Alumnae Quarterly, Spring 2004

Lyon's Pride ... or Shame?

In our winter Quarterly, there is an announcement of "Lyon's Pride," approved and accepted by the Board. What Lyon's Pride members do or think in their private lives is their privilege. But to be an official group, approved and accepted as part of Mount Holyoke College is unacceptable.

The purpose of our founder, Mary Lyon, is violated. The wonderful guidances of our former president, Mary Woolley, are desecrated. I am no longer proud of my college. It has removed the firm foundation upon which it stood. It has undermined the truths that are eternal.

Need I say more - as of Sodom and Gomorrah.

Beatrice Milligan Marvel '38
Worcester, New York

The Quarterly is always interesting and the winter issue was no exception. However, I was greatly surprised, and much concerned as well, to find "Introducing Lyon's Pride."

I really wonder if Mary Lyon would be at all pleased with this development. And further, I would expect that Mary Brigham (a distant relative elected as MHC's first president before her untimely death) would have been quite as upset as I am. The alumnae have many reasons to be loyal to, and proud of, Mount Holyoke College. This is not one of them.

In the same issue, I was thrilled to read the "When [sic] Happens When Young Women Take the Lead." This is the kind of publicity in which MHC can take pride.

Mary Brigham Gowing '40
Seattle, Washington

I was pleased to see the announcement about Lyon's Pride. It raised awareness and several alumnae have recently joined. Lyon's Pride now has well over 700 members, ranging from members of the class of 1945 to current graduates. 
In recent years there have been conferences for African American alumnae and Latina alumnae. In April there will be an Asian/Asian-American alumnae conference. However, the queer (lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered) community has not been acknowledged or celebrated. Some of us have been active supporters of the College working with the development or admission offices. Others have served their classes as officers, agents, or scribes. Unfortunately, many others have not felt welcomed, and have not had a relationship with the college since graduation.

Our previous group, MHC Lesbian Alumnae Network, founded in 1986, filled a void for some. Becoming an affiliate group of the Alumnae Association seems a logical step toward improving relationships among our community, the Alumnae Association, and our college.

Barbara Main Derbyshire '60
San Jose, California

In regards to the advertisement for Lyon's Pride, this is what's wrong with Mount Holyoke. This should be private and not an advertised matter. I met a young alumna last summer who stayed at Mount Holyoke long enough to graduate despite the lesbian presence. It's embarrassing to have to defend a college that survived for 150 or so years without a gay network. It is sacrilegious to have Mary Lyon's name used in that way.

Ann Smith Morris '52
Media, Pennsylvania

It was heartening to see that the Alumnae Association has joined the modern era with the addition of the Lyon's Pride affiliate group. Many major corporations, including my employer, and many universities and colleges have had such groups for their employees and alumni/ae for a number of years in some cases over a decade.

Nicki Nicolo '76
Portland, Oregon

W. Rochelle Calhoun '83, executive director, notes: The Alumnae Assocation of Mount Holyoke College, in its effort to support an increasing diverse alumnae body, encourages alumnae who are members of historicallly underrepresented populations to form affiliate groups. The intent of the affiliate group is to facilitate communication among alumnae on issues of common concern and to strengthen alumnae identification and involvement with the Association and the College.

© Mount Holyoke Lyon's Pride
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