Honors Cap Long Record of Leadership
As the tenure of President Carol
T. Christ approached its end, many in the local community
and beyond have come forth to honor the ways in which she
has shaped Smith College.
“When you lead a college,” she
wrote in her letter to the Smith community announcing her
decision to retire, “you step into a river that flows
before and after your time in its waters.”
For those in the community,
Christ’s retirement marks a momentary pause in the
flow of the college’s history. Some recent honors reflect
President Christ’s broad Smith legacy.
On Saturday, May 11, Worcester
Polytechnic Institute (WPI) awarded President Christ an
honorary Doctor of Humane Letters “for her
passionate pursuit of women’s education, her dedicated
commitment to fostering female leadership, and her global
vision for diversity.”
In granting the honorary degree,
WPI noted, “When she concludes her [Smith] tenure in
June, she will leave behind a lasting mark, one etched by
her dedication to diversity, innovation, strategic planning
and global thinking… The transformative power of education
has defined Christ’s life and career.
has been felt well beyond the physical boundaries of the
college. She’s dedicated herself to expanding Smith’s
global presence by forging partnerships such as Women’s
Education Worldwide, a 50-college initiative jointly launched
with Mount Holyoke that works to increase female access to
quality education. She collaborated on the Women in Public
Service Project, a joint effort of leading women’s
colleges and the Department of State that works to invigorate
the presence of women in the public sector. Last year, under
Christ’s guidance, Smith accepted a role as academic
planning partner in the Asian Women’s Leadership University
to be established in Malaysia.”
This May, the Smith College
Museum of Art honored President Christ by naming a new gallery,
the Carol T. Christ Asian Art Gallery.
The gallery is funded by gifts from trustees, including a
foundational gift from Peggy Block Danziger '62. The gallery
will recognize, in the words of Board Chair Betty Eveillard,
President Christ's "outstanding service to the college."
"Carol brought to Smith a deep
knowledge of the changing needs of a liberal arts education
and a total understanding of the financial challenges facing
private colleges," Eveillard said.
The new 1,250-square-foot gallery,
to be created through the configuration of space on the museum's
lower level, is expected to be open in fall 2015.
Two months before, on March
11, President Christ was recognized for her contributions
to Northampton, Hampshire County and the Pioneer Valley.
Northampton Mayor David Narkewicz
and area business and community leaders gathered in her honor
at a special reception hosted by the Greater Northampton
Chamber of Commerce, the Hampshire County Regional Tourism
Council and the Hampshire Regional Chamber of Commerce.
On May 29, the United
Way of Hampshire County will give President Christ its
Hennessey Award, presented to the individual who,
through exemplary leadership, service and dedication, made
the greatest impact on the current campaign.
Smith is one of the leading
contributors to the United Way of Hampshire County's annual
LIVE UNITED campaign, consistently accounting for 10 percent
or more of the drive's total. Funds raised by the United
Way help local people in need in numerous ways.