Reunion 2020 Class Histories

Below please find the complete written class histories for each 2020 reunion class. 

75th Reunion: 1945 Class History
Written by Betty Alden Mitman

Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to share with you some of my special feelings and college experiences as well as expressing my gratitude for being an MHC alumna!

College always brings up in us the serious question of “What do I want to do with my life?” President Ham put it this way: This student body is composed of very smart women, and it is their responsibility to use these gifts in some way that helps other people! I feel that not only did we agree with him, but some of us had come to college in order to explore learning, discover our talents and prepare ourselves for the world. We didn’t come to be protected, we came to be prepared.

We arrived in September of 1941 and began exploring the beautiful campus, making new friends and discovering new activities. But one late Sunday afternoon, December 7,  our life changed. A student came running down the hall shouting that “The JAPANESE HAVE BOMBED PEARL HARBOR!” Of course everyone was very upset and wondered what this would mean? I was in chemistry class the next day and heard President Roosevelt say that It was A DAY of INFAMY and proceeded to declare war on Japan and Germany. It was done.

We were the war class: 1941–1945. How did this affect us? The women employed for dining room work and cleaning were dismissed so they could become part of the women’s workforce. They became an important part of the war effort! Result to the students was that we now would do the cleaning of our own rooms and do the kitchen and dining room work as well.

Clapp was equipped to be the place we would go in case of an Air Raid. The windows had brown paper on them. 

In order to save heat the “HEAT COP” program was started. We took turns getting up at 4:00 a.m. to close all the windows in the dorm – it was not our favorite activity.

At the Government’s request, North and South Rockefeller were used for the NAVY, a WAVES training program. About 100 Waves lived there! In 1945 the government also asked us to cancel spring vacation to save oil and gas for the war effort.

But when the government took over Amherst College for the training of West Point cadets, aged 16 or younger, our potential social life was seriously impacted! Result was that we had to make our own fun, and our relationships became much deeper.

And then the last straw … our diplomas were lost in the mail! After four years we received empty covers! And the message in them was “Do not place in cedar chest.”

Meanwhile, all of us had people that were or could be in harm’s way, so it was a sobering time and a uniting time. I have never seen the country as united as it was during WWII, and it pains me because I have lived and know what good things can be done when we are united.

To sum it all up – I loved Mount Holyoke. In the ’50s I was an Instructor in chemistry at the College, and in ’66 I was an assistant director of the Summer ABC program.  And at 96 I still love being able to say: “I went to Mount Holyoke!”

Thank you!

70th Reunion: 1950 Class History

Written by Jennie Elliott Brockelman and Sylvia Burleigh Sanchez

Who are we?
We were depression children, WWII teenagers and are parents of the Boomers. We have alumnae who were our great-grandmothers, grandmothers, mothers, daughters and granddaughters. Much has changed since our great grandmothers’ time, but so has it for us since we came to this beautiful campus in 1946.

What do we remember from 69 years ago?

Tuition, board and room were $1100
Gracious living
Faculty guests at Wednesday dinner and coffee in the living room
Each dorm had its own dining room and waitresses
Compulsory chapel
Bells and curfew
Dorm doors were unlocked until 10:00 p.m.
No one locked her room door
No men above the first floor
Saturday classes
We had to pass a comprehensive exam in our major in order to graduate
Card catalogues in the library to find a book
The smoker
Skiing on Prospect hill
Red gym suits
Christian Dior’s New Look in our sophomore year
Girdles, garter belts and stockings, no panty hose
Merry Widow corsets
Penny loafers
Bobby socks
Getting pinned and blind dates
The CI
House mothers
Ice cream on Wednesday and Sunday
No cars or 5 college bus, no Hampshire College
We brought typewriters and record players
No computers, e-mail, TV, cell or room phones, internet, texting, etc.
Rules, of college and of our times and that we obeyed them, MOSTLY

Who are we as alumnae now?
We have kept in touch with a yearly mini-reunion on campus, and we cherish and nourish our friendships started those many years ago. As a class we have supported the college and Alumnae Association faithfully and generously. We treasure our memories, our education and our friendships and take pride in being a part of the Mount Holyoke family.

