Gift givers on Valentine's Day usually choose between flowers, chocolate, and jewelry. The CMC Office of Annual Giving decided to go a different direction: their Valentine's Day present to donors is a book.
The book, however, is no dry intellectual treatise. Created by Priscilla Hsu '13 and Anne Rynearson '13, Myths, Legends, and Tall Tales (MLTT) is an amusing, fascinating, and occasionally inspiring collection of alumni stories.
The MLTT project attempted to gather the "unsung and long-forgotten" stories of the CMC experience. Hsu began contacting alumni over the summer, sometimes to ask about a specific event that remained campus legend, and sometimes just to ask "what's one interesting thing that happened to you at CMC?" The result was a growing batch of anecdotes that ranged from tales of incredible professors to rumors about alligators in dorm bathrooms.
Beyond collecting great stories, Hsu found that the opportunity to talk with alumni engaged her in remarkable conversations that went far beyond the MLTT project.
"One of the best parts of working on this book," Hsu explains, "was having the opportunity to talk to all these alumni who were interested in what was happening at the college, and even interested in my personal plans. The conversations I had while working on the book allowed me to realize that I was connected to generations of alumni through a shared CMC experience."
Working on MLTT also gave a new perspective to Rynearson about her own time at CMC. "One of the goals for the project was to remind alumni of the reasons they fell in love with CMC, but I found that applied to current students as well. The book made me ask myself what stories will I be telling after I graduate?'"
As for the stories Rynearson is telling now, she admits she's shared some of the book with her friends. "The best perk of my job is that I now have hilarious CMC anecdotes to tell people. I've probably revealed half of the book during dinner conversations."
Those who aren't friends with interns on the project can read the stories for themselves when Myths, Legends, and Tall Tales arrives in their mail during the month of February.
Alumni who have supported the College since July 2010 should receive a book in time for Valentine's Day. The book will also be sent to alumni who donate through June 30, 2011.
As Hsu explains, it is fitting that donors are receiving the book. "The sharing of the stories in MLTT wouldn't have been possible without the generosity of alumni. The support from alumni today helps to ensure that the CMC experience continues for today's CMCers. This book is our gift to them."