Class President's Letter

Letters from our Alice Godfrey Andrus, Class President

Alice Andrus and Ruth (Bunny) Gramlich

Alice and Bunny (Ruth Brown Gramlich, Class VP)

April 2017

Endearing Classmates:

Lots of news in this letter, so here’s a summary:

  • Announcing the 55th Reunion Team
  • Save the Date May 25–27, 2018
  • 2016 Destination Events
  • 2016 classmate gatherings
  • Campus news highlights
  • In memoriam

Our 55th! May 25–27, 2018. Mary Ann Searles Weiss is our Reunion Chair. She is planning a warm and relaxed reunion on campus and in the environs during this three-day weekend. KarenKayser Benson and I will offer our reunion logistics knowledge to assist Mary Ann. Please fill out the Save the Date form to complete, which will give us an early indication if you’ll be joining us, thereby assisting our planning.

Also, now is the time to recommend a classmate for one of the Alumnae Association Awards to be given at Reunion. Visit the Alumnae Association website for more details at alumnae.mtholyoke.edu/award.

On Friday afternoon, May 25, the Alumnae Association is organizing a “Back to Class” opportunity for all classes. Also, there will be time to take tours, visit the greenhouses and the art museum. Friday night begins with an alumnae and faculty reception followed by a relaxed time together at our residence hall. We will organize a meet up with our Connections Class (2013). On Saturday, May 26, during the morning the traditional parade and all-alumnae events will take place. The afternoon will be unscheduled allowing rest and individual activities before a gala dinner at the Eric Carle Museum on the Amherst Road. The museum is an elegant venue for this special dinner together. Your ideas are welcome, so let us know what you’d like to do while on campus.

Honoring a request from several of you, we have reserved a block of rooms at the Hampton Inn and the Comfort Inn in Hadley as alternative accommodations. Of course, there will be rooms in our designated residence hall. Details will follow.

Class activity since last spring: Again this year, mini-reunions and other small group activities have taken place. Melissa Craig Parham and Shirley Trew Miller organized luncheons at Ellen Strauss Boer’s and Ruth Brown Gramlich’s homes. Ellen organized a tour of Mount Vernon; Bunny showed us her spectacular rooftop view of DC. Elaine Cox Jacoby organized a luncheon in historic East Brunswick, NJ, which included a number of first-time Middle States attendees along with Gail Carver Faris from Houston. Smaller gatherings were held in Minnesota, Vermont, Massachusetts, New York City, Outer Banks, NC and aboard the Via Canadian across Canada.

Two 2016 destination reunions enjoyed enthusiastic attendance. In March, over 30 gathered in Silicon Valley for a beautifully planned weekend, including a festive opening reception at Barbara (Randall) and Chuck Preuss’ Palo Alto home, tours of the enchanting Filoli Gardens, the Computer Museum and the Stanford Art Museums. Thank you, again, to the wonderful team led by Sandy Perrot Drew. Forty of us gathered in October, for the “Achieving Excellence” campus event. We stayed in Willits and in a local B&B, were serenaded by the fabulous singing group, “M & Cs,” attended classes, (I was at the 8:30 a.m. International Macro Economic Theory class), and heard from Acting President Stephens about the College. Two highlights were discussing Between the World and Me with Professor Amber Douglas and touring the Restoration Ecology site with Professor Kate Ballantine (www.mtholyoke.edu/restoration-ecology). This beautiful fall weekend deepened our understanding of our College and renewed our camaraderie. Kudos to the enthusiastic planning team led by Bunny Gramlich and Sally Wittenberg.

A number of classmates, some with their daughters and granddaughters, participated in the historic Women’s March following the inauguration of President Trump. Photos have been posted at www.mountholyokecollege1963.org. The fall election has presented both challenges and opportunities for the College. Recognizing the need for understanding diverse perspectives and ensuring security for students, the College leadership is responding. We expect to hear more soon.

