OUR 45TH REUNION-WHAT A WEEKEND!!
Planning for this gathering began almost as soon as we got home and unpacked our suitcases after our 40th in 2008, and the wisdom of that foresight showed spectacularly from beginning to end. Susan Clark Iverson and Christine (Chris) Anderson Salmon were the Co-Chairs and their organizational skills inspired the entire reunion team (duly noted and saluted at our class meeting; see the minutes) to give us a weekend to remember. Sure, it was soggy; sure, it was chilly. But the spirit of our class prevailed, and we had just the kind of reunion that we all hoped for despite the weather.
We were housed again in Buckland (the Class of '58 was in Abbey) and we all appreciated being so close to the center of campus. Some of the team arrived on Thursday to begin transforming the lobby into a first-class welcome center. One room was devoted to memorabilia, with photos and books and Junior Show programs-and even vinyl records and the necessary player to get us properly nostalgic.
Our IDs for the weekend, assembled in record time by early arrivers (bless them!), again included our photo from our yearbook (leading some much younger reuners to wonder if the photo and the wearer were indeed the same person!). And in recognition of increasing age and its effects on our vision, our names were in wonderfully readable large print.
A table in the hallway right inside the front door was laden with refreshments for travel-weary arrivals, thanks to Betsy Newcomb Beth and Diane Lohman Mirick: "goodie bags" filled with various yummies; granola bars; bowls of fruit; water-all wonderfully restorative.
The bell desk, at which hospitality chair Susan Graham Simpson spent huge blocks of time, was the nerve center of the dorm. Not only did she keep us all informed of events planned for each day, but she also oversaw the distribution of the reunion costume (a lovely blue pashmina shawl) and the reunion books. Many thanks to Mary Ann Mears and Jeanne Yacura Geiman (Jeanne could not attend) for their exceptional foresight in choosing the shawl. Who knew we would have such chilly weather that the shawl would be not just a costume but a most welcome cover as well?
I cannot extol Sherry Christie Fish and Linda Gross highly enough for the collaboration and extraordinary labor that culminated in a truly magnificent reunion book. Linda provided technical support while Sherry dealt with content and production. The on-line survey was completed by 148 of us (with some very interesting findings; go to our class website www.mhc1968.com to discover them in full) and some 109 of us submitted personal pages, many with photos. The upshot is that these reunion books are a quantum leap in quality beyond anything we have seen before and thus set a very high standard for the next reunion book chair!
Friday's registration process happened, as in the past, all day on the second floor of Mary E. Woolley Hall. Volunteers were at the tables, sorted by class, to welcome us warmly and to equip us with what we would need to navigate the weekend: a wallet containing our AlumnaeOneCard (to swipe in the door-opening device beside Buckland's front door-learning curve on that one!); our room key; and a reservation card showing meal selections we had pre-reserved. We also received a map of campus-very helpful for those who were not up to speed on new buildings, etc We each also received a shoulder bag with the legend "Once a student, always an alumna." Their utility was affirmed by how many were put to immediate use!
The foyer of Buckland was soon filled with the sounds of '68ers meeting and greeting and generally reveling in each other's presence. "So from east and from west now we gather..." absolutely captures it.
We wrangled our luggage to our rooms, the doors of which have permanent bulletin boards (brilliant!) upon which were fixed balloons and a cheerful balloon-decorated sign "Congratulations on a job well done! You are the greatest [NAME], Class of 1968!" Hospitality Chair Sue Simpson added her own neatly-printed card: "Welcome Back [NAME]." These signs were not only a delightful touch-they were also ever so helpful to those of us who had to visit the loo in the middle of the night, half-asleep, in finding our way back to the correct room!
After unpacking, it was time to gather downstairs to get the weekend started in earnest. Many of us collected in the living room to bring each other up to date on our lives. Others relived our campus days in the memorabilia room-huge thanks to Susan Yeshilian Manaras and Karen Wilbur for pulling that together! Others headed to Blanchard (what was a storage facility in our day is now a stunning student center, replete with an amazing dining facility [all day] and a very improved bookstore) for coffee or went walking to other favorite destinations.
