As a children’s book author and successful businessperson, the life and work of Cindy Tether ’72 exemplify the value and versatility of a Mount Holyoke College education.
“When I think about what has been important in my life, MHC immediately comes to mind,” says Cindy. “I applied to Mount Holyoke because of its reputation as a great school and because of the beauty of its campus, which makes it a wonderful place to live and study.”
“Liberal arts colleges expand the horizons of people who attend them. It was invaluable to have four years to get to know so many Mount Holyoke professors, who were experts in their fields.”
An English composition major at Mount Holyoke, Cindy returned home after graduation and began writing freelance. While commuting to New York City from Bronxville, New York, she came up with a new addition to the Random House Bright and Early series, a collection of rhyming books that was started by Dr. Seuss. Published under the pen name of Graham Tether — Cindy’s middle and last names — “The Hair Book” has been in print for 40 years. Much to Cindy’s delight, Random House Children’s Books reissued “The Hair Book” in 2019 with new, updated illustrations.
Having enjoyed economics while at Mount Holyoke, Cindy applied to Columbia Business School, from which she earned an MBA. She then started working in revenue planning for IBM. Her more than 27-year tenure at the company also included roles in sales, marketing and contract negotiations, plus making presentations on IBM technology at the SciTec Museum during the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia.
“Having a degree from Mount Holyoke has given me the strength, the confidence and the energy to go out into the world and make it a better place for both myself and others.”
“A liberal arts education prepares people for life, with all its intricacies and beauties, from art to literature to music to architecture to scientific discoveries. Young people who are exposed to the world’s myriad marvels are better equipped to explore many otherwise unknown areas in a deeper way throughout the rest of their lives.”
Cindy describes herself as being “curious about everything.” Her curiosity has taken her on many adventures, including seeing the northern lights in Iceland, being pulled by a reindeer sled in Lapland, Finland, swimming next to a whale shark in the Indian Ocean, and reading The New York Times while relaxing in an over-water hammock in the Maldives.
“In addition to both intellectual and personal growth on campus, I made some lifelong friendships while at MHC. My college roommate and I have enjoyed visiting and traveling together, and we’re still in touch after more than 45 years.”
“I don’t take for granted what I’ve been given, and I try to give back when and where I can,” says Cindy, who has volunteered as a Mount Holyoke class agent for many years.
Cindy has a positive passion for extending benevolence toward others. She serves on the Great Consistory of her church, where she has been chair of the Pastoral and Congregational Care Council, and is on the board of the Warwick Conference Center, which offers programs to enhance the lives of seniors and the disabled of all ages. She is also part of the flower ministry team, plays the church tower bells and regularly gives stained-glass windows tours.
“My father always said, ‘Remember your school.’ And having enjoyed my time at MHC, that’s exactly what I did by establishing a charitable gift annuity with the College.”
“There’s an expression among investors that goes: ‘Buy low and sell high.’ I’ve tweaked that expression to read: ‘Buy low, donate high and save taxes.’ Doing so brings much joy to the giver and inspires much gratitude from the favored institution.
“I give to Mount Holyoke College because I value its mission and appreciate having had the opportunity to study there for my college years. By establishing a deferred charitable gift annuity, I was able to donate some stock whose shares have risen substantially over the years, as well as to avoid capital gains taxes, receive a tax deduction and have the peace of mind of receiving income for life when I may need it.”