65th Reunion: 1955 Class History

Written by Joan Winkel Ripley

We know you are looking at the class of 1955 and seeing very mature ladies, mostly in tennis shoes. However, we are looking at each other and seeing the shining faces of our freshman pals of 64 years ago; back to a time when freshman dorms were flourishing. Back to a time when we knew all our classmates, and sister classes were very important. Back to a time when we were called Miss and we called our teachers Mr. or Miss and when the thought of calling them by their first name would have brought on cardiac arrest.

Make no mistake, we were girls, not women, and we dated boys, not men; men were our fathers. Tuition, room and board cost $1650 back in 1951, and our starting salaries after graduation were in the $2,000 range … for a year … not a week.

Diversity was not an issue. It didn’t exist. Neither did keys nor key cards to get into dorms. There were no locks on our room doors, and anyone could go in any building on campus. Of course each dorm had a student who “sat bells” to guard the chambers against any male anytime. Sitting bells and doing the dishes were required jobs we all had to do and were assigned each month. Our days seemed to be filled with song, especially the big sisters song, which we burst into at every occasion.

Each dorm had its own dining room, which was the center of our home away from home. Great conversations at every meal were a highlight of the day. We had to wear skirts for dinner and stockings and heels on Wednesdays and Sundays. Our linen napkins were stored in named slots by the entrance to the dining room, and sometimes there was a bonus sample of free cigarettes in there too. Horrifying to think of now. Unfortunately, most everyone smoked, and those that didn’t inhaled enough secondary smoke in the smokers during marathon bridge games to last them a lifetime. How so many of us are still alive is rather miraculous.

We preferred our communication face to face, rather than on Facebook, and we still do. Snail mail was an important part of our lives, and the one telephone per floor of each dorm did double duty. The college bought its first TV at the end of our junior year. It was black and white, of course, and was huge. Well, the cabinet was huge, but the screen was a mere 8 inches diagonally. As our sign says, “high tech for us was a slide rule.” We used a card catalog in the library and fountain pens that required ink.

We were introduced to temp doubles, which, we were told, were temporary, the CI and all its calories, and were victims of the greatest academic hoax in history … posture pictures. We went on blind dates and learned our Greek alphabet from fraternity pins. We had rules upon rules which we mostly didn’t question and a judicial board that ruled over us if we strayed even a little. There are yellow cards in the archives that recorded everything about each of us: grades, SAT scores, height, weight and number of demerits each of us accumulated. Our parents received copies of our grades each semester.

We remember our years at Mount Holyoke as a turning point in our lives. Mount Holyoke gave us confidence to do our best and instilled upon us a love of learning that is still with us today. Most importantly it gave us lifelong friendships that are visible right here in Chapin Hall. It gave us wonderful memories to reflect on as we grow old. I remember the first snow my freshman year. A bunch of us were walking to the gym, and it was just getting dark. The campus looked so beautiful; it was a winter wonderland. We were singing “sleigh bells ring, are you listening…” and we were so happy to be with our new friends at this wonderful place. One of us said, “This is something that we will remember for the rest of our lives … and I have.”

60th Reunion: 1960 Class History

Written by Jean Angelilli Mahoney

In September 1956, the members of the Mount Holyoke Class of 1960 – 411 strong – arrived on campus. The largest entering class in college history, we came equipped with portable typewriters, clock radios, bicycles and several pairs of Bermuda shorts. We quickly adjusted to college traditions: swimming test; posture pictures; reading tests; curfews; chapel requirement; and “gracious living.”

President Roswell G. Ham retired in 1957, and Richard Glenn Gettell became president. He called us “Uncommon Women,” a title we were happy to live up to.  We took it as our duty to bring about change. We lobbied for removal of the chapel requirement, and eventually, in senior year, the full requirement was dropped.