We had our first reunion meal on Friday night in the dorm: a marvelous buffet and a selection of wine, arranged by Betsy Newcomb Beth and Diane Lohman Mirick (author's aside: these two hardy souls did untold heavy lifting in providing refreshments, since we did not have access to the kitchen-something to think about next time!). Atkins Farms provided the buffet per se; Betsy picked up a sheet cake and cookies from Florentina Bakery in Northampton. What a feast! Somehow, we all found somewhere to sit in the living room...
Three College awards were made during our supper. Because she had to leave before the Alumnae Association (AA) meeting on Saturday, Susan (Arin) Edwards was given the Alumnae Achievement Award, "for outstanding achievements and service to society that exemplify the ideals of a liberal arts education, through salaried or volunteer fields of endeavor," per the AA program. Karen Wilbur and Judith McNall MacKnight received the Loyalty Award, given to alumnae "who have demonstrated consistent effort and active involvement in one area of service over an extended period of time...on behalf of a class, club, affinity group, the Association or the College" [AA program].
After dinner, many of us headed for The Odyssey Bookstore, where Gail Coleman and Sally Lemaire had arranged with Joan Grenier (daughter of the late, great Romeo) for a delightful program in honor of the shop's 50th anniversary. (Do we remember how new it was when we were students?) Betsy Beth arranged refreshments (coffee and cake) for the bookstore reception while Diane Mirick stayed at the dorm to monitor the buffet.
After Joan gave a presentation on the history of the Odyssey, three classmates spoke briefly about their own books. Olivia (Livvie) Mellan has written many books on money conflict resolution, several in collaboration with Sherry Christie Fish. [Narrator's note: Amazon lists all the titles.] Eileen Sypher shared her book Framing a Life, Building a House, published in 2010. [Narrator's note: Amazon gives a very full summary of what the book is about.] Suzanne Spaeth Marinell then presented her book for children, an outgrowth of her elementary school science teaching career, entitled A River's Year, based on her experiences on and near the Schuylkill River in eastern Pennsylvania. [Narrator's note: That is precisely where I grew up. Small world...]
It was finally time to wend our way back to Buckland, in the rain, of course. I was on foot, which gave me a chance to reflect on how much the town center had changed. There had been a fire, of course, so much of the rebuilding was of necessity. But the stores now there, except for The Odyssey, were of another, newer generation. I decided to go exploring in daylight on Saturday to see if there were anything to engage this old alum.
We had gotten the word on Friday evening that the College would make the call about the alumnae parade at 8:00 on Saturday morning, so we all went to bed hoping for NO RAIN!! Saturday morning dawned with no improvement in the weather, so it was deja vu all over again (remember our Commencement??). We were all disappointed to the max that we would be deprived of the parade, especially since Jody Hall Cale, Eileen Sypher and Ann Knight had come up with some really great signs. We couldn't parade them, but they were displayed in Chapin during the meeting and then again at our class dinner in Buckland.
Abbey and Buckland share a dining room, where we all converged for a marvelous breakfast and lots of talking. Catching up takes more than one weekend every five years!
At the appointed hour (8:30), we repaired to the living room for our class meeting, run with great efficiency by President Paula Braga Leidich (see meeting minutes). After the meeting, we configured ourselves into a great circle and held our quinquennial service of remembrance for all our classmates who have died since our graduation, led by The Rev. Holly Vincent Bean. A copy of the service and the list of names is attached to this narrative.
Because there would be no parade, we were encouraged to gather in Chapin Auditorium earlier than the scheduled 11 a.m. to begin the Alumnae Association meeting. Led by AA President Cynthia Reed '80, the meeting included President Pasquerella's welcome as well as a report on AA business. We saw a video created as a recruitment vehicle and your scribe was just blown away by the presentations made by students therein-their aspirations, their achievements, their energy. Wow!
