Upcoming Mini-Reunions!

Dear Mount Holyoke College Class of 1974, 

Spring is busting out all over…many of us are feeling more confident about socializing in person, at least in small gatherings…several classmates are reporting in from trips to fabulous and exotic destinations around the world…and the Mount Holyoke Class of 1974 is cooking up some regional mini-reunions.

Here’s a very exciting one that’s coming up soon in BOSTON:

Our own Bonnie Panson is stage-managing this new musical which opens in June in Boston.  Join us for the matinee on Wednesday, July 27.  Friends and family are cordially invited!

Here are the details:

When:  Wednesday, July 27, 2PM

Where: Emerson Colonial Theatre, 106 Boylston Street, Boston

Ticket Price:  $165 (Dress Circle, walk-up)

How to Reserve Your Seat

1.  All tickets must be prepaid via Venmo to Jane Antin (@Jane-Antin) by 5PM on Wednesday, April 27.  You’ll receive confirmation from Jane that your payment has been received. Tickets are going quickly, and Jane will be making a trip to the box office to buy just the number we need. 

2. Once you’ve sent your payment, please also let Jane know you’ve paid by sending her a quick email at jantin1@partners.org and indicate whether you’d be interested in dinner after the show.  If we get enough interest in dinner, we’ll set something up.  

3. Any questions should go to Jane, as well.

4. Feel free to purchase tickets on your own if that works better for you – do let us know if you’d like to join us for dinner.

Jane Antin, Debby Hall and Carole LaMond


News about gatherings in other locations:

Jane Zimmy, LaVida Dowdell and Cynthia Polk Allen are working on a 70th birthday gathering in New York City in early December, 2022. It may be tied in with Vespers if the College decides Vespers will be in person.

Denise McLeod Thomas is working on a mini-reunion in Atlanta.

I’m dreaming about hosting a Boothbay, Maine mini next spring, 2023
And there are spontaneous minis happening with small groups of classmates all the time now. Check out our MHC Class of 1974 Facebook page for updates and photos.

PLEASE consider whether you’d be willing to be a ‘point person’ for a regional gathering in your area…and let me know if it strikes a chord for you. The Mini-reunion committee will support all such events, probably sending a packet with a list of local classmates, organization chart and suggestions for types of parties.

I look forward to seeing you soon…at Zoomtails, at a mini-reunion or on our Facebook page.

Warmest wishes for a glorious Spring,

Melissa L. Thornton
President, Class of 1974

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Protected: Revised List of Dues Received as of 8/31/2022, Thank You!

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Rings and Roses 2022

                           Deb, Deepika, and Doris at the Rings & Roses Event on April 14, 2022, on left
Angela, Deb, and Annika on right


From Melissa Thornton

Connections Class video ready to view!

1) As you know, the 2024 Connections Class Board of Directors interviewed a few 1974 alums about the importance and meaning of our Mount Holyoke class rings for their “Rings and Roses” project. Many thanks to those who took the time to answer the questions and give the Class of 2024 an excellent tool for class ring sales. 

2) Our Connections Class would also like to create a photo collage of more 1974 classmates, wearing their class rings. If you have such a photo, or still have your class ring and can take such a photo, please email it to the 2024 Board at this email address: (class-board-24@mtholyoke.edu). And if you’d like, add a caption that highlights what was most important about the ring. Thanks!


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Class President’s Year-End Letter

Class of 1974 Logo

Dear Mount Holyoke College Class of 1974, 

This is the year that the Class of 1974 turns 70!!! And that’s our theme throughout this year and beyond, until every classmate has turned that corner, supported by an enthusiastic and dynamic class.
It’s my  honor to share with you the progress made on various class projects during this challenging year. External exigencies have been limiting, but our class spirit and commitment to being together are resilient and strong!


As you know, a time-honored tradition at Mount Holyoke is that our 50threunion class connects with the class that graduates when we gather for reunion, the class of  2024. Usually, the connection begins in the Fall of their freshman year. Unfortunately, we’ve been unable to do any of those in-person meetings or rituals, but Laurie Averill and I have met twice with the 2024 Class Board via zoom about alternative/virtual means of connecting and ways in which 1974 can support 2024 to enhance their college years and best succeed once out ‘in the world’. These are the ideas that our Class Board has blessed and we’re open to more ideas from all of you.

1.  The first thing we did was agree to be interviewed by 2024 Board members about the meaning of our class rings. They shared the videos with their class to enhance ring sales and the 2024 Class budget.

