President’s letter, 2010

November 18, 2010

Dear Classmates,

Many of us turn 65 this year and we mark the occasion by enrolling in Medicare, a program that didn’t exist when we entered College in 1963. This birthday marks perhaps a more important transition in our lives than entering our majority. I keep doing arithmetic in my head: “Fifteen years ago I was fifty. Fifteen years from now I shall be eighty.” If I am lucky and stay healthy and my nest egg doesn’t crack.

I had the fun this autumn of watching the younger niece take off for her freshman year at a state college. She was excited, ready to major in everything, planning on taking an impossible load. The car was filled with stuff that no college student can live without these days, with barely enough room for her to squeeze in. I felt much younger as I waved her down the driveway and off on her first big step in her adult adventures.

This fall, as you learned in the newsy email from Terry Newirth and Lynette Perkins, marked the official start of the College’s 125th anniversary. That’s 125 freshman classes, I believe. Excited and happy (we hope) anxiety, each will begin her own quest. The 126th class of freshmen will come in next fall to carry a green lantern and to begin with a new set of distribution requirements, which replace the old divisional requirements. The College appears to be placing more emphasis on the methods and process of critical inquiry in different areas. (

The Bryn Mawr College website has recently added a “Bryn Mawr in the World” map to show where our alumnae/i are: There are links to alum achievements, such as the one to Rebecca Jordan-Young ’86, whose book, Brain Storm: The Flaws in the Science of Sex Differences , questions the evidence that sex differences are hard-wired before birth and finds the published studies under review scientifically unsound (

Our 45th Reunion (gasp! already?) is racing closer. To anticipate 2012, I’d like to suggest a class blog for our website housed on the Bryn Mawr website. It would not be password protected for our experience may be of interest to others. What have you been working on (“work” as broadly defined as possible)? Why does this project or topic fascinate you? What sort of community do you now live in? What book or painting or piece of music have you found compelling? Please send me ( your contribution, and you may send more than one, of about five hundred words.

I continue to struggle with my hearing but life is much better with the marvels of technology: an upgraded behind-the-ear processor for my cochlear implanted ear and a whoppingly more powerful hearing aid for the other ear. I never know whether I will enjoy a music performance or wince at the cacophony of sound. Happily, though, I’m now up for kaffeeklatsches with friends in noisy restaurants.

Happy holidays to you all!

Penny Milbouer,
President, Class of ’67