Newswise — When longtime Mount Holyoke College President Joanne V. Creighton steps down from her position next month, she will leave a legacy of great institutional advancement, along with many reminders of her nearly 15 years at MHC – none of which will be more visible than the sign carrying her name on the College's newest residence hall.
Trustees, alumnae, and friends of Creighton have made a $5.2 million gift to the College on her behalf, enabling the Trustees to name the residence hall in her honor. The gift will also bring the College's $300 million Campaign for Mount Holyoke close to a $200 million milestone.
The surprise announcement was made today when the Mount Holyoke community gathered to celebrate Creighton's leadership and pay tribute to her many accomplishments as a champion of women's education and the liberal arts tradition. President since 1996, Creighton was responsible for transforming the campus through her efforts to revitalize existing facilities and initiate new building development in support of the College's mission. There could be no more appropriate gift in her honor than the naming of this new residence hall, the College's first in 40 years.
"Joanne has tirelessly devoted herself to Mount Holyoke," noted Leslie Anne Miller '73, chair of the MHC Board of Trustees. "It's only fitting that we name our recently completed new residence hall after her. Her legacy is literally and figuratively in our bricks and mortar, as well as in our hearts."
The 180-bed, LEED-certified residence Hall – now called Joanne V. Creighton Hall – opened at the beginning of the 2008-2009 academic year. Until today, the imposing structure at the corner of Lower Lake Road and Morgan Street has simply been called New Residence Hall.
All of the College's students, faculty, and staff were invited to take part in a celebratory program in Mary Woolley Hall. Among the speakers participating in the program were Miller, Smith College president Carol Christ, MHC dean of faculty Donal O’Shea, Alumnae Association president Cynthia L. Reed '80, Student Government Association president May Yang '10, Russell Boudreau of Facilities Management, faculty members Jane Crosthwaite and Joan Cocks, and former chairs of the Board of Trustees Eleanor Graham Claus '57 and Barbara Margulies Rossotti '61.
A teacher and literary scholar, Creighton is an experienced academic administrator known for her expertise in strategic planning and implementation. The Creighton years have seen the launch of three academic centers that represent the meeting points of academic inquiry and Mount Holyoke's commitment to purposeful engagement in the world: the Miller Worley Center for the Environment, the Weissman Center for Leadership and the Liberal Arts, and the McCulloch Center for Global Initiatives. Creighton led the school to the successful completion of a $250 million campaign in 2003 and in significant progress toward the current $300 million Campaign for Mount Holyoke. Under her leadership, the College reached an all-time high in admission, fundraising, and endowment.
The campus has also undergone an impressive building boom during Creighton's tenure. The Kendade Science Center, a renovated Blanchard Campus Center, and the new 180-bed Creighton Hall – all LEED-certified green buildings – are striking additions to the 172-year-old campus. The art museum, art building, music building, and admissions center have all undergone extensive renovations; a new track and synthetic turf field opened two years ago; Kendall Hall, which houses the College's athletic and dance facilities, was expanded a year ago; and a new boathouse opened in April. Meanwhile, the College has undertaken a systematic renovation and renewal of its residence halls, the library, and its classrooms, infusing technology across the campus and creating spaces that work for today's undergraduates and the faculty who teach them.
In all, Mount Holyoke has invested some $225 million in facilities and technology during Creighton's presidency, resulting in some 150,000 square feet of new space for the College's academic, co-curricular, residential, and support programs.
Creighton, who will begin a sabbatical in late June, will receive an honorary degree from the College during this year's Commencement ceremony on May 23. Lynn Pasquerella '80 will become the eighteenth president of Mount Holyoke on July 1.