  1. We have invited members of the Class of 2024 to join 1974 classmates at the March 23rd Zoomtails with Bonnie Panson presenting about MHC in the 70s-Jump Back in Time to September 1970. 
  2. We hope to increase the number of our 1974 classmates on The Gates, which is set up to connect/match students and alumnae by interest, with the mission “connect, learn, give back”-1974 can offer mentoring, professional advice, life skills advice, etc. in this manner.
  3. Laurie, as our Social Media Coordinator, will create a subgroup on our Facebook page which will connect directly with the class of 2024.
  4. And we’ll encourage regional MHC Clubs to offer meals and socializing when the students are visiting locations away from MHC.
  5. We have already connected them to The Lynk program where MHC offers every student a paid internship. Although most of our class are not in the position/life stage to offer internships, outreach to local MHC clubs and also the MHC CDC, which has internships in its database, may be a good alternative.


  1. CONNECTING WITH OUR CLASS– getting and staying connected:

The health challenges continue, so our plan for 2022 is this. Once again, following MHC guidelines for dealing with COVID-Omicron, we are not suggesting in-person overnight/multiple day mini-reunions this year.

We will kick off with a Class of ’74 Zoom Birthday Party and have smaller parties by region. Every class member will receive a 70th birthday card from the 1974 Leadership team.

Regional in-person gatherings
I’m going to divide our class list into regions and ask that YOU, our local classmates, volunteer to become ‘point-persons’ for these regional, one day mini-reunions. Obviously, if classmates would like to journey from farther away and to stay overnight at any of these regional gatherings, they will be welcome and will be in charge of setting up their own lodging. Plans are already afoot for Atlanta, New York City and Boston. The committee will support all such events, probably sending a packet with a list of local classmates, organization chart and suggestions for types of parties. 


Thanks to our talented Class of 1974 presenters, we continue to offer truly excellent monthly Zoomtails gatherings. Hats off to Nan Ward and Gail LaRocca for leading us seamlessly into our Fall, 2021 schedule and on into 2022.

In the calendar below are the current plans, and, as you know, reminders will be sent through our class email address, and will also be posted on our Facebook page. PLEASE monitor the Facebook page and our Class of 1974 page for creative ways to get and stay connected, as these dates and topics may shift.

ZOOM MINI-REUNIONS: Many of our classmates have already set up one-time or recurring regional or friend-based zooms. Here are the other ideas that have been shared. Feel free to create your own and let us know about it so that our Social Media Coordinator, Laurie Averill, can share it on Facebook and our class website.   Ideas circulating include: Happy hour gatherings; Book Club; Dorm groups; Shared interest lessons such as cooking/crafting with demos; Affinity groups such as eldercare, career, knitting, sports, travel, etc.

Denise McLeod Thomas and Carole LaMond have broadened the “Make a Friend” Challenge to include an initiative to ‘Deepen a Friendship’ already started with a classmate. Denise suggests that we each write a handwritten note to classmates we feel especially close to…either from our college days or more recently. Questions? Reach Denise at dmthomas524@gmail.com.

Marylloyd Claytor and committee members Debra Orgera and Theresa Salerno are putting together a slideshow/video which will include class pictures of classmates who have passed, as well as text and photos from their family and friends. If you have a short quote about a fellow classmate, or photos, please contact Theresa.salerno@mnsu.edu.

 SOCIAL MEDIA: Laurie continues to post all class-related information. Please visit our Facebook page and our Class of ’74 website, and/or send announcements to ljaverill@gmail.com

CLASS NOTES: please remember to send your news to our Class Scribe, Marylloyd Claytor, for our Class Notes in the Alumnae newsletter.
We’re not generally a shy class…and we’re doing great things…let’s share them with the MHC world! The upcoming deadline is FEBRUARY 1 for the Spring Quarterly.


Through the end of December, our class has raised more than $750,000 toward our 50th Reunion Gift with 60% of us participating !!!! All gifts made from July 2019 through Reunion in 2024 count as part of our 50thReunion Gift total. This fiscal year (July 1st start) 127 classmates have made gifts/pledges totaling $162,543. THANK YOU!!!

Mark your calendars and watch your snail mail – on Monday, February 28th, the March4MHC participation challenge will return. This year we have five days to show our support for Mount Holyoke. Last year our class received $40,000 in matching money and we want to repeat that this year!

