President Judith Shapiro has said, “You want the inside of your head to be an interesting place to spend the rest of your life.”
Economics majors, chemistry, French, music majors, English, politics majors, math, biology, and philosophy and religion majors, statistics—all of us had to know something about the whole liberal arts “scheme.”
Looking at the ways in which many of our classmates have spent their lives, it is clear that a liberal arts education prepares one to go in almost any direction, or several —simultaneously or in seriatim. Among us is the English major who made a career if helping citizens in her city get access to affordable housing. Or another who founded a non-profit to insure equal pay for women; she has delivered 600 “smart salary” workshops in 49 states.
Then there is our classmate who majored philosophical and religious thought, studied on Hollins Abroad, went on to become a doctor (practicing today at UVA), and volunteers in Haiti where, she explains, “Kreyol is easier to learn if one has mastered French.” Or yet another English major who never took a biology course at Hollins, or a single economics class, but has spent the last two decades on environmental causes, learning about ecology and climate change, and 20 years ago help found a community bank.
One last point: we hear a lot today about women over 50 being “invisible.” This week, in an interview on NPR, Candice Bergen talked about her new memoir, focusing on the fact that SHE felt invisible. Candice Bergen! Men over 50—even those in their 60’s and 70’s—they don’t feel invisible. What is it with women? Can it be only the “youth oriented” American culture? Is Justice Ginsberg invisible? How about Gloria Steinem and her female cohort headed to North Korea? Or 80-year-old Jane Goodall who was right here on the Hollins campus 5 weeks ago talking about her Roots and Shoots Foundation, an effort to to educate young people a over the world about environmental issues.
I think it’s time we asked the question a different way: invisible to whom? Why do we think so? Take the questions with you. If answers are difficult find, go back to hollins65.org. You’ll find dozens of over-50 women there who are anything but invisible!
Remember this: Women who are going places start at Hollins (Trisha Rawles stole my line!) Women who have been to Hollins are going places, again and again: in social justice, conservation, education, law, the science, the arts, business, politics.
Women in the class of 1965 are VISIBLE!! Stand up, you awesome women!!