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2020 Slate of Nominees for Alumnae Association Board and Committee Positions

The Nominating Committee respectfully submits the following slate of candidates for election at the Annual Meeting, to be held on June 6, 2020. Each candidate has been fully informed of the responsibility and rights of the position and has indicated consent to serve if elected. Members may submit additional nominations as outlined in the bylaws. Recommended changes to the bylaws need to be considered before the slate. 


Board of Directors Positions 

President-Elect (2020-2021) and President (2021-2024)

Ellen Hyde Pace ’81, New York City, New York. Global managing director, professional, R&D, WPP Red Fuse. College: alumnae trustee 2009-14; trustee 2014-19. Major Gifts New York Committee 2013; former reunion gift caller, special gifts chair, reunion lead gift chair and cornerstone chair. Association: Board of Directors, alumnae trustee 2011-12; Board of Directors, director at large 2002-05; Alumnae Development Committee member 2001-02; Communications Ad Hoc Committee 2005-06; Programs Ad Hoc Committee 2003-04; Volunteer Recognition Task Force 2010. Class: former Nominating Committee member. Awards: Alumnae Medal of Honor 2006. Executive Committee/Board Secretary, Effie Worldwide.

Board Clerk (2020-2023)

Carrie C. Ruzicka ’99, Winnetka, Illinois. Marketing manager, AbbVie. J.D., University of Minnesota. College: former class agent. Class: former treasurer, secretary, reunion co-chair, misc. reunion chair. Chicago Club: former president, treasurer, alumnae admissions representative. South Hadley Club: former alumnae admissions representative. Boston Club: former alumnae admissions representative. Minneapolis Club: former alumnae admissions representative. Awards: Young Alumna Volunteer Leadership Award 2014.

Recent Alumnae Representative (2020-2023)

Brittany M. Lambert ’16, Boston, Massachusetts. Product employee experience coordinator, HubSpot. Class: current secretary, reunion welcome and hospitality chair. Women@HubSpot Leadership Council.

Committee Chairs (2020-2023)

Chair, Alumnae Trustee Nomination Committee

Ellen M. Cosgrove ’84, Cheshire, Connecticut. Associate dean, Yale University Law School. J.D., University of Chicago. College: trustee 2010-15; alumnae trustee 2005-10; former class agent, reunion gift caller. Association: member, Nomination of Alumnae Trustee and Awards Committee 2001-04; Board of Directors, alumnae trustee 2007-08; Board of Directors, director at large 1998-2000. Class: current Nominating Committee member, scribe; former president, vice president, reunion chair, reunion co-chair. Chicago Club: former president, alumnae rep. assistant. New York City Club: former alumnae rep. assistant. Awards: Alumnae Medal of Honor 1999. Current committee member, Association of American Law Schools.

Chair, Communications Committee

Rachel Happe McEnroe ’93, Andover, Massachusetts. Principal and co-founder, The Community Roundtable. College: former head class agent, reunion gift chair, reunion gift caller. Boston Club: former officer. Groups: Friends of Rowing.

Chair, External Achievement Awards Committee 

Danielle M. Germain ’93, Washington, D.C. Chief of staff FED, Booz Allen Hamilton. M.A. international relations, Johns Hopkins University. College: former reunion gift caller. Association: former chair, Classes and Reunions Committee 2013-2017; member, Classes and Reunions Committee 2009-2012; member, Strategic Thinking Committee 2015-2016. Class: former president. Southern New Hampshire Club: former alumnae rep. assistant. Awards: Loyalty Award 2019. 

Chair, Internal Achievement Awards Committee 

Caroline Carosso Griep ’86, Marlborough, Massachusetts. College: current co-head class agent; former Mount Holyoke Fund Committee member, Mount Holyoke Fund Volunteer Steering Committee member, class cornerstone chair, class agent, reunion gift caller, reunion gift chair. Association: member, Classes and Reunion Committee 2002-06; member, Internal Achievement Awards Committee 2013‑16. Class: former president, reunion chair.  Mystic Valley Club: former young alumnae chair. Groups: V8’s Alumnae Affiliate Club co-founder and current president. Awards: Loyalty Award 2011. 

Committee Members (2020-2023, except as noted) 

Alumnae Trustee Nomination Committee 

Lily Klebanoff Blake ’64, New York, New Tirj. President, Klebanoff International. College: former class agent. Association: chair, Clubs Committee 2006-09; member, Affiliate Group Ad Hoc Committee 2008-09. New York City Club: current alumna admissions rep; former president, program vice president. Class: former president, Nominating Committee chair, Nominating Committee member, Reunion Committee member. Awards: Alumnae Medal of Honor 2009. 

