Reunion 2012


Whenever the Class of 1977 gathers it is a guaranteed great time, and our 35th Reunion was no exception. This past Memorial Day weekend, 73 members of our class, plus 20 friends and relatives and 7 children, returned to Mount Holyoke's magnificent campus to relive our shared past. Old memories were awakened and new ones created; old friendships were rekindled and new bonds forged. Reunion Chairs Sue Rittenhouse Sokoloski and Sandy Jones did a wonderful job putting together what proved to be an all-too-short weekend. We left with promises to return for our 40th and a renewed appreciation of how fortunate we were to have had the opportunity to attend such a special college.

The weekend began on Friday, May 25th. As we arrived on campus, we were delighted to learn that our class had been assigned to the beautiful Creighton Hall. The dorm, which was built in 2008 and houses 176 students during the academic year, was the first new residence hall to be built in over 40 years. It was named in honor of Joanne Creighton, (the 17th President of our esteemed alma mater, who served from 2006 until 2010), and it is an extraordinary achievement of architecture, engineering and technology. Creighton Hall is not only beautiful and functional, but it a "green" building which received a LEED Gold Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

After settling into our temporary quarters, many of us took advantage of the "Back-to-Class" offerings, especially a fascinating discussion on "Brittle Bones" and osteoporosis, led by none other than our own Dr. Cathy Kowal-Montecalvo, as well as a very well attended and thought-provoking lecture by Professor Vincent Ferraro. We were also treated to the State of the College Address by President Lynn Pasquarella in Gamble Auditorium. The afternoon activities concluded with a reception for alumnae, faculty and emeriti in Kendade Hall. This building, which is the heart of MHC's magnificent science center, was built in 2003 and connects the old Carr and Clapp laboratories and Shattuck and Cleveland halls. If you have not yet been inside, it really is worth the trip back to campus to see it.

Classmates who were there on Friday evening then enjoyed a delicious soup dinner in Creighton Hall, prepared by our own Okhee Pyun Hyon and Sue Rittenhouse Sokoloski. The varied offerings included New England clam chowder, Asian chicken vegetable soup, tomato basil bisque and lentil soup. We were also treated two delicious (and green!) sheet cakes by Sandy Jones and also to Nicky Mesiah's devine "M'POWer cookies", which are somehow healthy even though they taste totally decadent (and no, you can't have the recipe but you can read about them at!

Members of the Class of '77 continued to arrive on campus throughout the evening. Those of us who arrived too late to register in Mary Wooley were directed to the new Campus Police Department, which is now shared with Hampshire and Smith Colleges. Their new headquarters at 1 Everett Road opened in January, and is a magnificent, state-of-the-art facility - - a far cry from that old Public Safety Building near the heating plant and also worth a visit if you are on campus.

Conversation and reminiscing continued until late on Friday night, when we reluctantly retired in order to be ready for the next day's festivities.

Saturday dawned warm, with above average temperatures. Although the skies were threatening, Mary Lyon was looking down on her daughters as we gathered at her grave and it remained dry. Following the traditional renditions of "Bread and Roses" and our "Alma Mater", the Class of '77 was proud to watch as our own Jeanne Amster was awarded an Alumnae Medal of Honor. For those who were not able to be there, click on the following link to read about Jeanne's achievement:

We then lined up for the Alumnae Parade, dressed in our whites and adorned with new, brilliant green, Class of '77 scarves, designed by Sandy Jones. As we processed from the grave to Mary Wooley Hall, it was, as always, fun to read the signs and watch the other Reunion Classes, particularly the remarkable women of the Loyalty Classes. Many photos from the Parade and other highlights of the Reunion can be found here: Make sure to check out our Class's signs!

The parade was followed by the annual Alumnae Association Meeting in Chapin. We were proud of our classmate Christine Johnson Sledge who received an Alumnae Loyalty Award, and took vicarious pride as Adrienne Skinner's mother, Catherine Wild Skinner '52, was presented with an Alumnae Achievement Award. We also joined in recognizing our Head Class Agents, Jodie Hurwitz and Pam Taylor for their wonderful efforts in raising more than $207,000 this year as our reunion gift to the College, and a total of more than $1,303,000 over the past 5 years.