In the fall of 1957 there was an Asian flu pandemic in the U.S., and students were quarantined on campus for several weeks. Kendall Gymnasium became a hospital for ill students, thus assuring the health of the other students without disrupting classes.

We had busy schedules: five courses per term, plus Saturday classes. We learned quickly and found satisfaction in an expanding world of intellectual ideas.  In between classes and studying, we used the “fragments of our time” playing bridge, knitting, hanging out at Glessie’s and the College Inn (CI), biking or hiking in the hills around campus. 

And we sang — to our big and little sisters, in choir, glee club, in the Blue Notes and V8s, in Junior Show, “Through the Horn-Rimmed Looking Glass,” in the dorm song contest, and the Lower Lake Canoe Sing, to name just a few.  

And we sang to our Alma Mater, our beloved Mount Holyoke, which shall live in our hearts forever.

55th Reunion: 1965 and 5th Reunion: 2015 Class Histories

Written by Judith Burger-Gossart ’65 and Hannah Yee ’15

Class of 1965:

In September 1961 our class blew into campus on a hurricane. Did Hurricane Betsy give our class its special energy? Most of us were from New England, New York and New Jersey. We were “diverse” because some classmates came from other areas of the United States, with a few international students, too. There were four women of color in our class. It was still a white man’s world. We had a father-daughter weekend and danced with our fathers in the evening. Mothers were not invited. Our college president was male. If a man did go upstairs in the dorm, “man on the floor” was loudly announced. We chafed against the in loco parentis of Mount Holyoke; but as a class, we were not openly rebellious.

Class of 2015: 

Hurricane Irene had just pummeled the East Coast, and the Halloween “Snowpocalypse” was just around the corner. We, at the time the largest class in the College’s history, came from the farthest reaches of the globe and settled into our new rooms, which were aptly described as “palaces” by the Princeton Review. Our diversity brought us together under a common goal: to uncover the ways this small school in western Massachusetts could help us do as our founder urged us — “go forward, attempt great things, and accomplish great things”

During our time on campus, we experienced these historical, international and domestic events:

Class of 1965:

A defining moment came in 1963 when JFK was shot in Dallas. Our insular world was shattered. Classes were cancelled, and we gathered in our dorms for tea — the time-tested antidote for a crisis. We were in shock; some cried, and we all wondered how this could have happened. Gradually, we returned our focus to classes and campus life.

Class of 2015: 

We rose up — we joined in the #BlackLivesMatter movement with fervor and energy, showing that Mount Holyoke students stand up for each other and for what’s right. 

We watched the first black president get re-elected. 

We followed the Curiosity Rover’s journey after successfully landing on Mars. We witnessed history as our alma mater announced it would accept applications of trans- and non-binary applicants.

This is how we spent our free time while we were on campus:

Class of 1965:

We talked endlessly, making lifelong friendships. “Smokers” were blue with smoke, we played bridge, went on blind dates, went to “mixers,” attended concerts and lectures and orchestrated a fabulous Junior Show. In that same year, we were reading Betty Friedan’s “The Feminine Mystique,” and it was eye-opening. Mount Holyoke demanded honesty, expected academic rigorousness and encouraged service and caring for others. MHC President Gettell urged us to go forth, excel: to be “Uncommon Women.” Eventually each of us found our own way. 

Despite the constraints of that era, Mount Holyoke prepared us for a world it could not imagine. She gave us the tools to deal with change and work toward a better, more inclusive, tomorrow. We are now dealing in real time with the Covid-19 outbreak and the cancelling of Reunions and Commencement 2020. Safety and health comes before celebration so that Mount Holyoke forever shall be.

Class of 2015:

We danced the night away at what came to be the last-ever Vegas Night (RIP). We spent countless hours lingering after dinner, conversation carrying us far past the dining halls’ 7 p.m. closure. We cheered our friends through athletic victories and defeats. We stargazed at the top of the Delles Hill and watched the seasons change from the Upper Lake docks. We relished in the luxury of having continental breakfast available to us in our common rooms daily — at least until our senior year. Even in the simplest moments, we were learning from each other, challenging each other, growing together and sharing countless Chef Jeff cookies along the way.

