Frederica de Laguna '27, professor of anthropology from 1938 to 1975 and founder of the College's anthropology department, was also an important donor to its art and artifact collections. Starting in the 1950s and up until her death in 2004, "Freddy," as she was almost always known, gave almost 500 objects to Bryn Mawr. These range from baskets, tools, and carvings from Alaska and Greenland, where she conducted archaeological and ethnographic research for many decades, to a large collection of Southwest pottery sherds, which she assembled in the 1940s when she led Bryn Mawr's archaeological field school in northern Arizona, considered to be one of the first of such schools for women.
After graduating summa cum laude from Bryn Mawr, Freddy received her doctoral degree from Columbia University, where she studied with the renowned anthropologist Franz Boas and completed a dissertation on Alaskan art. In the 1930s, she led ground-breaking research expeditions to Alaska, and she returned to the region following World War II to study the history and culture of the Yakutat Tlingit.
In the 1960s, Freddy was elected president of the American Anthropological Association. She was awarded many honors, and in 1975, she and Margaret Mead were the first two women anthropologists elected to the National Academy of Sciences.
Her legacy at Bryn Mawr lives on through the many alumnae who studied with her and through the treasures that she donated to the College, which continue to inform and inspire students.
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The following is excerpted from a student paper written last semester for History 325, which investigated the history of women's education, particularly the history of Bryn Mawr College. Taught by Elliott Shore, chief information officer, Constance A. Jones Director of Libraries, and professor of history, the course will provide material for a book that will include essays on aspects of Bryn Mawr's history that are of interest to current students.
By Taline Cox '10
"I'd say that a Bryn Mawr woman is a bright and curious individual who has the confidence to face the unknown, tackle the impossible, do the unusual. She's feisty but caring; she's independent but loyal to friends and family; she is competitive but modest about her accomplishments."
- Jane Miller Unkefer '55
In the spring of 2006, Bryn Mawr offered me a place in the class of 2010, and I received a huge folder printed with a statement on its inside flaps: "A Bryn Mawr woman is distinguished by a rare combination of personal characteristics: an intense intellectual commitment, a self-directed and purposeful vision of her life, a desire to make a meaningful contribution to the world."
Those words were powerful for me, but they were also terrifying. Much like the scores of alumnae I read about last semester, I felt sure that the Admissions Office had made a mistake in admitting me because there was no way that I possessed any of these qualities. Nevertheless, like thousands of admitted women before me, I took a deep breath and made the decision to come to Bryn Mawr, and now I have had three years to reflect upon those introductory words. In trying to comprehend my own relationship to the College and its ideals, I have come to ask myself how Mawrters of the past understood their lives when they too walked beneath Pembroke Arch.
From the outside, we Mawrters appear an elusive bunch. In 1992, the Yale Daily News Insider's Guide to the Colleges could not muster a definition of us: "…We haven't drawn a caricature of the Bryn Mawr woman because her prime trait, as far as we can tell, is a determined (and even cussed) individualism." Even the tremendous wordsmith E.B. White had to rely on metaphor to classify us: "I once held a live hummingbird in my hand. I once married a Bryn Mawr girl. To a large extent they are twin experiences." Though others have struggled to describe us with any specificity, I believe that our "individualism" does not preclude a shared set of characteristics that connect us throughout the College's history.
Since the very beginning, we have shared a tremendous desire to learn and a commitment to academic dedication. An 1883 promotional brochure made the College's expectation of this commitment clear: "Students must be at least 16 years of age and give satisfactory testimonials of personal character. They will be examined in the following branches: English…Modern Geography, Guyot's Physical Geography; the Outlines of the History of the United States, as Barnes' or Leed's; the Elements of Greek and Roman History, Mathematics… Latin…Greek…. French….German… Physics, Chemistry and Physiology." These ambitious prerequisites insured that only the best and brightest students would be attracted to the College. That was, after all, M. Carey Thomas's plan from the very start. She saw the need for an undergraduate institution that would not only provide young women with the opportunity to learn at a level comparable to their male counterparts at Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and the University of Pennsylvania, but also to obtain a graduate-level education.
