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Pace-Setting Campaign Reaches Goal Ahead of Schedule

With Momentum Strong, Smith To Stretch For New Horizon: $425 Million

Having achieved the $250 million campaign goal on May 17, two years earlier than anticipated, the Board of Trustees at Smith College has decided to use that enthusiasm and momentum to continue the campaign with a more ambitious goal.

In a speech to alumnae, graduating seniors and families on Saturday, May 19, Smith President Ruth J. Simmons announced that the college had set a new fund-raising goal of $425 million, an amount that -- like the original goal -- makes Smith's effort the most ambitious campaign to date undertaken by a liberal arts college.

This "second phase" of the campaign is set to begin immediately and conclude on December 31, 2004.

"The commitment of Smith's supporters, particularly alumnae, who were willing to step forward early and generously, has presented us with an unexpected and wonderful opportunity," noted Isabel Brown Wilson, a 1953 Smith graduate and trustee.

"We are now in a position to realize several of those ideas about which we had only dared to dream when planning for the campaign begun in the mid-1990s," Wilson explained.

Wilson serves as co-chair of the campaign, along with Jane Lofgren Pearsall, a 1957 Smith graduate and trustee, and John Eastman, parent, son, nephew and sibling of Smith alumnae and a former trustee.

Smith Provost and Dean of Faculty John Connolly, who will become the college's acting president on July 1, emphasized that further excellence in the academic program will remain the campaign's core goal.

"Our most important work at Smith at this moment is bringing the traditional liberal arts curriculum and teaching methods into an increasingly international, interactive, collaborative and technological world," Connolly said. "Crucial to that enterprise is finding the best faculty in the humanities, social and natural sciences and engineering and supporting their teaching and research with the most effective resources and facilities available."

One project long on the wish list but gaining urgency because of new faculty and new fields being added is the replacement of the college's 1960s-era science center. Estimates for the project currently stand at $100 million. The science center is envisioned as a series of structures forming, over time, a new science quadrangle.

This second phase of the campaign will also focus on fulfilling funding goals for particular campaign initiatives, such as financial aid for students from underrepresented groups and students in the college's Ada Comstock Scholars program. Funds will continue to be sought for construction of the college's first campus center, as well as for a variety of interdisciplinary and traditional academic departments and programs.

Karin Lee George, vice-president for advancement and a 1986 Smith graduate, noted that many campaign-funded initiatives are already providing direct benefits to students and faculty. For example, seven new endowed faculty chairs have been established during the present campaign, in fields ranging from engineering to social work. Four new faculty of color will join the Smith faculty as the result of a campaign-funded target-of-opportunity program for the recruitment of faculty. More than 1,000 students have taken advantage of the recently established Praxis program in order to fund meaningful, focused summer internship experiences, both in the United States and abroad. The college's inaugural class of engineering students is completing its first year, in a program that has attracted national and international attention for its distinctive integration of engineering and the liberal arts. The Kahn Liberal Arts Institute, established by one of the earliest and largest bequests to the campaign, has supported an ambitious series of interdisciplinary scholarly projects involving faculty, students and visiting fellows. Now in its second year, the college's Poetry Center regularly attracts audiences in the hundreds for readings by renowned poets such as Galway Kinnell and the late Gwendolyn Brooks. The campaign is supporting scores of other programs, departments and initiatives. For example, very recently the college announced a new project on Women's Financial Education in the Department of Economics.

Smith College is consistently ranked among the nation's foremost liberal arts colleges. Enrolling 2,800 students from every state and 50 other countries, Smith is the largest undergraduate women's college in the United States. The college is consistently placed among top members of the Chronicle of Philanthropy's "Philanthropy 400" and is currently ranked second among liberal arts colleges for funds raised.

May 17, 2001


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