The president of each reuning class ('38, '48, '58, '68, '78, '98 and '08) read their class history, remembrances of life at MHC at each point in time. Our president Paula Leidich read a montage of contributions from several of our classmates, each with a different perspective. It was a great moment of nostalgia for the rest of us.
At every reunion, the AA recognizes attendance figures in raw numbers and as a percentage of the class. Our 2008 triumphs in each category were not repeated this time: the Class of '08 won the Caskey Cup for having 90 reuners at the AA meeting (we were runner-up with 76); and the Class of '58 won the Alumnae Association Cup for a participation rate of 22.38% (we were runner-up again, with 20.82%).
Awards from the Advancement Office (formerly the Development Office) recognize participation in the Mount Holyoke Fund from a variety of perspectives. The classes of '38, '48 and '58 prevailed, hands down.
Two moments of special pride require full reporting here. The first came when Reunion Co-Chair Susan Clark Iverson was called to the stage to receive the Alumnae Medal of Honor, "awarded to an alumna at her twentieth reunion or beyond for long-term eminent service and significant leadership in promoting the effectiveness of multiple areas of the Association and/or College."
Her citation reads: "Susan Clark Iverson has devoted many years of loyal volunteer service to Mount Holyoke, taking on leadership and organizational responsibilities both large and small for her class, the Alumnae Association, and the College. She has served her class by co-chairing her 45th reunion and by hosting mini-reunions at her home for classmates in the Washington, DC, area, Fundraising for the College has been a particular passion of hers, and she has served her class as a reunion gift chair, head class agent, class agent, Cornerstone Program chair, and Cornerstone representative.":
Our second moment of great pride came when Martha Cowen Cutts was called to the stage to receive the Elizabeth T. Kennan Award: "...to an alumna for outstanding achievement in and contributions to the field of education, honoring the service of former president Elizabeth Topham Kennan '60 to the College and to higher education in general."
Her citation reads: "Admired as a leader and innovator, Martha Cowen Cutts led the Washington Latin Public Charter School to its success as a school based in the classics but informed by contemporary life. Starting as a German and Latin teacher, she quickly moved beyond the classroom to take leadership roles in independent secondary education. Among the institutions she has guided are the highly regarded National Cathedral School in DC and Philadelphia's Agnes Irwin School."
Both Susan and Martha received standing ovations from all in the auditorium and enthusiastic cheers from their '68 sisters. We are so proud of you, Susan and Martha!
The last element of the meeting was the singing of "Bread and Roses," a protest song about the exploitation of women in the work force dating to the early 1900s, now sung by seniors during the Laurel Parade at graduation.
Then, with the singing of "Alma Mater," the meeting was adjourned and we returned to Abbey-Buckland dining room for a wonderful buffet lunch. As in 2008, the weather dictated that our class photo would be done in Pratt auditorium, at 1:30.
The rest of Saturday afternoon was given over to a choice of options: Gail Coleman and Sally Lemaire arranged for trips (using a College van!) to the Eric Carle Museum and/or Emily Dickinson House, both in Amherst, for those so inclined. There was but one informal discussion session in the living room, led by Joy Camp, on the topic of de-cluttering. Several who joined that group reported that it was incredibly helpful.
The afternoon was otherwise available for walking (in the rain, of course) to the Center for exploration. Your scribe did just that and confirmed her earlier suspicions that the merchants are serving a much younger crowd. I ended up spending my discretionary funds at the College bookstore on a neat fleece and an MHC cap-my kind of take-away!
We convened at the Art Museum at 5:30 for our social hour, ably arranged by Nancie Fimbel and Nancy Stowe Inui. President Pasquerella dropped by and brought us up to speed on MHC's forward momentum (the decision not to increase tuition being a singularly constructive decision). She also thanked us for our continuing support.
