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News Release

February 6, 2006

Rally Day 2006 to Honor Four Distinguished Alumnae

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

Margaret Byard Stearns, arts administrator; Roberta Schenker Kurlantzick, educator; Beverly Mitchell, scientist and physician; and Julia M. Bolz, human rights activist, will accept the medals at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 22, in Sweeney Concert Hall, Sage Hall. The event is free and open to the public.

Following the awards, the honored alumnae will engage in a panel discussion moderated by President Carol T. Christ. The program will also include presentations of Faculty Teaching Awards, given by students to one junior and one senior faculty member, and the Elizabeth B. Wyandt Gavel Award, given by students to outstanding Smith staff members; and student performances of operatic arias.

The Smith College Medal was established in 1962 to recognize and honor alumnae “who, in the judgment of the trustees, exemplify in their lives and work the true purpose of a liberal arts education.”

The four accomplished women who will receive Smith College Medals:

Margaret Byard Stearns, Class of 1957, arts administrator, marketer, librettist

Maggie Stearns has been a committed advocate of opera through her role as Director of Communications for the Opera Theatre of St. Louis (OTSL), a company founded in 1976 that stages opera productions in a rich array of styles, always sung in English. Stearns, who began with the theater in a volunteer role, has built her presence with the company into a career as national press representative, opera translator and librettist. She has translated three opera librettos into English, receiving widespread critical acclaim. In her present role with OTSL, Stearns has provided essential outreach and promotion to opera critics and writers from regional and national publications, assisting in the distribution of news and information about opera and the OTSL. In addition, Stearns serves as executive director for the Sullivan Musical Foundation, managing a prestigious award for early career singers.

Roberta Schenker Kurlantzick, Class of 1965, educator and school leader

Roberta Kurlantzick has had an enormous impact on elementary school education, not only in the Connecticut communities where she has served as both teacher and administrator since graduating from Smith, but also more broadly through her innovative ideas and examples of creative and effective practices that serve as models for the education community. In her role as principal of Union School, an elementary school in Unionville, Conn., an economically diverse and multicultural community, Kurlantzick spearheaded a highly successful and noted record of achievement for the school, and was named a Nationally Distinguished Principal in the process. The West Woods Upper Elementary School in Farmington, Conn., at which Kurlantzick has been principal since 2002, utilizes a new and innovative grade configuration created by her that reflects her vision of the most effective practices in elementary education.

Beverly Mitchell, Class of 1965, doctor, medical researcher

Beverly Mitchell has made a lasting impact on the progress of cancer research nationally through her dual roles as a scientist and a physician. One of the world's leading researchers in biochemical pharmacology of nucleotides, Mitchell has fused her talents to help provide effective new treatments for leukemia. As a member and past president of the American Society of Hematology, a worldwide organization of 30,000 members, she continues to help focus young investigators on the importance of patient-oriented research in hematology. Mitchell has trained a continuous succession of outstanding young physician-scientists and clinicians who regard her as their primary role model. Mitchell has been widely recognized for her achievements, winning the Leukemia Society of America's Stohlman Award in 1988, the H. Marvin Pollard Award for Outstanding Resident Teaching in 1983, the National Institute of Health's Clinical Investigator Award from 1978-81, and other distinctions.

Julia M. Bolz, Class of 1983, human rights activist

Julia Bolz has dedicated her life's work to making the world a better place for women. In 2001, she traded her successful career as a partner and practicing immigration attorney in one of Seattle's most respected law firms for a commitment to advocacy and grassroots action on behalf of the world's disenfranchised in some of the earth's most inhospitable locations. Bolz is currently working to provide aid and build new business, education and healthcare structures in Afghanistan, focusing on the welfare of girls and women in the war-torn country. She returns to Seattle regularly to guide and assist high school children in serving their community. In recognition of her humanitarian efforts, Bolz was recently awarded Seattle's Tom C. Wales Citizenship Award.

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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