Dear Mount Holyoke College Class of 1974,
2022 was the year that most of the Class of 1974 turned 70… a major achievement!! Please join me in thanking Cynthia (Cindy) Polk-Allen who sent out birthday ecards to virtually every classmate. Thank you, Cindy, for representing the Class Leaders and sharing the joy and enthusiasm that we have all made it this far…in remarkable spirits…despite the challenges and upheaval of the last 3 years!
As COVID moved from pandemic to endemic status and the ‘new normal’ began to take shape, we began to stretch our wings and embrace our enhanced mobility. In concert with all these changes, the MHC Class of 1974 continued to strengthen its connections with one another.
I am happy to share with you the progress made on various class projects during this year.
I. CONNECTING WITH OUR CLASS–
Our regional mini-mini reunions continued around the country. Many, many thanks to our Social Media Coordinator, Laurie Averill, who shares every bit of class-related news across the Social Media within hours of the event.
Check out our Mount Holyoke College Class of 74 Facebook page for the full stories, as well as our own Class of 1974, college-sponsored website.And do send your news and invitations for class-related events to Laurie at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mary Feeney is planning a spring mini-mini at the New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill Park, Boylston, MA this year as well.
In-person/multi-day mini-reunion gatherings have not been possible since we last gathered at Mount Holyoke in May, 2019. So the big news is that there are two in-person/overnight mini-reunions in the works for 2023, both open to the entire class!
One is to be held in Boothbay, Maine, centering at Melissa Thornton’s Bold Colorful Life vacation rentals, from Friday, June 2-Monday, June 5. See this website for more information.
The other is being designed by Denise McLeod Thomas to be held in Wilmington, North Carolina, date and details TBD.
Health concerns will be addressed at both gatherings. Please reach out if you have an idea for an in-person gathering—mini-mini or including overnights.
ZOOM MINI-REUNIONS: Many of our classmates have already set up one-time or recurring regional or friend-based zoom mini-reunions and these continue to deepen friendships over the years. One group celebrated its 120th straight Friday afternoon Happy Hour Zoom Call!
We kicked off with a Class of ’74 Zoom Birthday Party and our talented Co-Chairs Nan Ward and Gail LaRocca have orchestrated fascinating presentations, with wonderfully engaging breakout discussions…sometimes about the presentations…sometimes allowing us to get to know our classmates better. Check out the past and future topics on our Mount Holyoke College Class of 74 Facebook page. And special thanks to Doris O’Keefe for talking photos to visually capture the events.
Plans for upcoming Zoomtails meetings include the arts—join us February 16th when Jane Pollak will speak about how Ukrainian eggs led her to entrepreneurship. Other topics include legacy writing and a summer reading list offered in June.
The date for our 50th Reunion has not yet been established, but we’ll let you know as soon as we do. (We’re guessing that it’s likely to be May 16-19, and remember, our 50Th reunion programming starts on Thursday, not Friday.)
Carole LaMond, Chair of the Nominating Committee, wants the class to know that the Nominating Committee will gear up in the spring with the goal of having a slate in place by December 2023. Members are Carole, Beth Connor Gibson, Nancy Arcieri and two additional members who will be appointed by me. Nominations are welcome. Please send to Carole at email@example.com.
REMEMBRANCE VIDEO PROJECT
Marylloyd Claytor and committee members Laurie Averill, Debra Orgera and Theresa Salerno share their update with you:
1. We have written memoriams for deceased classmates after researching on-line and in-print, as well as reaching out when possible to families and MHC friends for more personalized information and pictures. We are including images from their student years as well as more recent photos if available. We continue to update our files using MHC alumnae information.
2. We are developing ways to commemorate our classmates’ lives engagingly and meaningfully at our reunion–through a rose ceremony paired with a digital presentation of the memoriams, as well as on-line access.
If you have a short quote about a fellow classmate, or photos, please contact Theresa.firstname.lastname@example.org.
CLASS NOTES: And, thanks to our Class Scribe, Marylloyd Claytor, we have lovely, plump Scribe’s Notes in the Fall, 2022 Alumnae Quarterly.Check them out and please remember to send your news to Marylloyd at email@example.com. The upcoming deadline is February 1 for the Spring Quarterly.
II. CONNECTING WITH OTHERS
CONNECTIONS CLASS OF 2024
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.
1. We had several members of the Class of 2024 join 1974 classmates at the March 23rd Zoomtails when Bonnie Panson presented her engaging slide show about MHC in the 70s.
2. Debra Orgera and Doris O’Keefe attended the Rings and Roses event on campus with the Class of 2024 on April 13th.
3. Thanks to Laurie Averill, working with Janet Glick, we now have a 1974/2024 Affinity Group within The Gates which is designed to connect/match students and alumnae by interest. 1974 can offer mentoring, professional advice, life skills advice, etc. in this manner.
Please join this group so we may increase the number of our 1974 classmates who can offer these services.
4. Laurie and I are about to meet with the new Class of 2024 Board to discuss the two classes collaborating for their Junior Show, now called J-Show event.
III. SUPPORTING THE COLLEGE THAT GAVE US THESE OPPORTUNITIES
The Development Committee, comprised of Co-Chairs Jane Zimmy and Debby Hall, and Vice Chairs LaVida Dowdell and Leslie Bowen, is inspiring the Class Agent volunteers to go all-out as we move towards our 50threunion. Here’s their year-end update:
As of 12/31/22, we are pleased to report that our class has raised an impressive $1,173,227 toward our 50th Reunion Class gift. All gifts/pledges to the Mount Holyoke Fund from July 1, 2019 through our reunion in May 2024 count. A huge thank you to the 67% of our class who have made at least one gift.
Since 7/1/2022, 141 classmates (31% participation) have made gifts/pledges totaling $193,778. Our goals for this year are $274K and 60% participation. We are more than halfway there!
Our class has so many loyal donors, and 91% of this year’s donors are members of the Laurel Chain Society.
Be on the lookout for details about the March4MHC challenge, which will be an opportunity to further show our strong class spirit.
We continue to look for Volunteers to join our fundraising team. Please email LaVida Dowdell (LaVida.Dowdell@usa.net) if you’re interested.
Many thanks to all the committee members and project volunteers who give their time and energy to the magnificent Class of 1974! I look forward to seeing many classmates over the next year…and just beyond that…at our much anticipated 5oth reunion!
Warmest wishes for a truly uplifting Spring,
Melissa L. Thornton
President, Class of 1974