Medalists, Then and Now
year as we welcome a select group of distinguished Smith
alumnae back to campus to be venerated and honored with the
Smith College Medal, it’s easy to forget: they were
once undergraduates here, just like those wearing wacky hats
and rumbling the rafters of John M. Greene Hall at (on Thursday, Feb. 23).
They once moved into a room
in a campus house,
competed on sports teams and clubs, spent countless hours
in the library, and attended the occasional house party.
Since then, they have all
traveled a good share of ground, achieving great things
along the way. Here, in their words, are snapshots of favorite
memories from this year’s
Smith Medalists. (Click on the medalists’ pictures to read
more about their professional lives and accomplishments.)
Four of the medalists will on Wednesday,
Feb. 22, open to the Smith community.
(after one semester in Haven and one semester in Baldwin.
"I consider Duckett my Smith home.")
The entire basis of my life's
work started at Smith. The fact that Smith enabled me to
make my first documentary as my Smith Scholars Senior Thesis
was life-changing for me. It literally set the course of
my life. I was also incredibly inspired and thrilled to be
a student in the vibrant arts community of Northampton—the
access to the independent film theaters was amazing and exciting.
Favorite Smith tradition: I
loved Mountain Day. Was there anything more exciting than
hearing those bells ring on a spectacular New England October
morning? I remember apple picking on Mountain Day my senior
year, and exploring some small New England towns with a couple
of friends, and stopping at an 1800s general store. Today,
I live in a small New England town in Western Massachusetts
and try to live a little bit of Mountain Day any chance I
"the only major where you could get credit for
reading stories. I still can recite the first 18 lines
of Chaucer’s Prologue in Middle English! “
“the only house to beat a Dartmouth fraternity
at a beer-drinking contest. We had T-shirts printed
up with 'Cushing Chuggers' (I still have my shirt).”
The most valuable thing I received
from Smith is a cadre of lifelong women friends. I will have
a posse of loud, boisterous Smithies from the class of ’77,
The Last Competent Class (thank you very much), sitting in
the reserve section of JMG.
Favorite tradition: the All-Quad
Water Fight. The entire Quad would be involved. Water was
everywhere—from buckets, water balloons and hoses. We drove
the Kingsmen nuts.
Smith memories: I remember crowds of women on bikes and foot
flooding from campus to the quad at lunch time, talking a
mile a minute. I remember sitting in Leo Weinstein's constitutional
law class wondering if I would ever find a better teacher.
And I remember every Mountain Day!
do you remember about Smith? This question prompted a flood
of memories, from the trivial to the important. Here are
- stunning myself and
all my teammates by actually catching a deep fly ball
to right field in an intramural softball game
with a fellow history major over finding silly sentences
in the History 100 textbook, (e.g., "The horrified
workers saw that the little father was not their friend"—and
no wonder since the tsar's troops had just opened fire
- the excitement of
my first experience using original sources (in this
case, English statutes) to develop a plausible theory
about a historical event.
Favorite Smith tradition: The
Emerson House Medieval banquet. It was even more fun to help
put it on (producing the scrolled invitations in medieval
script, delivering them in costume to faculty guests, participating
in the musical entertainment, etc.) as an undergraduate than
it was to sit at the table as a guest in my senior year.
In terms of Smith-wide traditions, Mountain Day was my favorite.
There is something very right about an institution that will
declare a holiday just because it is a beautiful day in autumn
in New England.
("'practical art,' as it was called then")
remember working in the basement of the art building. I liked
the quiet to make my paintings and prints. There were many
small rooms not in use and not always well lit. I took over
a couple to make prints and would stay late, once or twice
too late, but my friends covered for me and let me back in
to the dorm at night.