When Diane Hashim Glynn ’68 read a recent Mount Holyoke publication from the Office of Advancement, she was so inspired that she penned her own story to share with other alumnae.
I have credited Mount Holyoke, all my life, with my success and happiness. From the beginning of my career, I didn’t question my ability to figure things out, to survive — and to thrive.
I was in the first class of February Freshmen. I remember my interview: I had just read Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness” and I was very excited about it. My paperback copy was filled with notes in the margins. I suspect my enthusiasm for it helped secure my acceptance to Mount Holyoke.
My favorite classes were in philosophy, sociology and a beginning course in education that I took because everyone was talking about how great the professor was, John Fraser. I loved an interdisciplinary course on the study of time. I was the only sociology major in that class — everyone else was a physics major. When I ran into that professor years later and he remembered my paper, imagine how thrilled I was.
Since I loved books, I decided to begin a career in book publishing, which I did for 15 years. I quickly rose to leadership positions. My last position was as vice president, director of advertising, publicity, promotion and public relations. I served as president or chair of several trade associations and even founded one of them. I was on the board of the American Book Awards.
I wrote a book with my husband that took me as a guest to The Phil Donahue Show and Good Morning America — twice each — and The Mike Douglas Show, plus countless other radio and television shows. It was a great experience for a book publicist and handy when it came to coaching authors about promoting their books.
Eventually I quit my corporate executive job and opened my own public relations company for 30 years — to the day, it turned out! What gives someone the confidence to leave a very well paying job to launch their own business? To hire staff, acquire clients and pay health insurance, worker’s comp, office space rent, corporate taxes, employee taxes? Somehow you have to believe in yourself.
And I credit Mount Holyoke for that. I absorbed every lesson from my professors and our president that we were “uncommon women.” I believed I could figure out how to do things. I believed that I would succeed. I like people and I love helping them fulfill their dreams. It is my vocation and my mission. But being nice doesn’t mean people can walk over you or that you can be taken advantage of. People who mistake my niceness for weakness learn otherwise very quickly.
And I am not unique. I believe most of us who graduate from Mount Holyoke also have this experience. We are nice. We are strong. We are often very independent and we are also team players. We are uncommon women.
Would I have had this life without Mount Holyoke? I don’t believe so. I am so very grateful that Mount Holyoke saw something in that shy young woman and gave her a place in that February class.
Of course Mount Holyoke is in my will. I would not have had this life without Mount Holyoke College.
By Diane Hashim Glynn ’68