Bryn Mawr’s 2010: the Year in Review

Posted January 20th, 2011 at 3:48 pm.

As the spring semester gets into full swing, we thought we’d take a moment to look back on some of the things that made 2010 special.

125th Anniversary

woman at posium with 125th-anniversary bannerBryn Mawr’s 125th anniversary officially kicked off on Reunion weekend. The celebration got into high gear during the fall semester with fall convocation, the start of the 125th-anniversary mural project, a BMC-themed film series at the Bryn Mawr Film Institute,  a cake ceremony to mark the day the College opened, the publication of Offerings to Athena, and the celebration’s signature event — the Heritage and Hope Conference. In addition to bringing educators, policy makers and others from across the globe to Bryn Mawr’s campus, the event garnered media coverage in both The New York Times and The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Events on Campus and Off

khmer dancersSeveral noted authors and playwrights, musicians, dance troupes and other performers visited campus as part of the popular Creative Writing Program Reading Series and Performing Arts Series, both of which will continue in the spring with readings by author Jhumpa Lahiri, playwright John Guare, poet and Bryn Mawr English Professor Karl Kirchwey (currently serving as Andrew Heiskell Arts Director at the American Academy in Rome), a panel of female poets and performances by Meredith Monk and Sol y Canto.

The College’s 2010 spring exhibition, Old Masters and Modern Muses: Red Grooms’s Portraits of Artists, 1957-2009, showcased more than 30 works of art by the prominent American artist. Worlds to Discover: 125 Years of Collections at Bryn Mawr opened in September.

Bryn Mawr students joined the world in reaching out to help the people of Haiti in the wake of the January earthquake that rocked the island nation.

Bryn Mawr President Jane McAuliffe once again crisscrossed the globe meeting with alumnae, higher education officials and others; gave a number of addresses including the keynote at a new cross-cultural research initiative; and hosted students and scholars at Pen y Groes.

Former President Nancy Vickers returned to campus in March for the unveiling of her presidential portrait.

katherine-hepburn-stampIn May the College held an event commemorating the issue of a U.S. postage stamp honoring its most famous graduate.

Nobel Peace Prize winner Jody Williams gave the commencement convocation address to a class that achieved a record-breaking 80-percent participation level in its senior-class gift.

The year ended with a tremendously popular Hogwarts dinner in Thomas Great Hall.

New Programs and Administrative Changes

Curricular changes for 2010 included the introduction of the 360° course cluster and a slate of half-credit, seven-week courses. The first 360° looks at Changing Education and features courses in history, biology, and education, and 360°: Vienna 1900 and the End of an Empire, which takes place this semester, combines German studies and the history of art.

In December, it was announced that during the 2011 Spring Break the College is offering — for the first time — a four-day, intensive workshop covering many of the basics of finance.

A number of student administrative services were centralized in the Benham Gateway building.

A screenshot of the "Bryn Mawr in the World" map

The College’s website underwent a renovation in January that allows for easier navigation and features a color scheme that better incorporates Bryn Mawr’s traditional colors of yellow and white. In September an interactive map illustrating the college’s global reach and connections was added.

Bryn Mawr  was the only liberal-arts college asked to join with several prominent research universities in the creation of the National Science Foundation’s Center for the Science of Information. It was also announced that the College will be home to the Albert M. Greenfield Digital Center for the History of Women and Higher Education.

Campus/Facilities Initiatives

atrium and stairwell of gymnasiumThe fall 2010 semester saw the reopening of the Bern Schwartz Fitness and Athletic Center after a major renovation to the 28-year-old building. The Center now features the latest in exercise equipment, wireless connectivity, flat panel televisions, and more.

In March the College submitted its Climate Action Plan as part of The American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment.

It was announced in September that Eugenia Chase Guild Hall, which once served as home to the college’s professional computing staff and a public computer lab, will become a student-centered space that brings together several advising and student-services offices under one roof.

The Eva Jane Romaine Coombe ’52 Special Collections Suite opened in Canaday Library, providing a welcoming space for display and study of the College’s collections of historical and cultural artifacts.

