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New Fund Supports Study of Social Issues

The Dorius/Spofford Fund, which supported the purchase of Untitled (One day this kid) by David Wojnarowicz, was created in 2002 by Smith College to underwrite programs dealing with issues of citizenship, censorship, creativity and contemporary social and political repression associated with sexual identity and expression. Wojnarowicz (1954–92) was a key figure of 1980s cultural and social activism. Produced just two years before the artist’s death, Untitled (One day this kid) is a summary of Wojnarowicz’s life and experiences, both beautiful and ugly -- a multilayered portrait of the artist in both visual and written terms. The Dorius/Spofford Fund is named for Joel Dorius and Edward Spofford Jr., gay professors whose employment at Smith was terminated in 1961 in the wake of the nationally publicized scandal surrounding the forced retirement of fellow professor Newton Arvin. Reexamination of these events also resulted in Smith sponsorship of the conference “Homeland Insecurity: Civil Liberties, Repression and Citizenship in the 1950s,” which was held at Smith in January.

The TOYchallenge Story

The first-ever TOYchallenge National Showcase, to be held at Smith on June 14, will feature of the best of a nationwide toy design competition sponsored by Smith’s Picker Engineering Program in conjunction with the Sally Ride Science Club and toymaker Hasbro. Designed to draw girls into the field of engineering, TOYchallenge is based on the first-year engineering design course at Smith.

Starting last fall, teams of middle-schoolers from across the country were invited to submit their best ideas for toys in a range of categories, including Games for the Family, Get Out and Play, and Toys That Teach. From 155 entries, 10 teams were selected to receive $250 awards to advance their designs from paper to prototype. More than 150 contestants, their coaches and mentors, as well as teachers, toy designers and local students, are expected to participate in the showcase. The showcase will award grand prizes, with entries judged on originality, creativity, engineering elegance, feasibility, communication and team participation. Special awards will be presented to entries that advance technology and feature universal appeal. Pioneering astronaut Sally Ride will give the showcase’s keynote address.

Praise for Professors

In February, two Smith professors deemed by student vote to be this year’s most inspiring and dedicated, were presented with the Rally Day Faculty Teaching Awards. Darcy Buerkle, assistant professor of history, received the junior award. She joined the faculty last fall. The senior award went to Dana Leibsohn, associate professor of art, who has taught at Smith for nine years. Each received an engraved plaque and pen set and a check for $1,000 from the Smith College Board of Trustees.

The Student Government Association gives the Faculty Teaching Award annually to one junior and one senior faculty member. Students submit their nominations to the SGA curriculum committee. Lindsey Anne Watson, 2002–03 SGA president, calls the award process “a wonderful opportunity for students to thank and appreciate their professors while offering faculty praise for establishing connections with students.” The awards have been presented since 1985. The 2002 winners were Virginia Hayssen, professor of biological sciences, and Floyd Cheung, assistant professor of English.

Zimbalist Book Gathers Buzz

Andrew Zimbalist, Robert A. Woods Professor of Economics at Smith, may have scored another home run with his latest book about the business of baseball, May the Best Team Win: Baseball Economics and Public Policy (Brookings Institute Press, 2003). The book is creating quite a buzz among book reviewers and sports page writers because he offers a critical analysis of the baseball industry’s problems, pointing to the trend of running major league baseball as a monopoly. He has written and edited numerous other books on the subject including Sports, Jobs, and Taxes: The Economic Impact of Sports Teams and Stadiums (with Roger Noll) and Unpaid Professionals: Commercialism and Conflict in Big-Time College Sports.

Copious Collaborations

Staci Kman ’03 of Bridgeport, Connecticut, was one of 181 Smith students who gave presentations on their research and special projects during a daylong program, “Celebrating Collaborations: Students and Faculty Working Together,” on April 12. More than 100 research projects were presented to showcase the results of Smith student-faculty research collaborations, with 78 faculty collaborators representing 27 departments or academic programs.

“Smith gives students the wonderful opportunity to have a close mentoring relationship with faculty. You not only learn research methods, but also you apply them,” said Kman who presented her thesis, “Generational Feminist Identity,” which she researched with Lauren Duncan, assistant professor of psychology. “My project was interesting because I started working with my professor as a sophomore, entering data. I’ve seen it through the whole process. I’ve put a lot of myself into the project. It was more effective for me to do the research myself than to be told about it.”

The presentations, which represented senior theses and independent study and research seminar projects, consisted of individual talks, panels, poster sessions, exhibits and performances. The presentations were grouped in three categories: science and technology; performing arts; and social, cultural and literary studies.

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Letter to the Editor

The Pain of Financial Loss: My wife is a Smith graduate and I am an honorific one so I regularly encounter and read Smith publications. Thus the Winter Edition of NewsSmith and a disturbing economic reaction. This otherwise elegant issue features an Investment Club and presumes to a higher learning from investment knowledge. This, alas, is one of the accepted ways of losing money. No one can have reliable knowledge of a standard investment prospect -- stock market, bonds, real estate. The prospect of loss is ever as present as the prospect of gain. And for many, perhaps most, people, loss is more painful than the joy of untoiled-for affluence. I speak on this out of some seventy years of study, instruction and experience. My qualifications extend, Harvard professorship aside, to past presidency of the noted American Economic Association. Although there is something to be known of the financial world, there is nothing reliable to be learned about making money. If there were, study would be intense and everyone with a positive I.Q. would be rich.

I write, to repeat, as a loving friend of Smith. Also out of more experience with these matters than will ever emerge from the most diverse and spirited discussion in Northampton.

Yours somberly, John Kenneth Galbraith

 
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