Classes and Reunions Committee 

Joana I. Souza ’05, Watertown, Massachusetts. Manager, investor relations, Audax Group. Class: current treasurer. 

Hannah M. Yee ’15, Boston, Massachusetts. Consultant, clinical development operations and strategy, Halloran Consulting Group. MPH, Harvard University School of Public Health.  Class: current president.

Chrysanthe Courniotes ’04 (2020-2022), Washington, D.C. Senior health policy and strategy consultant, Booz Allen Hamilton. J.D., public advocacy and health law, University of the District of Columbia, David A. Clarke School of Law; MSc., international health management, economics and policy, SDA Bocconi School of Management. Association: member, Classes and Reunions Committee (appointed 2019-20). Class: current treasurer. Washington, D.C. Club: current alum coordinator, Mount Holyoke Semester in Washington, D.C., Program.

Clubs and Groups Committee

Tamara Dews ’06, Bronx, New York. Head of strategic programs & initiatives, sales enablement, Refinitiv (formerly Thomson Reuters). MBA, New York University Stern School of Business. Intellectual Property Law Certificate, New York University School of Continuing and Professional Studies. Association: young alumnae representative 2011-14; member, Alumnae C2C Task Force 2013-14. Class: former reunion chair. New York City Club: current vice president; former young alumnae chair, programs committee member. Bronx, NY, and Albany, NY: former alumnae admissions rep. Awards: Mary Lyon Award 2017.

Tamar Spitz Westphal ’12, Chicago, Illinois. Founder and event designer, Tamar Westphal Events. Class: current scribe; former Nominating Committee member. Chicago Club: current secretary, webmistress, alumna admission rep; former young alumnae chair, alumnae rep assistant.  Awards: Young Alumnae Volunteer Leadership Award 2017; Alumna Admission Recognition Award 2015. 

Communications Committee

Rosie H. Ettenheim ’10, Washington, D.C. Data visualization designer, World Resources Institute. M.P.S., Information visualization, The Maryland Institute College of Art. Seattle Club: former alumnae rep. assistant. 

External Achievement Awards Committee 

Amy Gotwals ’91 (2020-2022), Takoma Park, Maryland. Chief, public policy & external affairs, National Association of Area Agencies on Aging. M.A., legislative affairs, George Washington University. College: former reunion gift caller. Class: former reunion scribe, reunion booklet chair, reunion welcome chair, secretary.

Margaret M. Gower ’04, South Bend, Indiana. Assistant professor religious studies, St. Mary’s College. Ph.D., Harvard University. Class: former Nominating Committee member, Nominating Committee chair. Awards: Class of 1905 Fellowship.  

Fellowship Committee 

Devavani Chatterjea ’96 (2020-2022), Saint Paul, Minnesota. Professor of biology, Macalester College. MPH, environmental studies, University Of Minnesota; Ph.D., Stanford University. Class: current Saturday evening reunion party chair; former secretary. 

Finance Committee

Leocadia Z. Archambault ’06, Lynn, Massachusetts. Audit manager, Smith, Sullivan & Brown, PC. MBA, Northeastern University.; M.S., accounting, Northeastern University. College: former class agent. Class: former reunion co-chair, reunion chair, secretary. 

Franckline Casimir-Benoit ’86, Maplewood, New Jersey. Managing director & trust counsel, Fiduciary Trust Co Int’l. J.D., University. of Connecticut. Class: former secretary. Northern New Jersey Club: former alumnae rep. assistant. Groups: 2018 Black Alumnae Conference Leadership; advisory board member, American Bankers Association; founder and board member, Ecole Salem Education EBNJ Inc.

Internal Achievement Awards Committee 

Anna Bennett Robertson ’04, Williamstown, Massachusetts. Freelance graphic designer. Certificate in design, School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. College: current Mount Holyoke Fund Volunteer Steering Committee member; former head class agent. Association: member, Clubs Committee 2012-13; member, Internal Achievement Awards Committee 2018-20. Boston Club: former president, officer. Awards: Young Alumnae Volunteer Leadership Award 2014. 

Nominating Committee

Lee Carol Johnson Cook ’83, Oak Hill, Virginia. Homemaker; former director of Admissions, Georgetown University Law Center. J.D., University of Michigan Law School. College: National Major Gifts Committee 2002-03. Association: Board of Directors, second vice president 1991; Board of Directors, director at large 1989-92. Washington, D.C. Club: former alumnae rep. assistant. Groups: speaker, 2018 Black Alumnae Conference. Board of Directors, Madeira School; Board of Directors, The Langely School; Board of Directors, The Black Student Fund.