Honors, Accolades, Comings, and Goings

The Corporation for National and Community Service honored Bryn Mawr College for the second year in a row with a place on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for exemplary service efforts and contributions to America’s communities.

Bryn Mawr was recognized by a number of media outlets and college guides for everything from the quality of our professors and having “Dorms Like Palaces” to our commitment to the environment and public service.

Two Bryn Mawr classicists earned top honors from the American Philological Association. Geology Chair Arlo Weil, Assistant Professor of History Elly Truitt, and Professor of History Sharon Ullman were among the faculty members who received significant grants. Professor of Mathematics Rhonda Hughes was honored for her mentorship of women mathematicians. Professors Jim Wright and Dan Davidson both paid visits to the nation’s capital to give expert testimony to policy makers.

photo of kyra turner-zogbekorStudents receiving awards and other honors included Kyra Turner-Zogbekor, a Ph.D. candidate in social work and social research, who is using Fulbright Research Grant to study women’s education in Ghana; Barry M. Goldwater scholarship recipient Samantha Wood; and a host more.

Laurie Koehler was named Dean of Admissions, Michele A. Rasmussen was welcomed as the new dean of the Undergraduate College, Bryn Mawr alumna Susan Sutton ’69 returned to the College as Senior Advisor for International Initiatives, and a number of photo of Michelle Rasmussennew faculty members were welcomed to campus.

This year the campus struggled with the passing of Assistant Professor of Social Work and Social Research Kevin J. Robinson; Hiroshi Iwasaki, a longtime member of the College’s arts faculty and technical director of the Bryn Mawr-Haverford Theater Program;  and Professor Emeritus of Greek Mabel Lang.

The year also saw the retirement of former Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and History of Art Professor Dale Kinney, whose students honored her with a daylong symposium in October. Former co-dean Marcia Martin and Admissions Director Nancy Kirby of the Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research moved into semiretired positions. Associate Dean Rona Pietrzak and Director of Development Martha Dean are also among those who retired in 2010.


Forty eight scholar-athletes from 10 teams were named to the 2009-10 Centennial Conference Academic Honor Roll. One member of the badminton team earned Intercollegiate Badminton Association (IBA) Honor Roll honors, and five rowers were named to the Mid-Atlantic Rowing Conference Honor Roll. The cross-country, field hockey, lacrosse, soccer, track and field, and volleyball teams all earned team academic awards from their respective coaches associations.

soccer_playerTen athletes were named to the Centennial Conference Sportsmanship Team in the sports of basketball, cross country, field hockey, lacrosse, soccer, swimming, tennis, indoor and outdoor track and field, and volleyball. The soccer team earned the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Team Ethics Gold Award for not receiving any caution cards throughout the the season.

Jane Morris (crew), Akua Nyame-Mensah (soccer, indoor and outdoor track and field) and Evan Schneider (lacrosse) were named to the Philadelphia Inquirer Academic All-Area Team in their respective sports as voted on by the Philadelphia Sports Information Directors of America (Philly-SIDA). This award highlights excellence both in the class room and on the playing field.

Head swim coach Nikki Whitlock was named Centennial Conference Coach of the Year for the 2009-10 season. She is the first Bryn Mawr coach to earn this honor from the conference.

Bryn Mawr in the Media

From an Associated Press article about efforts to reach out to Hispanic students and their families that featured Bryn Mawr’s new Spanish-language admissions page to a article on quirky college donations that included a 200-year-old clock in the president’s office, Bryn Mawr College was well represented in national and local media in 2010.

Faculty were consulted for their expertise by The New York Times, NPR, The Boston Globe, USA Today and more. Of particular note, English Chair Katherine Rowe made headlines in both The New York Times and the Chronicle of Higher Education for editing a special edition of Shakespeare Quarterly that used the Internet to “tap the public wisdom of a crowd.”

Bryn Mawr faculty showed up in some unexpected places, as well. Professor of Mathematics Rhonda Hughes appeared on NBC and elsewhere as part of a series of videos looking at the “The Science of NFL Football.”

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