January 31, 2017

Dear Students and All Members of the Mount Ida Community:

While we are mindful of the need to protect all Americans from terrorism and the threat of harm, the imposition of ethnic and religious criteria in order to restrict travel to our country and study at our colleges and universities is immoral and flies in the face of what higher education has accomplished in this nation: the creation of inclusive communities for reasoned and thoughtful discourse in all areas of human endeavor and for the benefit of all mankind.

Mount Ida College shall not stand down from our mission.  We shall continue to grow, to be a diverse and vibrant community and a place where students and faculty may voice their ideas and opinions.

In order to accomplish this goal, we shall continue to welcome students, foreign and domestic, and we shall not discriminate on the basis of ethnic, religious, racial or cultural grounds.

For those who are impacted or concerned about the executive order affecting immigration and visa status, staff members in the following offices are here to assist all of our community members:

  1. The Center for Global Connections:  617.928.4624  /  rmelavalin@mountida.edu
  2. The Division of Student Affairs:   617.928.4615   /    ldeveau@mountida.edu
  3.  Campus Counseling:  617.928.4599  /    jgrandquist@mountida.edu
  4. College Chaplain: jranderson@mountida.edu

As we know, this situation is ongoing and ever changing. Please be aware that while you may not feel the need to reach out today, these services are available at any time that you may require them.

I believe I speak for all of us at the College. We will not be intimidated by threats or authoritarian tactics.  We shall stand together to protect our students and our community now and in the future.


Barry Brown

January 31, 2017

From the moment the five Mount Ida business majors stepped off the plane in India, they knew they were in a different world.  One that was at once familiar and then, like none they had never experienced.

Traveling with Professor Susan Wheeler, Chair of Business Administration, the trip, to introduce the students to business in India, was part of a three-credit Global Business course.  “All business students are required to take courses that expand their global awareness of some aspect of business.  Through this course the students had the opportunity to experience business first-hand in the country they were studying,” says Professor Wheeler.

The five students spent nine days, traveling from the very modern to the more rural, experiencing a high-tech university, joining a group of women working on hand looms and spending time at a non-profit that supports education for all children.

“We wanted to give our students the opportunity to experience as many facets of business in India as possible, in a very short time,” says Professor Wheeler.  Together they visited Ramoji Film City, an integrated film studio that is, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, the largest in the world. They spent a day at the University of Hyderabad, a 5,000-student public research university, then traveled to two hand loom factories, one with more than 300 employees and the other, much smaller, that for more than three decades has been hand-weaving according to Persian tradition.

“Along the way we learned the stories of the employees, employers and students,” Professor Wheeler says.  “Contrasts between those in the entertainment industry and the entrepreneurial women churning out goods, first as a way to survive, and now a way of life, was eye-opening.”

In addition, the group visited Liljat Papad, a cooperative established by Indian women, which manufactures wafers and breads.  The cooperative produces dough that Indian women take home and bake and bring back to be paid.  “Many women, some for 45 years have been making money this way and have been able to afford to send their children to school or university,” Professor Wheeler adds.

One of the most memorable parts of the trip for some students was a visit to MVF, a foundation whose approach is based on a firm conviction that no child should work and that all children should be in school until 18.

Through community participation. MVF draws up specific plans to withdraw children from work and to make all arrangements to prepare children to be enrolled in full-time formal day schools. MVF tracks each child to assure they complete at least 10th grade and are not pulled back into the workforce.

“Learning about child labor and seeing these young girls broke my heart,” says Marisa Vincenzino, one of the students on the trip. “Their parents chose not to educate them, but MVF made it happen for every determined child and has educated the public to open their minds and make it a choice for parents who don’t know what an education is worth.” Touched deeply, she added,” These children are so brave, strong and independent and are motivating and inspiring. Their laughs and smiles are the most beautiful thing I’ve encountered in life. Interacting with these girls was a blessing.”

Student Sahro Hassan echoed the sentiment. “Even though going to the hand loom factory was amazing and unforgettable, my highlight of the trip was definitely visiting MVF.  I met with many brave girls who are currently fighting for education and the right to be a kid.  It was an emotional day.”