Following the meeting, the Class of '77 gathered for a wonderful lunch in the Blanchard Great Room, before racing across Skinner Green for our official Reunion Photo on Skinner's steps. As you can see from the unofficial picture below, which was posted on our Facebook page (thank you Carolyn Clausius!) the Class of '77 looks pretty great!

We then had some free time, which the Class of '77 used to its fullest. Although sadly, the CI has not been there for many years now, some classmates were undeterred and found other venues for libations and conversation. Some took a nostalgic drive to Amherst, or to Atkins Farm, which is still making those delicious doughnuts. And others simply used the time to relax, to get reacquainted with the campus, or to play "mini-golf" on the course outside the Lab Theater. And the mini-golf game, amazingly designed by Sandy Jones, was the talk of the reunion,

At 4:30 on Saturday, we all convened in the living room of Creighton Hall for our Class Meeting. Class Officers were selected (thank you Liz, for agreeing to continue to serve as our President!); classmates were recognized for their yeoman's efforts in Reunion planning and other capacities, and gifts were bestowed. We also read the names of our deceased classmates (check out the list on our class website, , and then we were visited by Meg Ayer's mother, who was celebrating her own reunion. Mrs. Ayer seemed really pleased to meet with those classmates who knew Meg so well.

Then the real fun began! Classmates were treated to a wonderful happy hour organized by Adrienne Skinner, who brought delicious and unusual cheeses, fruits, nuts and crackers from NYC. And our laughter and conversations were complemented with the piano stylings of our own Ann Reynolds. Ann, who has a PhD in the sciences, is now a professional musician in Seattle. If you were not lucky enough to hear her at the Reunion, check out her page on MySpace, along with her bands' websites: and

After the happy hour (or two) we managed to find our way back to Blanchard for dinner. Conversation was lively, the room lovely, and the food delicious - - a distinct improvement over that which was served during our time at MHC! Our Saturday night dinner chairs, Okhee Pyun Hyon and Stepahine Jaffe Green organized a lovely event, highlighted by centerpieces that included "alumni-flowers" that had all of our graduation photos attached. We all had lots of fun going from table-to-table to find our flower. We also were lucky to have math professor Harriet Pollatsek and her husband join us as our class honoree and a tribute to her was given by Valerie Barr. Mrs. Pollatsek is retiring this year, so her attendance was extra-special.

Well-sated with food and alcohol, we returned to Creighton Hall for the evening's entertainment - - a PowerPoint show and trivia game created by Sandy Jones. Somehow we managed to divide into teams as we competed to test our memory and knowledge in a contest filled more with laughter than correct answers. When the game ended, the night continued with more music and merriment. Those who still had some energy left joined in dancing to our favorite "oldies"; while others, (like yours truly) got a kick just out of watching them - - especially when Janice Bell's twins and some of the other children took to the dance floor!

All too soon the night ended, and with it another wonderful Reunion. Some classmates met for brunch on Sunday morning at Willets-Hallowell, but most left to return to their busy, challenging, fulfilling and uncommon lives. All of us happy that we had come, sad to once again leave Mount Holyoke, and already looking forward to our 40th. Hope to see you all there!

Andrea Popik Taber


35th Reunion during the weekend of May 25th - 27th, 2012

Fall 2011

Dear 1977 Classmate,

As you know, in May 2012 we will celebrate our 35th Mount Holyoke Reunion. We are certain that it will be a wonderful chance to reconnect with friends, on the campus we all know and love. The campus has grown and changed a bit since 1977, but it's still beautiful, and better equipped than ever to meet the challenges of women's education in the 21st century. Do come and see for yourself.

We have volunteered to be reunion co-chairs for our 35th reunion, and are already planning a wonderful program, with time for activities, exploring the campus and surroundings, and time for just catching up. Make your plans now to join us May 25 - 27, 2012. Mark your calendar, check your airline miles, call a roommate or friend. COME!!!

