President’s letter, 2009

December 2009

Dear Class of 1967,

As with any holiday greetings letter, I hope this missive helps us continue to connect between our last reunion and our next one.

The College continues to update and renovate: Goodhart Hall is now a fantastic theatre, according to Bryn Mawr’s E-News. Taylor Tower and Dalton Hall are refreshed, and the Schwartz Gym is about to undergo work. It seems impossible that anything built after we were there is old enough to need renovation!

In 2010 the College commences its 125th anniversary. There is an official slogan: Bold Vision for Women for the World. It’s time to reflect if we’ve been bold or if it’s time for us to become bolder. I don’t watch Mad Men, but I have read a number of reviews of Gail Collins’ new book, When Everything Changed. We graduated from Bryn Mawr just as all the rules fundamentally changed, and some of the rules that should have changed haven’t yet changed. So further boldness is, I think, in order. I consider voting one of my boldest acts – the statistics about the numbers who go to the polls, especially in local elections, are dismal and that means the elected official isn’t paying attention to solving problems but to fund-raising for the next election.

The College website has posted a fascinating interview with Alice Rivlin ’52, former Vice Chair of the Federal Reserve and now a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution. Commenting on the timely topics of health care, technology, and the economy, she notes that federal spending on health care is “17 percent of our GDP, which is a much higher fraction of GDP than for any other country. We are spending a lot of money and not getting enough for it.

This year hurricanes spared Houston and Galveston. I still see the occasional roof with a blue tarp from last year’s Ike. Galveston lost 80% of its trees. After the Great Storm of 1900 (over 6,000 dead), within a year authorities had started raising the island by barging in sand and building a sea wall. There’s been no comparable activity after Ike. The wetlands need to be restored, but that is controversial because, understandably, people want to rebuild their beach houses that were washed away. Engineers have proposed movable dikes to close off Galveston Bay in a storm, similar to what Italy is providing to protect Venice. This would protect the port in Houston, which is critical to the American oil refining industry. Only two months ago, work crews finished cleaning out Galveston Bay (30,452 cubic yards of debris, houses themselves, boats, refrigerators, cars and trucks) so that shrimp and oyster fishing can flourish again.

Here’s wishing you all a happy holiday season and may 2010 bring joy, peace, and prosperity.

Penny Milbouer
Class President