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Photos by Paola Nogueras ’84.
Assistant to the photographer, Patricia Crystal ’09.

Two 7-foot lanterns were placed at either side of the entrance to Senior Row for Illuminations.

Many of the 900 alumnae, family, friends and neighbors at Reunion 2007 were drawn to Illumination, a new event that brought the lantern’s light to life in an outdoor spectacle of luminaries and lanterns, music and dance. Performers included Bryn Mawr’s a capella group, Night Owls; a community African dance session led by Jeannine Osayande of Dunya Performing Arts Company; Jimmy Jorge and the Latin Express; and The Part Timers Quartet barbershop quartet.

Bryn Mawr alumnae and undergraduates give thanks to the earth after an African dance lesson with the Dunya Performing Arts Company during Illumination.

Jimmy Jorge and the Latin Express perform in front of the Moon Bench.

Steven Devoto (Hfd ’82) and his son, Louise Weingarten ’62, and Peter Nasser learn to make namaste during the dance session. 

Hepburn Fellows

Professor of Chemistry Michelle Francl, outgoing director of the Katharine Houghton Hepburn Center, opened Saturday morning programs with a report on the work of the Center’s first three Fellows.

Made possible for its first two years by a gift from Carol Yoskowitz ’71, the Fellows Program brings to Bryn Mawr’s campus individuals who bridge academics and practice in nontraditional or unconventional ways in any of the three broad areas the Hepburn Center supports: film and theater, civic engagement, and women’s health.

Shannon Hader, an epidemiologist and public health physician, directed for three years the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Zimbabwe Global AIDS Program. “Shannon had a non-stop schedule from the moment she came on campus,” Francl said. “She was here typically three days at a time, meeting in her office with students interested in the Peace Corps, public health, health professions, and M.D./Ph.D. programs. She ran roundtables on health policy over lunch and dinner. She worked with a math course on the mathematics of medicine and the models used by epidemiologists, bringing papers for students to read and discuss with her over lunch and in class. For the introductory biology course, she put students through the beginning part of the training given to field epidemiologists at the CDC. I wandered down the hall to see how things were going; the students were tracking their epidemics with pins on little pieces of paper and I wished I were taking the course.” (Hader revealed that epidemiologists study the College as a model for handling future pandemics. Because of M. Carey Thomas’ draconian measures to isolate the campus, no Bryn Mawr students died of the Spanish Flu.)

Jennifer Ho ’87, Joanna Casson ’87, Jean Chey ’87, Jantra Van Roy ‘87, and Audrey Yu ’87.

Karen Stephenson, a corporate anthropologist and president of NetForm, Inc., has done pioneering work in a math-based technique called Social Network Analysis. “The math department had two students, Huong Huynh ’07 and Priscilla Won ’07, who wanted to do theses in social networking; the topic is getting hotter and hotter because of Facebook and MySpace,” said Francl. “For her project as a Hepburn Fellow, Karen wanted to look at who actually facilitates change when a new curriculum is introduced in elementary education, people on the organizational chart or those in informal networks. She studied two Philadelphia-area school districts and took the students as interns and their advisor, Professor of Mathematics Victor Donnay, along with her everywhere.” (The study is partially underwritten by the Math and Science Partnership of Greater Philadelphia, a National Science Foundation-funded education-reform project of which Donnay is a principal investigator. Donnay and Stephenson hope eventually to expand the study to include many of the 46 school districts and 13 colleges and universities that belong to MSPGP.) “The students got to observe Karen doing the ethnography and crunch the numbers. They used this training as the basis of writing their own theses,” said Francl. Stephenson will stay on as an emeritus fellow and research associate. “She is very excited to remain associated with the College,” said Francl. “Our students are a lively bunch, and she really appreciated that.”

Taren Gaddy, NELI ’05, executive director of the Black Women’s Heath Project, and Ellen Freeman, M.S.S. ’73, Ph.D. ’76, research professor in ObGyn and psychology at UPenn, in a panel discussion on women’s health held by the Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research.

Jane Eisner, vice president for civic initiatives at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia and former journalist at The Philadelphia Inquirer, has taken Bryn Mawr student interns to help with the Peter Jennings Project that she works on through the Constitution Center, gave this years’ Convocation address (see page 9), and is organizing a conference on service learning to be held at the College this fall. (Eisner’s term as a fellow is from the spring of 2007 to the spring of 2008.)

