mount holyoke alumnae quarterly summer 2009

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Sisters in Arms: Military Alumnae Find Fulfillment in Uniform Salamanders Signal a Global Warning Deep (And Wide) Impact: The Weissman Center Marks 10 Years A Short History of Philosophical Ideas About Infinity


  • A lumnae Quart er ly r Summer 2 0 0 9

    Sisters in ArmsD@C@K8IP8CLDE8

  • Sisters in Arms9P I8:?
  • !e Alumnae Association of Mount Holyoke College serves a worldwide network of diverse individuals, cultivates and celebrates vibrant connections among all alumnae, fosters lifelong learning in the liberal arts tradition, and facilitates opportunities for alumnae to advance the goals and values of the College.

    Ideas expressed in the Quarterly are those of the authors and do not necessarily re"ect the o#cial position of either the Alumnae Association or the College.

    General comments concerning the Quarterly should be sent to Emily Weir ( or Alumnae Quarterly, Alumnae Association, 50 College Street, South Hadley, MA 01075-1486). For class notes matters, contact Jill Parsons Stern 84 (413- 538-3094, Contact Alumnae Information Services with contact information updates (same address; 413-538-2303; Phone 413-538-2300 with general questions regarding the Alumnae Association, or visit

    "e Mount Holyoke Alumnae Quarterly (USPS 365-280) is published quarterly in the spring, summer, fall, and winter by the Alumnae Association of Mount Holyoke College, Inc., 50 College St., South Hadley, MA 01075-1486. Summer 2009, volume 93, number 2, was printed in the USA by Lane Press, Burlington VT. Periodicals postage paid at South Hadley, MA and additional mailing o#ces.


  • 2 www.alumnae .mtholyoke .edu


    KXkkff\[#Kff As a tattooed member of the class of 1957 (yes, 57!), Im delighted to learn thatI would !nd plenty of company on campus! A"er a trip to French Polynesia in 2004, I knew I wanted one; the question was, where? At my age, most of the favorite places (upper arms, belly, rump, thigh) are no longer out there. #en I remembered one of the natives with a tattooed wedding ring. Aha! A toe ring! And thats what I have today.

    Jan Laing Hetterly 57 Fair!eld, Connecticut

    Ef8^\C`d`kfe9f[p8ik[submitted to our online blogazine] For my eightieth birthday, I presented myself with a tattoo for no particular reason except that, as a recent denizen of hospitals, I wanted to be sure I was better identi!ed than with a plastic wristband.

    It is on my le" wrist, easily hidden by a wide bracelet when my age group might be startled. It has two colors (the inks now are quite handsome): sky blue and coral; red for my Aries sun, blue for my Pisces moon sign.

    #e shape is a $ower with seven petals in blue for my biofeedback number, and a seven-pointed center in red. Nothing was more fun than designing it myself with the help of an adorable young man.

    Mary Hoyt Blum 48Cushing, Maine

    Dfm\Fm\i#JX`cfijI absolutely loved Hannah Clay Warehams article, Tattoos: Stories in Ink. It captured so many di%erent and interesting stories, and I think it truly re$ected the evolution of tattooing from a sailors hobby to a legitimate form of self-expression for everyone from bikers to soccer moms.

    My mother died one week before I started my junior year at Mount Holyoke, and on the two-year anniversary of her death, I got my !rst tattoo: a tribal sun with her initials in the middle. I chose a sun because while I was a kid who liked to lounge in the shade, my mother would always beg me to come sit in the sun with her, because she felt it could heal what ailed you. #e tattoo marked both my graduation from Mount Holyoke, which was her !nal wish for me, and my decision to begin healing.

    Its so refreshing to see other women marking important events in their lives with tattoos. I especially love that my classmate, Carrie Ruzicka, marked herself with a laurel chain to symbolize the strength that MHC gives to all of us.

    Laura Draper 99Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

    GXi\ekjM`\njfeKXkkffjTempting as it is to initiate a sermon on the theme Act in haste; repent at leisure, Ill limit my observation to the fact that anyone who can manage to wait a little longer may be able to obtain a programmable tattoo. See, for example,

    Carl Wittho!, parent of an 08 alumna Acton, Massachusetts

    I was disappointed with the Alumnae Quarterly for publishing the article Tattoos: Stories in Ink (spring 2009). As a mother of three, I constantly am reminding my children not to draw on their skin with markers. As an internist, I have seen countless tattooed seniors, many of whom regret putting indelible pictures and words on their skin (a little more serious than a !ve year-old wielding a Sharpie). In fact, having a tattoo does more than permanently deface the body; it increases the risk of blood-borne diseases such as Hepatitis C and HIV.