50th Reunion: 1970 Class History

Written by Ann Richardson Berkey

When we arrived on campus: 

It was the fall of 1966 and the Vietnam War, civil rights, Black Power and the sexual revolution were headline news; they were national events that would influence our next four years. At Convocation, we heard the now familiar expression “uncommon women.” However, President Gettell’s blunt statement that half of us would be in the bottom half of our class probably made a bigger impression.

During our time on campus, we experienced these historical, international and domestic events: 

Many students became active in the political and social protests sweeping our country. The historic events of the late ’60s were our current events: the assassinations of Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King, southern Freedom Riders, anti-war demonstrations, the moon landing, the first Earth Day. In February 1970, Black students occupied seven campus buildings demanding better representation on college committees and in the academic curriculum. By the time we graduated, the social rules on campus had been virtually obliterated. Many joined the new feminist movement; some embraced Gay Pride.  

In the spring of 1970, dissent was intensifying against the Vietnam War.  Fueled by the Cambodian bombings and the Kent State shootings, many at Mount Holyoke joined a nationwide student strike. Some departments waived the comprehensive exam. Commencement was almost canceled; the Laurel Parade did not occur, and many classmates wore black armbands to graduation. Some disagreed and were activists in a different way — the true measure of a liberal arts education and critical thinking

The intellectual discipline of our years at Mount Holyoke taught us to be engaged and to listen. In both our professional and personal relationships, we are continuing to leave our mark on the world. We do not always agree on the major issues, but we have learned to respect different viewpoints. Friendships have deepened and endured. The bond we formed 50 years ago continues to make us the thoughtful, discerning, articulate … and, yes, uncommon, women we are today.

This is how we spent our free time while we were on campus: 

Classes met six days a week, trips off campus were limited, every dorm had a housemother and there was a curfew! Academics were serious, and all-nighters were frequent. We “sat bells,” cleaned the bathrooms and “smokers,” and typed papers in the dorm dining rooms. For fun, we played bridge, knitted, did the NYT crossword puzzle together and listened to popular music: the Beatles, Bob Dylan, Judy Collins and others. We met for burgers at the CI or ice cream at Glessie’s and raced to our dorms by 9 p.m. to indulge in M&Cs, which we hoped included leftover desserts. 

In the fall, we were often entertained by the spontaneous appearance of men’s college sports teams. The Princeton band marched through campus early one Saturday morning on their way north. On weekends, mixers abounded along with chartered buses leaving for men’s colleges. We hitchhiked to bars and events in the Valley and danced barefoot on Skinner Green to the music of “The Age of Aquarius.” Our junior show was We Can Save the World or Lighten Up, Get Your Act Together — and that is what many of us are still doing! 

45th Reunion: 1975 Class History

Written by Rhonda Berney and Elaine Coutanche Milnor 

We arrived in the fall of 1971 filled with anticipation. South Hadley was an oasis, after we had witnessed racial, political and social unrest across America, assassinations, and the unpopular Viet Nam war during our formative high school years. 

Coming from diverse backgrounds, we sought to enrich ourselves with all that Mount Holyoke offered and with the lively intellectual challenges of a distinctive liberal arts college of the first rank. Many of us came to Mount Holyoke despite its being a women’s college, but that feature was to become much more important and rewarding over our four years (and since then!). 

A cultural “round-up” of our MHC years would have to include: 

  • Publishing: MS Magazine’s debut, Toni Morrison’s Nobel Prize for Literature. 
  • Television: premiere of “Saturday Night Live,” “All in the Family,” “M*A*S*H.” 
  • Music: Simon & Garfinkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water” — Album of the Year. 
  • Technology: electronic mail and VCRs were introduced 
  • Sports: Eleven Israeli athletes were murdered at the Munich Olympics. 
  • Politics: the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Roe v. Wade, and reproductive 

freedom became a reality, the Viet Nam war finally ended, President Richard 

Nixon resigned after the Watergate debacle. 

