Looking Back and Looking Forward

A photo of Laura Wood Cantopher ’84

Photo by Bailey Davidson

Photo by Bailey Davidson

As I write this column, my last as WCAA president, the first signs of spring are appearing outside my home in Charleston, S.C., and most of you have recently learned about the vote on the WCAA and the College merger. By the time you read this, the vote will be complete; I hope the result is a merger because you agreed it was the right step forward for Wellesley and her alumnae.

When my three-year term began, I wrote this: “I promise to do my best for you.” Then we began working. First, we collaborated with alumnae, members of the College’s Senior Leadership team, and our Board of Trustees to establish a shared vision for alumnae relations at Wellesley. It became clear that to fulfill that vision, the College and the WCAA board had to work in partnership on the structural issues of the WCAA operation. The work has not been particularly glamorous. A lot of it has actually been pretty tedious, if I’m honest, and accomplished in meeting after seemingly endless meeting. But gosh, has it been important. And yes, I feel proud.

I don’t just feel proud of myself; I feel incredibly proud of the people who stuck it out with me, especially Kathryn Harvey Mackintosh ’03, executive director of the WCAA. She has been unfailingly professional and brave in the face of challenge after challenge. If the walls of her office and my study could talk, as the saying goes, they would have some stories to tell.

This work has been hard on us, but it’s also been hard on many of you—our faithful and passionate volunteers in particular. In a resource-constrained environment, we’ve had to make hard choices and decisions while simultaneously working on our governance structure. Some of the things you love changed as a result of that resource constraint or in order to eliminate risk that we learned could have a negative impact on us all and on the College we cherish.

Looking backward was necessary as we considered what would help the WCAA move forward to meet the ever-changing needs of an ever-changing alumnae population. You—we—don’t stay the same. What worked in 1924 might not work in 2024. But there are aspects and characteristics of our community that are the same now as they were then: We really, really care. We all care about our alma mater and one another. And we are often vocal and have rather strong opinions about what that means the WCAA and the College should do.

Now I get to say one last thing to you as I complete my presidency: The future of the WCAA and the College is bright, and you are a critical part of that. Know that we have kept you all front of mind while doing this work and have done what is necessary to make room for even more meaningful and satisfying opportunities for you. All of it has been in pursuit of fulfilling our shared vision and the WCAA’s mission to connect alumnae to one another and to Wellesley in support of the strategic objectives of the College.

As we stand poised to celebrate the College’s 150th anniversary together in 2025, allow me to thank you for the opportunity to serve as your WCAA president. It has been a privilege, and I have done my best.


Linda Kosinski DS '16 (Kosinski) ’16
Laura Wood Cantopher, Thank you for all the hard work you have done and for your leadership.

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