Alumnae gathered on Taylor green at the close of Reunion weekend for conversations over strawberries and champagne.

Photography by Paola Nogueras '84
Assistant to the photographer, Courtney Moore '06

Reuning Mawrters prowled the new suite of student rooms at the top of Pem Arch, with its common room, kitchen, and long views, during a tour of campus projects.

All weekend long, they pumped the undergraduates working as class helpers about their studies, lives, and dreams. They did yoga and Pilates. They muttered to each other that their classmates hadn't aged that much, at least the ones who showed up. But mostly they talked and listened to one another's stories. And after the 107th Annual Meeting of the Alumnae Association, they ate strawberries with whipped cream, drank champagne, and talked some more under the trees on Taylor green.

Members of 14 classes spanning seven decades of graduates-625 alumnae along with 300 of their spouses, partners, and children-returned to campus May 28-30. In opening the Annual Meeting, President Marianne Pantano Rutter '74 urged fellow alumnae "to continue to tell our own stories and celebrate each other's stories. For they are patterns in the fantastic, many-hued tapestry that we weave collectively"

Listening was also the theme of the Reunion interfaith service led by the Rev. Margaret Lucie Thomas '68, rector of St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in Nogales, AZ, and Rabbi Ruth Michael Gais '68, Director of New York Kollel: A Center for Adult Jewish Study.

"We decided to use the dual festivals of Shavuot, when God gave the Torah on Mt. Sinai, and Pentecost, when language became intelligible via God's grace to focus on listening," said Gais. "The service included quotations on the theme from the Quran and a prayer attributed to Mohammed, because we believe that all three Abrahamic traditions need to be listening to each other at this time."

Chapters in Bryn Mawr facilities
Director of Facilities Services Glen Smith and Christopher Gluesing, campus architect and assistant director of planning and projects, gave a virtual tour of the last five years of campus projects as well as a glimpse at future initiatives, including renovations to Dalton Hall, on which heavy construction began in May. Smith and Gluesing led a walking tour as well that covered all corners of the campus, with visits to the Benham Gateway Building; the Cambrian Row houses for student activities; Rhoads pond; and the new Ward building for facilities services, housekeeping and purchasing departments.

Alumnae also took a self-guided tour of information resource sites, from the very old (Special Collections) to the very new (the New Media Lab) and attended a panel discussion about the effect of technology on the way information is recorded, acquired and presented, on campus and beyond.

In a lecture, "Modern Architecture for Modern Women," Michael J. Lewis, Hfd '79, chair of the art department at Williams College, discussed Louis Kahn's internationally known Erdman dormitory, now 40 years old.

While the original design by Kahn's assistant, Ann Tyng, resembled a "molecule gone mad," Kahn refined it into "a Pembroke for the atom age," Lewis said. "Kahn was applying the lessons of ancient Rome, Greece and Egypt to modern needs, reaching back to the themes he learned at the beginning of his career: the grand language of classical axes, the poignant weight of the masonry wall, and the tragic dignity of the ruin, especially those great spaces that were the scene of human ceremony through the ages."

Convinced that "women must not live in a barracks," Kahn equipped Erdman with a variety of intimate spaces of domesticity. He created a single grand living room in contrast to the many small living rooms in Bryn Mawr's other dorms. "In typical '60s fashion, Kahn thought in terms of the collective and the communal rather than the separate and the particular," Lewis said. A member of the Class of 1969 commented that "coming to Erdman was like coming into light and air" after living in pre-gothic, dark and enclosed dorms like Radnor, with their long, lonely corridors.

Erdman was, however, an experimental building, and "some experiments went wrong," Lewis said. Alumnae agreed, remembering the moisture problem, the noise that carries easily through the walls, and the flat roof that requires frequent maintenance. (More than 2,000 slate panels that face the outside of the building were removed and re-anchored last year, and the roof was replaced.) In Erdman, Lewis said, we see "the failures of a man reaching as high as he can for something just out of reach."

A walking tour of Erdman inside and out concluded the slideshow lecture in Thomas 110, one of Bryn Mawr's "smart" classrooms. Setting the scene for Lewis' talk was one by Jeffrey A. Cohen, Senior Lecturer in the Cities program at Bryn Mawr, discussing the College's early architectural history. Cohen analyzed our first buildings, which rendered the Ruskinian Gothic in Quaker grays and then pioneered the Collegiate Gothic.

