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   Date: 2/11/09

Rally Day: Hats, Smith Medalists and One Big Secret

View a gallery of seniors on Rally Day 2009 and video highlights of the event on Smith's Facebook or on YouTube.

Rally Day 2009 will take place on Wednesday, Feb. 18, with a convocation at 1:30 p.m. in John M. Greene Hall featuring a rowdy crowd of seniors wearing funky hats, and a program full of musical performances and award presentations.

Also, attend the convocation and be among the first to know who this year’s Commencement speaker will be, announced during the program by President Christ.

Five distinguished alumnae will be honored at this year’s Rally Day with the Smith College Medal, which recognizes alumnae who, “in the judgment of the trustees, exemplify in their lives and work the true purpose of a liberal arts education.” This year’s Smith College medalists are Helen “Penny” Chenery ’43, thoroughbred horse breeder and racer; Naomi Lynn Gerber ’65, physician scientist; Kathleen Marshall ’85, choreographer and musical theater director; Beverly Morgan-Welch ’74, museum director, educator and historian; and Preeti Simran Sethi ’92, environmental journalist.

After being presented with their medals, the five recipients will engage in an on-stage discussion, moderated by President Christ.

Several Rally Day events will take placce before the convocation. On Monday, Feb. 16, a Rally Day History Tea will take place from 7 to 9 p.m. in Neilson Browsing Room. SGA and Nanci Young, college archivist, will trace the history of the annual tradition.

Also, before the Rally Day convocation, on Tuesday, Feb. 17, each medalist will give a presentation related to her field, open to the Smith community, as follows:

Helen Chenery
At 9 a.m., Chenery, known in the thoroughbred community as “The First Lady of Racing,” will attend the exercise and sport studies class Women in Sports, taught by Chris Shelton. From 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., Chenery will attend a student presentation and reception for Smith’s horse riding students.

Naomi Hurwitz Gerber
Gerber will attend the class Developmental Biology taught by Michael Barresi. From noon-1 p.m., she will present “My Life in Clinical Research: Unlimited Questions, Perpetual Hope,” in McConnell 103.


Kathleen Marshall
A renowned choreographer and Broadway director, Marshall will give an Audition Workshop (open to the public) from 2 to 3:30 p.m. in Theatre 14, Mendenhall Center, followed by a reception in the center’s Green Room.

Beverly Morgan-Welch
From 3:30 to 4:30 p.m., Morgan Welch will give a presentation, “An Emancipating American History: Black Entrepreneurs of the 18th and 19th Centuries,” in the Smith College Poetry Center, Wright Hall, followed by a reception catered by Sam’s Café.

Simran Sethi
From 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., Sethi, an award-winning journalist and director of video and audio for, will present “Fighting the Good Fight (Making a Life After Smith” in Neilson Browsing Room.

Also, Tuesday night, don’t miss the Rally Day Carnival, a Campus Center full of games, prizes and activities beginning at 9 p.m.

Rally Day began in 1876 as a celebration of George Washington’s birthday and has since expanded into a two-day series of entertainment and presentations (read a history of Rally Day). The event is the first occasion in which seniors will don their graduation garb, topped off with an assortment of outrageous hats.


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