Life Lessons

From the WCAA President

Martha Goldberg Aronson ’89, president, Wellesley College Alumnae Association, sits on a bench outside Green Hall

Photo by Richard Howard

During this academic year, we are celebrating 50 years of the Alumnae Achievement Awards, the highest honor that Wellesley bestows upon its alumnae. The award ceremony is truly an inspiring evening, and it was wonderful to see so many students, alumnae, parents, faculty, and staff in attendance during the Very Wellesley Weekend last October.

One of our recipients for 2019 was Carol Remmer Angle ’48, who was given advice by her sister-in-law as she was choosing a college: “Go to Wellesley. They do things!” And Diane Rowland ’70, the other recipient for 2019, visited Wellesley as a prospective student. When she told her high school counselor that she wanted to attend the College, his response was, “Why would you do that …? You could find a perfectly good husband if you went to UConn.” Diane then told the audience, “That was the first man whose advice I didn’t take … . There’s been lots of ’em.”

As I listened, laughed, and reflected during the ceremony, which was accentuated with several beautiful musical interludes by the Wellesley College Choir, I thought about the sage advice they both provided to students in the audience.

It is interesting to note that Carol Angle was an English major who went on to become a physician. As she said, “One regret is that I was so intimidated by the science faculty back in the ’40s that I never discussed it with them. And all I can say to that is to the students today, talk to your faculty.” Carol shared that she had an epiphany at Paramecium Pond one day and realized she wanted to become a doctor. And she did! So she is a good reminder that any liberal arts major can lead to just about any career one wants to pursue. Today, as our exciting new science facilities are emerging, combined with a new focus on inclusive teaching pedagogy, we will facilitate scientific literacy for all of our students. In addition, we will continue to be able to provide world-class research and internship opportunities for our science majors.

Diane Rowland also shared an opinion about the journey of life: “Life evolves. It doesn’t just happen, and I know many of the students I’ve talked to today said, ‘Well, how did you know, when did you know, what you wanted to do?’ I didn’t have any Paramecium Pond super-moment. But as I worked, I saw new opportunities, and I tried to see more and more of where I wanted to go. And so my one piece of advice is, don’t think when you walk out the door of Wellesley at your graduation, you have to have your whole life planned. Please don’t plan it. Please let it happen. Please enjoy the time you have here—treasure it, soak it up, use every minute of it, make lifelong friends here—but know that after you walk out this door, you will have many opportunities to shape your life and to change it as I did.”

As I listened to them in Alumnae Hall that evening, I was struck by how many generations of students had come before, and how timeless the advice was.

I hope this reminds you that there are so many reasons to connect with other alumnae when you have the opportunity. Reconnect with the College if you haven’t recently, and think about how you can encourage curious young women who may not have it all figured out yet to think about attending Wellesley. Then they too can join our amazing alumnae network, enjoy lifelong friendships, learn how to think critically, and ask the difficult questions. And they can live our motto, Non Ministrari sed Ministrare—not to be ministered unto, but to minister—whether locally, nationally, or internationally.

Hats off to our alumnae. You do things!

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