Hello Classmates –
What a wonderful 45th reunion we had! As always we had a great turnout and won both the Margaret Caskey Cup for highest total number of attendees and the Alumnae Association Cup for highest percentage of attendees. In addition, the Alumnae Association presented the Achievement Award to two of our classmates – Mary Platt and Barbara Dombkowski Desoer. We missed those of you who could not make it this time and hope that you will plan to come to our 50th!
Highlights included a breakfast round table discussion on retirement facilitated by Mary Feeney, the Farm to Fashion panel moderated by Susan Moch, the V-8s performance in our dorm, and a special performance by Michelle Hurst and Bonnie Panson at the Rooke Theatre. (The class of 1989 helped us sponsor Michelle and Bonnie’s performance, and it was great being able to spend some time getting acquainted with them.) And of course the parade and other reunion activities. New to us was the singing of Bread and Roses and the twining of roses at Mary Lyon’s grave.
At our Class Meeting we said goodbye to outgoing officers Vice President Mary Feeney, Treasurer Nancy Marks Arcieri, Scribe Lynn Massman Mordan, and Nominating Committee members Denise McLeod Thomas and LaVida Dowdell; and of course yours truly.
We voted in Melissa Thornton – President; Denise McLeod Thomas – Vice President; Doris O’Keefe – returning as Secretary; Gail LaBroad LaRocca – returning as Reunion Chair; Mary Grantham-Sleet – Treasurer; Marylloyd Claytor – Scribe; Laurie Averill – returning as our Web expert; Jane Zimmy and Debby Hall – returning as Head Class Agents; and Carole LaMond, Beth Connor Gibson and Nancy Marks Arcieri as members of the Nominating Committee.
We also voted for new and revised bylaws – see our Class webpage for a copy. A highlight of the meeting was the reading of a message from Denise McLeod Thomas (who was unable to attend) encouraging each of us to make at least one new friend during reunion. This resonated with many of us and led us to reach out to classmates outside of our usual groups of friends with very positive results.
It has been my privilege to serve as your president for the past five years. Looking forward to what will happen under Melissa’s leadership.
It truly was an awesome 45th!! Gail LaBroad LaRocca and her committee achieved another magical event. Every moment of their hard work was mirrored in a memorable moment for a classmate. Classmates who had never missed a reunion to classmates who had never before attended a reunion gathered together for this sunshine-filled weekend in lovely South Hadley…and every moment was beautifully planned and executed. Please read Gail’s reunion letter here.
With a little bit of magic, the Class of 1974 did stay in the dorm we requested, the ‘new’ Creighton Hall, with lakeside views and suite-style living. The dorm was a pleasure, the new dining facilities required a steep learning curve, but had such a breadth of choices as to support every classmate in her eating preferences.
The campus was truly beautiful; the weather was perfect. The choices of classes, tours, events and gatherings had something for everyone. And all of that was the jewel case for the real gem…the friendship and caring energy that was generated between and amongst the women who reunited…within our class and between classes.
You could see the spark as we marched in the parade. We did look terrific as we paraded with our elegant red and black umbrellas!
You could feel the spirit as we gathered in ever-changing groups for each meal. With all the catching up, the din in the dining hall was tremendous and filled with positive energy.
You could join the momentum at our Class meeting, led by Class President Diane Claffey. She and her officers have handed the Class to me and our new officers in good shape. Check out our Treasurer’s report and Class minutes here.
Thanks to you, Diane, as President, and to all your Class Officers for taking excellent care of the interests of the Class of 1974. And thanks to Doris O’Keefe, our long-standing Class Secretary, for keeping track of the minutes of our journey together.
You could feel the spark in the supportive interest we all gave to the fascinating career stories of the presenters at the Farm to Fashion Event.
It WAS a record-breaking gathering and we are hoping that even more of our classmates gather together during the next five years at our mini-reunions, our spontaneous gatherings and, of course, for our awesome 50th in 2024. Our mission is Getting and Staying Connected.
Many thanks to Laurie Averill for her ongoing commitment to keeping us all in touch and up to date in our various channels of social media. (The College actually changed her title to Social Media Coordinator!)
To that end, please place a link to the Class of 74 website on your desktop or other device and please consider joining the Class of 74 Facebook page–so far we have 210 ‘friends’. The Facebook page is a closed page to protect our privacy, so do reach out to Laurie at email@example.com to join. Also, please help the College to find our missing classmates and to update their records, so that more and more of us are in regular touch.
And many thanks to Jane Zimmy and Debby Hall and the Class Agents for their tireless leadership in gathering monetary support for the College. We raised over $200,000! Here’s Jane’s summary of 2018-19 Annual and Reunion Giving.
Now, on to NEW BUSINESS.