Helping us plan the reunion are the following classmates:

  • Cathy Kowal-Montecalvo - Program Chair (with Sandy Jones)
  • Stephanie Jaffe Green and Okhee Pyun Hyon - Saturday night dinner co-chairs
  • Kim Anderson True - Questionnaire/Booklet Chair
  • Cynthia Reiche Schumacker - Name Tag Chair
  • Caroline d'Otreppe - Sign Chair

We are still hoping to find willing volunteers to act as Hospitality Chair or Reunion Scribe, so if you are interested, please contact one of us. Also, any of the above chairs would no doubt welcome your help and input, so please let us know if you'd like to assist in one of those areas.

Head Class Agents Jodie Linda Hurwitz and Pamela A. Taylor and are actively working to raise our reunion gift for the College. Our reunion goal is $300,000 with 60 percent participation. Having already raised $24,542 , we're well on our way to meeting our goal. If you'd like to help out with this effort, please get in touch with our Annual Funds and Special Gifts Officer Jenny Papageorge (; 413.538.2761).

Fall 2011Sandy and Cathy are putting together ideas to make our reunion weekend a time that all will enjoy. If any of you have suggestions regarding programming you'd like to see, please contact either of them. Several of you let us know via our survey last spring that you were willing to teach a class or organize an activity. Thank you! If there are any others of you out there feeling so inspired, please let us know.

Kim True is at work putting together a survey and planning a reunion booklet. Putting technology to good use, she plans to do this primarily electronically, via e-mail. The Alumnae Association Office has e-mail addresses for about 2/3 of us. If you've not already done so, please be sure to get this information (current/valid e-mail address) to them, so that you can easily be included in the reunion survey questionnaire and booklet.

The Alumnae Association advises us that reunions normally cost about $350 for the entire weekend or $250 for Saturday only. We are conscious of financial crunches and limits, so will do our best to control costs as we plan. More information about a pre-payment plan available through the College can be found at: One change from prior reunions is that the College is no longer able to offer a Children's Program, due to its low turn out and high cost, so keep this in mind if you are thinking of bringing young ones along.

Look for registration information to arrive in March; both on-line and telephone registration options will be available. We look forward to hearing from you, and hope to see you in May.

Warm regards,

Sue Rittenhouse Sokoloski
Leslie Sandra Jones

(added 11-4-11)


Fall 2011

Hi everyone!

It's hard to believe that it's been 5 years since I've written a President's Letter inviting everyone to attend Reunion! This time it's our 35th, and will be held May 25th-27th. I really hope this date works for you, and that you will seriously consider coming back to the College. I know it's always a challenge to get calendars aligned, but I think almost everyone agrees that the effort is worth it, since re-connecting with our classmates is such a great experience! I'm always amazed at how much our class has accomplished - personally, professionally and for our planet! We are one FANTASTIC group of women!

First of all, I want to send out a HUGE thank you to Sue Rittenhouse Sokoloski and Sandy Jones, who are our Reunion Chairs. They have been working very diligently already, planning the event, coordinating with the College, and recruiting volunteers. Enclosed with this mailing is a letter from Sue and Sandy, with a lot more details about Reunion. I know they are still looking for volunteers, as well as asking people to voice their ideas and preferences, so please reach out to them as soon as you can.

When Sue Sokoloski and I went back to the College for the Reunion Planning Weekend, a group of us were asked to call out adjectives describing how we wanted our reunion to feel. Here are some of the responses: welcoming, full, inclusive, refreshing, interesting, friendly, memorable, energizing, bonding, surprising, mellow, organized, affordable. What do you think? Which of these resonate with you? What would you add? Please send your thoughts to Sue and Sandy - we do want our reunion to be inclusive, so the more input we get from each of you, the better!

I want to remind everyone that we had a great turnout for our 30th, with 98 alums and guest attending, winning the Margaret Caskey Cup for largest attendance. Statistics show that the 35th is not as well attended, but I think we can change that! Hopefully everyone had such a good time last Reunion that you told some of your friends who were not able to attend, and we'll have everyone back from last reunion, and more! So PLEASE mark your calendars now for May 25-27, 2012, and try to come back. I promise you, you won't regret it!