Defining a Bryn Mawr woman by way of her intellectual accomplishments remained relevant as the College transitioned into the 20th century, through the Depression, and into World War II. Even as the nation was in dire straits, the College never relaxed its standards. Sixty years after the first students faced rigorous admissions requirements, incoming students in 1943 needed to show "an honest desire to learn and the serious interest necessary to master the foundations of some branch of knowledge."
And yet, "the kind of student who belongs at Bryn Mawr," remarked Professor of English Emeritus Sandra Berwind in 1992, "is not just intelligent. She is genuinely excited by ideas." Such devotion to ideas runs not only throughout the College's long history, but also throughout all of its disciplines. In 1994, Professor of Physics Emeritus Alfonso Albano made a case for the lasting relevance of these ideas: "Bryn Mawr is as good a place—a better place to learn to live in the real world because, for a while, you can live in a world where ideas matter more than anything else." Along with the celebration of ideas comes the desire to push one's mind to great limits. One former student, Katherine Dailinger '91, felt that former President Pat McPherson most accurately described the goal of a Bryn Mawr student: "When we arrived and the President was making her speech of welcome she said…one of the reasons you go to a liberal arts college is to make the room inside your mind a more interesting place to live for the rest of your life…It's not just something the President said; it's something that I think most of the students here really believe in and are trying to do."
Throughout the last 124 years, the College's academic standards and commitment to ideas has remained high. At the same time, the College has continued to emphasize another essential characteristic of the Bryn Mawr woman, one that would plague the authors of the Yale Daily News Insider's Guide to the Colleges 50 years later. The Mawrter of 1943, like the one of 1993, was "a person, not a 'type'. She may be from the North or the South, the East or the West. She may come from a public or a private school, and her training may have been conservative or progressive. The most important quality is an honest desire to learn and the serious interest necessary to master the foundations of some branch of knowledge…It is for the individual to discover what direction her interests will take and what relation they are to have to her life as a whole." This mid-century cultivation of individuality and the College's sustained emphasis on academic excellence combine in a contemporary formula for students today. "A 'Bryn Mawr Woman'," according to Dean of Students Karen Tidmarsh '71, "is—at her best—independent, honest, and fair. She is self-critical and skeptical of fads and social conventions, preferring to form her own judgments by weighing evidence and daring to disagree when that is appropriate."
According to my own experience, Mawrters in the 21st century are those who learn to use all of these historic qualities—and some news ones as well—to the best of their intellectual ability. The other thing I have learned is that Bryn Mawr can be whatever you want it to be, and if you use the tools that it offers you as a student, you will find that you are inspired on a daily basis by those people who surround you. In my own quest to find out who I am and who I want to be, I know that whatever I choose to do in my life will be attributed to my four years at this school as a student and to my fellow Mawrters throughout the ages. As a group, we are students who share a tradition of academic excellence that extends from the first students of the College through the students who are here today. We share a belief that our education will help to prepare us to do almost anything we desire. We are Bryn Mawr Women.
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Poet and writer Nicole Gervasio '10, a native of Trenton, New Jersey, who plans to pursue a Ph.D. in literary studies after completing her bachelor's degree at Bryn Mawr, was one of 21 students nationwide awarded the 2009 Beinecke Scholarship.
The scholarship is given to "young men and women of exceptional promise" who plan to pursue graduate degrees in the arts, humanities, and social sciences. Each scholarship winner receives a $4,000 payment immediately upon graduation from college and an additional $30,000 while attending graduate school.
A Mellon-Mays Undergraduate Fellow, Gervasio is a double major in English literature and the Growth and Structure of Cities Program, with concentrations in creative writing and Africana studies. She hopes to become the first member of her family to earn a Ph.D. just a few years after becoming its first college graduate.
Singer-songwriter Gillian Grassie '09 received a Thomas J. Watson Travelling Fellowship. Grassie will travel to Germany, France, India, Indonesia, China, and Japan to learn how new recording and distribution technologies have interacted with tradition to change the making and appreciation of music.
The Thomas J. Watson Foundation funds a year of independent study and travel abroad for 40 "college graduates of unusual promise" from about 60 participating liberal-arts colleges.