Sadly, Susie Bump Vancura died after a long battle with ovarian cancer. In February 2017 five classmates: Melissa Parham, Sally Clark Michel, Lucy Carlborg Rosborough, Jenni Macdonald DeWolfe and Cyndy Rapp Curry attended the celebration of Susie’s life in Providence. Missy Parham, who was Susie’s roommate for four years, delivered a reflection. Several classmates have offered their remembrances on our “In Memoriam” page. Susie’s field was biochemistry. Her love for birds, ecology and the protection of species reflects the interests of so many in our class. Other classmates we lost during 2016 include: Nancy Strayer Groff, Martha Kaus Dursi, Susan Dent Aronson, and Nancy Towe Benet who are remembered on our website.

Several classmates have inquired about missing classmates. If you know classmates who have moved and left no forwarding address at the College, please ask them to consider updating their information and joining our website. They are part of us and fondly remembered.

In conclusion, please fill out and return the enclosed form to Mary Ann (included here) to help us plan. Do let us know your preferences and whether you will attend.

Looking forward to seeing many of you very soon.

Love, Alice


Piazza del Popolo, Roma 
Valadier’s (early 1800’s) Gran Rampa is guarded by a succession of sphinxes starting from S.Maria del Popolo, left, and Canova, right, encircling the Dea Roma fountain below the Borghese Gardens.
Colby Andrus, May, 2015.

 

Fall 2015

Dear Vibrant and Cherished Classmates:

Greetings from New England. Yes, fall is upon us as leaves have turned, warning of an early winter. We hope your weather is kind to you as we begin another season.

The big news is that we have taken the Class Gatherings to heart, many of us sharing moments with each other throughout the country. Classmates have gathered in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Massachusetts, and New York for larger scale lunches, dinners, and art tours. In April, Missy Craig Parham and Shirley Trew Miller organized folks for a wonderful day at the Baltimore Museum. Genya Currans Hopkins oversaw the program at the museum. In May, Lucy Carlborg Rosborough and Sally Calder Wittenberg hosted a candlit formal dinner at Lucy’s home for a large group of Boston area classmates. In June, Elaine Cox Jacoby organized an outing to Lambertville, Pennsylvania, for New Jersey and Pennsylvania classmates. At that mini-reunion, Elaine was pleased to welcome Gail Carver Ferris who was in NJ for the summer from her home in Houston and Deborah Ramey Reese, Sandra Kenyon’s college roommate

In May, Mary Ann Weiss, Joan Gagnebin Wicks and I attended the MHC Art Museum’s Director Tour, a three-day event in New York City. A whirlwind of visits to private collections of Mount Holyoke alumnae and clients of alumnae, a mind-blowing visit to Mark de Suvero’s workshop on the East River in Brooklyn, the Naguchi Museum, the Bible Society Museum and the Socrates Sculpture Park as well as times for informal talks on the bus and at meals made this an all-time great annual event.
 
Finding classmates when we travel is a special pleasure. That’s why I was so happy to find Ruth Brown Gramlich in Italy this spring where we were able to share a lunch in Settignano high above steamy Florence. Earlier this year, Colby and I were delighted to share lunch with Marianne Banning Adey in her village in England. In August, Susie Fickel Kroeger and Muriel Trask Davisson-Fahey re-connected at a Maine MHC Luncheon. Tell us your serendipitous meet-ups. 

Future events on the docket: a September luncheon for Twin Cities classmates, at Jane Tuzik Phillips home in Edina Minnesota; New York classmates will visit the Bronx Botanical Gardens in September and Helen Weinland will host an October dinner in Boston, to name a few planned so far. Do let us know when your next mini-reunion is planned? Can you host a regional meeting in the mid-west or south?

The big news for next year is not one, but two, opportunities to connect on the coasts. Sandy Perrott Drew and her team of planners have done a spectacular job of organizing and detailing an extraordinary Destination Reunion on the Peninsula (Silicon Valley) on the weekend of March 18-20, 2016. Soon you’ll be hearing more about the speakers, recommendations for side trips and other helpful details to make your trip enjoyable. I encourage your early reservation for this special event in our shared lives.

You may enjoy a second gathering at a “Back to Campus” experience during early October 2016. Ruth Brown Gramlich, Sally Calder Wittenberg, Jenny Macdonald DeWolf and I have formed the BTC committee, but we would love to have some of you join us. From those who might want to attend, I hope to hear about what you would like to see and hear, what faculty members or topics interest you, what kinds of class discussions or meals you’d like to share. Our goal is to make this an opportunity to experience present campus life and current learning methodology, which Mount Holyoke is championing. It will be lovely to be back on our beautiful campus. Also, we are exploring some add-on trips for those who would like to visit stellar spots in western MA, such as Old Deerfield, Naumkeag, or Mass MOCA. 