Throughout it all, we enjoyed Big Sisters and Elves, riding the 5-College bus, 

mixers, Gracious Living nights, Friday teas, theater productions, concerts, study 

abroad, 12-college exchange, and countless hours in lectures, labs and the 


Since 1975, we have used the tools gained at MHC, as the Uncommon Women that we are, to work toward our own visions of a satisfying and successful life. Next time we gather, it will be as the 50th Reunion Class! Wow … how did that happen? 

40th Reunion: 1980 Class History

Written by Katie Meikle

When we arrived on campus

In September of 1976, 540 young women arrived on this campus to find that TRUMAN was President … David B. Truman, 15th president of MHC. We sported bell bottoms and Frye boots while unloading typewriters and calculators. Our photo IDs shared our SSNs in bold print. 

We arrived with hopes, dreams and expectations … hopes that we’d found our community for the next four years … dreams of great achievements … expectations that our hopes and dreams would be fulfilled. 

During our time on campus we experienced these historical international and domestic events

During our time on campus, ESPN and CNN were launched. Jimmy Carter was elected President with 50.1% of the popular vote while Saddam Hussein became president of Iraq. In Tehran, 63 Americans were taken hostage in the embassy while the first peace treaty between an Arab and Israel state was signed. The first test-tube baby, Louise Brown, was conceived through in-vitro fertilization in the UK. Elvis died … Really! Smallpox was eradicated … Maybe! Perhaps in an effort to kill their best advertising campaign ever, the YMCA sued the Village People over their use of the YMCA song. 

This is how we spent our free time while we were on campus

Our free time on campus was spent engaged in the arts, politics and sport. Nearly half the student body participated in intramurals. We wrote and read Choragos, our newspaper. We danced at mixers to the Bee Gees, collected wooden nickels at the C.I. and tuned into SNL. Our student jobs included bell desk monitor and dining room waitress. Serious students spent free time in their library carrels but hurried back to the dorm for 10 p.m. M&Cs. We celebrated Elizabeth Kennan’s inauguration as MHC’s 16th president with the firstt modern day Pangynaskeia Day. At convocation, she remarked the country was divided by questions of energy, economy and our status as a world power … so how much has changed in 40 years?

35th Reunion: 1985 Class History

Written by Melinda Smith

1 – When we arrived on campus:

  • We met our roommate in a tiny “temp double”
  • Learned what the bell desk and bell book were 
  • We wondered: why were the showerheads only chest-high?
  • We got to know the Library’s card catalog system, without the benefit of Google searches
  • There were no computers or laptops … an electric typewriter and Liquid Paper were the gold standard
  • We jockeyed for the communal hall phone and dreamed of setting up an account for a phone in our dorm room
  • Doing laundry … balancing a checkbook … maintaining class schedule, homework and extracurricular activities …  exploring the Valley
  • Work study jobs: dorm waitress, mailroom clerk, art class slide projectionist ___________________________________________________________________

2 – During our time on campus, we experienced these historical international and domestic events:

  • Sandra Day O’Connor was appointed to the Supreme Court, and first female astronaut Sally Ride flew into space
  • President Reagan and Pope John Paul II were both wounded in assassination attempts, while Sadat and Gandhi were assassinated
  • Lady Diana and Prince Charles married, the wreckage of the Titanic was discovered, MTV was launched
  • Band Aid recorded “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” to raise money for Ethiopian famine relief  
  • Scientists isolated the AIDS virus
  • The first analog cell system for mobile phones was deployed in the U.S.
  • Microsoft introduced MS Word and the first version of Windows
  • 1985’s $100 is about $239 in 2020


3 – How we spent our free time while we were on campus:

      What free time, we were studying. … Oh, wait:  

