The glorious fall weather was picture-perfect this past weekend, as I welcomed to campus Wellesley parents, grandparents, siblings, alumnae, and friends for Family and Friends Weekend and Homecoming.
One of the highlights of the weekend, as always, was celebrating one of Wellesley’s oldest traditions: sophomore tree planting. On Saturday, more than 150 students and their families gathered on the Academic Quad to dedicate the Quercus Rubra, or Red Oak, that the Class of 2016 had chosen as their tree.
At the Wellesley Debates this past weekend, Paulina Perlin ’16, Prerana Nanda ’14, Simone Thibodeau ’14, and Mariya Getsova ’15 debated the topic “The structure of the higher education system in the United States is not consistent with democratic values,” while Sophia Mo ’14 moderated. As always, the students did an excellent job of presenting arguments for or against the motion. The before- and after-balloting indicated that those debating against the motion swayed the audience with their arguments.
For me, the weekend is also a wonderful show of our school pride during our many athletic contests. I was happy to cheer on the Blue as they took on Cedar Crest in soccer, winning 9-0. Congratulations also to the residents of Pomeroy, who had the most Superfans at that game.
Family and Friends weekend was enhanced this year by Pam Melroy’s wonderful talk on Saturday night: From Wellesley to the International Space Station. A Wellesley alumna (class of 1983), and an astronaut who has logged over 900 hours in space, Pam Melroy was only the second woman to command a space shuttle. I am grateful to Pam, who also is a Wellesley Trustee, for returning to Wellesley to speak to students and their families about her experiences. She is always enlightening and engaging and, despite her profession, very much down to earth.
My thanks go to all of the students, families, faculty, staff, and alumnae who made the weekend such a success.
I love Wellesley traditions. I love that we have so many of them, including the ones that generations of Wellesley women have experienced, serving as a rite of passage for new students. I also enjoy the traditions that have emerged more recently. This past weekend, as part of Family and Friends Weekend and Homecoming, I got to enjoy both the old and the new.
The first—one of our more recent traditions—was the parade of “floats” (or, golf carts). Beginning over by the East Side residence halls and following College Road up and around to the Athletic Fields, the Blue Nation Parade showed the creativity of the students who decorated the floats. The parade added some lively color to campus, despite the overcast sky.
Shortly after the parade, I participated in one of Wellesley’s oldest traditions—sophomore tree planting. This tradition is almost as old as the College, as it dates back to 1877 when our founder, Henry Durant, wanted Wellesley students to have “… a tree, whose growth they could watch, as it watched theirs, all through the four college years—a tree in which, on every future visit, they would recognize a long-acquainted friend.” Since then, hundreds of trees have been planted. And hundreds of Wellesley classes, upon returning to campus years after graduating, have sought out their class tree—taking note of how it is doing, how it has grown, and how it complements the beauty of our campus. This year’s sophomore class planted a lovely dogwood near Hay Amphitheater.
This past weekend, it was a privilege to welcome Wellesley family and friends to campus, and to welcome back alumnae for Homecoming. I hope our visitors enjoyed these Wellesley traditions as much as I did.
I may be biased, but you would be hard-pressed to find a better location to watch the Boston Marathon than from Wellesley’s Scream Tunnel. Just as the runners come up the hill, passing the College’s athletic fields, they are greeted by cheering students with festive and witty signs, and the offer of a kiss to those who need a little encouragement. In my first year here, students presented me with a sign that read, “Kiss Me, I’m the President”—a sign I have not yet used. It’s a fun day and a fun Wellesley tradition! I always enjoy it.
Here is just a taste of Monday’s Scream Tunnel.