A comparative literature major, Grassie honed her lyric-writing skills in Bryn Mawr's creative writing program. Having studied comparative literature, she says, can help point her toward an analytical framework for the many musical traditions and practices she will encounter during her Watson year.
Maureen Hoffmann '09 was awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in Taiwan and accepted into the Japan Exchange and Teaching program (JET), a language-teaching exchange sponsored by the Japanese government. She ultimately accepted the offer from JET so that she could return to Japan, where she spent time as a child. A double major in anthropology and linguistics (at Swarthmore), Hoffmann eventually plans graduate study to pursue her interest in endangered languages. Her senior thesis examined sentence intonation in Lenape, a language spoken by the now-mostly-displaced indigenous population of what is now eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey and southern New York.
Sarah Khasawinah '09, a double major in mathematics and English who spearheaded a $10,000 fundraising campaign to memorialize the victims of the 2007 shootings at Virginia Tech, received a Graduate Research Fellowship from the National Science Foundation.
The fellowship, which includes a three-year annual stipend of $30,000 in addition to a $10,500 annual tuition benefit, is offered to out-standing students in the sciences, mathematics, and engineering. Khasawinah, who completed both an A.B. and an M.A. through the College's combined A.B./M.A. program, will use the award to study biostatistics at the Johns Hopkins University.
Mathematics major Jackie Lang '09 is one of 14 American students chosen to spend next year at the University of Cambridge as Churchill Scholars. She graduated with both A.B. and M.A. degrees through the College's combined A.B./M.A. program and intends to enter a Ph.D. program in mathematics after her year in Cambridge, where she will earn a Certificate of Advanced Study in Mathematics.
Lang arrived at Bryn Mawr already committed to a career as a mathe-matician. In fact, she says that she chose Bryn Mawr because she had read that women who attend women's colleges "are statistically more likely to earn Ph.D.s in math or science … and Bryn Mawr has a very good record of supporting women in math."
A violist, Lang played with the Haverford-Bryn Mawr Orchestra and student chamber-music groups.
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The Extern Program of the Bryn Mawr-Haverford Career Development Office enables students to explore different career options by allowing them to get a firsthand glimpse of a career field of interest. By shadowing professionals in their workplace, they can begin to explore their interests and learn about various opportunities. From two days to two weeks during a school break, externs observe and talk with alumnae/i sponsors and their colleagues. In most cases, they participate in the normal routines of the sponsors, following their hosts throughout the workday or working on special projects. Often, the externs spend time in several departments to gain insight into
allied positions in the sponsor's particular career.
"I think the externship program is a great opportunity to really help you figure out what a career involves and whether it is the right choice for me," said one of the 26 Bi-Co students who held externships this spring.
Melinda Tsang '09 externed with Graziella Pruiti '84 and her associate, May Chau '01, trust and estates attorneys for international high net worth clients.
"During the week, I was exposed to wills, codicils, and power of attorney agreements," said Tsang. "It has been my experience that being an extern in a small firm allows me to gain exposure to a wider breadth of topics as well as participate in hands on research and document production.
"Ms. Pruiti was also able to tell me about her experience, something not mentioned in law school textbooks. We spoke extensively about how she has balanced her life both as a mother and professional over the years. She was able to alleviate my concerns about the time commitment and expense, as well as encourage me to become a lawyer because of all the opportunities available. May, now in her fifth year as an attorney, gave me the 'while you're in law school' advice. It was also helpful to talk about work life versus student life and while I'm ready to get my degree in May and run, perhaps I should really focus on enjoying my last few weeks of Bryn Mawr before entering the 'real world.' I especially found their advice very helpful in moving forward."
Tsang has also worked for the Alumnae Association Office during her undergraduate years. Beginning as a camp helper for Reunion, she quickly became an integral part of the Reunion registration process and superviser of all Reunion student workers. Now working as a paralegal at a center city law firm, she plans to go to law school in one year.
In other externships this spring, Anna von Brookhaven '09 worked in different production aspects at the Manhattan Theater club, sponsored by Lynne Meadow '68. Kelsey Lynch '11 shadowed Shana Weiss '91, MD, while she saw patients at her practice, met with her staff and practicing partner, and sat in on her meeting with a pharmaceutical representative. Sadie Marlow '11 and Amber Moore '09 observed C. Zinnia Maravell '65 in her practice as an acupuncturist and herbalist and asked many of her clients questions.
