First in Class of 2008
Bid Goodbye to Campus
NORTHAMPTON, Mass. -- When Julie Bacon ’08J
transferred to Smith from Bentley College in January 2005, she did not intend to
also graduate three years later in January. But, with her appetite for a hefty
course load, the credits for a double major in mathematics and economics quickly
So Bacon is now one of 55
seniors who will finish their studies this semester, and whose accomplishments
were celebrated during a December 14 reception at the President’s House.
Bacon thinks the mid-year departure improved her chances
for snagging a job (she has accepted an actuarial post at Hartford Life Insurance
Company) because the vast majority of college students have another semester to complete
before accepting employment. But, it also means saying an early goodbye to a community
to which she had grown attached.
“I will miss the intellectual atmosphere and diversity
at Smith,” says Bacon. “I love that there are no two people on the Smith
campus who are exactly the same – and no one thinks that this is wrong. It’s
a great experience to be in an environment where differences are celebrated and accepted.”
This year, the celebration for the students commonly
referred to as “January completions” was a more casual gathering than
previous years due to the elimination of the reading the graduates’ names.
That shift reflects the desire to encourage students to return to campus for the
commencement ceremony in May.
January completions make up only a small portion of
the Class of 2008, which currently includes another 651 students. But, the contingent
reflects the diversity of the larger group: transfer students, Ada Comstock Scholars
and traditional-aged students are represented. Their hometowns spread across the
United States as well as the world – three of the graduating students are from
The reasons for their mid-year departures are also varied.
Georgina Herrera Moreno accelerated her Smith experience
by applying some college credits she received for high school work to her double
major in government and Portuguese-Brazilian studies. Now she looks forward to a
bit of a break from academia before starting graduate school.
“I thought it would be a great way to get some
time off from ‘school’ before graduate school,” says Herrera Moreno,
who is currently waiting to hear about her applications for an advanced degree. “A
nice, if short, break from deadlines and essays and class lectures.”
Herrera Moreno is pursuing that plan by traveling to
Mexico for winter break and then moving home to Anderson, South Carolina.
Her January departure will allow her to shorten her
exposure to the New England winter; the weather is something Herrera Moreno says
she will “definitely not miss.”
However, the distance between campus and her home also
means Herrera Moreno is unlikely to return to campus for commencement. She is among
the graduates who plan to receive their diplomas in the mail.
By comparison, Bacon, who is from the nearby state of
Connecticut, vows to participate in the May 18 commencement ceremony, with members
of her extended family in tow.
“I will definitely return. Since there is not
a real ceremony in December, there isn’t an official opportunity for my family
to come and watch me graduate,” says Bacon. “Additionally, I have grandparents
who live in Florida and they said that they didn’t want to travel to New England
“It’s very important to have my family here
to celebrate this important event,” she adds.