Senior Class Brunch Marks First Official Alumnae Event for the Class of 2017
Yesterday, members of the Class of 2017 enjoyed a celebratory prelude to their May 26 commencement at the Senior Class Brunch. The occasion marked their induction into the Wellesley College Alumnae Association (WCAA).
Georgia Murphy Johnson ’75, president of the WCAA, welcomed the class and introduced Laura Daignault Gates ’72, chair of the Wellesley College Board of Trustees.
“Go out there and achieve your dreams and dream big,” Gates said, and then announced a challenge grant to the new alumnae: She agreed to donate $10,000 to the senior class gift if 85 percent or more of its members contributed $1 or more.
Following Gates’ brief remarks, WCAA Executive Director Missy Shea ’89 recalled a bit of the association’s history. “On June 23, 1880, 59 women gathered in the drawing room of College Hall to form an alumnae association whose purpose was to connect alums to each other and to the college,” she said. “Today…137 years later, we are still at it.”
Shea praised the class’s success in meeting the 85 percent participation goal for the challenge grant and told the graduates that the WCAA will donate $2,000 to the class Life Endowment Fund, which can be used for expenses related to class reunions, scholarships, or communications. In addition, the WCAA will contribute an additional amount for participation of more than 85 percent.
Senior gift committee co-chairs Rachel Thommen ’17 and Feliz Smith ’17 presented Wellesley College President Paula Johnson with $16,354 donated by the class. “Each of us has benefitted from the generosity of those who have come before us,” Thommen said. “Now it is our turn to pay it forward. Many of us have already begun by contributing to the class gift.”
“Your generosity is greatly appreciated,” Johnson said in accepting the donation. “I am especially grateful for your personal participation in making this gift possible. In this way, you’ve affirmed your belief in Wellesley and its bright future. Thank you.”
Johnson invited the winner of this year’s hooprolling contest, Laurel Wills ’17, on stage to receive a certificate and sign a hoop that bears the names of previous winners. The Alumnae Association keeps the ceremonial hoop.
After the hoop signing, outgoing senior class presidents Casey Butler ’17 and Amal Cheema ’17 announced Thommen as the alumnae class president. Shea presented her with the class gavel. Thommen called to order the first alumnae class meeting and introduced the class officers: Vice President Dorcas Thompson ’17, Secretary Maddie Conway ’17, and Treasurer Cali Stenson ’17. As its first order of business, the class voted to ratify its alumnae constitution.
Following the vote, the class’s chosen faculty speaker, Michael Jeffries, associate professor of American studies, took the stage. In his remarks, her urged the students to be prepared to use the knowledge they have absorbed at Wellesley to oppose cruelty and injustice in all forms.
Jeffries referenced issues that are at the center of today’s political and social debates, such as immigration, health care, racism, and violence against women. “Deceit and cruelty,” he said, are like two creatures that walk among us.
After Jeffries’ speech, Johnson invited the class to stand to be inducted into the Wellesley College Alumnae Association.
Brooke Lawrence ’17 and Marcela Olivas ’17 concluded the brunch by leading the class in singing the alma mater.