Vista • Fall 2010 • Volume 15 • Number 2
Introducing President Pasquerella
An Inspired View
The tradition—which dates to 1838—goes like this: each autumn, the president of Mount Holyoke College designates one particularly glorious day as Mountain Day. The College’s bells peal at 7 AM for a full five minutes to announce that classes are cancelled.
The business of the day, apart from sleeping in, is hiking the nearby mountain after which the school is named.
This year, the first group of students making the climb up Mount Holyoke found themselves accompanied by the College’s new president, Lynn Pasquerella ’80. When they reached the summit—a rise of about 1,000 feet— Pasquerella took in the spectacular views with them. She stayed there throughout the day, greeting the hundreds of other students who subsequently made the hike, handing out ice cream, and cheering with seniors enjoying their final Mountain Day. “This was my favorite tradition as a student here,” said Pasquerella. “Mountain Day is a wonderful way to celebrate community. It also reflects the College’s long history of giving women opportunities to exercise both their minds and their bodies. I’m very excited to be part of it again.”
Pasquerella returned to Mount Holyoke College as its eighteenth president in July. A noted philosopher and medical ethicist, she came to Mount Holyoke as a transfer student. The first in her family to go to college, she worked full-time to support herself while majoring in philosophy and graduated both magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. Encouraged by her MHC professors to pursue graduate study, she received a full fellowship to Brown University and earned a Ph.D. in philosophy. Since then, Pasquerella has taught at the University of Rhode Island and the University of Hartford, where she also served as provost and chief academic officer.
Her formal inauguration as Mount Holyoke’s president on September 24 was marked by a campuswide celebration.
In her inauguration address, Pasquerella expressed her hopes to bring the College’s work to new heights and to advance educational opportunities for women across the globe. She also spoke about the way that women’s colleges prepare women leaders and noted the stellar accomplishments of Mount Holyoke graduates across a “staggering array” of professional and creative fields. “Mount Holyoke’s recent recognition by the Princeton Review as number one in the country for classroom experience speaks not only to the extraordinary talent of our faculty but the extent to which women on our campus are challenged to excel by their peers,” she said.
Throughout the fall, students have been getting to know Pasquerella through her open office hours, receptions she’s hosted for them at her home, and her presence at performances, athletic events, and campus hangouts. Marija Tesla ’11, president of the Student Government Association, said in her inaugural greeting to Pasquerella that she is constantly stopped by students who “express excitement about President Pasquerella being here. She mentors everywhere she goes. . . . Every time I see her, I am even more inspired to continue to serve our Mount Holyoke community, and through it, make this world a better place for us all.”
Hear President Pasquerella’s Inaugural address at http://www.mtholyoke.edu/inauguration
Mount Holyoke College • Vista
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