Shannon Dalton Giordano ’91 (2020-2022), Holliston, Massachusetts. President and founder, Serendipity Social Media, Inc. M.A., international development, American University. Association: member, Strategic Planning Committee 2014-15; chair, Communications Committee 2014-17; member, Nominating Committee 2019-20. Class: current class agent; former reunion gift caller. Boston Club: current president.

Nancy Rosoff ’78, Malvern, Pennsylvania. Dean of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies, Arcadia University. M.A., history, West Chester University.; Ph.D., history, Temple University. Association: chair, External Achievement Awards Committee 2014-17; member, External Achievement Awards Committee 2011-14. Class: current Nominating Committee chair, class agent, website coordinator; former reunion gift caller, reunion website coordinator, Nominating Committee member and chair. Awards: Loyalty Award 2018. National Endowment of Humanities Fellowship 1987.

Bridget E. Mahoney ’06, Astoria, New York. Earth science teacher, High School for Environmental  Studies. M.Ed., counseling, Hunter College. MS Ed. City College of New York. College: member, Mount Holyoke Fund Committee. Association: member, Classes and Reunions Committee 2014-18. Class: current treasurer, class agent, former reunion dinner chair, reunion gift caller. Queens NY: former alumnae admissions rep., alumnae admissions assistant. Awards: Young Alumnae Volunteer Leadership Award 2016.

Volunteer Stewardship Committee

Ifeoma Aduba ’95, Doylestown, Pennsylvania. Principal, The Mudita Collective. M.A., Eastern Univeristy. College: Annual Funds Committee 2007-10, former head class agent. Class: former Nominating Committee member. Groups: Black Alumnae Conference.

Alumnae Trustee (2020-2026) 

Ashanta Evans Blackwell ’95, Memphis, Tennessee. Vice president/deputy general counsel, Teach for America. J.D., Vanderbilt University. College: young alumna trustee 1997-00; Presidential Search Committee 1994-95; Class: former class agent, reunion gift caller. Association: Board of Directors, clerk 2014-17; member, Nominating Committee 2019-20; member, Strategic Planning Committee 2014-15; member, Nomination of Alumnae Trustee and Awards Committee 2008-11. Chicago Club: former alumnae admissions rep. Memphis Club: former alumnae admissions rep.  Louisiana Club: former alumnae admissions rep. Groups: ALANA Committee Chair 2000-04. 

Summer 2019 Books

The following is a list of books published by alumnae and faculty, or about alumnae, and received at the Alumnae Quarterly offices since the publication of the spring 2019 issue. To submit your work, please email quarterly@mtholyoke.edu.

A Time of Our Own: In Celebration of Women over Sixty

Fulcrum Publishing

Many of today’s women find themselves entering the last third of their lives with a newfound sense of personal freedom and optimism. Having spent most of their lives as pacesetters, these women, now in their 60’s and beyond, are beginning to ask, ”What now?” Based on extensive interviews, research and the authors’ personal experiences, this book explores the multitude of opportunities available in one’s ”third third” of life and addresses common concerns of older women, such as work, finances, health, and relationships. The authors also speak to the baby boomers and offer a perspective on the future. Comprehensive and engaging, “A Time of Our Own” is a must-read for all women entering this exciting new chapter of life.

Elinor Miller Greenberg ’53 is a nationally known American expert in the field of adult education and experiential learning, as well as a speech pathologist, author and lecturer. She has devoted her career and community life to expanding access to opportunity, especially for women and minorities, by designing and implementing innovative higher education programs for adults. As a national leader in adult education, Greenberg headed the University Without Walls program in the 1970s, created a weekend BSN program for nurses in rural Colorado, established a degree program for Colorado prison inmates and ex-offenders and established online master’s degree programs for nurses in the 1990s. She has worked with major colleges and universities in Colorado, was a guest faculty member of the Harvard University School of Education Institute for the Management of Lifelong Education and was inducted into the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame in 2010. She has authored, coauthored or edited nine books and numerous articles and pamphlets.

Ich Bin Schon Gross

Fizzy Lemon Publishing 

“Ich Bin Schon Gross” tells the story of Rana, a child who thinks she is already grown. She can ride a bicycle without training wheels and she can count to eight. However, once day, when she comes to the nursery school for breakfast, she is not allowed to sit at the table with the preschoolers. Can she impress the older children?

