Celebrating Alumnae Achievement

Last night was a wonderful night to be at Wellesley. I joined the Alumnae Association in recognizing and celebrating three amazing women—Susan McGee Bailey ’63, Wendy Gillespie ’72, and Mary Jeanne Kreek ’58—who are the recipients of this year’s Alumnae Achievement Awards.

Each award recipient receives an oak-leaf broach, presented by the President. Here, Wendy Gillespie '72 receives her pin.

The award ceremony is always an inspirational event. I love to hear the stories of the women who receive the Alumnae Association’s highest honor, and to see so many alumnae–including past award winners– return to their alma mater for the event.

Last night was the perfect example of the power of a liberal arts education. Where else will you find on the same stage a gender and public policy scholar, an award-winning viola de gamba player, and a physician who pioneered treatment for addictive diseases? Despite their diverse interests and professions, there was a common theme among the three honorees last night: they each spoke about the twists and turns, the unexpected intersections that their lives took once they left Wellesley. As students, none of them could have imagined that their lives would have turned out the way they did.

It’s a theme I hear echoed so often from our alumnae and I hope it’s one that our students will take to heart: It’s okay to be insecure about the future so long as you trust your dreams and follow your passion.

Love at Wellesley

I am celebrating Valentine’s Day today by perusing the love letters of Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Robert Browning. The collection of the letters of these poets, which Wellesley has owned and housed since 1930, has just been digitized and made available online, thanks to a collaborative project between Wellesley and Baylor University.  The formal announcement was deliberately planned for Valentine’s Day.  (The AP reported on this love story, and it has since appeared in various national news media outlets.)

Handwritten – and beautifully written – love letters, made available for everyone to enjoy through 21st century technology.  Romance is not dead. It has just been updated by Wellesley.


Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to give advice to your younger self? Hindsight is, of course, 20/20, but it’s still an interesting assignment to ponder. I recently had the opportunity to think about—and write about—this very topic in an ongoing series, “Letters to My Younger Self,” published by The Daily Muse.

I was honored to be able to contribute my advice, and to be included among such distinguished women.