  • We hung out at the CI for popcorn, beer and meaning-of-life conversations
  • Went to Woodbridge’s for pizza and ice cream drinks; Wilbur for ice cream sundaes
  • Shopping in Northampton and Amherst
  • Apple picking at Atkins  
  • Scorpion bowls at the Hu Ke Lau (RIP, circa 2018)
  • Pre-videotapes, the Film Society showed the most wonderful movies 3x/week
  • We watched “General Hospital,” “Dallas,” “Hill Street Blues,” “Hart to Hart,” “St. Elsewhere” in Wilbur
  • Fuzzy socks, turtlenecks and pearls were all acceptable accessories for Lanz flannel nightgowns
  • All-campus screams
30th Reunion: 1990 Class History

Written by Siri Wheeler

When we arrived on campus in the fall of 1986, some of us brought typewriters and some of us brought computers with names like Macintosh, IBM “Personal Computer” or “PC” or Commodore. We brought telephones that plugged into the wall and our state-of-the-art answering machines. We brought any combinations of vinyl records, cassette tapes, stereos, boom boxes and Walkman cassette players. We also brought our earnestness, our idealism, our dreams, our curiosity and our boundless energy. Most of all, we brought a desire to make the world a better place.

During our time on campus, we witnessed the first national airing of “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” the stock market crash of 1987, the effort to end Apartheid in South Africa through international sanctions, the gathering momentum of Perestroika and Glasnost movements in the Soviet Union, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the election and inauguration of U.S. President George H. W. Bush … and the 1987 release of the film, “Dirty Dancing.”

We spent our free time on campus enjoying dorm parties, picnics, concerts and Thursday nights at “The Rat,” first in the basement of Mary Woolley and later in the newly refurbished Blanchard Campus Center. We danced to Madonna, Squeeze, REM, the B-52s, U2, Steve Wynwood, George Michael and many more. We gathered for meals and M&Cs in our dorm dining rooms and watched TV together (all three or four channels), either in our dorm TV rooms or in the rooms of friends. Off campus, we took full advantage of the 5-college bus system and made the Pioneer Valley our home.

25th Reunion: 1995 Class History

Written by Rebecca Gold

When we arrived in ‘91, many of us didn’t bring a computer. Each dorm had a computer room with two Macs and two PCs. We had to allow enough time for the dot-matrix printer to do its work before separating the perforated pages and tearing off the holed edges. Some of us would kill time in the smoker while it printed. A smoker was the common room in each dorm that was designated for smoking. They disappeared after our first year.

Something else that disappeared—right before our first year—was the tradition of student workers having to serve food to the tables of fellow students. Those of us who worked in the kitchen were happy about that. 

Each dorm had a bell desk and working there was a plum job to get. You could sit and study or chat with friends who visited. You’d buzz in anybody who rang the dorm bell and call up to announce guests. Students escorted males upstairs. Everybody ate breakfast, dinner, and M&Cs in their dorm dining rooms. There were seven lunch centers across campus.

Blanchard was in no way as bustling a place then as it is now but our PO boxes were housed in the basement so it was a campus hub. No day was complete without a trek there to check for mail. On a good day, we’d find a handwritten letter from a friend. On a really good day, we’d find a care package. On most days we’d find fliers for campus events. 

We got email addresses towards the end of our time at MHC. But the internet didn’t offer much; our research always took place in the library in the form of microfiche and other materials. 

Of course we had no cell phones, but it was easy to connect. We left notes on each other’s doors and called each other’s rooms. We had no Google, but we used drinking glasses to ding with silverware during meals to share news or ask for information. (I remember using this method one day in Ham Hall to confirm the rumor of someone’s death, although I don’t recall if it was Kurt Cobain or River Phoenix.) We stuck with plans and left some meetings to fate. If we were trying to find a particular person, we’d just roam around campus looking for her.

Her. She. Women. Or maybe “womyn” with a Y. We learned that sex was nature and gender a construct. We had enlightened ideas about gender, but those ideas were binary. 

During our time in college, headlines included Nelson Mandela, the LA riots, Rodney King, Anita Hill, Waco, the World Trade Center bombing, the Oklahoma City bombing, Nancy Kerrigan, OJ. Bill Clinton was president but we didn’t hear the name “Monica Lewinsky” until after we graduated.

Our commencement weekend was beautiful and special because it marked the end of Elizabeth Kennan’s presidency. 

