Carrying the time Mount Holyoke College 2020 Report on Philanthropy

On a glorious day in September 2019, Mount Holyoke’s students, faculty and staff gathered in the Richard Glenn Gettell Amphitheater for our 182nd Convocation. A beloved — and raucous — tradition, Convocation celebrates, reaffirms and charges our community as we begin a new academic year.

One of the highlights of the ceremony was the faculty speech by Associate Professor of English Suparna Roychoudhury. She reminded the crowd that time is not a linear and fixed concept, but an elastic idea, anchoring us to different identities and contexts. What might be a “first” for some might be a “last” for others. She reminded us that time must be savored.

Undergraduate time is not so easily categorized. The first time, the last time, the never-before and the always-already are all stitched up in every single moment. It is always the beginning and the end and the middle. ... We are Mount Holyoke. We carry the time!

Suparna Roychoudhury, Associate Professor of English

As we moved from the newness of that day through the fall semester and into the spring, time kept moving forward at its usual pace. And then our world served up a series of crises that have required a great deal from us all. Throughout these global challenges, you - our supporters, cheering section, loyal donors - found the time to insure Mount Holyoke forever shall be. Thank you.

Your gifts making an impact

77% of students received financial aid (2019-20 academic year)

Average financial aid grant (2018-19 academic year): $33,101

Total financial aid awarded (2019-20 academic year): $52,253,000

Percent of operating expenses in FY20: 35.5%

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Thank you.

Your steadfast support has ensured that the values and vision we cherish remain as constant today as they have for 183 years. You make a difference in the lives of our students and faculty as they focus on deeply engaged learning across the liberal arts and within a community that challenges us all to do our best work and to be our best selves.

This is kind of corny, but when I came to Mount Holyoke, I couldn't have imagined who I would become. I had a lot of ideas but I didn’t know how to make space for them. I do here. I have become a more genuine version of myself. The culture at Mount Holyoke is very freeing. It’s very open and open-minded. I didn't realize how much I like it until I got home and I was like, I have to get back to MoHome! Now that I have developed skills for community and leadership, I can’t wait to develop those even further."

Paige Osborne ’23 (read Paige's profile)

Hometown: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Major: undeclared Funding: The Joseph Chin Scholarship Fund

2019-20 Giving

Alums: $26,691,892

Parents & Families: $220,296

Friends: $1,189,387

Corporations & Foundations: $2,513,239

Other: $109,970

TOTAL: $30,724,784

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Before M. Darby Dyar came to Mount Holyoke, she couldn’t have imagined how far her research program could progress by using undergraduates — and much of that progress is supported by her laboratory in Kendade Hall.

I’m so grateful to the alum who funded that building, which has enabled my research program to grow and thrive. I wish sometimes that she could just come spend a day sitting on the couch in the lab, watching eight or nine women working in perfect harmony around the lab doing different things, each one very directed. The physical space we have in Kendade enables collaboration, and also it’s big enough that the students are able to be independent. The most amazing gift has been the physical facility of my lab in Kendade."

M. Darby Dyar (read Darby's profile)

Title: Kennedy-Schelkunoff Professor of Astronomy; Chair of Astronomy Department: Astronomy Teaches: introductory astronomy, planetary science, senior seminars

2019-20 Enrollment

2,190 undergraduate students enrolled

587 students from 58 countries

Top 5 Majors: Psychology, Biological Sciences, English, Computer Science, Economics

Top 3 Nexus Concentrations: Global Business; Journalism, Media and Public Discourse; Museums, Archives and Public History

(photo: students working in the Fimbel Maker & Innovation Lab)

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For lacrosse player Allie Brown ’22, being a student-athlete at Mount Holyoke is a dream come true.

Before coming here, I couldn't have imagined being at a prestigious school and getting to play a sport I love on a successful team. There aren't too many places where you can have that perfect balance. It’s like having the best of both worlds. And now I have this amazing alum network of these former athletes."

Allie Brown '22 (read Allie's profile)

Hometown: Burlington, Vermont Major: politics major (sociology minor)

Ensuring liberal arts education excellence in today's world.

In this moment of the pandemic, as well as the conversations on race and social justice and social inequality that we are having: First and foremost we need to affirm the need for the arts and the role that the liberal arts has in the world. To do that, we need to make decisions that will enable us to carry out our mission responsibly, not just for now, but for generations to come."

