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February 11, 2005

Five Accomplished Smith Alumnae to be Honored at Rally Day 2005

Editor’s note: For photos of the Medalists or of dancer Caitlin Scranton, e-mail Marti Hobbes.

NORTHAMPTON, Mass.—For their extraordinary professional achievements and outstanding service to their communities, five alumnae will receive the Smith College Medal, an award presented each February on Rally Day.

Beginning at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 23, in Sweeney Concert Hall, Sage Hall, honored alumnae will receive the medals and engage in a panel discussion moderated by President Carol T. Christ. A ballet performance will follow; the event is free and open to the public.

The Smith College Medal was established in 1962 to recognize alumnae “who, in the judgment of the trustees, exemplify in their lives and work the true purpose of a liberal arts education.” This year’s recipients are Candace McKee Ashmun, environmentalist; Judith Levenson Clapp, software engineer; Susan Low Bloch, Constitutional law professor; Anne E. Kazak, pediatric psychologist; and L. Stoner Winslett, artistic director and choreographer.

Following the panel discussion, Caitlin Scranton, a member of the Class of 2005, will perform a solo dance on the Sweeney stage, accompanied by Deanna Joseph, choral director and soprano, and Grant Moss, senior music lecturer on harpsichord. They will perform “Dido’s Lament,” an aria by Henry David Purcell, choreographed by Rodger Blum, associate professor of dance. The Smith College Glee Club will also perform a jazzy tune called “Operator,” popularized by the Manhattan Transfer, under the direction of Jonathan Hirsh, senior lecturer in music, with accompaniment on keyboard by Clifton J. Noble, Jr.

The five accomplished women who will receive Smith College Medals:

Candace McKee Ashmun, Class of 1946, environmentalist

Candace Ashmun has had a significant impact on the protection of New Jersey’s environment and natural resources. She was a water-quality researcher for the Raritan Watershed Association before serving as the executive director of the Association of New Jersey Environmental Commission. Since 1982, she has been a private consultant to nonprofit organizations on both environmental issues and office automation. An early user of personal computers, she has also designed a number of useful programs. She is the longest serving member of the Pinelands Commission, having been appointed to that body by New Jersey Governor Byrne when it was created in 1979 and reappointed by four successive New Jersey governors.

Judith Levenson Clapp, Class of 1951, software engineer

Judith Clapp, Senior Principal Software Systems Engineer at The MITRE Corporation in Bedford, Massachusetts, is considered a pioneer in establishing software engineering as a discipline. After receiving her masters of science degree from Radcliffe University in 1952, she became the only woman on a small team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who designed a proof-of-concept prototype for an air defense system using Whirlwind, one of the earliest digital computers. When the Air Force funded the development of a comprehensive air defense system, she became co-director of the software for the combat centers that needed air defense operations. She developed automated aids for the programmers, virtually inventing the discipline of software engineering. In 1959, the project moved to the MITRE Corporation where Judith Clapp remains employed.

Susan Low Bloch, Class of 1966, Constitutional law professor

Susan Bloch, professor of law at Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C., is one of the most prominent women legal scholars in the nation, with a career spanning both public interest issues and classical legal education. She co-authored the first book on the Supreme Court that examined the Court from an interdisciplinary point of view, and she is often sought out by the press to comment on Supreme Court issues. She wrote the amicus brief in the Paula Jones case and took the lead in organizing 400 legal and constitutional scholars and historians on the law of impeachment. This group offered the opinion that President Clinton’s offenses did not rise to the level of impeachment. She has also commented on and been quoted widely in the media on the University of Michigan Affirmative Action Admissions cases and, since the 2003 decision by the Supreme Court, has published on the future of affirmative action. After graduating from the University of Michigan Law School, she completed judicial clerkships with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall and U.S. Court of Appeals D.C. Circuit Judge Spottswood Robinson.

Anne E. Kazak, Class of 1977, pediatric psychologist

A professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, Anne Kazak’s primary appointment is in the Department of Pediatrics at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and she has a secondary appointment with the Department of Psychiatry. Voted 2003 Family Psychologist of the Year by the American Psychological Association, she is currently the editor of the Journal of Family Psychology and a former editor of the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. For her groundbreaking work on the inclusion of family in the psychological world of the child, she received the Logan Wright Award for Distinguished Research in 2002.

L. Stoner Winslett, Class of 1980, ballet company artistic director

After her graduation from Smith in 1980, Stoner Winslett became the artistic director and choreographer of the Richmond Ballet, which she built from a small student company with a budget of $160,000 to one of the nation’s leading regional professional dance companies with a $3-million budget in 2000. When knee injuries in college made it impossible for her to concentrate on dancing, she focused her energies on the other aspects of the dance world. Today she is highly regarded for her multi-faceted leadership—artistic director, choreographer, fundraiser, financial manager, overseer of design and construction of a new facility, and creator of significant education and outreach. She is one of very few female artistic directors and is the only one who also produces her own choreography. Her innovative “Minds in Motion” program reaches several hundred 4th-graders, largely inner-city minorities, in ten schools each year, teaching them discipline, dedication and self-awareness through dance. The School of the Richmond Ballet enrolls 500 students, aged 4 to adult, and their Lecture Demonstration series sends professional dancers into schools throughout the region.

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.

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