May 20, 2008

Below is the latest issue of WellesleyWire, an occasional e-mail digest of noteworthy news and announcements from Wellesley College. For more frequent news and events from the College, visit -- and bookmark -- the News & Public Affairs page at .

Surrounded by political, educational and institutional leaders, students, faculty, staff, friends and family, H. Kim Bottomly was installed as Wellesley College’s 13th president during inauguration ceremonies Friday, May 9.

Festivities began Thursday evening with a celebration of the arts at Wellesley, including performances by students and faculty. Inauguration day began with a multifaith celebration in the newly renovated Houghton Memorial Chapel and continued with panels of experts focusing on significant breakthroughs made by women and on emerging studies that will shape the future. The installation ceremony was held in a giant tent on Severance Green and included greetings from Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, presidents Susan Hockfield of MIT and Joanne Creighton of Mount Holyoke, among others.

This special issue of WellesleyWire includes links to photos and videos of the days' events. Please be patient with the videos, which may take 10-15 seconds to start playing.


Although the day's rain shortened its route, the inaugural procession entered the tent on Severance Green with energy and fanfare, led by the Yanvalou drum and dance ensemble. Delegates representing more than 100 academic institutions marched with the Wellesley College faculty and trustees, members of the Class of 2008, and special guests to the cheers of alumnae, students, staff, and guests. Victor Kazanjian, dean of religious and spiritual life, delivered the invocation.

Procession Video

Invocation Video


Ten special guests brought greetings to President Bottomly, including Governor Deval Patrick, presidents Susan Hockfield of MIT and Joanne Creighton of Mount Holyoke College and Megan C. Urry of Yale's Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics.

In his remarks on behalf of the Wellesley faculty and "in celebration of this day and in a spirit of revolution," Professor of Astronomy Richard French presented the president with an early edition of Copernicus's masterwork, "On the Revolutions of the Celestial Bodies." The rare text is now part of Wellesley's library collections. In her greeting, Lucia Nhamo, a first-year student from Zimbabwe, noted that the Wellesley student body is "a global melting pot of diverse experiences, opinions and outlooks...a living legacy that bears testimony to the excellence and indelible social imprint that the students...have achieved, are achieving and will continue to achieve in the future."

Click here for videos and texts of the greetings.


In her inauguration address, President Bottomly spoke about the importance of women’s colleges and a liberal arts education. She described herself holding hands with her 12 predecessors, "our bodies in very different clothing, our feet in three very different centuries, but our minds as one on the importance of Wellesley College to women.... Wellesley College has remained the same through the years in one most important respect: It has been an intellectual incubator, a scholarly beacon of light for women,” she said. “A Wellesley woman is always a Wellesley woman and always will be. Being a Wellesley woman is a permanent characteristic of mind and spirit.”

Bottomly noted that Wellesley needs to provide a liberal education more than ever. "The more complicated the society, the more multicultural our nation, the more international our daily interactions, the more difficult it is to make wise decisions, to make choices, to assess the reliability of received knowledge, to determine what further knowledge is needed, to critically evaluate competing arguments," she said.

Click here for videos and text of President Bottomly's speech.

Rare edition of Copernicus book presented to the president Among the honors bestowed on President Bottomly was the presentation of a second edition of the 1543 scientific revolutionary work by Nicolai Copernicus, which showed that the Earth is not the center of the universe. Presented by Richard French, professor of astronomy, the book appropriately honors Wellesley’s first president from the world of science.

Click here for more on this rare book.


The inauguration festivities began Thursday with an evening of progressive performance. Attended by students, faculty, trustees, and special guests, including many members of President Bottomly's family, the event was a celebration of the arts at Wellesley. The evening began with a vocal fanfare under the Jewett Arch by three members of the Music Department faculty and welcoming remarks by Alecia DeCoudreaux, chair of the board of trustees. For more than an hour, guests enjoyed performances in and around the Academic Quad by student martial artists, Cielito Lindo, the Chamber Singers, Wellesley Widows, and the Chamber Music Society.

At dusk a musical duo of saxophone and drum led guests on a lighted procession to the Science Center for a jazz café. Guests filled the atrium of the Science Center, still decorated in red by the Class of 2008, enjoying dessert and coffee and performances by Prism Jazz, the Blue Notes, the faculty jazz ensemble, and poetry readings "in coffee house fashion" by students from the Theatre Department.

Click here for video, images, and sound from the evening.

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Mary Ann Hill
Assistant Vice President for Public Affairs

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