Our awesome Development Co-Chairs would like to thank the 47 Class Volunteers for their efforts – and if you would like to join the team, please reach out to them – Leslie Bowen (bowenla37@gmail.com), LaVida Dowdell ( lavida.dowdell@usa.net), Debby Hall (woodshall@gmail.com) or Jane Zimmy (janezimmy@gmail.com).

And speaking of giving, please check the list for your name on the Facebook and website pages to be sure your class dues of $50 for 5 years leading up to our 50th reunion, are paid. Thanks!

Here’s our upcoming MHC Class of 1974-related schedule:
February 22, 2022 Elizabeth Marshall “The Myths about Palliative and Hospice Care”
March 23, 2022 Bonnie Panson’s ‘Jump Back in Time to September 1970’ presentation with guests from our Connections Class of 2024
April 19, 2022 Jackie Means “Ranching Life in Rural Texas Meets Blue Origin”

The March4MHC campaigns starts February 28, 2022 and runs through March 4th.

Warmest of wishes for a truly heartwarming Spring,
Melissa L. Thornton
President, Class of 1974

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President’s Letter, Fall 2021

Class of 1974 Logo

Dear Mount Holyoke College Class of 1974, 

I just watched and greatly enjoyed the Mount Holyoke Convocation Livestream, and had the opportunity to reflect on a great truth…A LOT has changed since our convocation…and A LOT has stayed the same!! Check out the video and see what you think of the evolution.

All of the speeches held an important theme for us–that we are all, always connected to something larger than ourselves and the pandemic has allowed us to become more aware of the healing outcome of human interaction with each other and with all of Nature…together we are stronger, more resilient, more connected and more likely to have meaningful, restorative joy while evolving in a healthy, integrated way. One presenter stated clearly: Mount Holyoke is about relationships…connections built in residence halls, dining commons…the library and Kendall. I would add ‘and sustained by long term connections through reunions, clubs, mini-reunions and Zoom gatherings’. So, keeping this wisdom in mind, and observing our ongoing mission of Getting and Staying Connected, here’s what your Class leaders have been up to.


I don’t think I need to describe the challenges we have all faced over the last 18 months, nor to predict how the next months will unfold. Following the MHC guidelines for dealing with COVID-Delta, we are not suggesting in-person mini-reunions this Fall. Following the Dr. Fauci guidelines, we will hope that things are healthy again by next Spring, and we’ll be in touch along the way. For one sweet, shining moment, when it seemed that the COVID numbers had slowed enough, there was a great NYC-based mini-reunion recently, summarized below by Cynthia Polk-Allen of our Mini-Reunion Committee.


As summer heads towards Fall, the MHC Class of 1974 Zoomtails will recommence on September 23rd at 7:00pm EST. Stephanie Heim will speak about her work training military dogs. Many thanks to Nan Ward who will fill Maria Mandler’s position as Co-Chair-generating invites, admitting participants, creating breakouts and polls, etc. and to Gail LaRocca who will take Jane Zimmy’s position as Co-Chair/Master of Ceremonies. Much gratitude to Jane and Maria for kicking off and sustaining this meaningful opportunity to connect with each other!!
When other Zoomtails dates are set for this year and next, I will send another email blast so you can add them to your calendars…and that e-blast will contain a new link for the September meeting.

ZOOM MINI-REUNIONS: Also, several classmates have suggested that mini Zooms might be set up in the interim before we can meet in-person. Ideas circulating include: Regional Zooms; Happy hour on a weeknight; Book Club; Dorm groups; Shared interest lessons such as cooking/crafting with demos; Affinity groups such as eldercare, career, knitting, sports, travel, etc.

The MHC 1974 V8s have Zoom mini-reunions monthly…not to sing, since Zoom isn’t great with lag times, but to keep in touch. And here is a clip of a song, Parting Blessing, that Leslie Bowen and I recorded with V8s past and present-in honor of the class of 2021 and all the V8s who have kept our traditions alive during the pandemic.
December 3rd is our virtual Boston Vespers with Zoom minis as a possible add-on.

Please let me know if you’d like to take the lead to develop one or more of these Zoom minis: boldcolorlife@gmail.com



Jane and Debby and their Development Co-Chairs, Leslie Bowen and LaVida Dowdell, just sent out a wonderfully enthusiastic letter with the latest update about the growth of the Mount Holyoke Fund and our class contribution, percentage participation and amazing class loyalty, measured in Laurel Chain donors. They are recruiting volunteers so please let LaVida know if you would like to join their team: lavida.dowdell@usa.net.