Walking amid these afterward, alumnae examined the way the form of Taylor Hall in particular was generated by a sense of truth to its functions and parts. Architect Addison Hutton designed Taylor in 1880 in a way that displayed the nature of Taylor's different spaces, externally distinguishing classrooms from cloakrooms, administrative offices, the two-story assembly room, and the intervening circulation spaces. As a result, Cohen said, "Taylor is legible on all sides, centered amid the campus, on show in-the-round for visual discovery like some new beast on earth now seen in captivity."

But within a decade almost every visual value embodied in Taylor was turned on its head, Cohen said. The dorms designed by Cope & Stewardson-Radnor, Denbigh, Pembroke, and Rockefeller-are positioned along the edges of the campus and frame green spaces. "Experience of them is of a side, a boundary," Cohen said. "And their form is less a predicate for discerning the truth of parts than for imparting the broader effect in a more visually cohesive ensemble. Space is clothed in historical more than functional legibilities, in the evocative, transporting architectural language of old English universities."

Professor of Biology Peter Brodfuehrer and Beth Singer '94 at the opening Reunion reception in Thomas Great Hall.

'Banner year in Admissions,' reports Nancy J. Vickers
In her State of the College address, President Nancy J. Vickers reported good progress toward realizing the two overarching goals of the Plan for a New Century-recruiting and retaining the best students, and promoting innovation without significant expansion.

"We have just completed a banner year in Admissions," Vickers said. "We received the largest number of applications to the freshman class in the College's history, up 10 percent from the previous year (and the previous record). The number of those applying early decision was up 18 percent; it is especially exciting to see such an increase of those for whom Bryn Mawr is their first-choice college. The qualifications of those who have chosen to come to Bryn Mawr are also impressive: median SAT scores are up, and the number of those with the highest admissions rating who accepted our offer of admission is double that of the previous year. The diversity of the class is also impressive-26 percent are U.S. students of color and 8 percent are foreign citizens. Clearly, the focused messages incorporated into our new admissions materials in the past two years and the program initiatives of the Plan for a New Century are beginning to produce positive results.

"The intellectual life of the College is vibrant. In the past academic year, for example, we began new minors in Film Studies and in Computational Methods. Each of these new interdisciplinary programs is the product of collaboration between veteran members of the faculty and new colleagues who have been appointed in the past several years as part of the Plan. As we had hoped, the strategic addition of new interdisciplinary positions on the faculty is complementing existing strengths-in this case, in visual culture and mathematics and science-and promoting innovation. ...

"Overall the Challenging Women Campaign continues to proceed successfully. As of mid-May, gifts and pledges to the Campaign stood at more than $136.5 million. As my colleagues in Resources say, less than $90 million more to go! This year we held campaign celebrations in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Boston, and events will take place next year in Chicago and Washington, D.C. At each of these events, I was impressed by alumnae commitment to Bryn Mawr and its future.

"We have seen some wonderful additions to student life this year. In March we opened Cambrian Row, the splendid renovation of the Faculty Row houses to create student activities facilities. This project has allowed us to take extracurricular groups literally out of many basements and to support them appropriately. This fall we will update the first floor of the Campus Center to make that space more conducive to current students' needs and to informal gatherings. And for those of you who are graduates of the 1970s and 1980s, I am especially happy to announce that thanks to the efforts of SGA, Coffee Hour is back-at least on Fridays.

"The past year has held many challenges as well. As you know from the letter I sent to alumnae and friends last summer, the College reduced its non-teaching staff by 6 percent to avert a projected multi-year deficit. Lower income from the endowment (the aftermath of three years of stock market declines) and greater financial need among our students created this prospective deficit. The decision to reduce staff in order to achieve a balanced budget, a painful but necessary decision, created a variety of tensions on campus. Faculty, staff, and senior administrators have worked hard over the past months to identify and to begin the work of reducing those strains so that we can move forward. I believe we have made good progress though there is much left to do to enhance communication and transparency of operations within the campus community. I share and am deeply committed to these goals. And I am relieved to tell you that the measures we took last summer to ensure our financial health have been effective. We no longer project deficits and are now poised to invest in the future.

