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October 6, 2009

Smith College to Dedicate Ford Hall Oct. 16

fordNORTHAMPTON, Mass. – When the bells peal from the tower in Mendenhall Center just before sunset on Friday, Oct. 16, the Smith College community will gather at Green and Belmont streets to dedicate a newly completed state-of-the art facility for engineering and the sciences.

Both a structure and a symbol, Ford Hall is a compelling, visible statement of Smith’s leadership and innovation in science education. The $73 million, 140,000 square foot structure is the nation’s most sophisticated science center exclusively for women students.

The dedication will begin at 5:30 p.m. outside the Ford Hall atrium, with a science-specific twist on the traditional ribbon cutting, followed by an open house. The public is welcome. Earlier in the afternoon, at 4 p.m., a panel of Smith graduates will speak about the future of engineering and the sciences at the college. (See schedule below.)

Named in honor of the lead donor to the project, the Ford Motor Company Fund, the building will be home to Smith’s Picker Engineering Program, computer science, chemistry, biochemistry and molecular biology.

“In location and design, Ford Hall is a crossroads,” said Linda E. Jones, director of the Picker Engineering Program and Rosemary Bradford Hewlett ’40 Professor of Engineering. “The most pressing problems of our time lie at the intersections of engineering and other disciplines. ”

Fully a third of Smith students major in engineering and the sciences. Yet, prior to Ford Hall, most of Smith’s existing science facilities were built in the 1960s, and provided insufficient space for science programs with growing enrollments and changing technological needs.

The ceremony concludes two years of construction and provides the first real home for the Picker Program, the first – and still the only accredited – engineering program for women in the nation. Ford Hall also provides the computer science department with its first laboratory space.

fordDesigned by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, Ford Hall will be as much a teaching tool about sustainable building initiatives, as a home for classrooms, labs and lecture halls. It will intentionally blur the boundaries between traditional disciplines, creating an optimum environment for students and faculty to address key scientific and technological developments of our time.

“Ford Hall is a challenging and enabling environment for our future generations of women scientists and engineers – those who will generate the ideas and make a reality tomorrow’s collaborative solutions for long term sustainability,” said Nancy Lee Gioia, director, Global Electrification at Ford Motor Company, who will be among those speaking at the dedication.

Faculty members moved into the building at the end of September; the first classes will be held in Ford Hall in the spring semester.

About the Panel Discussion
Building the Future: Smith College’s Leadership in Science and Engineering
4 p.m. Sweeney Concert Hall, Sage Hall

Moderated by Stylianos P. Scordilis, Special Assistant to the President for Ford Hall, Professor of Biological Sciences and Director of the Center for Proteomics.


Lesli Ann Mie Agcaoili ’93, Senior Designer, Ford Motor Company

Constance Laurence Brinckerhoff ’63, Ph.D., Nathan Smith Professor of Medicine and Biochemistry, Dartmouth Medical School

Catherine T. Hunt ’77, Ph.D., Director, Technology Collaboration Development, Core Research and Development, The Dow Chemical Company

Sramana Mitra ’93, technology entrepreneur; strategy consultant; columnist, Forbes magazine

Meghan Taugher Sheehy ’04, Performance Engineer, Alstom Power, Windsor, Conn.

Laura Worth ’83, M.D., Ph.D., Associate Professor and Center Medical Director for the Children's Cancer Hospital at the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center.

Smith College educates women of promise for lives of distinction. One of the largest women’s colleges in the United States, Smith enrolls 2,800 students from nearly every state and 62 other countries.


Office of College Relations
Smith College
Garrison Hall
Northampton, Massachusetts 01063

Kristen Cole
Media Relations Director
T (413) 585-2190
F (413) 585-2174

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