Dear Mount Holyoke College Class of 1974,
Once again, it’s time for my year-end letter to you…the summary of what your class leaders have been doing to promote our class mission of getting and staying connected during 2023..and some sneak peeks into our next four months. Things are really cooking, so please read this longer missive to the end…and add the various dates to your personal calendar.
Communications will continue:
‘winter letter’ in mid-February, from our Reunion Chair, Gail L. and I…all about the exciting developments in Reunion planning.
late February and early March, you’ll hear from Jane Z. and Debby H. all about our March4MHC campaign to make a major difference in the future of Mount Holyoke.
April’s missives will be about our Connections Class and Reunion, answering the questions that arise at our March Zoomtails, which will include Reunion planning updates.
And then we’ll meet and talk in person at our glorious 50th!!!
Gail LaRocca and Nan Ward
While many of us have gone back to full schedules that take us away from our computers in the evening, the pre-covid zooms are still popular, alternating months between MHC staff and classmates with a specialty topic. Since the fall Zoomtails resumed in October we have had:
- October 2023– Cerise Jalelian-Keim (’81): Vespers: Tales from the Crypt and classmate Piete Avrahami– Personal Reflections on the Terrorist Attacks in Israel
- November 2023 – Cynthia Polk-Allen, Barbara Hoff, and Sue Ruotolo Dorsey: Seven Essentials for Self-Care While Supporting Others in Need
- December 2023– Angie Gregory, MHC Sustainability Program Manager:Breaking Ground for Geothermal Project: Global Responsibility Signaled through Campus Action
- January 2024– Sarah Morrison and Classmates: Junior Show 1973: We’re Glad You’re Here! What’s a Nice Girl Like You Doing In a Place Like This?
Save another date: Monday, February 26, 7:00p EST when Professor Andrea Lawlor will talk about the renowned Glascock Intercollegiate Poetry Competition which just celebrated its centennial.
And March will be the Zoomtails meeting that orients us all to the Reunion opportunities and activities and answers all our questions, so don’t miss this event!
Jane Zimmy, Debby Hall, LaVida Dowdell and Leslie Bowen
Since July 1, 2019 and through December 31, 2023, the Class of 1974 has raised $1.566 million dollars toward our 50th Reunion. Nearly 70% of our classmates have made a gift or a pledge to the Mount Holyoke Fund (MHF).
Our goals are to raise $2 million dollars, and to reach 74% participation from the class. We can do it with your help!
This fiscal year we have raised $286,886 with 33% of our class making a gift so far, including 53 classmates contributing at the Cornerstone Level ($1,837+).
March4MHC, Mount Holyoke’s annual week of giving, will launch on Monday, March 4th and run through Friday, March 8th. In addition to making a gift for this fiscal year, you can also pledge forward for 5 years. Pledges through June 2028 count toward our Reunion gift totals.
This is the event where we can access many additional dollars to be added to our class gift by winning various awards. Be on the lookout for details about the March4MHC challenge, which will be another opportunity to show our strong class spirit.
The Mini-Reunion Committee
Denise McLeod Thomas, Melissa Thornton, Cynthia Polk-Allen, Mary Feeney
The big news in 2023 was that there were several mini-reunions where we met in person!
- One was held here at the Bold Colorful Life estate in Boothbay, Maine in early June of this year.
- A small mini-reunion developed at the September inauguration of our illustrious new President, Danielle R. Holley, (whom we will join for a reception at our 5oth in May!)
- Another mini happened at our Volunteer weekend in October.
- The Vespers mini-reunion also included a reception with Danielle Holley and major contributors.
- And the year end was celebrated at our last mini-reunion in Wilmington, N.C., designed by Denise McLeod Thomas and hosted by Denise and Cynthia Polk-Allen.
Our regional mini-mini reunions continued around the country.
Our Social Media chair reminds us that she publicizes information about mini-reunions, 50th reunion preparation, Zoomtails and articles about MHC excellence.
The Facebook page gives classmates a place to share their experiences and connect with others. The Website provides messages from the board, publicizes events, and reports on Giving as well as listing current MHC events.
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 email@example.com.
Reunion May 16-19, 2024
During the summer months, planning for the 50th Reunion ramped up. After two surveys, volunteers have been assigned to fulfill tasks to ensure that we all have a good time sharing past experiences and new challenges. Your feedback has helped us finetune many aspects of a large celebration and we look forward to sharing more details later this winter.
At our 50th Reunion, a new committee will set an adventure in motion with a 1974/2024 Time Capsule. And three of our committees will see their hard work come to fruition: Connections, Memorial and Nominating committees.
Time Capsule Committee
Beth Connor Gibson, Chair and Laurie Averill, Gail LaRocca, Melissa Thornton,
The idea to create a Time Capsule first originated with our Connections Class, 2024, and was put into action recently. We will collect items from each class which epitomize the challenges and opportunities unique to our time and which leave a signature of our MHC legacy. The capsule will be sealed in the MHC Archives and we are in the process of deciding when the Time Capsule will be opened, when both classes are at MHC.
