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By Lars Asbornsen   Date: 2/8/11 Bookmark and Share

Trustee Honored for Gift Supporting International Initiatives

Faculty Directorship of Global Studies Center Will Be Named for Betty Eveillard ‘69

When Betty Eveillard ’69 was a student at Smith, she was drawn to classes that had an international emphasis and spent her junior year in Geneva—her interest in the world having been sparked by the stories of her parents and grandparents, immigrants from Eastern Turkey, Germany, and Prussia.

Betty Eveillard ’69 (on far right) poses with President Christ and Suleiman Mourad in the Global Studies Center, Wright Hall.

“I know that if I could ask them what was most important to them about their coming to America, they would all say, in addition to freedom, was the opportunity for education,” said Eveillard.

Their journey was the inspiration behind her recent gift in support of international initiatives at Smith, Eveillard explained. Her gift provides financial aid for international students and establishes a fund to develop and sustain a variety of global engagement programs at the college.

On January 20, President Carol Christ announced that the directorship of Smith’s Global Studies Center (GSC) will be named in Eveillard’s honor.

“Betty’s generous support of our global educational initiatives is vital to our ongoing efforts to bring the world to Smith and Smith to the world,” said President Christ. “For years she has lent her vision and her thoughtful leadership to Smith. It pleases me immensely that the directorship of the Global Studies Center will bear her name.”

In a recent ceremony in Wright Hall, home to the Global Studies Center, Eveillard told trustees, administrators and faculty that her family’s history and her own experiences at Smith have long fueled her belief in the power of a global education and the important role Smith, especially, can play in preparing young women to succeed in an increasingly complex world. "I wanted to invest in minds—women's minds—and what better place to do that than Smith College?" she said. “My hope is that this gift will echo far beyond this campus and into the future.”

Suleiman Mourad, professor of religion, will be the first Elizabeth Mugar Eveillard ’69 Director of the Global Studies Center.

The Global Studies Center gathers in a centralized and virtual location the many offices, curricular activities and events that serve the international interests of students, faculty and the Smith community. As a hub of people and programs it will offer a growing array of opportunities for global engagement to Smith students.

The Elizabeth M. and Jean-Marie Eveillard Fund for International Initiatives supports a range of programs, including global engagement seminars and the Elizabeth Mugar Eveillard ’69 Global Leader in Residence, which will bring distinguished individuals in government, diplomacy, business, journalism, science, medicine and the arts to the Smith campus every year.

Smith has long been recognized as a leader in international education. Today, Smith offers 13 languages and five interdisciplinary area and international studies programs. Faculty members teach more than 400 courses relating to international issues. Hundreds of Smith students study abroad each year, often incorporating internships into their experiences, and the student body typically includes some 200 students from 60 countries. Building on this tradition, Smith’s global educational initiatives include increasing the enrollment of international students, enhancing study abroad and study away programs, expanding global internships and leadership opportunities, and fostering worldwide alumnae engagement.

The GSC shares its home in the newly renovated Wright Hall with the Center for the Environment, Ecological Design, and Sustainability, and the Center for Community Collaborations. A fourth center, the Center for Work and Life, is housed in Clark Hall. Each center builds on a set of distinct and historic strengths at Smith; each addresses problems fundamental to the world of the 21st century; and each expresses an aspiration for the leadership Smith students will exercise in their lives after they leave Smith.

The formation of the centers stems from The Smith Design for Learning, the college’s strategic plan to sustain and strengthen the excellence of a Smith education in the context of the world in which today’s students will live and work.

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