Goes to Washington
of the timing of the presidential election in November, right
around mid-term exams, many students, like Julia Reed ’09,
were away from home during the historic event. But now it’s
January, between semesters, and Reed doesn’t plan on
missing the opportunity to share with her parents the inauguration
of the nation’s
first African-American president.
Like President-elect Barack Obama, Reed is the daughter
of a black man and a white woman. She plans to train to Washington,
D.C., to meet her parents, who are flying in from Seattle,
and witness the swearing-in of President Obama on January
“It will be great to be with them and to be part of
history,” said Reed, 21, a government major. “On
many, many levels I am thrilled about this.”
Reed is well acquainted
with the capitol, having spent a semester there last year.
Her tickets to the ceremony came from Congressman David
Reichert, who represents Washington’s
eighth district and in whose office she worked for a time.
Not all Smithies—current students and alumnae—who
plan to be in Washington on January 20 will have tickets
to the inauguration. But for some that won’t deter
them from joining the crowd.
As she did at the inauguration
of former President Lyndon B. Johnson on January 20, 1965,
Margaret Beshore Boonstra ’57
plans to show up and get a spot—even if she must stand—to
witness the swearing-in of the new president.
The 73-year-old alumna
from Florida well remembers standing in record-cold temperatures
to see Johnson place his hand on the Bible and take the
oath of office. “I just walked
right up to the capitol and stood in the crowd,” she
said, and added, “I found out later that it was the
coldest inauguration in history.”
With that memory still
vivid, Boonstra has purchased a wardrobe that will keep
her warm no matter how low the temperature dips for Obama’s
ceremony. She is determined to be there, she said, in part
because she missed attending the inauguration of the last
Democratic president, Bill Clinton, on January 21, 1993.
“It took me quite a while to assemble enough clothes
to go,” said Boonstra, noting that Floridians don’t
typically keep thermal underwear, lined boots and hats in
their closets. “After volunteering for months, I wouldn’t
Joanna Goldfarb ’11,
of Montpelier, Vt., is also considering what garb to bring
to Washington, D.C., although her thoughts are on her attire
for a formal ball.
Goldfarb received tickets to the inauguration and to the
inaugural ball from a student-achievement organization she
was involved with during high school.
A member of Smith’s swim team, Goldfarb will depart
from campus, where she will be training in January, and catch
a flight out of Bradley Airport to attend the inauguration.
But, says Goldfarb, she won’t head south until she
gets opinions as to whether a gown in her closet still fits
well enough to wear to the ball.
“I’m really excited,” said Goldfarb, a Cutter House resident. “At
Smith, I watched election night with the entire house—everybody screaming
There is certain to be
screaming and cheering around Satya Rhodes-Conway ’94, who plans to be in Washington, also
without a ticket to the inauguration, but “somewhere
on the mall” during the ceremony.
Up to 5 million people
are expected to crowd onto and near the White House lawn,
which would by far break the inauguration record of an estimated
1.2 million people at President Lyndon Johnson’s
Many Smithies plan to
witness the ceremony with their family members. Katy Tierney ’99
will attend with her wife and son. Boonstra planned to
go with her daughter, Alexa, and hoped to meet up with
her two nephews somewhere along the way.