It was back to Buckland for dinner at 7 p.m. Mr. Yamashita was the only one of our remaining honoraries who could join us. Susan Manaras hosted him. Attendance by both of the Ellises was precluded by health issues.
We had a wonderful meal (thanks again to Nancie and Nancy for that tour de force!) and even more wonderful socializing. President Paula Leidich welcomed everyone to this last official gathering of our 45th Reunion. Co-Chairs Susan Iverson and Chris Salmon recognized everyone on the reunion team who had labored so long and hard to bring everything together. Our 50th Reunion Co-Chairs, Linda Renasco Cadigan and Nancy Fletcher, took the opportunity to invite us to sign up for committees for the next gathering.
Maybe it was the great food and the lovely wine, maybe it was just the exuberance of Baby Boomers celebrating their lives-but there was an atmosphere of total joy in that dining room. What a great class we are!!
After dinner, most of us joined our endlessly creative song-spoof writer Livvie Mellan in the living room to sing her send-ups of such classics as "When I'm 64" (now "Since We're 66"); "Try to Remember" (taking on a whole new significance!); "There Is Nothing Like A Dame" (now, "There Is Nothing Like A Crone"); and "I Enjoy Being A Girl" (now, "I Enjoy Being A Crone"). There was still a lot of good talking to do, catching up, looking ahead...all the things we do toward the end of a reunion to reach a sort of closure.
Sunday morning brought the clearing we'd prayed for 24 hours earlier. Breakfast was more leisurely-still time to finish stories that had been cut short by Saturday's schedule, still time for one more cup of coffee, still time to talk about getting together before 2018...
And then, time to pack up the suitcase, check the closets and drawers one more time, get everything into the car (or into whatever vehicle would head to the airport) and finally, to return our reunion wallet with the room key and the selection card.
Some of us deferred our departure in order to attend the Abbey Chapel service, saddened that the Alumnae Choir is no more, but happy to know that our own Cindy Morrell would be the organist for the service. It was an interfaith service entitled "Shining Light on Connections That Last." The handful of us in the pews left with new perspectives on the world, that is certain.
And then, it was well and truly over. We gathered forty-five years after we went out into the world and discovered that those who followed us have taken very good care indeed of Mount Holyoke. She is alma mater, our nourishing mother. She relies on her daughters for support, it is true, but in return, she gives us a place to call home, if only for a little while.
Now we look ahead to 2018 with great anticipation. We hope to have the greatest 50th reunion MHC has ever seen!
With great affection for my '68 sisters,
Eloise Prescott Killeffer
Your Scribe, Secretary and Reunion Correspondent
MOUNT HOLYOKE COLLEGE
CLASS OF 1968
45TH REUNION CLASS MEETING
25 MAY 2013
The meeting was called to order at 8:47 a.m. in the living room of Buckland Hall, where our class was staying, by Class President Paula Braga Leidich. After welcoming everyone, Paula noted that our by-laws provide that whatever number of the class gathers for a reunion is by definition a quorum, and absent a head count, it was believed most of the 77 (78?) registered reuners had made it to the meeting. We could, therefore, proceed with official class business.
Paula asked for a motion that the reading of the previous class meeting minutes (31 May 2008) be waived. It was moved, seconded and voted unanimously to do so and they were accepted as they stand on our class website.
Paula then recognized the Reunion Committee, beginning with the indefatigable co-chairs Susan Clark Iverson and Chris Anderson Salmon. She read a citation to each, noting that Susan had hosted in her home the largest mini-reunion (5% of the class) and Chris led the creation of a whimsical birthday card-efforts to encourage classmates to come to reunion. She then presented each with an MHC baseball cap as a tangible thank-you for the success of those efforts.
