MHC Moment: February 2012

The month of February began with the launch of a series of extraordinary events at Mount Holyoke, each celebrating the arts and humanities. The 2012 MHC studio art faculty exhibition, Artists and the Noble Profession, showcases stunning works by our faculty, ranging from photography, painting, collage, assemblage and installation, displayed in venues that include the Art Museum, the Talcott Greenhouse and the Miles-Smith Library Court.

The opening was kicked off with a lecture by Vanderbilt University’s Steven Tepper on “Creative Work and the Work of Creativity: How Colleges and Universities Can Prepare Graduates to Reinvent Our World.” Six Mount Holyoke students presented innovative and ground-breaking projects that use creativity to expand beyond their disciplinary expertise, from how a design problem was solved to improve the solar cell fabrication process to the ways in which an origami mathematics course helped prepare a student to take her dental school exams by teaching her to think in three dimensions.

Off campus, I had the pleasure of traveling to Japan with one of our studio artists, Rie Hachiyanagi, and three of her students earlier this month. The purpose was to attend a women’s leadership conference at Ochanomizu University with colleagues from women’s colleges and universities from Japan, Korea, Italy, and the United States. Each of us gave formal presentations on how we use our positions as administrators, faculty, and students to foster women’s leadership. The conference provided a unique opportunity to engage in brainstorming around how on-going international collaboration could be used to achieve our shared objectives.

In addition to the conference, we had the honor of being hosted at a reception by our alumnae in Japan. We were all so gratified to hear the many stories of alumnae and to witness the enthusiasm of those making connections for the first time, as well as those reconnecting after years apart.

The excitement back at home continues to build. Throughout the month, there has been an engaging series of speakers, performers, and conversations in celebration of Black History Month. The Weissman Center has also sponsored two spectacular symposia. The most recent featured award-winning playwrights Christopher Durang, Marsha Norman, and Suzan-Lori Parks ’85, who were paying tribute to the legacy of Wendy Wasserstein ’71.  This followed an outstanding talk the previous week by Mona Sutphen ’89, President Obama’s former deputy chief-of-staff. This type of programming, which so effectively draws upon the strengths of our alumnae, is continually a reminder to students of the power of a Mount Holyoke education and the extent to which we are indeed uncommon women.

In the midst of preparing for the upcoming meeting of the Board of Trustees, we are energized by our record number of applications and the progress we are making in developing a strategic plan that will strengthen Mount Holyoke both financially and academically. As always, I am deeply grateful for your support and look forward to hearing from you.

–President Pasquerella ’80

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