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Wellesley Marks 125th Anniversary Milestone

By Shankar Mukherji


The Wellesley College community welcomed back two illustrious alumnae last Friday as the school celebrated the 125th anniversary of its founding.

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and former Secretary of State Madeleine Korbel Albright delivered the keynote address at Wellesley’s conference, “Women Who Will: A Celebration of Wellesley College Alumnae and their Life Paths,” which brought together a host of the school’s most successful graduates.

“I have traveled the world in the last eight years, and I have focused on how we can unlock the opportunities we have been given for women around the world,” Clinton said.

Clinton, who served as president of the college government and was the first student ever selected to give a commencement address at the school’s graduation ceremony, mused on the differences between the Wellesley of the 1960s and that of today.

Still, said Clinton, “there is something that just makes [Wellesley graduates] different.”

“No matter where I have gone in the world, and no matter what I am doing, I have encountered a Wellesley woman,” said Clinton, who has four Wellesley graduates on her staff.

Clinton warns against passivity

Clinton insisted that Wellesley not rest on its laurels.

“In too many places, girls are not afforded the same respect as boys,” Clinton said. She urged Wellesley women “to go as far as [their] hearts and hard work can take [them] and ... to help create conditions around the world for opportunity, security, and the freedom for all women to chart their own future.”

Albright also encouraged future Wellesley graduates not to ignore the pressing issues of women around the world.

Albright said that women in other countries are mutilated and are more likely to be victims of violent crimes, and excuses defending the abuse of women should not be tolerated.

“Some say that it is a cultural thing and there's nothing we can do about it,” Albright said. “I say it’s criminal and it is our obligation to stop it.”

“There are those who would like to be secure by turning inward,” she added, “[but] turning outward is the only way this great country [the United States] will be secure.”

Following their formal addresses, the two guest speakers had an informal discussion with Wellesley President Diana Chapman Walsh and took questions from the audience.

During the question and answer session, Clinton was asked whether she plans to run for president. She replied that she intends to focus on her New York constituents and to be a good senator.

Another student asked whether either Albright or Clinton would have done anything differently during their days as undergraduate students.

“I would have liked to learn how to interrupt,” responded Albright. “Sometimes, in order to get your point across, you just have to know when to interrupt.”