Welcome to the Mount Holyoke Club of Southwest Florida

Dear Sisters,

Our 2020-2021 season was a great success with in-person and virtual events: take a look at our Website Calendar to see our offerings for 2021-2022. Many thanks to Elizabeth Russell ’70, Program Chair.

Virtual M&Cs via Zoom on May 26, 2020 was a great get-together. Our special guest Maria Mossaides ’73, president of the Mount Holyoke Alumnae Association and a Trustee of the College, kept up a lively discussion about the College. Thank you to Maria Mandler ’74 for organizing and hosting the event.  Maria Mandler ’74 hosted us again on Zoom for a 2020 Mountain Day get-together on October 19th at 6:37pm (1837 hours). We all had a great time reminiscing about Mountain Days past and playing MHC trivia. Mary Alexander ’81 co-hosted. 

The Marie Selby Gardens is an amazing asset to Sarasota . Those of us who attended the Club event there November 13, 2020, were treated to an explanation of the history of the grounds and the interweaving story of Marie’s friend, Bertha Palmer. It couldn’t have been a nicer day and each segment of the visit (glasshouse, gardens, special exhibits, and even the café) was enhanced by the welcome company of our members.  Dr. Susan MacManus’s Presidential Election Recap von December 8th and Dr. Gregory Huber’s talk on Partisan Animosity in Contemporary America were most informative and insightful. We enjoyed two in-person tours: A cultural and historical guided walking tour of downtown Sarasota on January 19, 2021, and a tour of Rob Branch’s Tropical Garden in the Bayou Oaks section of Sarasota on February 18th.

The season rounded out with Virtual Tea with Abigail StClair ’02, founder and owner of TeBella Tea Company on March 10, 2021, and on April 20th we joined together for a Virtual Birding Workshop with Kathy Doddridge of the Manatee County Audubon Society. CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS!

SAVE THE DATE!  Darby Dyar, Kennedy-Schelkunoff Professor of Astronomy and chair of the Department of Astronomy at Mount Holyoke College, will provide a virtual presentation on “Looking for Life in the Universe: An Mars-Earth-Venus Comparison” on Tuesday, October 5, 2021, at 1:00 pm. We are in for a treat. Be sure to put this on your calendar.

Our club remains strong! Our membership spans over 7 decades of Mount Holyoke alumnae. The majority live in the Sarasota-Bradenton region; however, we have active Club members who reside up and down Florida’s west coast from above the Tampa-St. Pete area to below Fort Myers. Since a significant number of members are snowbirds who spend only the winter season in Florida, most of our meetings are held during the months of November through April.

The mission of the Mount Holyoke Club of Southwest Florida is “to provide a social and educational means of connecting the alumnae of Mount Holyoke College, who spend all or part of the year in the southwest Florida region, to each other and to the College, and to publicize the College in the area to the extent possible.” 

Club events are announced in our calendar (click here or on the second link on navigation bar above) and included in our newsletters, the most recent of which can be found by clicking here or on the third link on the navigation bar above.  Events include stimulating speaker luncheons; joint meetings with other local alumni/alumnae clubs; special occasion gatherings like the docent tours and workshops; and informal Mountain Day get-togethers. Reservation information is included in our newsletters and flyers.

Our Club is involved in assisting with MHC admission recruiting. To stay connected with local students currently attending Mount Holyoke, we send cards, emails, and “care” packages.

To stay in touch with alums throughout the area on Facebook, check out the West Central Florida Group (click here or on the third link of the navigation bar above).  To meet Club officers/board members, click here or on the fourth link above.  Email any board member at mhcswfl@gmail.com. Email me at to request a copy of our bylaws.

Whether you are a snowbird, have recently relocated to southwest Florida, or are planning a vacation in our area, we hope you will contact us at the email below. As alumnae, Mount Holyoke ties bind us all.  Let’s keep the Laurel Chain strong. Need a little more Mount Holyoke in your life?  Our Club looks forward to welcoming you.

Joyce Gleason ’69, President                                                                                                   Mount Holyoke Club of Southwest Florida