20th Reunion: 2000 Class History

The Class of 2000 arrived in fall of 1996. As first years, metal wastebaskets were required because smoking was still allowed in buildings, we hoarded quarters for laundry, M&C’s were served every night, we used keys to enter our dorms, and we could still use a physical card catalogue to find a library book. Some were issued our first email addresses, and we checked our email with Telnet. We couldn’t Google our first-year roommates, because Google didn’t exist. Although our rooms were wired for cable, we gathered in living rooms for Thursday “ER” watching parties. 

Much discussion our first year centered on the “Plan for 2003,” which, by the end of the year, also generated a few building takeovers. The growing pains that the College experienced that year birthed two new cultural centers, the Asian Center for Empowerment and Jeanette Marks house. By sophomore year, most of us had settled into extracurriculars, whether that was something formally organized or just feeding a caffeine habit at the Dirty. We studied abroad junior year or stuck around to ask “What Would Juniors Do?” in Junior Show. 

Our senior year Mountain Day, many of us stayed inside, unwilling to hike in the rain but were compensated with a once-in-a-lifetime Millennium Day in the spring. On March 31, 2000, we were honored to open a time capsule left to us by the class of 1900, though it had been welded shut, so it took almost an hour to open. Inside, we found a Blue Book (with an explanation of what it was), a college beanie, and a letter from that class, trusting that our lives would be filled with more opportunities than theirs but also filled with the hope that Mount Holyoke would have endured over the years. And so it has.

15th Reunion: 2005 Class History

Written by Emily Colgan

In many ways the class of 2005 was shaped by adversity, our time at MHC barely begun before the world was rocked by terror and loss on September 11. As sobering as that day of mourning was, we came together as a campus and a class, finding solace in each other’s company and forging bonds that still remain strong. We found joy in our connections with each other. We didn’t have smartphones or Netflix, and downloading a single song could take up to half an hour, but we gathered in common rooms for movie nights and shared playlists through iTunes. 

Sophomore year was a time of transition, as “New Blanchard” was being constructed, and the college shifted away from kitchens in every dorm. The Iraq war dominated the news, interspersed with bright spots like MHC alum Suzan-Lori Parks ’85 winning the Pulitzer Prize for drama.

Our classmates have fond memories of Telnet, MHC’s own vintage precursor to social media. Telnet inspired our Junior Show, notable for a hilarious cameo from President Joanne Creighton. The slogan “it’s not about cookies, it’s about community” helped us save M&Cs, and in April we celebrated loud and proud when Massachusetts legalized gay marriage.

Our senior year began and ended with rain, as both Convocation and Commencement were held indoors. In between, we navigated the re-election of George W. Bush, the Boston Red Sox reversing the curse with a historic World Series win, and the debut of Facebook. 

On this 15th anniversary of our commencement, the class of 2005 spans the globe, bringing the best our minds and hearts have to offer to the communities we now call home. Three classes of Griffins have carried the laurel since the day we sang Bread and Roses at Mary Lyon’s grave, and that chain will forever go unbroken. 

10th Reunion: 2010 Class History

Written by Lauren Darby

We carried around cell phones (but few were “smart,” as iPhones didn’t exist yet) and our brand new pink OneCards, which preserved our eager, sweaty, move-in day faces for everyone to see for the next four years.

Our distribution requirements were pretty similar but thankfully completed most work on laptops and dorm computers, downloading articles from Ella and totally not getting distracted by Facebook. We were the last class to learn the creeping potential of Telnet.

We memorized the vertical-horizontal rule — guests could move freely on our floor, but not go to other floors unchaperoned — and had to learn all the right rules about hosting SPEs, chalking sidewalks and cleaning Golden Pears, but we also learned all kinds of ways to evade the rules (sometimes with success, other times not so much). We always wondered what those little boxes were for.

We learned about the 1960s in history classes and through Vinnie’s stories. Many of us volunteered during our sophomore and junior years for the 2008 campaign that saw the election of Barack Obama. And who could forget the streaking that followed?