I also hope everyone will participate in Reunion Gift Giving, and seriously consider a gift to honor our 35th Reunion. And let me remind you of the amazing records we achieved 5 years ago. Because of the generosity of the class of '77, we set a new dollar record for the 30th reunion year and won the Alumnae Annual Fund Record Award. In addition, that year we raised the largest total dollars for all funds for any purpose, and we received the Lion Award. Do you remember getting both of those awards? What a great accomplishment -let's see if we can do it again! Jodie Hurwitz ( and Pam Taylor ( are our Head Class Agents, and they and their great team of volunteers will be in touch with everyone soon to discuss this year's gift giving options. The goal is to achieve 100% participation, and a note from Pam said: "We are so aware of the bad economy, competing demands for money, etc., that we'd like to emphasize that a small gift, a tiny gift, a token gift is cherished." Let's strive for 100% participation!

Fall 2011One other update on the financial front: according to Susan Pardo Hardy, our trusty Treasurer (many thanks to Sue, for her many years of service), we have about $5400 in our account, some of which will be used for the reunion, but it also gives us funds to support mini-reunions. I keep mentioning this because I think it would be so much fun for smaller groups of classmates to get together before May, so PLEASE contact me (, 201-513-6310) if you would like to plan a mini-reunion. And we can get you a list of our classmates in your area, so that should help also.

We are still trying to schedule a "Back To Campus" event this year. We had tried for this past Fall, but it just never seemed to work. I will keep trying, though, and will send more information in our e-blasts.

And on that note, we are still missing some of our classmate's emails, so if you have not been receiving the e- blasts, please contact me (, 201-513-6310). It would be great if we could reach everyone in the class via email.

About 35 of our classmates have paid their $35 dues that cover these last 5 years. For those of you who have not paid, please send a check made out to MHC Class of 1977 to Susan Hardy, 18 Ann Lee Rd, Harvard, MA 01451. Thanks in advance.

We also are getting busy working on the new slate of class officers for the next 5 years, so please check out the descriptions of these positions on our web page, If anyone wants to volunteer, please contact Sue Echterling ( or Vera Miller Arthur (, our Nominating Committee Chairs. I speak from experience when I say it is a very worthwhile experience, and keeps you connected to our classmates and the College.

And regarding our web page, I hope most of you have visited our site ( Our goal is to make it a source of information sharing and networking, and we welcome any thoughts on content or site improvements. Some of the content is a little dated, so please send me or our webmaster, Kate Gombos '92 (, any information or updates you would like to share. We have sections that include book recommendations, information on where our children have gone to college (a great way to contact someone at a school your child is considering attending), stories about ourselves and our families, job issues, pictures and more. This is a great way to stay connected with your friends, so please go and check it out.

In closing I just want to remind everyone to put our reunion date on the calendar (May 25th-27th) and really try to come, I know it will be an incredible weekend!

Regards to all,


Liz Lewis Gershon President, MHC Class of 1977

(added 11-4-11)


March 2011

Back in mid-November, Liz Gershon and I had the pleasure of meeting up at the college, along with many other fabulous alums and Alumnae Association staff, for a reunion planning weekend. Yes, that's right - reunion is more than a year away, but we've already started thinking, dreaming and planning about how to make it a wonderful, inviting event, that all will want to attend. You can help us in this regard by completing the brief survey we've put together. Better yet, volunteer to help out with the planning process! The more people there are involved, the more we are guaranteed to have a reunion weekend that all will enjoy.

But, for me, the best part of reunion is all of you. It's always a joy to again be with treasured friends from my college years. In addition to the joy of those familiar faces, at each reunion that I've attended, I've gotten to know at least one ‘uncommon woman' who was not a friend back then. I marvel at how many great classmates I never had the chance to get to know - there were more than 500 of us, after all! So, whether to see old friends, or to make amazing new ones, please mark your calendars for the weekend of May 25th - 27th, 2012, and plan to attend our 35th reunion!

Sue Rittenhouse Sokoloski, Reunion Co-chair

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