Even as an undergraduate, Anne E. Bolton ’72 could feel Mount Holyoke’s significant impact on her life.
Bolton came to South Hadley from Stamford, Connecticut. A favorite high school teacher, an alumna from the class of 1931, had encouraged her to take a look at the College. Bolton knew Mount Holyoke’s reputation and she was eager to be academically challenged. She also liked the idea of going to one of the Seven Sisters.
Committed to a liberal arts education, Bolton also knew she wanted a career in business, a relatively new concept to women high schoolers in the late 1960s.
“What do you major in if you want to go into business?” Bolton asked herself. “I really admired an economics major in my residence hall and I liked the way she was thinking about her future.” So she decided to major in economics.
A focused, dedicated student, Bolton needed that discipline when at the end of her sophomore year, she faced her biggest challenge yet.
She had been planning to spend the fall semester at the University of Colorado. But a week before she was to leave, her mother was diagnosed with stomach cancer. Her dean found Bolton a bed on the Mount Holyoke campus so that she could be near her family in Stamford, Connecticut, and continued to support her through her mother’s decline.
“They really worked with me,” Bolton said. “I feel a lot of loyalty to the College for that.”
Her resolve in the face of challenges paid off when, in January of her senior year, she accepted a job at an investment counseling firm. She worked there three years when she was offered an opportunity at IBM. She stayed with the company and its spinoff, Lexmark International, for 26 years.
“I applied my Mount Holyoke education extensively at IBM and Lexmark,” Bolton said. “I applied my critical thinking skills to managing people and managing a business. I loved my years there and they were the foundation of my career. ”
When her career took her to Lexington, Kentucky, in 1986, Bolton was happy to have the opportunity to work in the town where she lived. It made it easy to engage with the community in a leadership role.
She began to serve on local boards, including the local arts council and the Chamber of Commerce. As a board member of the local hospice organization, she is a part of its investment committee. She’s also a trustee at Midway University, where she chairs the finance committee.
“Higher ed is facing challenging times now and at Midway I feel as if I’m applying the skills and experience I gained at Mount Holyoke,” Bolton said.
Including Mount Holyoke College in her will was a no-brainer for her. Now a financial advisor for nearly two decades, she walks the talk she offers her clients.
“I realize how valuable my Mount Holyoke education was and I want other people to have the opportunity to go there as well,” Bolton said. “Mount Holyoke had a significant impact on me, so it will be a significant beneficiary of my estate.”
Bolton also takes advantage of tax-wise giving to Mount Holyoke today by using appreciated stock to make her current gifts to the College. In doing so, she avoids capital gains tax in addition to receiving a charitable tax deduction.
And, she continues to contribute by giving of her time as well. She’s volunteered as a class agent, chaired her 15th Reunion and is on the Leadership Gift Committee for her 50th Reunion. Now Bolton is ready to step into her next leadership role: heading the Mary Lyon Society.
“I’ve always said that a degree from Mount Holyoke opens doors but we have to walk through them,” Bolton said. “We have to lead, engage and shine.”
Clearly, Bolton walks through doors just fine.