Learning the Language
Kate Lear ’79 is a screenwriter in New York City and runs a family foundation
dedicated to serving disadvantaged youth and raising political awareness. She attended
Smith College from 1975 to 1977 and graduated from Stanford University in 1981; she
now lives in New York with her husband and two sons. Recently she shadowed Lindsey
Allen and Jessica Chiang through a day of classes while doing research for a play
she’s writing set in an all-women’s college. NewsSmith asked Lear, as
an alumna who’s been away from campus for a while, to jot down some impressions.
academic rigor: It felt great to be in class again. I was as impressed with the Smith
College faculty as I ever had been. Smith continues to be the outstanding educational
institution that it always was. This feeling was echoed in the words of all of the
students I interviewed. I was happy to see that nobody takes the education they receive
at Smith for granted.
On diversity: Today’s greater diversity and emphasis
on financial aid has changed the student body in a positive way. When I attended
Smith, a larger percentage of students were from affluent families, which made for
a more homogeneous and less interesting experience.
On the future: I was happy to
see that Smith women are less constrained in their dreams for their future. They
may be stressed over their workload and uncertain of what immediate steps to take
after graduation; however, they have a variety of choices—graduate
school, internships and jobs – that my contemporaries didn’t feel they
On Smith students today: The women I met last week were
more political about and engaged in both campus and world issues—surely a positive change for us