In Our Words

In conjunction with Project Mawrter, we’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to be a Mawrter and how Bryn Mawr is unique.

In this issue, we go to the source with quotes from alumnae/i, curated from across the years.

At College, we never felt secondary to anyone, including the opposite sex, in business or personal relations. It was never spoken about; it was just an attitude that was present. It gave me great self-reliance and composure. —Gerry Pattison Grimshaw ’47

Bryn Mawr isn’t plastic, it isn’t nylon, it’s pure gold. … It was the best thing I ever did. —Katharine Hepburn ’28, Academy Award-winning actress

I loved it immediately and have a joyful connection to my class and Rock dorm-mates. There’s a vibe that I don’t know exists anywhere else. —Anna Kimbrough Morris ’62, retired advertising executive and adjunct professor at Columbia College Chicago

We sit close and talk loudly. —Leslie Kandell ’58, former New York Times writer in a published letter to Times Fashion reporter Vanessa Friedman asking what to wear to a 60th Reunion

I was lucky to come to Bryn Mawr. It was all about smart and successful women, and the faculty were amazing. Having gone to Harvard and Harvard Medical School later, I still tell people that I think Bryn Mawr is the best school in the country. —Mina J. Bissell ’63, Distinguished Senior Scientist, Bissell Lab, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

I still credit Bryn Mawr with everything important I got from my undergraduate career: a rigorous love of truth in all its wealth of disciplinary guises, a fundamental understanding that women are smart, and the idea that the intellectually fortunate have a duty to contribute to the society that provided their good fortune … my heart belongs to Bryn Mawr. —Phoebe Ellsworth ’65, Professor of Law and Psychology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

I knew I was smart, but Bryn Mawr showed me what I could do with those smarts. It stripped away expectation and allowed me to become more vocal and confident. —Mikecia Witherspoon ’12, Deputy Chief of Staff to Philadelphia Mayor James Kenney

I didn’t have to make excuses for why I was ambitious and driven, or why I wanted to do more things than made sense. People at Bryn Mawr supported me, and that gave me permission in many ways to spread my wings and fly. —Deborah Osei-Agyekum ’10, CEO of African Bureau Stories and co-founder of Golden Baobab

I’m not sure that anyplace does as good a job of preparing a person to think. —Jessie Ravage ’81, Historic Preservation Consultant and Cross Country Coach

I spent the summer of 2017 working on a farm. Before Bryn Mawr, I would have viewed that job as just a way to make money. Instead, I lived it through my anthropology lens, analyzing the skill required for that kind of work and thinking about how society devalues it. Bryn Mawr turned that part of my brain on by giving me a toolbox for looking at the world. —Kayla Patton ’18, Administrative Assistant, Haverford College

Bryn Mawr gave me a fabulous education, a strong sense of myself  as a competent and intelligent woman, and a sisterhood that is enviable by any measure. —Saskia Subramanian ’88, M.A. ’89, Research Sociologist, UCLA

Bryn Mawr taught me how to articulate my intellectual point of view and defend my perspective. —Stephanie Brown ’75, Securities Lawyer

One of the most valuable (and perhaps) unique aspects of the Bryn Mawr education is the personal relationships that develop between students and teachers. They defined for me what education should be, and I strive to incorporate this into my own teaching today. —Stephanie Nebel ’05, Science Teacher

Bryn Mawr opened my eyes, mind, and soul. It believed in me when others didn’t and offered me a place to soar. One of the best decisions I ever made! —Luann Johnson ’98 (McBride Scholar)

In [M. Cary Thomas’s] vision, students like me, students of color, and even Jewish students weren’t here. But we’re here now, and we’re making change. … If we all act with great intention and clear hearts, there’s no way this place can’t be better. —Jada Ceasar ’20, Student Coordinator for the Black at Bryn Mawr Tour