Rachel Park '10 interned at a nonprofit film company with Ellen Brodsky, Hfd '03, who co-produced a documentary called At Home In Utopia, about radical garment workers who built housing cooperatives in the Bronx during the 1920s. Before the documentary aired on PBS, Park researched labor unions and cooperatives in various U.S. cities so that they could be contacted for future publicity for the film. She also helped set up at a film screening and got to meet other filmmakers.
Laura Perry '09 got a good idea of what it would be like to be a second grade teacher. Helping in the class of Anne Akyuz '00 in a New York City public school for three days, she worked one-on-one with children to write and edit their stories, floated during free time, read aloud to the class and went to lunches with faculty and read some of Akyuz's curriculum. Sydney Silver '09, sponsored by Elizabeth Vann '85, observed a variety of high school classes for two days, including bilingual math classes, Spanish classes, and ESL classes. At Teachers' Curriculum Institute, Margaret Powers '10, sponsored by Elizabeth Russell '67, learned about educational publishing and curriculum development, getting a much clearer picture of the day-to-day tasks and meetings involved in curriculum design.
At the architectural firm of Daniela Holt Voith '75, Chen Jin '12 and Cynthia Lin '11 worked on aspects of design projects, shadowed project managers in their client, training and engineering meetings. At Sopexa USA, Inc., Carina Sandrini-Cooke '09, sponsored by Alice Loubaton '71, attended a wine tasting, worked with Loubaton on various proposals and internal briefs, and translated proposals from French to English.
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At Commencement on May 17, degrees were conferred upon 111 graduate students and 332 undergraduates, including seven Katharine McBride Scholars, students beyond traditional college age. Graduate degrees included 24 doctorates, 11 masters of arts, 60 masters of social work, and 13 masters of law and social policy.
The Gertrude Slaughter Fellowship was awarded to Emily McGlynn, who graduated summa cum laude with a major in biology and to Laura Popa, who graduated summa cum laude with a major in physics. McGlynn plans to work in an environmental non-profit before undertaking graduate study, and Popa will begin graduate work in experimental physics at MIT in the fall.
The European Traveling Fellowship was awarded to Sarah Mellor, who graduated summa cum laude with majors in French and history of art. Mellor is an intern at the Whitney Museum of American Art this summer and plans to pursue graduate study in the history of art in the future. The Doris Sill Carland Prize for excellence in teaching assistance was awarded to graduate students Diane Amoroso-O'Connor in classics, Donald Fahey in physics, and Marissa Vigneault in history of art.
The Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Foundation Award for Distinguished Teaching was awarded to Fairbank Professor in the Humanities and Professor of German Azade Seyhan. The Rosalyn R. Schwartz Teaching Award for contribution to curricular development at the College was presented to Professor of Biology Peter Brodfuehrer. The Mary Patterson McPherson Award for faculty was presented to Associate Professor of Social Work and Social Research James Martin.
Two faculty members were appointed to named chairs. The Mary Hale Chase Professorship in Social Sciences and Social Work and Social Research was awarded to Professor of Social Work Toba Kerson. The Rachel Hale Professorship in the Sciences and Mathematics was awarded to Professor of Psychology Clark (Rick) McCauley.
Graduating to emeritus status were Professor of Russian George Pahomov, and former Provost and Professor of Anthropology Judith Shapiro, who recently retired as President of Barnard College.
Bryn Mawr staff who retired this year are Katherine Gordon-Clark '56, Ph.D. '83, Child Study Institute; Nancy Hanlon, Wyndham; Elizabeth Iushewitz and Margaret McConaghy in Housekeeping.
The Rhys Carpenter Chair in Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology was awarded to Professor Alice Donahue. The Johanna Alderfer Harris and William H. Harris M.D. Professorship in Environmental Studies was awarded to Associate Professor in the Growth and Structure of Cities Department and the Environmental Studies Program Ellen Stroud. The Clowes Assistant Professorship in Science and Public Policy was awarded to Assistant Professor of Social Work and Social Research Sara Bressi Nath. The Alexandra Grange Hawkins Lectureship in Social Work was awarded to Assistant Professor of Social Work and Social Research Kevin Robinson. The Helen Taft Manning Assistant Professorship in British History was awarded to Assistant Professor of English Jamie Taylor.
