Students sitting in Severance Hall living room

The renovation of half of Severance Hall in the summer of 2022 marked the first stage of a $250 million plan to preserve Wellesley’s beloved residence halls and make them greener and more accessible. The second half of the Severance renovation was completed in the summer of 2023. This project would not have been possible without the generosity of our alumnae donors, including Laura Daignault Gates ’72, Victoria “Vicki” Jean Herget ’73, and Debora de Hoyos ’75, P’07.

In a charming coincidence, these alumnae all lived in Severance Hall in the 1971–72 academic year. Debora was a first-year and “in awe,” she says, of Laura, a senior, and Vicki, a junior. In addition to living together and supporting the Severance Hall renovation project, they have all had the great honor of serving as chairs of the Wellesley College Board of Trustees.

Supporting the residential experience

“My residential experience was a very important part of my Wellesley experience. I loved every nook and cranny of Severance. Of course, it is the people who make the difference, but I have learned that our surroundings have a tangible effect on how we feel and interact. I am thrilled that Severance has been reimagined to foster community in the 21st century.” –Laura Daignault Gates ’72, trustee emerita

“Residential life is the cornerstone of a Wellesley experience, and Severance played that role for me for four years. It was a home away from home; a place to study, dine, play, and laugh; and perhaps most importantly, where I met lifelong friends. To help ensure it will remain that way for generations of Wellesley women, I was delighted to be able to support this spectacular renovation.” –Victoria “Vicki” Jean Herget ’73, trustee emerita

“Severance was my Wellesley home. It is where I made lifelong friends with other first-years—headstrong women who came from all over and now live all over. I may no longer live in Severance, but I live a life with plenty of its influence, which is why I am thrilled to have been able to contribute to the Severance renovation.” –Debora de Hoyos ’75, P’07, trustee