Dorothy E. Mosby (read Dorothy's profile)

Title: Interim Dean of Faculty and Vice President for Academic Affairs; Professor of Spanish Department: Office of the Dean of Faculty; Spanish, Latina/o and Latin American Studies Teaches: Afro-Latin American literature and culture

Student Safety Net Funding

In March, inspired by the extraordinary crisis-related needs of Mount Holyoke students, alums, families, faculty, staff and friends contributed to the Student Safety Net Fund.

  • More than 600 students assisted from March to June 2020
  • $346,000 given between March and June 2020
  • 1,295 generous donors

(image: rent/housing and utilities 39% | travel (airfare and transportation home) 29% | food/groceries 12% | storage and/or shipment 3% | technology 8% | books/academic supplies 3% | other 3% | clothing, on-campus laundry, and medical: 1% each)

Photo below: students on campus in March 2020 with class banner

Elif Turan '22 came to Mount Holyoke from Turkey to be a change-maker — and Mount Holyoke has changed her.

It’s a unique experience to be at a woman's college. Seeing someone from a totally different culture, you can see your biases. It starts with you. You start to question, where do you belong? What do you believe? How does that affect your community?"

Elif Turan '22 (read Elif's profile)

Hometown: Usak, Turkey Majors: mathematics and computer science Funding: Middle East Scholarship Fund, Davis United World College Scholars Program

Mount Holyoke students want to be challenged. Because of the diversity of the College, they are white and non-white, domestic and international. They are from multiple class backgrounds. It's really just a tremendous experience to teach them."

David Hernández worked closely with students when he directed the SAW (Speaking, Arguing and Writing) Center, overseeing them as they offered peer-to-peer guidance.

It’s a tremendous resource on campus — and it even continued during the COVID crisis last spring. A lot of students and faculty were concerned about that and we’re all glad that the College is prioritizing it."

David Hernández (read David's profile)

Title: Associate Professor of Latina/o Studies Department: Department of Spanish, Latina/o and Latin American Studies Teaches: immigration policy; detention and deportation; Latina/o history

Weissman Center for Leadership at Mount Holyoke College 20th Anniversary

Last November, Mount Holyoke hosted a two-day celebration of Harriet '58 and Paul Weissman's vision and their dedication to the importance of student leadership.

In the two decades since Harriet and Paul established the Weissman Center for Leadership, hundreds of Mount Holyoke students have been encouraged and empowered through courses, internships, lectures and a host of other experiences to fulfill the charge of Mary Lyon to ‘Go where no one else will go, do what no one else will do.’"

Nita Melnikoff Lowey ’59

(photo from left: Harriet Levine Weissman ’58, Mount Holyoke College President Sonya Stephens, Nita Melnikoff Lowey ’59)

Kesshni Bhasiin '22 describes taking Kenneth Colodner’s Introduction to Neuroscience and Behavior in her first semester at Mount Holyoke as an incredible experience that changed her life.

Professor Colodner’s passion, how excited he was teaching that class, made me excited and want to learn."

In her second semester, she asked if she could work in his lab. Describing her lab experience as “transformative,” she says that it has inspired her to add a doctorate in neuroscience to her post-college plans, in addition to a medical degree.

Kesshni Bhasiin '22 (read Kesshni's profile)

Hometown: New Delhi, India Majors: neuroscience and behavior (chemistry minor) Funding: Sarah G. Miller ‘75 Scholarship Fund

This past spring a team of Valerie Barr's '77 students partnered with the Pioneer Valley’s local Girls, Inc. chapter to study asthma and lead levels in the neighborhoods and schools of their participants. They identified the problem and applied their data science skills to addressing very real problems.

Two students used their Lynk funding to continue the research over the summer. That's another wonderful place where support from the College is then wrapping around and helping these students continue their work, which will have a lasting impact on these communities."

Valerie Barr ’77 (read Valerie's profile)

Title: Jean E. Sammet Professor of Computer Science; Chair of Computer Science, Co-chair, Data Science Committee Department: Computer Science Teaches: introductory courses; modeling and simulation; programming languages; and compiler construction; data science capstone

Lynk program: Summer internships, research or shadowing experiences

  • 1,230 students
  • 55 countries
  • 40 U.S. states

In 2019, over 1,150 students participated in summer internships, research, or shadowing experiences, and over 80 more held on-campus summer student employment.