Arzu Gürz Abay ’94 was born in 1972 in Berlin as a daughter of a Turkish diplomat. Since her childhood, she has been dealing with intercultural understanding. She speaks fluent German, English, Turkish and French, and writes bilingual books, which open up new perspectives on one’s own identity and on cultural differences. She lives with her family in Cologne, raising two children in a multilingual, multicultural household.

The Game of Eating Smart: Nourishing Recipes for Peak Performance Inspired by MLB Superstars

Rodale Books 

In Major League Baseball, the transition to eating healthy food has become more than a movement; it’s a revolution. Jose Altuve, Chris Archer, Clayton Kershaw, Noah Syndergaard, Mike Trout, and the 16 other star ballplayers featured in “The Game of Eating Smart” are proof of the positive effect of proper nutrition on athletic performance and overall health.

Eating smart isn’t about calorie-counting and fad diets. It simply means consuming more nourishing food—including leafy greens, lean protein, and fresh fruit—that eventually decreases the desire to make unhealthy choices. “The Game of Eating Smart” includes insights from today’s top players on their approach to healthy living and performance nutrition, plus more than 80 easy-to-prepare and nutrient-dense recipes inspired by their food philosophies and favorite meals.

Julie Lavin Loria ’86 is the author of “Diamond Dishes: From the Kitchens of Baseball’s Biggest Stars” (Lyon’s Press, 2011), an official Major League Baseball publication in which she showcased stories and recipes from twenty top players, including Derek Jeter, Albert Pujols and Alex Rodriguez. Born and raised a baseball fan with a passion for food and cooking, her former career as a marketing and advertising executive in Boston gave way to watching baseball games and immersing herself in cooking courses in her spare time. While living in Europe she honed her culinary interests at the French booking school La Cuisine de Marie-Blanche.

Cover of British and American School Stories, 1910–1960: Fiction, Femininity, and FriendshipBritish and American School Stories, 1910–1960: Fiction, Femininity, and Friendship

Palgrave Macmillan

This book examines school and college fiction for girls in Britain and the United States, written in the first half of the 20th century, to explore the formation and ideologies of feminine identity. Nancy G. Rosoff and Stephanie Spencer develop a transnational framework that recognizes how both constructed and essential femininities transcend national boundaries. The book discusses the significance and performance of female friendship across time and place, which is central to the development of the genre, and how it functioned as an important means of informal education.

Stories by Jessie Graham Flower, Pauline Lester, Alice Ross Colver, Elinor Brent-Dyer and Dorita Fairlie Bruce are set within their historical context and then used to explore aspects of sociability, authority, responsibility, domesticity, and possibility. The distinctiveness of this book stems from the historical analysis of these sources, which have so far primarily been treated by literary scholars within their national context.

Nancy G. Rosoff ’78 is dean of graduate and undergraduate Studies at Arcadia University and a visiting fellow at the Centre for the History of Women’s Education at the University of Winchester, UK. She has published on the history of girls’ culture, education and sport.

Writing Your Journal Article in Twelve Weeks, Second Edition: A Guide to Academic Publishing Success 

University of Chicago Press

With this new edition, Belcher expands her advice to reach beginning scholars in even more disciplines. She builds on feedback from professors and graduate students who have successfully used the workbook to complete their articles. A new chapter addresses scholars who are writing from scratch. This edition also includes more targeted exercises and checklists, as well as the latest research on productivity and scholarly writing, “Writing Your Journal Article in Twelve Weeks” is the only reference to combine expert guidance with a step-by-step workbook. Each week, readers learn a feature of strong articles and work on revising theirs according. Every day is mapped out, taking the guesswork and worry out of writing. There are tasks, templates and reminders. At the end of twelve weeks, graduate students, recent PhDs, postdoctoral fellows, adjuct instructors, junior faculty and international faculty will feel confident they know the rules of academic publishing and have the tools they need to succeed.

Wendy Belcher ’84 is a professor of African literature in Princeton University’s departments of Comparative Literature and African American Studies. She worked as a freelance copyeditor for many years, then served for eleven years as the managing editor of a peer-reviewed journal in ethnic studies at UCLA, and has personally taught hundreds of graduate students and faculty about writing for publication. Her research books include “Abyssinia’s Samuel Johnson,” “The Life and Struggles of Our Mother Walatta Petros,” and her books in progress are “Ladder of Heaven: The Miracles of the Virgin Mary in Ethiopian Literature and Art” and “The Black Queen of Sheba: A Global History of an African Idea.”