The list includes such items as a yearbook, freshman handbook, class directory, newspaper articles that capture the context of our college experience, Commencement program, Alumnae Quarterly from September 1974, tickets and programs from theatre and Chapin events at MHC, class ring or pins, reunion paraphernalia, a paper version of Bonnie Panson’s presentation about our times, Doris’s reunion photo collection, etc.
These are the ‘staples’ on the list and we have several, but would like your ideas and your offers of unusual or unique additional items. They must be relatively small (all items must fit into a 12x15x10 fireproof and waterproof box) and may not include food or anything organic or liquid, no clothing, dishware, batteries, etc.. The items will be inventoried, with name of the contributor, history, etc.
If you have an item that you’d like to contribute, please find it, dust it off, photograph it and send the photo and history of the item to Beth Connor Gibson at firstname.lastname@example.org by January 31st.
The committee will choose the items to be included and if yours is chosen, Beth will send her home address and directions to mail the item, to reach her no later than March 10.Many thanks to Debbie Richards from the MHC Archive Department for sharing her experience and knowledge with us.
Laurie Averill and Melissa Thornton
As you know, a time-honored tradition at Mount Holyoke is that our 50threunion class makes a special connection with the class that graduates when we gather for reunion, the class of 2024.
Last year, we had several members of the Class of 2024 join 1974 classmates at the March Zoomtails when Bonnie Panson presented her engaging slide show about MHC in the 70s, several of us were interviewed about the meaning of our class rings in a video that the ‘24s used to sell more rings and Debra Orgera and Doris O’Keefe attended the Rings and Roses event in April.
This year, several ‘74s and ‘24s met, talked and learned about each other and Mount Holyoke through different perspectives at both the September President Holley inauguration and the October Volunteer weekend.
Then, Laurie Averill, Kate Pappas and one other classmate (please let us know who you are) were warmly welcomed at the December Berries and Bubbly event, celebrating the December graduation of 90 members of the Class of 2024. Brightened by festive attire, happiness and a giant glass of champagne (that was hoisted in toast by President Holley), the new alums talked with the ‘74s about their aspirations, challenges and excitement as they leave campus.
There will be another Berries and Bubbly event for the rest of the Class of 2024 in April. I’ll share the date when it’s locked in and would love to know who else can attend.
We will salute the entire graduating class at the Scarfing Ceremony on Thursday afternoon of our 50Th Reunion, May 16 at 3:30. More details to follow.
Marylloyd Claytor, Chair, and Debra Orgera, Theresa Salerno, Sarah Morrison, and Laurie Averill share their update with you:
At Reunion we gather to celebrate our community and while we are looking forward to the fun of the weekend, we will be pausing to celebrate those who have passed and remain in our hearts. The Memorial Ceremony will be at the conclusion of the Class Meeting when most of the class will be assembled.
Our committee is continuing research and refining the presentation of each of our lost classmates. We are finalizing the logistics of the Memorial Ceremony where volunteers will place a flower in a vase and recite the name of the classmate. Thanks to everyone who participated in the survey and offered to be a volunteer for the Memorial Ceremony. If anyone else wants to volunteer to participate, please contact Marylloyd at email@example.com.
Carole LaMond, Chair and Nancy Marks Arcieri, Beth Connor Gibson, Susan Moch, Cynthia Polk-Allen, Melissa Thornton, ex officio
The Nominating Committee will present the following slate of officers for election by a vote of the class members at our 50th Reunion Class Meeting in May 2024.
President Gail LaBroad LaRocca
Vice President Kathe Munz Shinham
Secretary Robynn Bosler Eisley
Treasurer Mary Grantham
Reunion Co-Chairs Debbie Hinchey Vernon
Scribe Nan Ward
Social Media Laurie Averill
Head Class Agents Jane Zimmy
Nominating Committee Judy Johnson
Kate Murphy Pappas
Heather Barlow Sheldon
Many thanks to the Nominating committee for their insightful and collaborative work…and to those classmates willing to be nominated to run for office at our 50th.
This is my last year-end letter to you and, in a quick word, it’s been an honor and a pleasure to be in touch with you all regularly over these past 4+ years…and it has also been an honor to work with the remarkable, energetic and productive committee members and project volunteers who give their time and energy to the magnificent Class of 1974!
With great excitement and anticipation to see many of you at our 5oth Reunion,
Melissa L. Thornton
President, Class of 1974
P.S. Photos, Photos, Photos.
Doris O’Keefe is creating the looping slide show in our dorm and she is looking for more images from 1970 through today. She is looking for pictures that are high quality originals scanned individually. For more details about the photos needed, please see past letters or our class website page. Don’t forget to try to identify WHO is in the picture and WHEN and WHERE it was taken.
Doris’ address: 50thReunionSlideShow@gmail.com