We’ve only just begun…class of 2010

2nd Reunion: 2018 Class History

Written by Isoke Samuel

When we arrived on campus, we had peace, love and pegasus pride in our hearts. Mount Holyoke greeted us with lush trees, green lawns and a sign hanging from the front gate reading: Mary Lyon Saw You Coming. On convocation we pulled on our best red gear and met in the amphitheater. We cheered our fiercest cheers and felt the magic of being welcomed by the other classes. We sat on the steps sweaty, excited and unsure of what was to come, as Lynn Pasquerella announced the new transgender policy and reminded us that we were all meant to be there.

The years that followed brought the Black Live Matter movement, Hurricane Maria, the Syrian war and refugee crisis, countless school shootings, #MeToo and Brexit. Many of us voted in our first presidential election. We joined forces to protest, fundraise and demand Mount Holyoke become a sanctuary campus for international and undocumented students. Malala won a Nobel Peace Prize, Beyoncé released Lemonade, we binged watched “Stranger Things” and “Black Mirror” on Netflix. “Hamilton” became a sensation, Colin Kaepernick took a knee and Megan Markle married Prince Harry. We witnessed our beloved campus change as a dirt pile outside of Wilder became SuperBlanch and replaced our in-dorm dining halls.

Through it all we still made time for M&Cs, Chef Jeff Cookies and dessert dilemma at Prospect. We turned to YikYak to get answers to questions that were better off crowd-sourced. We kept up monthslong Snapchat streaks with our friends. We got MoHo chops, piercings at Lucky’s, and maybe even bought a pair of clogs. We became athletes, poets, choreographers, playwrights, scientists and activists. We remembered beloved classmates that we lost too soon and took the time to lay out on Skinner Green, watching the leaves change in the fall and the trees blossom in the spring.

2020 Class History

When we arrived on campus: It was sticky and humid out, and we were excited for what Mount Holyoke held for us. Fresh off the success of the U.S. in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro we packed into the amphitheater decked out in blue for our first convocation. We met all different sorts of offices and departments, met our advisors for the first time and explored new clubs, sports and organizations. President Stephens officially went from acting president to president of the college, and we got our first DEI officer for the school. 

During our time on campus we experienced these historical international and domestic events: 2016 was a leap year which started a period of tumultuous and unpredictable events for our class. In November, Mount Holyoke stood witness to the election of Donald Trump, making him the 45th president of the United States. We watched as viruses and diseases like West Nile, Zika and Triple E ravaged the world and our country, but we also saw hope as the Ebola crisis ended. We got to experience a solar eclipse, and we protested in the Black Lives Matter movement. We participated and marched in the largest single-day protest in history at the Women’s March, and we experienced the fourth impeachment of a U.S. president in American history. We watched the Syrian War tear countries and people apart and saw the U.K. split from the EU in Brexit. Finally, in our last year of college, we saw our country infected by a global pandemic, the COVID-19 virus officially ended our senior year far too early but brought us together in a historical event that no other class has known. 

This is how we spent our free time on campus: We were the last class to experience a full year of decentralized dining, and we got to eat at the Prospect Patio, having lunch with Jorge. We knew the stress of those Blanch paper slips and counting up the prices of our food until we hit that magical $7.50. We spent our days sprawled out on the green, taking in the sun or building snowmen in the winter. We slid down the hills of the Delles on our makeshift sleds and ran to the newly created “SuperBlanch” for our fifth snack of the day. We went to all sorts of talks and got to see people like Senator Elizabeth Warren, former professional soccer player Abby Wambach, and former Secretary of State John Kerry. We experienced what was Waka Flocka Flame at our first (and only) spring concert. We stayed in contact with our friends and class through Facetime and social media like Instagram. We engaged in classroom debates and heated discussions and spent all nighters doing way too much homework. 

Ending: No matter how much our two classes — the class of 1970 and the class of 2020 — may be different, we know that Mount Holyoke is always what brings us together no matter how far we are apart. Mount Holyoke forever shall be!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *