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.”
While the 2017 International Women’s Day celebrations have come to an end, the call to #BeBoldForChange remains. Every day members of our community work towards creating lasting change, through work, advocacy, education, research, and philanthropy. In times when women are still fighting to have their voices heard, investing in Mount Holyoke makes a powerful statement — that you believe supporting women's education is the surest way to effect positive change.
"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."
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
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.
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!
Ellen Safier Goodman '64 says her “MHC experiences on campus continue to inspire my life,” even though her few years here were many years ago. After graduating from Mount Holyoke with a degree in English and teaching for a few years, she earned a PhD at Brown University and dedicated her entire career to education. Her passion for learning continues each and every day in all the artistic, cultural, and community activities she engages in.
What's the greatest lesson you learned while at MHC? How to be fully engaged in life in all its variety.
What's your favorite spot on campus? Two come to mind: the breath-taking library and the waterfall between Upper and Lower Lake.
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.
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.