lake
You recently made a gift to MHC. Can you tell us what inspired you to give? I was unable to attend my 45th reunion because of an imminent death in our extended family, but I wanted to show my support for MHC and for my class.
Vanity Fair takes a look at a few of the nation's top women's colleges, including Mount Holyoke, seeing how single-sex schools continue to be relevant in the 21st century.
Single-sex schools would seem outdated in this era of post-feminism, gender fluidity, and skyrocketing tuitions. Instead Wellesly, Smith, Barnard, and others are seeing a resurgence...
"We are the oldest of the Seven Sisters," outgoing president Lynn Pasquerella '80, says. "It was Mary Lyon's mission to disrupt the hegemonic forces. We have always been committed to access and to social justice."