"...Much remains to be done of course, as suggested by the $90 million we must raise to meet our minimum campaign goal. We are still working to improve faculty salaries, which are low compared to our peers; to stabilize support for financial aid; to provide adequate facilities for the arts and athletics; and to provide ongoing funding for curricular innovation. I am confident, however, that we will continue to move forward with your help."

How are Mawrters possible?
Opening the 107st Annual Meeting of the Alumnae Association, President Marianne Pantano Rutter '74 paraphrased a line spoken by Katherine Houghton Hepburn '28, who died last year, in her role as Eleanor of Aquitaine in film "The Lion in Winter."

"After a long imprisonment, she is reunited at the Chinon Christmas court with her husband, Henry II," Pantano recalled. "Just in case he's forgotten her many accomplishments, she recounts a long list: riding at the head of his army to the Crusades, bearing nine or 10 children, and enduring '45 years of connubial bliss'-a list which she eclipses with queenly self-deprecation: 'How am I possible?' I'd like to suggest that this is a phrase that applies to all Mawrters. Indeed, how are we possible?

"In doing the research for these remarks, I went to the Alumnae Association website to look at the alumnae profiled in the Alumnae Bulletin," Pantano said. "You can click on any link and find a story that makes for fascinating reading. And behind each story is a life, touching many other lives-one of us. I recommend them to any of you who may be in doubt that we, Bryn Mawr collectively speaking, are a formidable bunch.

"And so I urge you to celebrate us, we who are Latino studies advocates, professors of medicine and sculptors. We are education policy-makers, actresses, mayors and mathematicians. We are award-winning Latin teachers, silversmiths, and Internet managers for rock bands. We have danced with Isadora Duncan, kissed Spencer Tracy, and flown with the flying monkeys in 'The Wizard of Oz.'

"We are experts in welfare reform, railroad economics, oilfields and stuttering. We research monastic art, the media, drag queens, El Niņo winds and the texture of food. We practice arts medicine and spiritual transformation. We also hike, bike, walk, run, play tennis and ice hockey-to name but a few. We are expert fly-fisherwomen. We are professional Trekkers (of the Star Trek variety, that is) and we are professional wanderers.

"We are in the front lines of battle against the most baffling medical and social issues of our day: cancer, eating disorders, illiteracy, gun control and violence in our schools. We are members of the Fourth Estate-writers, radio personalities, journalists, publishers, bookmakers and filmmakers. We are stewards of the world around us, from the pine barrens of New Jersey, to the cinnamon-bark harvests of Sumatra, to the national parks of Brazil.

"We are also changelings: We are teachers turned AIDS activists; law clerks turned singers; lawyers turned mystery novelists and artists turned community action advocates. We have our domestic sides, too: We preserve wedding gowns and incubate catering businesses. We farm and direct farm camps. We write soap operas (and watch them, too). "We are flight controllers and Egyptologists. We are keepers of shops, and homes, and businesses. We are keepers of the flame.

"We help teen-age girls and we help battered women. We help ourselves. We build buildings and we build families. We build character. We make music and we make afghans. We make a difference. How, indeed, are we possible?

"As we move beyond our Reunion weekend, back to our homes and the people and endeavors that matter to us, let us continue to tell our stories and to celebrate each other's stories as well. For those stories are patterns in the fantastic, many-hued tapestry that we weave collectively, as alumnae of Bryn Mawr."

Scripting a balance of family life and careers
We were the first generation for which it was possible to balance family life and careers. In our discussions this weekend, we have discovered that each of us has gone about putting together a life in a different way, because there were no scripts. We had to make it up as we went along. Many of us brought lawsuits to get where we've gotten. Some of us have parented first and gone into a professional role afterwards. Some of us tried to do it all at the same time. We had to face the fact that our husbands with graduate degrees would be offered positions and we would not. This is less and less true now, and we are turning over to our daughters a generation of co-parenting where husband and wife have to work out equal consideration for their careers.

There are great movements underway to take back some of the progress that we've made, and our job for the rest of our lives is going to be keeping open for our daughters the options and choices for which we've fought.