In her commencement salutation, President Jane McAuliffe thanked the graduating classes of the three schools. "You opened your arms and offered a welcome that made this first year of my presidency at Bryn Mawr one of the happiest times of my life," she said. "The chance to watch you in action in the classroom, on the gym courts and playing fields, in the performance spaces—some cleverly improvised this year—has been a revelation. You, the graduates of 2009, are a multi-talented, high energy and accomplished cohort, and as you celebrate Bryn Mawr's traditions, you've taught me how to have a great, good time!"
Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter delivered the Convocation address on May 16.
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Above: Chief Financial Officer John Griffith and daughter, Chief Information Officer Elliott Shore, and Visiting Professor of Italian Dennis McAuliffe.
May Day 2009 was rainy, but all of the morning's traditional events took place outdoors, from a circus-themed parade to the hoop race and May Hole, where students danced on the parachute and sang to Dar William's "As Cool As I Am" (see Lenses on page 78). President Jane McAuliffe delivered her first humorous May Day speech to those gathered on the Green. "I'm of Norwegian descent," she said. "And as some of you may know, there is no such thing as a funny Norwegian. Can you name any Norwegian comics?" she asked, to which one Mawrter shouted in reply, "Jane McAuliffe!"
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New plans for the renovation and upgrading of Schwartz Gymnasium will bring light into the front of the building through a two-story atrium with a dramatic curving stairway to the second floor and a glass exterior wall.
Improvement of the 25-year-old facility is crucial for both recruitment and retention of students.
"Schwarz is a stunning building, architecturally, with its undulating roofline," said President of the College Jane McAuliffe. "Clever architectural reworkings will open up its spaces and allow us to create, for example, a rejuvenated fitness center, which our students want and need. I want them to be able to leave the lab and the library and go hop on treadmills or bikes for a real change of pace and the stress release that exercise can provide. I think it's very important that we help them to become not only life-long learners, but people who are physically active for the rest of their lives."
On Schwartz's second floor, a balcony for new exercise equipment will overlook the atrium at one end and face a glass wall at the other (see architectural model at right). A multi-purpose room will occupy the center of the second floor. The project includes repairs to the pool, renovated locker rooms, and a replacement of the roof.
Construction is scheduled to begin at the end of the fall 2009 semester and be completed by September 2010. The renovation will cost $7.5 million; $4.5 million had been raised as of June.
"When I see our windowless exercise room full of students on the ellipticals and treadmills, I think of how many more students we can support by providing a greater variety of programming in spaces that have more natural light and are suitable for the activity," said Athletics Director Kathleen Tierney. "Our students would love an opportunity to participate in yoga, pilates and a multitude of other life-long activities that energize the mind, body and spirit.
"Since Schwartz Gym was dedicated in 1983 there has been a revolution in the way women in particular value and pursue fitness and sports goals. Almost 50 percent of enrolling students in the class of 2012 participated in interscholastic sports. This statistic shows us that today's scholars understand the importance of engaging in an active lifestyle and are looking for a college environment that supports that philosophy."
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Mary O'Keeffe '75. Photo by Wendy M. Greenfield
Alice Rivlin '52
A panel discussion and open forum on the current financial crisis held June 9 for New York Club alumnae featured economist Mary O'Keeffe '75; Wall Street executive Al Hurley, co-host for the evening with Trustee of the College Denise Hurley '82; and economists Bruce Tuckman and David Malpass. O'Keeffe is a risk management consultant for Miller Risk Advisory and teaches part time at Union College. Tuckman, Hurley and Malpaas, formerly worked at Lehman, Merrill Lynch and Bear Stearns, respectively.
