Defining Achievement

Last night, I shared the stage with four amazing alumnae—journalist Callie Crossley ’73, pediatric-fetal surgeon Diana Farmer ’77, author and philanthropist Barbara Lubin Goldsmith ’53, and feminist scholar and cultural historian Marilyn Koenick Yalom ’54—for the 44th Annual Alumnae Achievement Awards. The event is a wonderful celebration of Wellesley and our alumnae, recognizing the recipients with the College’s highest honor.

Award winners are selected for their outstanding personal accomplishments. Last night each of them spoke about Wellesley’s influence on them, including the interesting—and unforeseen—paths that led them to their current successes and, in some cases, that enabled them to have second and even third careers. For instance, Marilyn Yalom, a French major at Wellesley who went on to become a professor of French and comparative literature, never imagined that she would become a feminist scholar, and later the author of nine books.

Similarly, Diana Farmer, the world’s first female fetal surgeon, said, “My path has not at all been straight, nor a trajectory of success.”

What I like most about this special annual event is that it is a wonderful reminder of the value of a Wellesley education, and that a Wellesley woman’s place in the world is wherever she chooses it to be.  These four remarkable and inspiring women served as evidence of this.