The Light in Cuban Eyes: Lake Forest College’s Madeleine P. Plonsker Collection of Contemporary Cuban Photography 

Lake Forest College Press

“The Light in Cuban Eyes: Lake Forest College’s Madeleine P. Plonsker Collection of Contemporary Cuban Photography” focuses on Cuban photography between 1992-2012. These years cover Cuba’s “Special Period,” a desperate time resulting from the withdrawal of financial support from the former Soviet Union that continues to present day. The 50 artists who comprise this bilingual book—including Juan Carlos Alom, Adrián Fernández Milanés, Marta María Pérez Bravo, Cirenaica Moreira and Glenda León — shoot their worlds in styles ranging from fabulist to gritty. It is world-class work, yet the artists are known only to the small population of collectors fortunate enough to have traveled to this tightly restricted country, or through art world reputations that have only recently started to expand beyond the island. “Madeleine P. Plonsker Collection of Contemporary Cuban Photography” is composed of 300 pieces; “The Light in Cuban Eyes” is the first North American publication with support from the Cuban Ministry of Culture and Fototeca de Cuba, Cuba’s repository of photography comparable in function to the Smithsonian Photography Department in Washington, D.C.

Madeleine Pinsof Plonsker ’62 is an art collector and philanthropist who has been traveling to Cuba to uncover Havana’s thriving art scene since 2002.

 

My Voice: Sehba Sarwar ’86 on Belonging

Photo by Paul Hester, courtesy of Sehba Sarwar ’86.

While I fold and pack my saris, bedcovers, carpets and curtains — fabrics I’ve collected from Pakistan and India for more than 30 years — my friend Anita drops by my Houston house to help me pack my books. My preteen daughter and I are closing down our home in Houston, Texas, so we can join my partner in Los Angeles, where he has accepted a position.

Rolling up her sleeves, Anita pulls a hardcover off the bookshelf. “You want to keep this?” she asks. “Tell me why.”

“It’s signed to me,” I reply.

Though a writer herself, Anita responds by tearing out the signed page. “Make an art installation later,” she says. Having recently moved from Cambridge, Massachusetts, to Houston to be with her parents who were born in India, Anita understands relocation. “If I want a book now,” she tells me, “I visit the library.”

As we pack and discard, I am reminded of 1986, when after graduating from Mount Holyoke — but before catching my flight to Karachi — I shipped books home by writers including Chinua Achebe, Nadine Gordimer, Bapsi Sidhwa and more; I did not expect to return and live in the U.S.

But a few years later, while enrolled in a graduate program in Austin, Texas, I met and fell in love with a Chicano educator, who was born in Brownsville, Texas, on the Texas-Mexico border and is also connected to two sides of a forced line. And I, like my parents’ families, who in the 1950s moved from India to Pakistan with no long-term plans, remained in Texas for more than 20 years, during which time I gave birth to a girl and initiated a women’s literary collective that morphed into a social justice arts organization.

Feeling as if my body is being gashed with a knife each time I make a choice to keep or discard a book, I remember the paperbacks that I shipped from South Hadley to Karachi only to give away. At the end of my two-day session with Anita, my books are reduced from 25 boxes to 10; my family is shipping just one storage container to Los Angeles. And though my departure does not entail the crossing of an international border, I recall my mother’s story when she and her family left their home in northern India to enter Pakistan. After crossing the Wagah border, she descended from her train carriage carrying her only possession, a badminton racquet.

 

Eighteen months after my family’s move to Los Angeles, I step into a space owned by Houston’s Menil Collection to offer a performance about my migration and movement, excerpts of my mother’s journey and the urgency of memory. Outside stands an oak tree upon which I’ve installed ajrak fabric — a design claimed by Pakistan’s Sindh province as well as by Indian provinces Gujarat and Rajasthan. Notecards about “belonging,” created by community members around the U.S. (Boston, Los Angeles, Houston, Austin, the U.S.-Mexico border), dance around the tree like stars. My mother and my sister have flown to Houston from Boston (where my mother was visiting) to help me install, while my husband and daughter have returned to the city to attend my show.

Lights dim. I pick up my notebook and exit the chapel center. A recording of my daughter’s voice floats into the dark room as she sings lyrics she wrote about our Houston house — her first home:

Sunlight streams,
Casting a golden glow
Floorboards creak,
Making my footsteps known
Wind escorts my worries
Through open doors
Wisps of jasmine incense
Welcome me home.


