mount holyoke class of 1991





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Guest Column — 2006 [ARCHIVE]

Class of 1991 15-Year Reunion Recap

by Amy E. Gotwals

The classy and distinctly less yellow reunion class t-shirts claimed we were "still not mellow." While I actually feel that I have mellowed since my Mount Holyoke days (welcome news to some, I fear), that's luckily not the case for our class president Kristen Klein Colston and our reunion co-chairs, Julianne Trabucchi Puckett and Robyn Scott, who put on one hell of a three-day reunion party for us in June.

The skies didn't cooperate, so no Alumnae Parade, but the weekend was still crammed with class- class photo 2006 and college-sponsored events to meet just about everyone's needs. Our reunion packets included a CD of 1987-1991 era songs, as well as a class questionnaire booklet, produced by Ellen Martin. Where else could we learn that as a class we each pay an average of $1663 per month for housing and that 84% of us would attend Mount Holyoke again given the choice?

Swarms of toddlers were underfoot in every corner of Buckland, our reunion dorm, and the large living room made for a great gathering place and played host to our class meeting and several social hours. Hospitality queen Meredith Elkins kept the food and drink flowing. Class memorabilia and 1991-era artifacts were strategically strewn about the dorm, too, surprising folks with flashbacks when they least expected it.

Robyn led kids and adults alike into artistic directions with "Crafternoon" at Buckland, while others attended classes, participated in a Japanese tea ceremony for the first time, took a 91-only guided campus tour or checked out the new campus bookstore. [If I might diverge here for a few moment to pay tribute to Wilbur/Blanchard popcorn, which no longer exists. Several classmates and I grilled multiple sources in the new Blanchard café, but apparently fresh popcorn is no more at MHC. I blame Dr. Atkins.]

At our class meeting, we elected new officers and heard updates on ...

  • our class gift to the Alumnae Association in honor of our reunion: $49,346 (with 31.5% class participation)
  • our class finances (dues are $25 for the next five years and can be paid online)
  • our new system for sharing photos with classmates, via the web site Flickr (get the full instructions)
  • the good news that the global economy hasn't left our class behind. You can purchase a range of 1991 merchandise through this very web site; all proceeds go toward our 20th reunion!

Incoming officers include returning leaders: President Kristen Klein Colston, VPs/Reunion Co-Chairs Julianne Trabucchi Puckett and Robyn Scott, and Treasurer Diane Greenfield. All hail our new secretary, the first in 16 years, Nicole Ratte Guttmorsen (bless you, Nicole, for setting me free!). New Scribes Meredith Elkins and Melissa Wolfe need your news so stay in touch, and rest assured that new Head Class Agents Janet Balej and Mari Ellen Reynolds will be in touch with you.

At the Alumnae Association meeting, we were pleasantly surprised to learn that several of our own were being honored by the AA. Both Suzanne Franchetti and Sunny Park Suh received the Alumnae Medal of Honor, and Julianne Trabucchi Puckett was a recipient of the first annual Alumnae Loyalty Award (presented at Alumnae Council on October 14, 2006).

About that "still not mellow" moniker ... we proved it quite true in an afternoon Q&A with MHC President Joanne Creighton which was arranged just for our class. Suffice to say she didnít get off easy.

We had a rocking good time with the class of 2001 (they were the graduating class at our last reunion) on Saturday night, dancing until the wee hours and dueling over whose music was more danceable. Kristen Daley Schadt deserves much thanks for organizing such a great party. Blanchard has once again been renovated (to mixed reviews from my informal focus group of classmates), but the large new dance/performance space was definitely a plus.

The thing about reunion is that it is just like college was Ė- different for everyone. So I probably haven't captured the range of experiences enjoyed by my classmates. From quiet moments catching up with old friends, to cramming together as a huge group to get our class photo taken (did I mention we were the largest 15th reunion class in six years?), to meeting the spouses/partners and children of long-lost roommates, to wandering solo across Mount Holyoke's beautiful campus ... reunion is what you make it. The memories come flooding back ... or they don't ("Am I supposed to know her? What's her name again?"). It can be a joyous or painful process, depending on where you were then and where you are now. But I personally find it a rich and rewarding experience to re-encounter all those young women who are frozen in my mind and discover how time has changed them for the better.

It's hard to swallow a big number like twenty, but I encourage everyone to plan to return to campus for our 20th reunion in 2011. It won't be the same without you.

Amy is Director of Public Policy and Legislative Affairs for the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging in Washington, DC (she lobbies for programs and services that help older adults and their caregivers stay healthy, active and independent). She lives in a tiny bungalow in Takoma Park, Maryland with her partner Amy and their 2-year-old son, Charles ... and she is slowly, very slowly, learning to love the smell of playdough in the morning.

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