Jane Crosthwaite

Professor of Religion


From the Princeton Review:

Religion professor Jane Crosthwaite helps students to think in creative ways about interesting issues; to know basic information so that creativity is possible; and to find gentle ways to deal with painful and difficult issues. “You will learn so much—you won’t want to part with her!” says a student.


The Mount Holyoke College professor listens to her students and encourages them “to see the paradoxes and inevitable ironies in our human ventures.” She encourages students to find a place and time to study, and to take an interest in outside activities, whether sports or music or theater, as it all contributes to the holistic individual. Classes play out pretty generally: “Students read; we talk; they correct me; I tease them; they listen to one another; they write papers; we talk more.” She is “delightful, supportive, brilliant, an intriguing mind, and FUN! She shines,” according to one student.


She has been teaching since 1962, and currently teaches a seminar on American Shakers and Introduction to Ethics. Speaking highly of Mount Holyoke students, she says that they “usually come to class well prepared so that ANYTHING we read together can receive serious (and humorous) discussion; Religious topics cover everything human (and beyond?) so we are able to learn about what it means to seek understanding and meaning in a complex world.” This question, of course, “remains an open one.”

  • Kirsten Stelk-Frazier 3y

    Jane was my advisor at Mount Holyoke, and I'm thrilled to hear she's on this wonderful list! She inspired me to question and challenge "the norm" and to not be afraid to speak up when I feel strongly on a subject. She challenged me to support my beliefs and further my understanding of the world. She continues to be my inspiration for encouraging open-mindedness in my own children and my students, and to explore as many different points of view as I can! CONGRATULATIONS!!!!
  • The Travelers Four 3y

    Jane was my advisor at Mount Holyoke as well! I have fresh fond memories, despite the passing of far too many years. Her brilliance and diligence were not to be outshined by her humor, but one just accentuated the other. I am thrilled to see her name on this list, and believe that much of what I learned from her, both in my courses, and in writing a thesis under her counsel, has made me a better person. Bravo Jane!
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Taken on April 5, 2012
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