Class Meeting Minutes

MINUTES: ANNUAL CLASS MEETING – Saturday, May 21, 2016  9-10 a.m.

The meeting was called to order by President Sherry Welles Urner at 9 a.m. in the living room of Buckland Hall.

Report given by Danielle Germain, Board of Directors of the Alumnae Association:

The Strategic Plan Process for the following 5 years focuses on building connections between the College and 33,000 – 35,000 alumnae throughout the world.  The Alumnae Association will facilitate programming through geographical area alumnae clubs as well as through on-campus opportunities.  Social media including Facebook and Twitter will be used to encourage alumnae support of the College.  The emphasis will be to collaborate more effectively with less expense.  Special mention was made of the lovely MHC scarves in class colors, available for purchase at thee Alumnae Association office.


Reading of the minutes of the May 21, 2011 Class of 1961 was waived; these Minutes submitted by Bonnie Stretch had been distributed for perusal on Friday, May 20, 2011.  The Minutes were accepted unanimously.

Class Treasurer Elsa Anderson Van Bergen reported a balance of $15,528.67 as of May 17, 2016.  She anticipates the final balance by the end of the fiscal year on June 30, 2016 to be around $10,000 following payment of outstanding bills from the Alumnae Association.  57 people have already paid their class dues ($25.)  Elsa will be available following lunch to receive additional dues payments, thus saving postage for dues payment appeals.  The Treasurers Report was moved, seconded and approved.

Mary Lyon Society­-Carol Benson not able to be present to make a report. This Society “honors

those who have named the College as the beneficiary of a will, trust, retirement plan, or life insurance policy, or have established a life income gift with the College” (College website). Of the 1000 members, 30 are members of Class of 1961.

Reunion Gift Report – Peggy Bloete Shilling and Mary Ginn Weinland will make this report this evening.

Class President’s Report – Sherry Welles Urner:

Class website:  Applause and cheers to Liz Hottel Barrett, unable to attend Reunion due to prior family commitments, for her work as webmaster!  Her creative work keeps us “connected” with each other and with the College!

“Birthday Project” – Sending a birthday card to each class member.  Original proponent was Jane Kaplan Yendell, fondly known as “our sunshine gal.”  Following Jane’s death, Sherry has continued this project as part of her responsibilities as class president.  Maybe we are forming a class tradition!

Honoraries – The Class Leadership Team decided not to add any new class honoraries.

Class Treasury – Consensus of Leadership Team is to “spend down” the bank account, with no push for class dues.   There were no scholarship requests for Reunion attendance this year.  Our Treasury will cover Friday night supper and Saturday night dinner for future reunions. Good news: we have always been a financially healthy class – more so than some other classes!

Email Addresses for Class Communication – Class of 1961 has 290 active members; 216 have given their email addresses for class communications.  15 class members have “opted out” of receiving emails from the College; 60 class members have no email address on record.  Currently the annual cost of “snail mail” USPS postage through the Alumnae Association is $145.  Sherry encouraged class members to provide email addresses or change their “opt out” status for receiving College emails to “acceptance” status.  This change can be made through the Alumnae Office website:

Thank You, Leadership Team! – Class President Sherry Welles Urner in acknowledging the support and work of the Leadership Team said “We are all Uncommon Women, but there are those who accepted uncommon roles and all did an uncommonly good job in shepherding our class from 2011 – 2016.”  She had gifts for the following Team members as an expression of her gratitude:

Nonie Moore Barr, Bonnie Stretch, Elsa Anderson Van Bergen, Babbie Baldwin Miller, Liz Hottel Barrett, Peg Bloete Shilling, Mary Ginn Weinland, Marian Strong Moore, Sue Wheatley Carr, and Bobbi Childs Sampson.


Class Reunion Booklet Pages – submissions can still be made through June: one page pdf document with the subject line “WEBSITE SUBMISSION” to be sent to Liz Hottel Barrett as webmaster:

Students’ Assistance – We have been so fortunate to have students assisting us during Reunion – from carrying luggage to providing “techie” support.  Our class treasurer will write a check to tip these students.