Fellows for the 2007–08 academic year are Cynthia Eyakuze-Di Domenico, A.B. and M.A. ’94, acting director of the Francophone Africa Program at Family Care International, and Judy Wicks, owner and founder of Philadelphia’s White Dog Cafe, and a national leader in the local living-economies movement. Eyakuze-Di Domenico will work with the economics department and its senior policy seminar. Wicks, who is making a transition from day-to-day management of the cafe to doing more writing about sustainable economies, will also work with the economics department and with members of a tri-college food studies group who are interested in food and social policy, and business practices.

Jessica Goldenberg ’02, Cass Barnes ’04, Professor of Mathematics Helen Grundman, Annalisa Crannell ’87, and Jessica DeSante ’02 at a math department reception held during Reunion to honor retiring senior program coordinator and lecturer Mary-Louise Nigro Cookson. A 20-year veteran of the faculty, Cookson received the Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Award for Distinguished College teaching in 1993.

Anna Blum, daughter of Elizabeth Kantner ’97, wears a selection from the dressup box and does some quantitative sandwork during kids’ camp at the Phebe Anna Thorne School.

Alison Baker ’62 signs her book at the College Bookstore.

The Bryn Mawr owl (played for Reunion by Christopher Doody) with Isabella Maklas-Mayr and Abigail Martas-Mayr ’92 in the Cloisters.

President Emeritus Mary Patterson McPherson, PhD ’69, joins the 1982 Class Meeting.

Public service

In a panel discussion, members of the Class of 2002 and the 1942 compared their engagements in public service and activism, and how Bryn Mawr had prepared them or instilled a sense of social responsibility. Panelists were Sarah Harger ’02, Amy Quinn ’02, Paige Willan ’02, Joan Gross Scheuer ’42, Marion Chester Read ’42, and Marianne Schweitzer Burkenroad ’42.

Harger, a double major in French and political science, has just finished a masters in public policy at Duke and is working at Advocates for Youth, a non-profit in Washington, D.C. that works to ensure that people aged 13-24 have access to information and health care about reproductive and sexual rights. Quinn, a sociology major and track runner at Bryn Mawr, held several internships in Philadelphia through the sociology department.  She has just returned from Senegal, where she was with the Peace Corps for 2 ½ years as an overall health community volunteer. She will be starting a masters in public policy at Georgetown in the fall. Willan, a double major in economics and Russian, spent three years in the Ukraine with an NGO, the American Council for International Education (started at Bryn Mawr), helping organize an educational and cultural exchange program for high school students.

Scheuer stressed that during the war years, “the country was really united behind one goal of furthering a serious program, which made it easier to bridge the difference between volunteerism and professional work. Whether you had a Victory Garden or were an air raid warden, everyone was in it together.”

Scheuer, an economics major at Bryn Mawr, moved to Washington, D.C. after graduation and took the civil service exam in economics. She got a job in one for the programs of the War Production Office and moved from there into the War Labor Office. “Eventually, I got involved in labor economics and worked for a union in Chicago,” she said. “So all this was a part of the background Bryn Mawr gave us, strengthening our confidence and helping us pay attention to detail and follow through what we were studying and producing.”

When her children entered public schools, Sheuer “got interested in education and became very concerned about how funds are raised for public schools. That really became my career and I worked for 10 years at the New York City Board of Education.”

“Remember that we were a Depression-era class,” added Jocelyn Fleming Gutchess ’42 from the audience. “Government was thought to be a good thing and a good way to solve the problems that the country was facing, so the idea of working in the public sector was not a ‘no-no.’ However, the idea of working at all was new, and so volunteerism was the way we did move into public service.”

“I think of public service as practically everything that we do with a mind to someone else–even just voting,” said Harger. “Public service isn’t only what we do in the public realm, but what we do in our private lives as well,” Quinn added. “Certainly, parenting is one of the greatest public services that anyone can ever perform. Sometimes I feel the greatest contribution I’ve made was my two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Senegal, because I did not live in the wasteful ways that, unfortunately, most Americans do live.”

Willan said that her interactions with like-minded Bryn Mawr students and her three years in the Ukraine have made her “more conscious of what I do so that I will be able to say that I’m proud of my country.”

Asked by Frank Rosengarten from the audience what it was about Bryn Mawr that made them think about public service in this way, Harger said it certainly includes the Honor Code and its “expectations that you’re going to act with integrity. An awareness of social responsibility and knowing that we are very fortunate to be here permeates classes and extracurricular life, and we want to bring that to more people.”

An audio file is also online for a talk by Elaine Kamarck ’72, John F. Kennedy School of Government lecturer in public policy and senior policy advisor to the Gore Campaign, who analyzed the Democratic and Republic races for the 2008 election.)

