A Year in Review: 2018 at Wellesley

January 2, 2019

As 2019 begins, take another look at a few moments from Wellesley College in 2018.

A student speaks in front of a crowd

On March 8 and 9, women from around the world gathered at Wellesley for the African Women’s Leadership Conference. The conference convened an extraordinary group of accomplished and influential women from a wide range of fields, including education and politics, health and technology, entertainment and the law.

Mastercard Foundation Scholars Council Representative Sandra Ohemeng ’20 (pictured) welcomed conference participants. Read the full story about the African Women’s Leadership Conference.

Graphic that reads: 33 schools selected in 2018, 1M$ five year grant, Catalyzing a Culture of Inclusion in Science Education

This year the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) announced that Wellesley will receive one of its $1 million awards to support inclusive excellence. HHMI is a leading philanthropic organization focused on support for scientists and science education; the grants are part of its highly selective Inclusive Excellence Initiative. The initiative aims “to catalyze schools’ efforts to engage all students in science—regardless of background,” including underrepresented ethnic minorities and first‐generation college students, the Institute said.

Wellesley will use the five-year grant to support faculty development related to issues such as stereotype threat (that is, the fear of being seen as possessing the negative stereotypes of an underrepresented group) and unconscious bias. The College will also focus on enhancing culturally competent pedagogy to advance intensive course and curriculum reforms and academic advising. Read the full story on HHMI’s $1 million award to Wellesley.

Clare Egan skis at a biathlon event

VIDEO: Clare Egan ’10 made her Olympic debut for the United States in biathlon, an event that combines cross-country skiing and rifle shooting, two challenging and notably different disciplines. Egan is Wellesley’s first alumna to represent the United States in the Olympics.

Egan joined alumnae Colette Flesch ’60, who represented Luxembourg in fencing in 1960, 1964, and 1968, and Isheau Wong ’11, who represented Chinese Taipei in equestrian during the Rio 2016 games, as Wellesley’s third Olympian. Read more about Clare Egan’s time at Wellesley and watch a video the Wellesley community sent to Egan before she competed.  Photo: NordicFocus/U.S. Biathlon/USOC.

Al Gore and Sue Wagner speak in front of a crowded alumnae ballroom.

Former Vice President Al Gore, in conversation with Wellesley College Trustee Sue Wagner ’82, spoke on campus on April 25 at the 2018 Wilson Lecture. Gore, a global leader in the fight to halt climate change, discussed global ecological responsibility and the impact our choices have on sustainability, and he answered questions from the audience.

They touched on sustainability issues, including global initiatives like the Paris Agreement, environmental justice and the importance of young voices in the fight against climate change. Wagner and Gore, who are friends and colleagues, made the case for hope, activism, and responsible stewardship of our planet. Read the full story about Al Gore’s visit to Wellesley.

Three student sit in the academic quad in conversation.

Three Wellesley seniors, Nisreen Abo-Sido ’18, Carol Hundal ’18, and Hans Han ’18, have been awarded 2018 Thomas J. Watson Fellowships, which provide seniors the opportunity to travel anywhere in the world after graduation to pursue a dream project. Abo-Sido, Han, and Hundal will each receive $30,000 for 12 months of purposeful travel outside of the United States, along with college loan assistance as needed. Read more about Abo-Sido, Han, and Hundal and their dream projects.

A student works on an art project. Text reads: We did it!

VIDEO: On June 30, 2018, the College completed the largest fundraising effort ever undertaken by a women’s college, one full year ahead of schedule. In all, a goal-shattering $514,485,911 was raised to support Wellesley’s mission to educate and empower the next generation of women leaders who will shape their communities and change the world. Read more about the ambitious campaign to advance the Wellesley Effect.

Funds raised through the campaign will continue to advance Wellesley’s world-class academic program, including curricular and pedagogical innovation across disciplines as well as faculty and student research and scholarship. The campaign has increased support to Wellesley’s financial aid—making the College more accessible to greater numbers of bright young women. It has made possible major new initiatives like Wellesley’s award-winning Career Education, which supports and empowers students and alumnae to envision and achieve their full potential in every field imaginable. The campaign has also helped renew the important campus spaces shared by everyone that are critical to a residential college’s thriving community—the physical embodiment of the Wellesley experience.

