Celebrating the Big W

Celebrating the Big W

It was an evening of transformation if there ever was one.

A place for running, sweating, and shooting hoops became an elegant party space, bathed in blue and red light. Students traded skinny jeans for long flowing dresses. And alumnae shed business casual for sparkle and silk.

Nearly 600 people gathered in the Dorothy Towne Field House in late October to celebrate Wellesley’s impact on the lives of generations of women—and on the world. With this gala launch of the $500 million Campaign to advance the Wellesley Effect, the College set its sights on an even broader reach and a deeper impact.

Speaking to guests at dozens of candlelit tables, President H. Kim Bottomly said, “In thousands of ways, in every corner of the world, Wellesley is a transformative force for tangible good…. With the launch of this campaign, we are doing nothing short of challenging ourselves to be at once the premier college for women and a global center of women’s leadership.”

To this end, Provost Andrew Shennan announced a joint gift from two alumnae for $50 million that sets in motion Wellesley’s new College to Career Initiative. Harnessing the power of the alumnae network, C2C will comprehensively reimagine the College’s career services function. (For more on its new executive director, Christine Yip Cruzvergara, see “Connecting College and Career.”)

Shennan added that the gift is intended to bring Wellesley to the world in a more pronounced and intentional way. “It will enable us to strengthen our voice and influence through the remarkable work of our faculty, students, and alumnae and by forging partnerships around the globe,” he said.

“In making this gift, these alumnae are expressing—with great conviction—their belief in Wellesley’s mission, and in the imperative of investing in women and women’s education as the surest way to improve the world,” Bottomly said.

In addition to the gala, the weekend launch celebration included numerous panels of alumnae, faculty, and students on topics ranging from public service to women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields. The aim was to “celebrate the story that is Wellesley and the stories of Wellesley women whose experiences characterize the Wellesley Effect,” said journalist Callie Crossley ’73, who opened the entire event. And then she spoke for many when she gave her take on the Wellesley Effect: “Wellesley is the place that helped me find my voice. Wellesley is the place that set me on a path of speaking up and standing up for what I believe.”

Videos of the panels and other talks given during the campaign launch weekend are available at https://www.youtube.com/user/WellesleyCollege. For more photographs of the weekend, visit magazine.wellesley.edu/gallery.

Launch celebrations for the Campaign to advance the Wellesley Effect are taking place around the U.S. and the world. The next event is “The Wellesley Effect—Chicago Style” on April 2 in the Windy City. For coverage of events in New York and London, see the WCAA section.

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