President’s letter, 2008

December 17, 2008

Dear Class of 1967,

It’s been a little over a year since our 40th Reunion and a lot has happened, at Bryn Mawr College and in our own lives.

Bryn Mawr has, as you all must know by now, a new president. On October 4th I represented our class in the processional at Jane Dammen McAuliffe’s inauguration on the best of all possible sunny Fall afternoons. The parade of alumnæ class representatives was headed by two women from the Classes of 1938 and 1939. I hope I’m still able to march to the drumbeat and bagpipes as vigorously as they did when I’m over ninety. We were a colorful flock, with our academic hoods and robes of bright blues, crimsons, and even pink and forest green. McAuliffe’s speech, which is printed in the November Alumnæ Bulletin, honored Bryn Mawr’s pioneering path in providing intellectual opportunities for women and the pioneering work of Bryn Mawr’s early scholars in their own fields who opened the doors wider for the education of women. Taking women seriously in intellectual and collegiate endeavor is the founding ideal that McAuliffe pledged to continue. The values she aspires to implement are excellence, access to excellence, and agency, by which she means we are educated to become engaged citizens and a force for social justice and change.

I particularly enjoyed, and was inspired by, the speech given by Johnnetta Betsch Cole, who spoke of the importance of women’s colleges and the measurably increased benefits to their students and society. A feminist male friend had recently challenged me by questioning whether in this day and age women really were at a disadvantage anymore in academia and business. Interesting question, but Cole’s speech left no doubt that a woman’s college encourages women in ways a coëd education does not.

Cool stuff for alumnæ is available on the Bryn Mawr website. The College and individuals have interesting news pages. A blog on “Meaningful Contributions” informs readers of alumnæ achievements: “Bryn Mawr in the News” is at

Houston didn’t bear the brunt of Hurricane Ike in September, but we still had a ten-foot pile of debris in front of our house. The carport roof was ripped away and we luckily took only an indirect hit on the house roof. We were without electricity for two weeks. We tossed out everything in the refrigerator, including mysterious packages of unidentifiable but obviously once important leftovers. Galveston was hard hit; towns nearby were obliterated.

More and more of us are entering retirement. I retired at the beginning of 2008. It’s a delightful stage of life, even as economic clouds darken.

Here’s wishing you all a happy holiday season and may 2009 bring joy, peace, and prosperity.

Penny Milbouer
Class President