Response “A Letter to the Editor” Jennifer Hockenberry, philosophy professor

Gentle Readers,

The April edition of the Arches contained a number of articles discussing the skills acquired at Mount Mary College over the last 100 years.

With pictures of young women studying how to work a microwave contrasted with pictures of young women explaining how to find a beloved on the Internet, a casual reader might conclude that Mount Mary College has continually advocated for the education of women to be homemakers whose skills in the kitchen are the foundation of an enduring civilization.

The April issue appeared to seek to demonstrate how the present mirrors past with essays that included advice on brewing tea and turning a wedding dress into a Christening gown for a future child.

It might seem in contrast to this sentiment that there were other articles that addressed the pressing concerns of how a Mount Mary graduate would be able to supply her employer with the skills necessary to be a vital part of the workforce.

Included was a salary scale that noted liberal arts major might be expected to bring her family less money than a business major.

But as these articles also expressed the idea that the Mount Mary College graduate might be most interested in providing for her family and satisfying her boss, some readers might think there was little juxtaposition with the theme of MMC graduate as happy homemaker.

Thus, I am compelled to point out the very clear counter message that was given by President Schwalbach in her interview in this same issue.

I fear it might take a very careful reader to recognize the deep mission of the College that was expressed by the President when asked pointed questions by the interviewer about whether the College curricula was appropriate in today’s market.

Schwalbach subtlety but clearly and immediately reminded the interlocutor and the reader that the College continually looks for the needs of the greater community when making decisions about what the College will offer to its students.

This point, considering the greater context of the April Issue, needs to be highlighted.

This College does not promise to give students the skills to be workers who please the system as it is, but the skills to be leaders who will compassionately care for the world.

This has always been the case in the hundred-year history of the College.

Those smiling women in the photos who were studying home economics were really not learning to fit into a model of traditional expectations for mothers and housewives.

Those women were studying a liberal arts curriculum along with the skill-based courses in order to live more meaningful lives as women who were to be leaders in their homes and communities.

One can meet these same women on alumnae weekends or at the Marian Luncheons.

They are richly educated, fabulously interesting, and strongly committed to the real values of the College past and present.

These women are often the donors who fund scholarships and programs because they recognize the value of an education that teaches moral integrity, critical thinking, self-knowledge, and leadership.

As Mount Mary begins its journey towards becoming a University we must not forget our legacy of transformational education, compassionate values, social justice, and real women’s leadership.

This College’s students have impacted the world in which they live for 100 years and will continue to do so with creativity and compassion and a respect for the contemplation required for both.

Dr Jennifer Hockenbery
Professor of Philosophy

Staff Response: The emphasis of our Centennial page was to show the transformation the college has gone through from “home economics to public health” as the article was titled.

Through the presentation of our wedding dress article, we tried to promote a revolutionary new idea of reusing and donating gowns to promote a cause, thus living up to to Mount Mary’s mission of service.

We apologize this can be confused with our emphasis on job skills.

Essentially, when we create each issue, we try to create a variety of topics that will interest a range of readers.

Thank you for your careful reading, and we hope you continue to pick up an issue each month.

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