I want to acknowledge here the passing of Phyllis Heinrich Noel in 2014 in Durham, NC. Sadly, in July 2015, Suella Weiland Henn succumbed to a massive brain aneurism. Close friends have made touching remarks about Suella. Along with those recent deaths, several classmates have lost life partners. We extend our deepest sympathy to them and encourage them to reach out for support and friendship. It is in difficult times that we are sustained by friends. My hope is that you reach out across the years to those you knew and cared for and offer them support. You make two people happy when you do.

I was on campus in September for the Volunteer Conference along with Jane Backus Bragg and Sally Donner. I learned about the positive changes in Mount Holyoke's ranking, the largest positive jump on the USNWR list (five places). Holyoke is responding to issues that needed attention. Do send congratulations to Sonya Stephens, dean of the faculty, for her leadership. 

Here’s to many sphinxilated moments together. 

Love, Alice

Please visit our class website

February 2015

Bright and Illuminating Classmates of 1963:

I’m writing from Boston where the mild weather is a temporary respite from the wintry blast. In warmer times this past year, many of us shared friendly get-togethers in Rhode Island, New Jersey, New York and in the Washington D.C. area. Other smaller gatherings of close friends have been taking place as well. Why not share who you have seen and what you have done? Our class website, www.mountholyokecollegeclassof1963.org, is a great place to share comments (Member Forum), to wish each other happy birthday and to keep abreast of happenings both on campus and with each other.

 

Exciting news! The west coast organizers have met and decided on a date for a destination get-together on the Peninsula over the weekend of March 18-20, 2016. Great support from Sandy Drew, Barbara Preuss, Bev Bryant, Cyndy Curry-Nielsen as well as Libby Short, Mirja Muncy and Marged Sugarman. Stay tuned for details.

 

We vowed not to wait until our 55th reunion to enjoy all Holyoke has to offer. So, we are planning a Back to Campus weekend in October, 2016. Early plans include attending classes, enjoying the countryside and a communal read. Academic information is available on the college’s Academic website if you’d like to review classes we might attend. I liked hearing about Embedded Practitioners, which brought together practitioners from the political campaign spectrum for Professor Liz Markovits’ Politics & Rhetoric seminar. If you would like to help plan this weekend, please let me know.

 

Your Leadership Gift Team met this fall in D.C. Plans are under way for a committee to provide guidance for a class endowed fund. Ann Sadowsky has updated our website about our recent giving. I second her urge that we all give something, no matter how small, so that we help the college meet its goal of 10.000 alumnae gifts by the end of this fiscal year. How about 60% of us giving this year, up from 41 percent?

 

Sadly, we report the loss of four classmates; Dorothy Key Bell, Melinda Clancy Hegarty, Kathy Kirk Bell and Sally Smith Nason. Memorials of each can be found on our website (In Memoriam.) Melinda, who left MHC early, became a well-regarded Renaissance scholar who taught at the U of Iowa. She has two sons, Blake and Aran. Dorothy left after one year, went on to the U of Texas. Her life was devoted to supporting a large family and numerous Catholic religious endeavors. Kathy lived in Frisco, Texas before her death this past July, her surviving son is Charles Raymond Bell II. Tragically, Sally lost her life when hit by a car near her home.

 

“Never fear/change” has been the MHC slogan for a while now. Certainly changes in the admission policy regarding trans-gender admissions have caught us a bit off-guard. Some of our classmates have questioned the process and the decision. Gradually, we are beginning to learn more about it and how it affects the college. We listen with patience and understanding to our sisters, whether or not they support the decision. I have expressed the concerns of our class about the process and the need for more alumnae participation.

 

Similarly, since some classmates are distressed by MHC’s falling national rankings, I spoke at length with Sonya Stephens, Dean of the Faculty and Vice President for Academic Affairs. Sonya, who has been at the college a little over a year, is making major changes in areas of faculty development and other issues negatively perceived by national polls.