Paula then recognized the rest of the reunion crew, asking each to stand: Susan Graham Simpson, Hospitality (front desk welcoming and distribution of costumes and reunion books); Jeanne Yacura Geiman (not present) and Mary Ann Mears, Costume (pashmina shawls and name tags); Betsy Newcomb Beth and Diane Lohman Mirick, Social (welcoming refreshments and in-dorm Friday evening buffet); Nancie Fimbel and Nancy Stowe Inui, Saturday Evening (art building reception/cocktails and in-dorm class dinner); Gail Coleman and Sally Lemaire, Program (activities on- and off-campus); Eloise Prescott Killeffer, Reunion Scribe (meeting minutes and narrative of the weekend); Jody Hall Cale, Eileen Sypher and Ann Knight, Parade Signs (content and copy); Sherry Christie Fish and Linda Gross, Reunion Questionnaire and Book; Karen Wilbur and Susan Yeshilian Manaras, Memory Room (exhibit of class memorabilia); and The Rev. Holly Vincent Bean, In Memoriam (gathering after the class meeting to remember deceased classmates). It should be noted that the name tags (featuring our yearbook photo) were assembled on Thursday night by reunion crew members who were around that early. The entire committee received hearty applause for their tireless work.
Treasurer Cynthia White Morrell then presented her report, current as of 21 May 2013. That report is attached to this letter. As of that date, our balance stood at $6,950.24, including reunion income as well as reunion expenses. Cindy noted that class dues are tax deductible.
Paula then turned to the matter of dues for the next five years (2013-2018). Cindy Morrell researched how classes between 1959 and 1967 had structured dues leading up to their 50th reunion. The replies from seven of nine treasurers showed a range from $30 to $75. After consultation with the '68 board, and with their concurrence, Cindy proposed that we raise our dues from $30 to $45 for the coming five year period with the option to include $5 designated for a reunion scholarship fund. Questions from the floor were raised to clarify what the dues cover, with particular reference to the reunion book, which this year cost more than budgeted in the class charges portion of the reunion registration package. Cindy noted that we have a surplus in the treasury to cover the shortfall, should it be needed.
Cindy then moved, and the motion was seconded, to raise our dues per the above recommendation ($45 for 2013-2018 with the $5 scholarship add-on). She also assured us that class dues are tax deductible. The motion then was carried without need to count the votes.
It was noted that our 50th reunion will be held on Commencement Weekend and the date will be set by the College in 2015
Co-Head Class Agent Ellen Jacobson Petrino, presented the report prepared by her and our other Co-Head Class Agent Jane Dolkart. As of 23 May, $280,000 had been contributed to The Mount Holyoke Fund (formerly the Alumnae Fund) by 51% of the class, thereby exceeding our goal of $268,000 but not meeting the participation goal of 68%. On the day of the class meeting (25 May), Ellen and Jane collected an additional $1,665 and Ellen noted that pledges could still be made. The College is concerned about participation rate, so our class agents will need to work on participation through the end of the fiscal year (30 June 2013). Ellen thanked the class for being "great, consistent givers."
Paula presented the slate for 2013-2018 on behalf of Nominating Committee Chair Suzanne Lenz Janney and the entire committee, including Karen Kelly Taggart and Stephanie Whalen Cosgrove (both elected) and Penny Schneider Calf and Karen Wilbur (both appointed by our class president per our by-laws): Paula Braga Leidich, President; Linda Renasco Cadigan and Nancy Fletcher, Co-Vice Presidents and Reunion Co-Chairs; Eloise Prescott Killeffer, Secretary/Scribe; Cynthia White Morrell, Treasurer; Ellen Jacobson Petrino and Jane L. Dolkart, Co-Head Class Agents; Susan Clark Iverson, Nominating Committee Chair; Stephanie Whalen Cosgrove, Nominating Committee (continuing); and Karen Wilbur, Nominating Committee (new). The slate was approved as presented.
Paula then announced that the Office of Advancement (formerly Development) encourages classes approaching their 50th reunion to elect a team of three to five co-head class agents. Just re-elected Co-Head Class Agent Ellen Jacobson Petrino then moved that the number of our Co-Head Class Agents be increased to four by adding Susan Clark Iverson and Linda S. Gross. The motion was seconded and carried without need to count the votes.