A microphone. Text reads: Honoring 50 years of Ethos at Wellesley College

This year, Ethos celebrated its 50th anniversary. Alumnae representing the five decades of Ethos’ history came together to reflect upon their experiences as women of color at Wellesley. Part of the College’s StoryCorps podcast series, a newly released podcast captured conversations from the event between fellow classmates and good friends. Each offers a snapshot of the organization at a particular moment in time, illuminating the central concerns of the day. Together, they form an oral history of an evolving Wellesley, from the founding of Ethos in 1968 to the 2010s. Read more about the anniversary and listen to those stories.

a rendering of global flora

Wellesley’s Global Flora greenhouse project, currently under construction, won bronze in the LafargeHolcim Design Awards competition, which had more than 5,000 entrants. The awards recognize innovative projects and future-oriented concepts and is the most significant international competition for sustainable design.

Designed by the Boston architecture firm of Kennedy & Violich Architecture, Ltd. in collaboration with an interdisciplinary team at Wellesley, Global Flora integrates a curved building—that follows the east-to-west path of the sun—into the “Science Hill” configuration on campus, which will encompass the large Science Center renovation project and the existing Whitin Observatory. Global Flora will feature a series of indoor landscapes arranged in wet and dry biomes replicating the physical conditions—soil components, temperature, light, and humidity—that sustain diverse plants in their natural habitats. Read more about the Global Flora Greenhouse project.

Poet Frank Bidart reads from a selection of his work

VIDEO: Frank Bidart, Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities and professor of English, won the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for poetry. Many in the community had the privilege of hearing the poet read a selection of his work, including Guilty of Dust from Half-Light: Collected Poems 1965-2016. Watch an excerpt of his work at a celebration of his achievement.

A student sits in a meeting with a faculty member

Emily Moss ’19 won a prestigious Truman Scholarship, an award created in honor of President Harry S. Truman to support graduate school and professional training for the next generation of public service leaders. Moss was one of 59 students selected from a record 756 candidates from 311 colleges and universities across the country.

The Bedford, Mass., native plans to use the $30,000 scholarship to pursue a career in urban policy with a focus on affordable housing. Read more about Moss and this tremendous honor.

Sally Yates speaks at a keynote address

Sally Yates, the former acting U.S. attorney general, was the first of several prominent women who spoke at Wintersession, presented by Wellesley’s Madeleine Korbel Albright Institute for Global Affairs. Other speakers who appeared during the three-week event, included Wendy Sherman, former U.S. undersecretary of state for political affairs; NBC News correspondent Andrea Mitchell; Katharine Moon, Edith Stix Wasserman Professor of Asian Studies and political science professor at Wellesley; and Madeleine Albright ’59, the first female U.S. secretary of state. Read more about Sally Yates’ visit to campus in the Boston Globe.

The Wellesley Power Plant

On October 29, Wellesley College President Paula A. Johnson announced the launch of a multipart energy initiative that will allow Wellesley to exceed the goal for greenhouse gas emission reduction that is part of the College’s current Sustainability Plan (approved by the Board of Trustees in April 2016).

The Power4Women task force, composed of members of Wellesley’s Board of Trustees, faculty, administrators, and students, has worked for 12 months to assess the energy needs of the College and develop a plan to address the 24-year-old cogeneration plant while beginning to actualize the commitments made in the 2016 Sustainability Plan. With a focus on reducing the College’s energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, the group’s work became more urgent this summer when the cogeneration plant failed.

The task force recommended significant investments to implement energy conservation measures, sharply reduce the use of natural gas and fuel oil on campus for electricity generation, and replace steam chillers with electric chillers. Based on these recommendations, the Board of Trustees has committed approximately $24 million to be spent over the next three years. Read more about Wellesley’s multipart energy initiative.