 

I am inspired by my Mount Holyoke granddaughters; Keshia and Jessie. Keshia is pursuing a divinity degree at Union Theological Seminary and Jessie is a computer programmer at Intuit, the financial software company. They’ve made a seamless transition to their lives after Holyoke. Their intelligence and self-confidence amazes and delights me. I hope that you find time to stay in touch with your 2013 granddaughters. Viewing the world through their eyes keeps us young and engaged.

 

I look forward to seeing you in 2015… our year to celebrate each other and the affection shared across the miles.

 

Love, Alice

 

September 2014

My delightful and enormously-talented classmates:

I want to share with you a wonderful experience at Mount Holyoke. Last night, Colby and I attended the Weissman Center and InterArts Council sponsored lecture by Carrie Mae Weems, this year's Leading Woman in the Arts. In a breathtaking display of her genius, Carrie took us through her body of work leading us to deepen our own observation of so many intellectural, cultural and community areas of our lives. Her voice and words (she uses text often in her work) describing how she felt and saw her work were mesmerizing. It was as if we were watching a dance by Martha Graham as she wove the stories and shared her perception of how she achieved her mega-body of work with her camera.

Her work begins from an idea, usually at the nexus of art and culture or art and community, which is then explored in her particular style. Continually, the themes are revisited and combined with later thought and work in a deeper and deeper exploration.This approach has served her to produce extraordinary images over a course of 40 some years. Armed with a Rollei and tripod, she sites and takes her photos alone, often placing herself within the context. She has been lauded widely, including with the Rome Prize and a MacArthur genius grant. Her Leading Woman in the Arts residency concludes today. During today's final workshop, she and 12 students are building a video work centered on Michael Brown, recently killed in Ferguson MO.. For me, seeing and hearing Carrie Weems was one of the great experiences of my year.

Earlier, we visited John Stomberg's (MHCAM director) brilliant brain-child: the Matisse Drawings show curated by 91 year-old Ellsworth Kelly.The drawings, arranged in a single line on four halogen-white walls, created a delicious display of faces, eyes, lips, limbs where line defined women. Matisse's women are graceful, arty, knowing, wary, self-satisfied and self-confident. No fear, no trauma here.

Ellsworth Kelly's drawings of fruit and leaves, which echo Matisse's line, create a delightful small side complement to him. If you have a chance to be at MHC, or near it, do not miss this exciting work.

Hope you'll share your own recent art experiences with all of us.

Happy fall to all, 

Alice

 

May 2014

Hello Dear Friends:

I promise a lengthier letter soon, but wanted to catch up on the news. I've had an opportunity to see a few folks over the past few weeks and some of you have written about your own get togethers. We want to hear more about your gatherings and what you all did. 

In early May, Colby an I attended an MHMuseum Art Tour to Houston. Joan Gagnebin Wicks joined the tour as well. While there we saw Becky Erickson Hudson and her husband. It was such fun to connect in her hometown. Sadly, our time was short and filled with collector and museum visits so we were unable to spend enough time together. Mental note: Houston is a wonderful city and would make a great place to meet up and enjoy their vibrant art scene as well as visit with classmates like Becky. Also, heard from Gail Carver Ferris after we were there, so nice to be in touch with Gail. 

Mid-may Libby Short and her husband, Mike, joined Colby and me for barbeque at our son, John's, restaurant, Max City BBQ, in Eagle Rock (LA) California. We had a great visit. Libby recommended we visit the Museum of the American West, where she has been a board member and docent. We took her recommendation and had a wonderful time re-living the early days of cowboy movies with authentic costumes from Roy, Gene, Clint and the rest among other stunning exhibits. Stay tuned, Southern Californians and hopefully we'll find a venue for all of us to meet sometime before our next reunion. 

Judy Reeve, Ann Sadowsky, Jane (Gigi) Darby and Mary Doyle met for lunch in Hanover recently and Sally Donner and Ken had lunch with Nawrie and her husband this May in Woods Hole. So that is all great.

The big event this May is Elaine Cox Jacoby's hosted event at the Princeton Museum where twelve will be gathering for a tour and lunch. I'm sorry I can't be there but wish you all a great time together.

Helen Weinland is planning a Newport weekend in October for the Boston dinner group.