Parade Items – Marian Strong Moore announced the bottles of water and extra costume items are available to be picked up on the tables in the entrance area of Buckland Hall.  Also green tote bags which is the only costume item giving continuity to the class.


Election of Class Officers: Bobbi Childs Sampson as chairperson of the Nominating Committee submitted the following proposed slate of officers for the Class of 1961 from 2016 to 2021:

President:             Mary Ginn Weinland
Vice President         Dee DeFerranti Abrahamse
Reunion Chair(s)       Sallie Crittendon, Barbara Freeman Douglass
Secretary              Cindy Dennett Yee
Scribe                 Rocki Hill Hughes
Treasurer              Elsa Anderson Van Bergen
Head Class Agents      Sallie Austin Raleigh, Sandy Svihovec Hewitt
Web Coordinator        Liz Hottel Barrett
Nominating Committee   Frannie Blair, Peggy McCabe Cruger, Sherry Welles Urner
(3 members)

Note: The Class President also selects 2 additional people to serve on the Committee.

There were no additional nominations.  The proposed nominations were moved, seconded, and unanimously approved.

Alumnae Parade Information – President Sherry Welles Urner announced that classes would convene at Mary Lyon’s grave and then march to Mary Wooley Hall with the youngest classes leading the parade.  There will be a shuttle bus to transport class members from Buckland Hall to the grave.  A classmate wondered whether a golf cart might be available for use by those unable to march.  Marian Strong Moore said that request should be easily accommodated.

Jennifer Bagster-Collins Seaver expressed her appreciation to all participating in the class “chat list” who offered her support following the sudden death of her husband Paul and encouragement to attend this Reunion.

President Sherry Welles Urner referred to class events “not to be missed” including the “Moving Forward, Making Good Decisions” discussion from 2 – 4 p.m., noting that for health reasons Nancy Dingwall Platt was unable to participate and had given material to Marian Strong Moore to use in her place; the following “Conversations” time; Mount Holyoke President Lynn Pasquerella joining us for dessert, and the special evening Entertainment coordinated by Kim Kimball Holmquist.

Class of 1961 President Sherry Welles Urner passed the class of 1961 gavel to the new Class President Mary Ginn Weinland amidst cheers and applause.  President Mary Ginn Weinland announced that the new Leadership Team would meet on Sunday, May 22, 2016 following the “Time for Remembering” (Memorial Service).

There being no further business, the 55th Reunion Class Meeting was adjourned at 9:50 a.m.

Respectfully submitted by Cynthia Dennett Yee, Secretary

For the Record – Saturday, May 21, 2016

Following Saturday evening dinner and prior to the Entertainment, Mary Ginn Weinland and Peg Bloete Shilling as our Co-Head class agents reported as follows:

Mary Weinland announced that Class of 1961 was awarded the Pegasus Award given to the reunion class that raises the most total dollars for immediate use through The Mount Holyoke Fund during the reunion fiscal year.  We raised $199,730.   Our 5-year Cumulative Total (All Gifts to All Funds) was $1,854,539.  Our Participation Rate to date is 56.4%.  However, the reunion year runs until June 30, 2016 so additional gifts from additional class members are still welcome.

Peg Bloete Shilling described the Laurel Chain Society, which recognizes all alumnae who make a gift every year – in any amount and to any fund – in support of Mount Holyoke.  The Society honors “extraordinary loyalty and generosity, and belief in the College’s mission.”  Alumnae who give for three consecutive years including a gift in the current fiscal year become members of the Laurel Chain Society.  109 members of the Class of 1961 are members of the Laurel Chain Society.  In addition, the Laurel Chain Society offers Lifetime distinction to alumnae who have made a gift for 50 years or more; alumnae first become eligible for this Lifetime membership at their 50th Reunion. 

Three class members received the Loyalty Award, for “their 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”: Sue Wheatley Carr, Liz Hottel Barrett (in absentia), and Sherry Welles Urner.  Congratulations!  Well deserved!

 Mary Ginn Weinland thanked all our class agents for their good work and encouraged all class members to support the new Co-Head Class Agents for the next 5 years: Sallie Austin Raleigh and Sandy Svihovec Hewitt.

Cynthia Dennett Yee