O'Keeffe spoke about the need for people in the financial industry and the general public to make smarter decisions, and for extended and improved government regulations and better designed tax policy. Among the resources she mentioned for alumnae/i who want to improve their financial literacy was Yale's free Open Campus on-line video class on financial markets. There are a growing number of volunteer efforts to improve financial literacy, such as United Way's CA$H Coalition (Creating Assets, Savings, and Hope), and O'Keeffe also encouraged alumnae/i in the audience to get involved with those initiatives as volunteers.
O'Keeffe told the Bulletin that many of the unheeded voices of caution and good sense were women's—including Sheila Bair at the FDIC, Brooksley Born formerly of CFTC, National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson '75 and Alice Rivlin '52, former Federal Reserve vice chair and a fellow at the Brookings Institution.
O'Keefe expressed her concern about the disproportionately large number of very bright young people who have been drawn into the financial industry in recent years. Rivlin had also addressed this issue in a March 24 interview with Alicia Menendez for Big Think, a global online forum. "Financial services are supposed to be serving the rest of the economy, but our financial services industry got into a position where it was largely servicing itself," Rivlin said. "We don't need that many smart people inventing more and more complex derivatives and instruments to sell to each other.
"We do need our start-up companies, which make a lot of the positive changes in the economy. We're in an innovation cycle which is definitely not over. There are lots of things happening in new electronic and healthcare applications and that's going to power our economy going forward."
Rivlin recently participated in a special presentation from Big Think, sharing her thoughts via online video on how best to navigate today's economic conditions. Her talk can be seen at: www.bigthink.com/ alicerivlin/the-government-and-the-economy-3.
Obama names Savitz to council, nominates Kornbluh
Maxine Lazarus Savitz '58 Maxine Lazarus Savitz '58 was named by President Barack Obama on April 27 to the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), a group of the nation's leading scientists and engineers. They will advise the president and vice president and formulate policy in the many areas where understanding of science, technology, and innovation is key to strengthening the U.S. economy and forming policy that works for the American people.
Vice president of the National Academy of Engineering and a senior fellow of the California Council on Science and Technology (CCST), Savitz is retired general manager of Technology Partnerships at Honeywell Inc. She has more than 30 years of experience managing research, development and implementation programs for the public and private sectors, including in the aerospace, transportation, and industrial sectors. From 1979 to 1983 she served as deputy assistant secretary for conservation in the U.S. Department of Energy. Obama has also nominated Karen Kornbluh '84 to serve as the U.S. permanent representative to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.
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Bryn Mawr participated in a Consortium on Higher Education Financing (COFHE) Alumni survey in spring 2009. The email response rate of 52 percent across all classes through the class of 2003 was the highest among the 28 participating schools. The Class of 1966 had the highest email response rate of any class year (66 percent).
Some highlights are as follows:
74 percent of respondents had an advanced degrees: fully 91 percent of whom said that Bryn Mawr had prepared them "very well" or "more than adequately" for their graduate program. Among the specific skills developed by a Bryn Mawr education, "analytic thinking" was the skill most often cited (88 percent said Bryn Mawr prepared them "very well" or "more than adequately," with "learn on own" and "writing" close behind, both over 85 percent) while "having a healthy lifestyle" was ranked last (31 percent). A jump in quantitative reasoning from 33 percent for the 1960s to 57 percent for 2000s may reflect the impact of the newer quantitative skills requirement.
When asked about a set of nine educational outcomes that Bryn Mawr should emphasize more in the future, every class decade since the 1950s ranked "workplace skills" first. When it came to administrative areas deserving of greater emphasis in the future, however, there was more variation across class years—financial aid and promoting student and faculty diversity were higher priorities for recent classes than for older alumnae/i.
A full analysis of the results is due in the fall, when COFHE provides the College with peer data from the 27 other schools that administered the survey.
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Mike Niccolls '39 (top left) has dedicated countless hours to the College in her 70 years as an alumna. She currently serves as class co-president, class editor, class gift chair, and Washington career network representative. To honor her at the time of her 70th reunion, the BMC Club of Washington spearheaded an effort to raise funds in Niccoll's honor. Ninety-one donors from around the country contributed almost $32,800 via the Annual Fund to provide internships for Bryn Mawr undergraduates in Washington. If you wish to donate to this effort and have not yet had a chance, please contact Sally Harrison '71 (email@example.com or 610.526.6530).
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