Editor of the Alumnae Quarterly on the Challenge of Telling the Mount Holyoke Story

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Jennifer Grow ’94

Jennifer Grow ’94. Photo by Joanna Chattman

Jennifer Grow ’94 has been editor of the Alumnae Quarterly since 2013. Previously she was assistant editor of Williams College alumni magazines for thirteen years and held positions in fundraising and marketing. From 2001 until 2007 she coached the Mount Holyoke novice crew team. She is thrilled to be back at Mount Holyoke and to be celebrating the centennial of the Quarterly this year.

On returning to campus:

I had been commuting from Florence to Williamstown, Massachusetts, and, with my youngest child about to enter school full time, my goal was to get a job that didn’t require me to spend upwards of three hours in the car daily.

When I came to interview for this job and was walking toward Mary Woolley Hall, it was as if I was stepping into my past. I looked up at the window of my first dorm room in Abbey Hall and was nearly overcome with a feeling of coming home.

I feel so fortunate to be back here on campus, again. Editor jobs in higher education are few and far between, and what a dream it is to be serving my alma mater.

On getting to know the readers:

Mount Holyoke alumnae span at least nine decades, ranging in age from about twenty-one to older than one hundred. And the only thing we have in common is this place, this campus, these words: Oh Mount Holyoke, We Pay Thee Devotion.

As an editor, this is a challenge that I embrace. No one subscribes to the Quarterly, I continually remind myself. As individuals, our experiences here on campus have affected each of us in different ways, and our range of interests are impossible to summarize. But when I hear from readers that a story has connected beyond those differences I know we’ve hit on something. If every alumna sees herself or her experience reflected in the magazine once in any given year, I hope that’s enough to keep her reading.

We want alumnae to see themselves within the pages of this magazine.Jennifer Grow ’94

On celebrating the 100th anniversary:

We have in a closet in the Quarterly office every issue of the magazine, going back a century, and it’s been such an amazing experience to dive into that history in celebration of our centennial. It’s inspiring to work daily amid the history of this place and to know that as we continue this work we, too, are recording history for future readers to discover in these pages.

On telling Mount Holyoke stories:

I consider myself lucky to be able to tell the stories of Mount Holyoke. Anyone who has spent time here as a student has collected stories of their experiences, and now I have the privilege to listen to those stories—and to seek them out. One of the most fulfilling parts of my job is to recognize the patterns and significance of the stories that will reach alumnae across experiences and generations.

On the best part of the job:

There are too many to list, really. Walking around Upper Lake during lunchtime is always a treat. But I’d say the very best part has been sharing Mount Holyoke with my sister, Sarah, who is a Frances
Perkins scholar—and who used to visit me on campus when she was in high school. She will graduate in 2019, the same year I celebrate my twenty-fifth reunion. There are no words to describe how special this is to both of us. Through my sister’s experiences I feel as if I am getting the gift of a Mount Holyoke education for the second time.

This article appeared as “Telling Mount Holyoke Stories” in the summer 2017 issue of the Alumnae Quarterly.

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