On a lighter note, the visit to the Ramoji Film City was much more Western.  Two of the students on the trip had grown up watching the films and were familiar with the stars.  One student, adorned with sunglasses kept being mistaken for an actress and readily posed for pictures. “It was a fun trip that really highlighted the fact that the Indian economy is very diverse and complex,” says Professor Wheeler.

Student Kayla DeMello says a highlight was “getting to see the most beautiful old architecture and craftsmanship, including tombs for past kings and queens and the overall atmosphere of multicultural diversity.”

Colleen McGourty was glad the course gave her the opportunity to go.  “Traveling and understanding other cultures helps to break down cultural barriers and to understand one another. The business world is becoming globalized and being well-educated and well-traveled helps businesses create and keep good relationships with international partners.”

Before leaving India, the local tour Leader, who is the Resident Director of CIEE, the study-abroad program at University of Hyderabad, treated the Mount Ida class to dinner at her home. She lives in a modest two family house that felt more “western” and familiar to the students. She served traditional Indian food and attempted to teach them how to eat with their hand, pushing food into their mouths with their thumb.  “It was messy, but delicious,” says Professor Wheeler.

The consensus upon return was that the trip opened eyes, and was a unique experience.

January 27, 2017

Christina Hopkins wins Creative Sewing and Textile Arts Scholarship

Christina Hopkins, a senior in the fashion design program at Mount Ida is a “triple threat” says Aleta Deyo, Fashion Design Program Coordinator and Associate Professor. “She’s ambitious, smart and creative and excels in every aspect of fashion design, taking pride in her work and dedicated to perfecting her craft.”

Professor Deyo is rightfully proud, but not at all surprised that she is the recipient of a Creative Textile Arts Scholarship that includes a financial package and equipment.

Hopkins has always had a creative mind, but her interest in fashion emerged in high school when she was enrolled in a Fashion and Clothing course.  “The class was my escape from the stress of teen years…and it was wonderful because of my teacher.  She was always so positive and was like a second mother to all her students.  Her warmth impacted my life goals and career.” And through that class she learned about Mount Ida from the teacher’s assistant, Lauren Trump, a College alumna.

Professor Deyo has witnessed her creativity from day one at Mount Ida.  “During her freshman year, Christina stepped outside the box and decided to make her dress out of neoprene.  This was a very unusual choice for a freshman.”  But Christina didn’t stop there. “To top it off she chose to hand paint a design onto the neoprene to fully realize her vision.   She exhibited great promise then and has only excelled throughout her time at Mount Ida.”

Christina’s final collection for Mount Ida is bridal design.  “This is a popular direction,” says Deyo, “but Christina is not just creating wedding gowns: she will also be building the foundation garments under the gowns.”  Hopkins, inspired by Zach Posen’s foundations, has begun constructing her own bustiers, crinolines and underwire supports.  “In my opinion she could stop right there,” says Deyo.  “Her undergarments are beautiful couture pieces and it would be a shame to cover them up, but she has a unique direction in her mind and I am looking forward to seeing her whole collection realized.”

Hopkins’ master plan is to build her own brand and to have a small boutique storefront in a relatively small town. “I like the idea of forming relationships with my customers and that’s possible in a small town setting.”  Hopkins adds, “I’d like to sell my own designs and also support smaller designers such as myself and allow them to rent space in the shop to sell their designs.”  Hopkins envisions also being able to create custom designs when requested, while selling a mixture of ready-to-wear outfits, formalwear and accessories for juniors and women.”

Deyo and her other instructors at Mount Ida will not be surprised to see Hopkins make that happen and to find her in a studio attached to her boutique.  “I find myself the happiest when I have a studio to freely work in,” says Hopkins.  “I am most creative when my tools are right in front of me.”  And her many satisfied customers will be sure to agree that is where she belongs.


Tailored jacket with mock capelet and leggings.

Dress with asymmetrical inlay of beaded lace.