Blanchard Campus Center
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Physical education has always been an important part of the Mount Holyoke curriculum. Mary Lyon's earliest critics complained that educating women would have a negative impact on womanhood, especially the female ability to be mothers. For this reason, among others, nutrition and physical health were advocated for all students at the seminary. As the college began to expand, it is natural that a state-of-the-art gymnasium be part of the campus growth.
In 1898, Mount Holyoke College students clamored for a gymnasium, complaining that, "It is at this time of the year when the long, dragging winter is before us that we realize, as at no other season, the need of a gymnasium where we can be furnished with mild excitement to wake us from the lethargy which books and essay-writing and laboratories throw over us. It is a pitiful sight to see a young girl losing her buoyancy, turning into a sedate, intellectual, never-to-be-endured type of humanity, because she has no means of developing the other side of her nature." (from the Mt Holyoke, Dec. 1898, 139-140.) The students formed a committee of ways and means to raise money for the gym. The college gymnasium , built in 1899, was noted at its construction for its state of the art ventilation system. N amed for Elisabeth Blanchard in 1950 (class of 1850 and Principal and President from 1883-1889) , it was later renovated into office space and a campus Post Office. In the mid 1980s it was renovated again to become a campus center that houses a café, campus information desk, mailroom, box office, and offices, as well as student organizations, including the Outing Club, Student Government, WMHC-FM Radio, Mount Holyoke News, and the yearbook.
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