-Deena Klein '64
30th Reunion Speech

Proud to be Bryn Mawr
... the most important lesson we learned at Bryn Mawr was the value of our friends. They were there for us, listening as we struggled with our self-doubts, homesickness, the end of relationships, our fears about the future. They helped us back to the dorm if we'd partied too much. They proofread papers for us when we had been up all night and could no longer string together coherent sentences. They made us laugh. And they are here with us today, celebrating, commiserating, listening and most especially, laughing.

Even if we haven't kept in touch, it amazes us how quickly we fall right back together and how deeply those connections bind us. I know I'm not the first president of the 25th reuning class to say exactly these things, and to my mind, that's the most amazing thing about Bryn Mawr. We all had these experiences, and when we meet alumnae from other classes, we feel connected to them as well. We also know when we return for our 50th reunion, we will feel those same bonds with those who have followed us. It is that powerful, shared experience that ties all of us together and makes us proud to be Bryn Mawr.

-Laurie Hansen Saxton '79
25th Reunion Speech

Jean McGloin '99, Elin Kondrad '99, guest Nicole Miller, and songmistress Heidi Delamere '99.

'He should have been born a girl and gone to Bryn Mawr'
In an essay about Reunion 2004, "Report from the Front: Life Lesson," author Gwen Davis '54 writes, "Along with the pictures of us in our ebullient, plump-cheeked, had-to-wear-skirts Youth, there was posted on the bulletin board in Rhoads, the hall where we stayed, a wry piece from The New Yorker by Christopher Buckley, understatedly sticking his genetically pointed tongue out at his reunion: how all the wrong people came, how dull everything was. He should have been born a girl, and gone to Bryn Mawr. I confess to having felt a slight surge of envy at first perceiving the thumbtacked piece, as it was my life ambition when entering as a Freshman to get something in The New Yorker, as it was when graduating to have a musical on Broadway. By the end of the event I envied no one, and wished for nothing, except that I could stay longer.

"The Jewel in the Turret" of Reunion Weekend was "the women," Davis wrote. "There were so many of wit and talent and political passion, friends I made and kept who supported me my whole life long. A book of our stories in our own words turned out to yield so many tales of heartbreak and spiritual triumph that I wept on sight to see a member of the class I hadn't even known well who had lost a son and a husband in too short and early order, and had written about it without a shred of self-pity."

Start recording your story
We are a group of women-many of whom have remained friends through the years-who have lived through incredible and unpredictable changes in the world and in our personal lives. Our class reunion book tells their riveting stories. What is striking is a common thread-the reinvention of self.

A political science major is widowed, goes back to school, remarries and becomes head of a large construction company. Two classmates, an anthropology and an archeology major, have both become recognized in the quilting world. A biology major becomes a pharmacologist, retires, becomes a professional calligrapher and on a whim returns to work and is currently the dean of pharmacology in Botswana. Well, why not!

Speaking of Africa, we have a psychology major who ran a flying school in Nairobi for 35 years. A divorced, single mother, working as a librarian, remarries, and is currently on the stage with an equity card. A world-traveled wife of a diplomat, widowed, is working as an archivist and town historian.

What is to become of us?

This is in our own hands. We need to hand down our lives in our own words-shape our own image for the generations to come. Who better to tell our story than ourselves? Observations, emotions, commentary need to be set down at the moment. Are you writing in journals, keeping diaries? It is hard to make it all up at the end. Do you save your correspondence? Are you hitting the print key before you send those e-mails-saving hard copy in an active file entitled "My Life"?

Whatever age or stage you are in, it is time to start the recording.

-Marilyn Muir Pfaltz '54
50th Reunion Speech

In the tradition of May Day, members of 1999, the youngest reuning class, presented flowers to members of the oldest reuning classes, 1939, 1943, 1944, and 1945, at the conclusion of the Annual Meeting.

From left: 1954 Gift Chair Natalie Fasick Snyder, Maisie Hardenbergh Dethier '43, and 1954 Class President Marilyn Muir Pfaltz. The Class of 1954 received both the Maisie Hardenbergh Dethier '43 Award for Highest Annual Fund Participation and the Ellenor Morris '27 Award for the Highest Annual Fund Total with a gift total of $345,595. Detier celebrated her 61st Reunion.

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