I am delighted to be working with an exceptional set of Class Officers—listed in Diane’s letter above. Most of us remained on campus after the 45th Reunion to attend the brand new “Newly-Elected and Re-Elected Class Officer Training”. It was a great way for ‘newbies’ to get a view into the opportunities and requirements of our positions, and for returning volunteers to be updated by the college professionals. We had some collaborative discussions and have been in action ever since. Look for updates and Class of 74 information on our website page.
Lots of exciting ideas were generated from the Reunion attendees, and I’ll share a couple of them here…to get our creative juices going. I also want to reach out to all of our classmates, whether you were able to attend or not, to hear what you’d like to have happen between now and our 50th, as well as what events you think would ‘make’ our 50th once we’re back on campus in 2024. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
MINI-REUNIONS to bring us together over the next five years.
Mary Feeney and I volunteered, at Reunion, to be Co-Chairs of the Mini-Reunion committee and we’re excited that Denise McLeod Thomas has recently joined as third Co-Chair. So far, our committee includes Cindy Polk and Flo Chichester. We’d love to have you join us if you have a special interest in mini-reunions.
NOVEMBER 6, 2019: Jane Zimmy and Tracy Thompson are spontaneously gathering classmates in San Francisco as I write this. Hope your hike and drinks are terrific!
DECEMBER 6-7, 2019 BOSTON VESPERS: The first planned mini is for Boston Vespers this December 6-7th. As usual, Mary Feeney is planning a dinner before the concert, but she’s also looking to hear who’d like to come and stay over in the area Friday night to attend a brunch and a museum tour on Saturday. If you’re interested, please be sure to reach out to her at email@example.com and she’ll include you in her email updates. Please remember that Vespers tickets can only be purchased through the mail…and they sell out early.
MAY, 2020, BOOTHBAY, MAINE: The second mini-reunion we’re planning will be held at my place, the Bold Colorful Life Inn and Estate in Boothbay, Maine next May, 2020. The Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, the Farnsworth museum with the Wyeth family works, art galleries, schooner trips, lighthouse tours, whale watching, lobster bakes, seaside walks, yoga, etc. will be on the schedule for that mini…not to mention ‘milk and cookies’ as we catch up and re-connect.
I just volunteered for a day at the Class of 1972 mini-reunion at the Frances Perkins Homestead, about 20 minutes from here in Damariscotta, Maine, to assess the outing for our reunion. It was very moving to experience Frances Perkins’ life through her grandson’s eyes, as Tomlin Perkins Coggeshall gave us the tour of her home and the history of the grounds. That will definitely be one of the options for the Maine mini. More information will follow.
OTHER SITES: And about a dozen other classmates have volunteered to host minis all over the country, including Chicago, Ann Arbor, MI, DC, Portland, OR, San Diego, Cape Cod, MA, California Wine Country, Albuquerque, NM, Asheville, NC, Atlanta, GA…and even Paris, France. Would you like to suggest a location…or offer to host one?
To get you in the mood for minis, read about the “74 turns 60” mini-reunions, master-minded by Cathy Trauernicht in 2012!
CAREER VIDEOS/STORY CORPS: The Farm to Fashion event, facilitated by Susan Moch, was a major hit, allowing us to experience the career trajectories of several of our classmates…on very different and intriguing paths. From that success came the idea to have every interested classmate make a video of their career/life story to be shared electronically…sort of in the ‘Story Corps’ modality. The videos could be done individually or in groups. We’re looking for someone to lead that project…from planning to execution. If this idea calls to you, (and especially if you have the technological know-how) please reach out to me and let me know. And we’d like to invite committee members for the project, as well.
It’s a true honor to be elected as Class President to lead the heart-centered and record-breaking Class of 1974 through the next five years of getting connected…and into our illustrious 50th reunion. Thank you for the privilege!
Since leaving Reunion, I’ve had the pleasure to be involved in three MHC-related events. Jane Zimmy, Ellie McGrath, Maria Mossaides and I, as well as Class of 1972 members and former MHC President, Lynn Pasquerella met in Damariscotta, Maine where Maria Mossaides was honored by the Frances Perkins Society on Sunday, August 18th. She received the Steadfast Award for her work over the past 40 years in both the public and independent sectors, and gave a very moving talk about how Frances Perkins inspired her to achieve so much for social justice and economic security.
And Jane and I attended the Mount Holyoke Volunteer Training on campus in glorious September. We rubbed elbows with many MHTs and learned about the intellectual life at MHC, the communications and marketing initiatives, 50th reunion planning, updates from President Sonya Stephens, and Annual Giving techniques. Frankly, I think Jane could have instructed at every session about annual giving!
Then, as I mentioned, I had the good fortune to return to the Perkins Homestead for the MHC Class of 72 event a couple of weeks ago.
Mount Holyoke has been very much on my mind. Every time I share a moment with another Mount Holyoke grad, it’s a pleasurable one…and a memorable one.
I look forward to sharing many moments with many of you during the next five years, renewing old friendships and making new ones!