Student summer experiences spanned a wide range of locations and industries, including 55 countries and 40 U. S. states, plus Washington, D. C. and Puerto Rico.

75% of summer experiences were employer paid or funded by MHC.

46% of Lynk UAF summer funding recipients reported finding their internships through Mount Holyoke people (faculty, alum, staff, student) and resources (Handshake, Intern Network, etc).

54% reported finding their opportunities through utilizing their personal networks or through connecting directly with organizations of interest.

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I chose Mount Holyoke because I heard about this magical place and how nice the people and professors are. I just really appreciate our community. I am never scared about sharing my opinion, coming from a different background. I feel like everyone has always been there for me and is always willing to listen. It feels like a dream."

Amy Shiying Wang ’22 (read Amy's profile)

Hometown: Beijing, China Majors: biochemistry and computer science Funding: Coach for College

(photo: students celebrating Convocation)

The generosity of alums meant Mount Holyoke had the resources to facilitate the rapidly shifting modes of teaching, Samuel Ace says, allowing the faculty to adapt quickly.

The Teaching and Learning Initiative and peer support has been extremely useful. The College has gone out of its way to provide support in helping me create an exciting online teaching experience for students."

Samuel Ace (read Samuel's profile)

Title: Visiting Lecturer in English Department: English Teaches: poetry and creative writing

Alums are supportive of students financially, but also with networking, finding jobs and socially. I work with several at my church. I’m grateful for the support they’ve given me. A lot of what I’m able to do is thanks to them."

Emily Carle ’21 (read Emily's profile)

Hometown: Newington, Connecticut Major: religion Funding: Noel Robbins Congdon Scholarship


March 3-4, 2020, marked the first ever March4MHC Challenge to support the Mount Holyoke Fund.

  • 3,247 alums
  • 232 faculty, staff and students
  • 174 family and friends
  • Total raised: $961,097
  • Match: $350,000
  • Total impact: $1,311,097

Thanks to the truly impressive outpouring of support for Mount Holyoke and our community, 3,607 donors gave $961,097 to The Mount Holyoke Fund. Gifts were matched by additional $350,000 for Mount Holyoke College.

More than $1.3 million in total went to work immediately to support all aspects of the Mount Holyoke College experience.

Photo below: students celebrating Mountain Day 2019

November 2020

Dear friends,

I am writing this from my home office, and as I reflect on the past year, I am uplifted by the generous outpouring of support from the generous alums and friends of Mount Holyoke College.

As the 2019–2020 academic year kicked off, we celebrated the many traditions that make Mount Holyoke unique, including a typically raucous Convocation, the LEAP Symposium, and the annual Vespers holiday concert. As spring neared, we launched the March4MHC Community Challenge, a tremendous success that raised $1.3 million in 48 hours.

Then the pandemic hit. In a remarkable show of resilience and flexibility, faculty and staff quickly ensured that students could complete their semester from distances near and far. Our outreach to prospective students resulted in 495 new students joining Mount Holyoke this fall.

Through it all, you remained loyal. As the financial impact on our students became acute, you responded by giving almost $350,000 to the Student Safety Net Fund to help students travel home, purchase technology for remote learning, and assist with other needs unforeseen just days earlier.

Your gifts to The Mount Holyoke Fund in FY20 totaled more than $8.6 million, ending the year on a high note and providing vital resources to fund priorities such as financial aid; diversity, equity and inclusion; faculty research; athletics; sustainability; and more. Fundraising for all purposes totaled more than $30 million — an incredible testament to the generosity of you, our philanthropic partners.

You shared not only your financial gifts but also continued the Mount Holyoke tradition of volunteerism — building connections with one another, and with our campus community. Your support ensures that the future of Mount Holyoke will be bright. Thank you for all you do to sustain our commitments to our talented and deserving students, faculty and staff.


Kassandra Jolley, Vice President for College Relations

Your gifts inspire us!

We are pleased to recognize the generous support of graduates, families and friends during the fiscal year (July 1, 2019–June 30, 2020).

Visit the 2019-2020 Mount Holyoke College List of Donors.

(photo: Williston Memorial Library)


Giving to Mount Holyoke College

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