On Friday afternoon, “Rediscovered Treasures,” a special pre-Reunion program of faculty lectures combined with hands-on experiences, allowed alumnae to explore the wealth of opportunities for learning available within Bryn Mawr and the surrounding community.

Eliana Saxon Armstrong ’97, Sarah Tarlow ’97, Emma Wegner ’97, Melissa Cohn Lindbeck ’97, Shannon Baruth ’97, Briana Pobiner ’97, and Ellen Avery ’97.

(Left) Gabrielle Costanzo ’97 and Samantha Litzinger ’97; (Right) Marc Diamond, secretary of the College and chief advancement officer, accompanies Class of 1967 at Step Sing.


Gardens as cultural artifacts

Antonia Adezio ’75, president and founding executive director of The Garden Conservancy, described the underlying philosophy of her organization in a presentation titled Preserving America’s Garden Masterpieces.

Trustee of the College Barbara Robinson ’62, a Conservancy board member, introduced Adezio, speaking of the Conservancy’s excellent progress, and how Adezio created it “out of thin air.”

“Gardens are cultural artifacts,” says Adezio. “They are bigger than the people who made them.” She showed slides of some of the gardens The Conservancy has adopted for posterity: Ruth Bancroft’s dry garden in Walnut Creek, California, which is filled with succulents; the Peckerwood Garden near Houston; Pearl Fryar’s Topiary Garden in Bishopville, South Carolina; and Edna St. Vincent Millay’s Steepletop farmstead in upstate New York.

According to Adezio, gardens are ephemeral pieces of art. Although many gardens begin with “one azalea leading to the next,” private gardens also “function as an art form for more than just gardeners.” Each summer, gardeners are invited by local representative of the Conservancy to open their gardens during a scheduled Open Day (or several days) in their area. Visitors decide which garden they want to visit and in what order (see for more information).

The slide show ended poignantly with slides of New Orleans and the Conservancy’s restoration efforts. “Life will go on: that’s what gardens are all about,” Adezio said.

Afterwards, participants visited Chanticleer Gardens in nearby Wayne. Originally a private estate, the property opened to the public in 1993 and boasts whimsical displays of plants and landscapes. Highlights include the Japanese-themed woodland, a playful teacup garden, and a surreal “ruin” garden. Visit for more information.

Joselyn Lewis ’02 presents rose to Norma Spielman Wohl ’42, MD.

Joan Gross Scheuer ’42 with rose, and Marion Chester Read ’42.

Martha Doerr Toppin ’57 and Elizabeth (Liz) Kaplan Woy ’57 part at the strawberry and champagne reception following the Annual Meeting.

Pharonic tombs

Before accompanying alumnae to the Franklin Institute’s exhibition, King Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharoahs, Assistant Professor of Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology Mehmet-Ali Ataç discussed the background of Tutankhamun’s reign; his relatives and predecessors represented in the show; and the importance of his tomb in Egyptian archaeology.

“It is technically not very important compared to the other impressive pharoanic tombs found in the Valley of the Kings,” Ataç said, “but it is the only one found intact, hidden under the tomb of Ramses VI.” The tombs are thought to mimic the twisted paths the deceased follows in the afterlife, with the goal of merging with the god of the dead, Osiris. The layers of shrines and mummy casings represent the process of deification.

Tutankhamun’s short life came at the end of a strange chapter in ancient Egyptian history, the so-called Amarna heresy. The “boy-king” was a pawn of the priesthood of Amon, installed to preside over a restoration of Egypt’s polytheistic religion. He was the son of Amenhotep III, who launched his own revolutionary political system and religion, replacing the traditional gods, particularly Amon, with Aten, the solar disk, and changing his name to Akhenaten (“servant of the Aten”). Akhenaten moved the capital from Thebes to the new city of Akhetaten, now known as El-Amarna. “He also changed the face of Egyptian art,” said Ataç, “abandoning athletic, virile representations of the pharaoh for ones with voluptuous hips, an elongated face, and almond-shaped eyes.” Some scholars wonder if he suffered from a glandular disease and actually looked this way; others think this was an ideological strategy to assimilate himself with the androgynous creator god.

In other presentations, Assistant Professor of Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology Peter Magee, Registrar of Collections Tamara Johnston, and graduate students handed alumnae/i objects from the College’s extensive Art and Archaeology Collection and discussed how they are used as teaching tools.

Before leading a tour of the Barnes Foundation, Professor of History of Art Steven Z. Levine discussed stories of Dr. Barnes, the collection and the controversy that surrounds it.