Denise McLeod Thomas and Carole LaMond are working together on this initiative. They ask all classmates who have been inspired and pursued the challenge to get to know a class member who they didn’t know while we were on campus to get in touch with Denise at dmthomas524@gmail.com.



Marylloyd Claytor and committee members Debra Orgera and Theresa Salerno have met via Zoom and contacted the MHC quarterly about pathways they can take for this project. More information to follow.



A message from the Chair of our Nominating Committee, Carole LaMond: I am interested in receiving names of classmates who might be great additions to class leadership so that we can put them on the slate at Reunion 2024!

Please reach out with suggestions to Carole at CLaMond@aol.com.


SOCIAL MEDIA: A message from our Social Media Coordinator, Laurie Averill: I have been posting whatever people send me.  Any upcoming event that includes classmates and that may be of interest to our class will be posted as an event on the Facebook page and Website.  Please send announcements about them to ljaverill@gmail.com.


CLASS NOTES: please don’t forget to send your news to our Class Scribe, Marylloyd Claytor, for our Class Notes in the Alumnae newsletter. For one of the most loyal and connected classes, our Class notes are remarkably sparse. We’re doing great things…let’s share them with the MHC world! The upcoming deadline is October 15 for the Winter Quarterly.



This past spring, I had a really nice half hour Zoom with the VP of the new Class of 2024 Board of Directors, Kyung Ju Lee…just elected then to serve this year. They were facing their last week of classes and then final exams, so the two Class Boards didn’t connect then. Though this convocation was ostensibly for the Class of 2025 to begin their Mount Holyoke journey, our ‘connections’ class, 2024, enjoyed their first time in person at a convocation…with LOTS of enthusiasm! I just emailed Kyung Ju and now have the new Board members’ emails, so I will reach out to them to ask how we might best support them between now and their graduation/our 50th reunion. Please send any ideas you have for cool ways to connect with 2024 as they occur to you.


So…to recap, here’s the layout of our upcoming MHC-related schedule:

Saturday, September 18th (1pm – 5pm EST)  – Volunteer Conference run by the College(virtual)

Thursday, September 23rd Zoomtails at 7pm EST

Saturday, October 23rd (time and place TBD)- our 50th Reunion Kickoff—run by our own Jane Zimmy and her Development committee. All Class Volunteers and Class Leaders are invited…so become a volunteer and join us there!

Friday, December 3rd – Virtual Vespers (Boston)…with mini-Zoom or mini-reunion possibilities.


I’ll wrap up with a quote from President Sonya Stephens, which captures our immediate opportunities: “This, Mount Holyoke, is a moment for renewal, for connection to each other and to all living things. The regenerative capacity of this ever-evolving and changing community, the heart and the will of those in it is immense.   If we can use our sense of grief and loss to love more, to preserve, to respect, and protect; if we can reflect on and live in interdependence and better use our gifts, acting out of gratitude in ways that are truly radical and deeply reciprocal, then we can do a very great deal to help the environment, to advance equity and justice, and to create great potential for our future.”

Warmest of wishes for a truly uplifting Autumn,

Melissa L. Thornton
President, Class of 1974

P.S. I’ll send these email blasts/class letters ~ 3-4 times per year, whenever we have timely information for you.


Mini-Mini Reunion on an Island in the Bronx

On A beautiful sunny Monday, August 2, 2021, five of us came from our homes in New York City and Connecticut to gather for a meal on an island off the coast of the Bronx. Nancy Arcieri, LaVida Dowdell, Laurie Heller, Cindy Polk-Allen, and Jane Zimmy decided to do a covid safety precaution mini-mini reunion and have a meal together. Some of us see each other regularly; others have gotten together over Zoom; and others had not seen each other since the beginning of this long journey.

We had a blast – catching up on ancient and  recent news; talking about subject areas we don’t talk about with anyone else; and sharing ideas and information about future plans. We spent a few hours and it felt as if it had been a brief vacation.

As we enter this new phase of variants, that one special afternoon was more significant than we imagined. A small gathering of college friends had a brief opportunity to see each other live and in-person – the best way to communicate. Though we are grateful for other methods of staying in contact, it is wonderful not to have the barrier of screen or other technology get in the way of our senses.

Looking forward, we have three years to understand and manage this new era. Looking forward, we will meet again in-person for our 50th Reunion on campus at Mount Holyoke. We have three years and hopefully, some of us will have the opportunity to visit in person on an individual or mini-mini basis before then. Until that time,  everyone be safe and healthy.  Reach out when you need. Remember: We are here to laugh, cry, and support. This or any other pandemic cannot sever our bond.


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