Paula then re-took the floor and thanked Suzanne and the entire nominating committee for their fine work in setting our course for the next five years.
The floor was opened to announcements. Gail Coleman reviewed the afternoon program: tours to the Eric Carle Museum and the Emily Dickinson House, both in Amherst, with a College van available for transport; and one discussion group, on de-cluttering, offered by Joy Camp.
Paula announced that the memorial service, to be led by The Rev. Holly Vincent Bean, would begin in the living room at 9:30. The parade was called because of the rain, so we were all asked to gather in Chapin Auditorium well before the scheduled 11 a.m. start time so the Alumnae Association meeting could get underway. The class photo would be taken at 1:45 p.m. on Skinner steps, weather permitting, or in Pratt Music Building if the rain persisted (as happened in 2008). The cocktail party scheduled for 5:30 p.m. in the Art Museum would be followed by dinner in Buckland dining room at 7 p.m. Class Honorary Mr. Yamashita was expected to attend, but Mrs. Yamashita probably could not and Virginia Ellis was a definite maybe.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:22 a.m.
Eloise Prescott Killeffer
Secretary/Scribe, Class of 1968
| Position |
| Reunion || Susan Clark Iverson |
Chris Anderson Salmon
| Hospitality |
Welcomes class members
| Susan Graham Simpson |
| Costume |
Parade Accessory & Name Tags
| Jeanne Yacura Geiman |
Mary Ann Mears
| Social |
| Betsy Newcomb Beth |
Diane Lohman Mirick
| Saturday Evening |
Cocktails & Class Dinner
| Nancie Fimbel |
Nancy Stowe Inui
| Program |
Class activities - informal discussions, et. ali.
| Gail Coleman |
| Reunion Scribe |
Records reunion weekend & publishes the narrative
| Eloise Prescott Killeffer |
| Signs |
Content & Copy for signs
| Jody Hall Cale |
| Booklet |
Questionnaire & produce "book"
| Sherry Christie Fish |
| Memory Room |
Organize exhibit of class memorabilia
| Karen Wilbur |
Susan Yeshilian Manaras
| In Memoriam |
Class meeting presentation
| Holly Vincent Bean |
Five (5) percent of our class gathered in Washington D.C. in May for a mini-reunion. It was on a gloriously sunny day that 19 classmates got together for a brunch, hosted by Susan Clark Iverson. Sharing lively reminiscences and stories were:
Cathy Zimmerman Appel, Rebecca Cardozo, Barbara Chattin, Gail Coleman, Diane Goldberg Cross, Martha Cowen Cutts, Jane Dolkart, Jeanne Yacura Geiman, Marinda Harpole, Marty Heywood, Susan Clark Iverson, Beth Jelsma, Mary Ann Mears, Nancy Button Nathan, Trudi Noehren Rishikof, Chris Anderson Salmon, Mary Ziemba Sanderson, Joan Stevens, and Nancy Teachout.
If you want to host a mini-reunion or casually get together with a few classmates, you can get some ideas from our Vice Presidents/Co-Reunion Chairs Susan Clark Iverson (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Chris Anderson Salmon (email@example.com)
This is a wonderful way to see classmates and find out what they are doing now. You may find that you have many experiences in common as well as some remarkable divergences that are exciting to talk about. Mini-reunions offer a platform of communication to build on at our big 45th, coming up May 24-26, 2013 - only two short years away! Mark your calendar!
Class of 1968 Elfs Our Big Sister Class of 1966
In May at the 45th Reunion of our Big Sister Class of 1966, we presented a fruit basket from our class along with best wishes for a tremendous reunion weekend. Our former Class President Cindy White Morrell arranged for the delivery of the fruit basket at the dormitory of our Sister Class. Thank you, Cindy! This gets us in the mood for our own 45th !