All in the Family: Parents and Children who Share the Wellesley Bond

June 5, 2020

Every Wellesley graduate has their own unique relationship to the College. To be sure, there are touchstone experiences common across generations: walks around Lake Waban in all seasons, senior Hooprolling down Tupelo Lane each spring, and sledding down Severance Green on a plastic tray plucked from the dining hall.

For those who share the Wellesley experience with family members, there is another layer of mutual experience, one that comes into focus every year during commencement and reunion season. Below are some scenes from campus and thoughts from parents and their children about their connections to Wellesley that span generations, and about what that common bond has meant to them.

people smiling t the camera
Ariana Gonzalez-Bonillas ’18 with Luisa Bonillas ’94.

“My daughter fell in love with Wellesley during the time we lived there while I did my research on my doctoral dissertation, on women of color at Wellesley College, 1966–2001. Ariana finished first grade and went to second grade in the town of Wellesley. When we returned to Arizona for the beginning of her third grade year, she made it her goal to return to Wellesley as a student. She did that in the fall of 2014. Wellesley has changed my life trajectory. The Wellesley Network has been helpful to me in every way. I know people all around the world and our connection is Wellesley. It is wonderful to experience and to be able to share this special bond with my daughter.”–Luisa Bonillas ’94

people smiling at the camera
Buvana Ramaswamy ’89, Maya Sullivan ’20, Meg Ramsdell ’89, and Grace Ramsdell ’22.

Having a parent-child bond to Wellesley has meant so much to me because through my mother, I was able to see how Wellesley creates the strongest of bonds and that the individuals shaped by Wellesley emerge as passionate, versatile, and socially conscious, and perhaps most importantly, motivated to better their communities.”–Maya Sullivan ’20, Ramaswamy’s daughter

“Many of my Wellesley friends have daughters close in age to mine. We have been bringing them to reunion since they were young, and they would all bunk in one room together. I am Maya’s godmother and am thrilled that Maya and my daughter Grace have been at Wellesley at the same time! My 30th reunion last June was the best yet. Being there with my friends and staying in the dorms, I felt like I had not been away from campus for long. And yet, I was there with my grown daughter, now a Wellesley student and the same age I was when I met Buvana and my other friends.”–Meg Ramsdell ’89

I sometimes joke that I love being a Wellesley student—but that I cant wait to be a Wellesley alum. I think a lot of that sentiment must have to do with the years I spent admiring the relationships that my mom maintains with her friends from the college. As I walk between classes in Founders and Jewett, its special to know that she, too, spent so much time in these buildings, even interacting with some of the same professors.”–Grace Ramsdell ’22

people smiling at the camera
Alex Poon ’14, Catherine Poon ’11, and Helen Mar Poon ’82.

“When I graduated in 2014, Rachel Shapiro ’82, gifted me an exact duplicate of my mom's custom-made Wellesley ring after my mom's ring was stolen. As I walked across the graduation stage wearing the ring, I knew I, too, would hold onto my Wellesley friendships for years to come. My sister, Catherine Poon ’11, and I are part of the third generation of Wellesley alums in our family, and I’m looking forward to passing on my Wellesley ring to the fourth generation someday.”–Alex Poon ’14

people smiling at the camera
Maya Ludtke ’19 with Melissa Ludtke ’73.

“Knowing the enormous value of a Wellesley College education, I’d always hoped my daughter would consider my alma mater as a college choice for her. But I never wanted her to feel as though I was pressuring her, so I pulled back from counseling her when she was deciding where to enroll after her acceptances, lest I sway her decision in one way or another. After helping her to move into her first-year room in Pomeroy, I drove 16 miles home holding two thoughts in mind: She’d made this decision on her own terms, and now I hoped that she’d find at Wellesley intellectual stimulation, close friendships, and confidence-building moments, as I had. I’m happy to say she did.”Melissa Ludtke ’73