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May 3, 2004

Smith College Sets Commencement

Four Distinguished Women to Receive Honorary Degrees

Editor's note: Reporters and photographers interested in covering Smith's commencement should request press passes by calling (413) 585-2190 or e-mailing by Friday, May 14. Seats for media representatives will be available in the press box adjacent to the stage. Photos of Woodruff and the other honorary degree recipients are available upon request.

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. -- At 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 16, in the Quadrangle, Smith College will hold its 126th commencement ceremony, honoring 690 graduating seniors, including 74 students in the Ada Comstock Scholars Program for women beyond the traditional college age, as well as 66 advanced degree candidates.

Distinguished broadcast journalist Judy Woodruff will be the commencement speaker and will be given an honorary degree.

In addition to Woodruff, three other leaders and visionaries in their respective fields will be recognized with honorary degrees. They are Rita Colwell, former director of the National Science Foundation (NSF); Thelma Golden, deputy director of exhibitions and programs for the Studio Museum in Harlem; and Patricia Williams, professor of law at Columbia University.

Smith's commencement ceremony is open to the public at no charge; no tickets are required. (In case of rain, the event will take place in the Indoor Track and Tennis Facility.)

Judy Woodruff, a veteran broadcast journalist who has worked for CNN since 1993, anchors "Judy Woodruff's Inside Politics." Before joining CNN in 1993, Woodruff was the chief Washington correspondent for "The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour" as well as chief Washington, D.C., correspondent for NBC's "Today." She also served as NBC News' White House correspondent during the Carter and Reagan administrations.

Woodruff is a founding co-chair of the International Women's Media Foundation and serves on the boards of trustees of the Freedom Forum and Urban Institute. She earned her bachelor's degree from Duke University, where she is a trustee emerita. At Smith, she will receive a doctor of humane letters degree.

Rita Colwell, who will receive a doctor of science degree, is Distinguished University Professor Emerita at the University of Maryland at College Park and at Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health and is also chairman of Canon US Life Science, Inc. From 1998 to February 2004, Colwell served as the director of the National Science Foundation (NSF).

As director of NSF, Colwell's policy approach enabled the agency to strengthen its core activities, as well as establish support for major initiatives, including nanotechnology, bio-complexity, information technology and the 21st-century workforce. Among her major interests are K-12 science and mathematics education, graduate science and engineering education and the increased participation of women and minorities in science and engineering.

Colwell has held many advisory and leadership positions in the U.S. government, nonprofit science policy organizations and private foundations, as well as in the international scientific research community. She has authored or co-authored 16 books and more than 700 scientific publications, produced the award-winning film, "Invisible Seas" and served on the editorial boards of many scientific journals.
She holds a bachelor of science degree in bacteriology and master of science degree in genetics from Purdue University, as well as a doctoral degree in oceanography from the University of Washington.

Thelma Golden, who will receive a doctor of fine arts degree, is well known for her groundbreaking and controversial 1995 exhibition at the Whitney Museum titled "Black Male: Representations of Masculinity in Contemporary American Art." She has been deputy director for exhibitions and programs at The Studio Museum in Harlem since January 2000. From 1988 to 1998, Golden was at the Whitney Museum, where she began as a curatorial assistant and then served, consecutively, as director and exhibition coordinator at the Whitney Museum at Phillip Morris from 1991 to 1993; associate curator and director of branch museums from 1993 to 1996; and curator from 1996 to 1998.

In addition to her curatorial work, Golden teaches, lectures and writes widely about contemporary art, cultural issues and the curatorial practice. She has been a visiting professor at Columbia, Yale and Cornell universities. Golden received a bachelor of arts in African-American studies and art history from Smith in 1987.

Patricia Williams, professor of law at Columbia University, will receive a doctor of laws degree. An interdisciplinary legal scholar, Williams has written widely on aspects of race in America. Her highly regarded first book, "The Alchemy of Race and Rights: A Diary of a Law Professor," was published in 1991; it was followed by "The Rooster's Egg: On the Persistence of Prejudice" in 1995 and "Seeing a Color-Blind Future: The Paradox of Race" in 1997.

A Wellesley College graduate, Williams earned her law degree from Harvard University. She served as deputy city attorney in the Los Angeles City Attorney's office, and as staff attorney for the Western Center on Law and Poverty in Los Angeles, and taught on the faculty of Golden Gate College, the City University of New York in Queens and the University of Wisconsin at Madison before going to Columbia University School of Law in 1991.

Beyond her teaching, Williams writes commentary on race, gender and law, and on other issues of legal theory that is published in major newspapers and periodicals. Her column "Diary of a Mad Law Professor" appears regularly in The Nation magazine. In 2000, Williams was one of 25 recipients of a MacArthur Fellowship, the "genius" award given annually by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

Smith College is consistently ranked among the nation's foremost liberal arts colleges. Enrolling 2,800 students from every state and 60 other countries, Smith is the largest undergraduate women's college in the country.


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

Marti Hobbes
News Assistant
T (413) 585-2190
F (413) 585-2174

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