Sehba Sarwar ’86 was commissioned by The Menil Collection to create her “On Belonging” performance, which she is currently touring. Author of “Black Wings,” a novel that was released in the U.S. earlier this year, Sarwar is based in Los Angeles, where she is completing a memoir, from which this essay is excerpted.

This article appeared in the summer 2019 issue of the Alumnae Quarterly.

Female Gaze: In Stitches

One of more than 100 student organizations, Knit Happens was founded in 2011 as Mount Holyoke’s fiber arts club. Eight years later, the group is still going strong, with an average of 15 active members — and an engaged Facebook group of more than 100 past and current members — who meet weekly on Tuesday evenings in Shattuck’s Cassani Lounge. Members gather, helping beginners learn how to crochet or knit and giving pointers on new techniques for more experienced crafters. The club also offers a “library” of materials that students can borrow, including crochet hooks, knitting needles and notions (yarn needle, measuring tape, etc.).

Each fall, Knit Happens holds a weeklong sale on campus that funds the club’s activities, including an annual trip to the Fiber Festival of New England at the Eastern States Exposition in West Springfield, Massachusetts. And this past spring, the group partnered with Amnesty International to craft handmade winter wear for housing-insecure women in Holyoke.

Follow Knit Happens on Instagram @knithappensmhc.

—By Emily Krakow ’20

A crocheted yellow giraffe

Picture 1 of 2

This article appeared in the summer 2019 issue of the Alumnae Quarterly.


Are you an artist?
Email your submission to us at quarterly@mtholyoke.edu.

Wendy Wasserstein ’71 delivering the 1990 Commencement address

Wendy Wasserstein’s 1990 Commencement Speech

Wendy Wasserstein ’71 delivering the 1990 Commencement address

Wendy Wasserstein ’71

One’s worst nightmare is having a paper due for your own college nineteen years after graduation. A friend of mine advised me to take off my robe and sit down in front of the stage and say, “Let’s just keep this informal. I’ll take questions.” My other thought was to invite Mrs. Vaclev Havel to join me since I heard Mrs. Gorbachev will be at Wellesley, and I didn’t want my own college to be deprived. …

 [At my graduation] I remember thinking as each of my classmates paraded by, “Oh, she’s done everything right with her education. And I’ve done everything wrong. She’s going to medical school and memorized the Golden Bowl. She learned to ski, ride, and canoe… and I went to Milk ‘n Cracker. …” I had no idea what my college education was for. …

There is something to be said for uncharted periods, something to be said for exploration in any field. If after almost twenty years I’ve been invited to speak here, it can certainly happen to you. I know there are those of you who dissected a squid in freshman zoology and immediately knew, “This is bliss.” But my guess is that the majority of us aren’t that fortunate or that fond of squid. Most of us find our roads in a more circuitous way. … When I look back, what really scares me is how very much I was frightened of pursuing what I really liked to do. I didn’t think I would become a playwright. I wanted to make a more reasonable choice… to fall in line. And I was certain there was a formula, an accepted and pretested pattern. …

In drama school [two years later] we began reading a great deal of Jacobean drama. … It seemed to me that the plots were roughly about men who kissed the lips of women and then dropped dead from poison. … This was not familiar to me or any of my friends from Mount Holyoke. And it was then that I decided I wanted to see an all-women’s curtain call in the basement of Yale School of Drama. … So I began writing “Uncommon Women and Others” about my friends and my times at this college. And it was at that time that I understood the extraordinary value of a liberal arts education at a women’s college. I believe I had the confidence to become a playwright because I learned at Mount Holyoke the value of an individual woman’s voice. There was a higher purpose to what I enjoyed the most here: talking to my friends and taking the time to really know them. In other words, what may well resonate in your later life is… the sense of self that you formed here. The real challenge is to recognize that self and retain that core in creating your own life. … There is no one plan that is workable. There isn’t one way of doing it that is best. But there is something to be said for caring deeply. …

I, as one who was terrified, promise you something inordinately valuable has begun here today. Today you begin to make choices. Today the curtain goes up and the action begins. Take all the goodness, honesty, intelligence, toughness, and wit that you learned here and don’t compromise them. So much has been written about the women of the nineties. My response is the women of the nineties have yet to make their mark. Go out there and do something remarkable. Don’t live down to expectations. The women of the nineties are you.

These highlights from Wendy Wasserstein’s 1990 commencement speech first appeared in the summer 1990 issue of the Alumnae Quarterly.

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