    I was planning on giving this issue of the Q to a prospective student, but a"er reading this article I changed my mind, not sure of the message that I would be sending to a rising senior in high school. We should be teaching our youth

    A lumnae Quart er ly r Spr i ng 2 0 0 9

    Pathfinders in Public Health

    Alumnae Break New Ground Preventing Disease and Promoting Health





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    01-9mtho_sum09.indd 2 7/20/09 8:11:13 AM


  • Mount Holyoke Alumnae Quarterly @ S u m m e r 2 0 0 9 3

    We continue to welcome letters for the printed Quarterly. Indeed, we crave them. Whats the use of singing our hearts out to an empty theater? We need your ideas, your opinions, your letters.

    Of course, we will edit your letters for accuracy, length, and clarity. You can also post your comments on our blogazine online ( We especially like hearing from you by e-mail. Send your thoughts, then, to

    to respect their body, not deface it. What next Q, the art of body piercing?

    Katie Doty Romp, M.D. 91Birmingham, Alabama

    !is week started with a battle with my eighteen-year-old high school senior, who already has the Chinese characters for Ones responsibility is heavy and the journey is long tattooed on his side. !ursday brings his next tattoo against my wishes. !en again, hes just earned a combination of academic and soccer scholarships that will pay for his entire tuition next year. His responsibility will be heavy.

    Seeing young women at MHC explain their decisions made me feel a tad bit better.

    Melissa R. Vance 84Moorestown, New Jersey

    D`jle[\ijkXe[`e^DXipJames E. Hartley is right to caution against making Mary Lyon into who we want her to be rather than taking her on her own terms, but we make a mistake if

    we impoverish Lyons own terms, as the spring 2009 issue [Closer Look, p. 30] of the Alumnae Quarterly does. Because it misunderstands the religious revival that gave Lyon her spiritual bearings, the piece makes Lyon into a quaint antique rather than someone who still matters.

    To assert that Lyon would be appalled by Mount Holyoke today because of a lack of intense religious feeling is to miss the fact that for Lyon, intense religious feeling meant more than going to chapel. Mary Lyons religious views were shaped by the Second Great Awakening and its signature notion of perfectibility. Perfectibility was the idea that, since human beings are created in the image of a perfect God, they have the potential to become perfect by removing impediments between themselves and God, which is to say, sin.

    In New England, perfectibility was a social as well as individual idea: by removing impediments to God, communities could realize the Kingdom of God on earth. While actually achieving perfection was unlikely, human beings

    should strive for it in the lifelong process that Lyon was talking about when she wrote of womens role in the great work of renovating the world.

    By turning to three random pages in the issue of the Quarterly featuring Hartleys book, I note mini-biographies of graduating seniors who plan to work for conservation and the rights of indigenous peoples, a pro"le of a professor distributing "lms of cultural reclamation to Senegalese schoolchildren, and a feature on alumnae who work in public health in the United States and Africa. Surely a woman with Mary Lyons religious devotion would recognize that the college remains involved in the great work of renovating the world that mattered so much to her.

    Chandra Miller Manning 93Associate Professor of History, Georgetown UniversityWashington, DC

    To read a longer version of Mannings letter, go to


    01-9mtho_sum09.indd 3 7/20/09 8:11:52 AM

  • 4 www.alumnae .mtholyoke .edu



    >iX[lXk`feNXjXj>i\\eXjk_\ff[#?ldXecpLgc`]k`e^K_`e^jtalent and potential of that other wing, the women of the world, she emphasized to the 566 women receiving degrees on May 24.

    #e challenges for women, of the developing world especially, remain daunting, McAleese went on, and all who were awarded MHC degreesincluding thirty-TJY'SBODFT1FSLJOTTDIPMBSTone masters degree recipient, twenty-four international students earning certi!cates, and three post-baccalaureate degree studentsshould

    go and do good, humanly upli$ing things that will not be done unless you do them.

    *OTQJSBUJPOUPXPSLIBSEBOElong and with indomitable TQJSJUXBTQSPWJEFECZ-VPSB8FCC'1XIPSFDFJWFEher degree this year at the age of eighty-two and is believed to be the oldest person to graduate from MHC. #e !rst African-American to be hired in the Spring!eld, Massachusetts, public school system,


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