Karen Kayser Benson and I are working on the Miami Art Basel event in December. You'll hear more soon.

Meantime, send your news of get togethers and include photos if you can. 

If you can, encourage others to join our website here and don't forget the Mount Holyoke Fund by June 30..we are in contention to break the record for the 51st year giving. And, even a small gift will help in terms of participation. 

Finally, congratulations to MHC 1964 for its record-breaking 50th reunion gift to the college. All good.

Love to all, Alice

 

 

October 2013

Dear 1963 Classmates, 

Having recently returned from our class transition meeting as well as the college volunteer conference, I now have no other excuse for not writing to you to report in on activities and to engage your interest in some ideas for class activities over the next five years. As many of you have reported, we have lost no time in getting in the mini-reunion spirit. In July, Mary Doyle hosted several of us in New Hampshire, Jane Bruce wrote about plans to meet with a group of close college friends in New York and Gretta Powers, Sue Thornley and Barbara Phelps Griffiths celebrated 50 years of friendship at Barbara's home in France. I suspect that many others have had a chance to get together over the summer. Please share your news about your gatherings on the website. We'd like to hear how every many one is doing. 

As a part of our transition, we have closed the books on our 50th reunion. The financial facts testify that, yes, we had a very good time. We have slightly over $5,000 in our treasury going forward. Steph Smith has taken on the Treasurer role and Elizabeth Burton has resigned from her co-Treasurer position. We appreciate Elizabeth's skillful handling of all the reunion financials and keeping a complete and accurate set of books. 

About 50 of us responded to the quick survey at reunion. The rave reviews of the 50th were unanimous. Susie, Karen and Swifty and the reunion team put on a spectacular event and so many more of you pitched in to help, it was really a shared effort.  Many of you donated financially to make this so special, so we want to thank you once again. Some issues plagued a few folks and we'll take full notice of those and change what we can for our 55th.  More shuttles, better vegetarian choices, dorm concerns are duly noted. However, very few wish to be off campus so we will most likely be in the dorms again. Mini-reunions were encouraged with the most requests for a casual weekend get-away at a destination with an interesting program or speaker. Along with the regional representatives who will head up the mini-reunion effort, 11 of you volunteered to help out. We will be setting out a schedule of minis over the next four years. The survey results were to keep the costume simple so we are RECYCLING our scarves. Hold on to those wonderful scarves for our 55th..and the bags for that matter. 

Karel Mortenson Koenig volunteered to be our class liaison to the Curriculum to Care initiative at the college. She invites any interested classmate(s) to join her. The C2C is now called The Lynk. The purpose of The Lynk is to guarantee every undergraduate an internship so that experiential learning is a part of their undergraduate curriculum. At the volunteer conference, we heard two seniors talk about their internships with the Smithsonian library and UNICEF. They both spoke on how their preparedness allowed them to take on tasks that usually don't fall to interns. I'm sure Karel will let us know how the LEAP event (seniors discuss their internship experiences) goes in late October. You can read more about this new college initiative on the college website.

Speaking of websites, I encourage all of you to sign up at our supplemental website (www.mountholyokecollege1963.org.) We have decided to continue it as it offers more functionality than the AA site. There is a link to the college site on our class site.  

I am sorry to report that, at the end of August, Nancy Hunt died quite suddenly of pancreatic cancer. Nancy had planned to join us for lunch at Mary Doyle's but came down with what she thought was the flu. She died two weeks later. Deb Jones Hall reports that a group of classmates was able to visit with Nancy before her death and held a memorial gathering for her in September. Nancy leaves a daughter, Elizabeth. A complete obituary can be found on our class website.

I'm looking forward to hearing from you and seeing many of you over the months ahead.  We hope you will volunteer to help with mini-reunions and will attend some over the next few years. Let me know what programming you would like to have happen and how we can answer questions about the college and our class as we develop plans for our next reunion and for our class gift. We are exploring the idea of a legacy gift and invite your suggestions. 

Thank you for entrusting the class leadership to Ruth Gramlich, Steph Smith, Ann Sadowsky, our class agents, our mini-reps, our scribes and me. It is our good fortune and pleasure to represent you.

Love, Alice

Alice Andrus and Ruth (Bunny) Gramlich

 

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