Jennifer Beer, lecturer at the Graduate School of Social Work, led a conflict resolution workshop on effective mediation in diverse environments and situations.

Click here for more photos, and audios and podcasts of lectures.

Annual Giving Awards

At the Annual Meeting of the Alumnae Association, The Maisie Hardenbergh Dethier ’43 Award for Highest Annual Fund Participation was presented to the Class of 1957 with 81 percent participation. The Ellenor Morris ’27 Award for the Highest Annual Fund Total was presented to the Class of 1967 with a gift total of $292,979. The Barbara Auchincloss Thacher ’40 Award for the Greatest Improvement in Annual Fund Participation Among the Ten Most Recent Classes was presented to the Class of 1997 with an increase in participation from 32 percent to 38 percent.

Click below to read speeches given at the Annual Meeting by the milestone classes 1954, 1967 and 1982. 

Student workers applaud Parade of the Classes at the entrance to Goodhart Hall.   

A system under siege

by Professor of Social Work Toba Schwaber Kerson, panel moderator

As part of Reunion weekend, the Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research hosted a panel of four experts in several areas of women’s health, “Women’s Health: Addressing a System Under Siege.” Each speaker took some part of her education at the School.

Ellen Freeman, M.S.S. ’73, Ph.D ’76, research professor in the department of obstetrics and gynecology and the department of psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School discussed the importance of addressing obstacles to care. Freeman is interested in how teenagers and other women of child-bearing age deal with fertility control. Much of her research is related to mood disorders, to the ways in which women respond differently to medications, and to a range of issues related to menopause. She underscored the fallaciousness of a series of “old wives tales” such as: “pregnancy is a protection against depression,” “premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is just an untreatable part of being a woman,” and “any woman can suddenly disintegrate with PMS.” One study to which she referred showed that a much greater percentage of women who had been sexually abused were less likely to take drugs for PMS than women who had not been sexually abused.

Taren Gaddy is an ’05 graduate of the inaugural class of the School’s Nonprofit Education Leadership Training Institute (NELI). She spoke about her work as executive director of the Black Women’s Health Alliance and the Sayre Health Center, a new access point community center in a school-based setting in West Philadelphia, on which construction will be completed this month. Gaddy told a series of warm family stories that underscored the need for advocacy, for understanding one’s own health and genetic history, the technology that is available for both diagnosis and treatment, and the many social, organizational and cultural dimensions that can act as barriers to women’s receiving optimal care. The force of Gaddy’s commitment combined with her organizational savvy demonstrates the effectiveness of a powerful advocate. The Sayre Center, the result of an affiliation between the University of Pennsylvania and a city health center, will provide access to quality health care. Services can be offered in a community setting that actually eliminates barriers and can help to influence students to want to work in health care.

Katherine Maus, M.S.S. ’75, is director of the division of maternal, child and family health in the Philadelphia Department of Public Health. Also a NELI graduate, Maus spoke primarily about the closing of so many of the area’s obstetrics services and the concerns that these closings raise not only for the health of the newborns but for the health of the mothers as well. Her department is asking whether decreases in the capacity of the Philadelphia prenatal and delivery systems will have a negative effect on the health and welfare of mothers and newborns. Maus pointed out that these systemic changes are being studied now by her division working with the Drexel School of Public Health, by the Maternity Care Coalition, and by the Delaware Valley group that represents provider hospitals. She said the overall questions are, “What do we know about the public health implications? What’s really happening?” The city public health department is at the end of the decision-making line and must wait about two years for the state to clean and send along the birth record data that they need in order to understand the effects of closures and to plan for the future. Her department wants to help at the city level but acting as an honest broker to help the systems to operate more efficiently.

Jean Sachs, M.S.S. ’91, M.L.S.P. ’92, discussed her work as the first executive director of Living Beyond Breast Cancer. Her over-arching message is that one must be an advocate for one’s own health care. Sachs told several stories that helped the audience relate very closely to her work. What has happened in relation to research and advocacy for breast cancer over the last 15 years is nothing less than fantastic. Women have, indeed, taken their place at the decision making tables that concern the subject matter, subjects, directions, level of funding, and so on, of breast cancer research. Sachs explained that breast cancer advocates have followed many successful strategies relating to HIV/AIDS research, including using funds from the Department of Defense. Consumers are members of decision-making panels as well as local institutional review boards. They will not stand for all women with breast cancer receiving the same approach of “slash, burn and poison” so that, finally, breast cancer treatment is becoming more targeted.



Return to August 2007 Highlights





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