Five Alumnae to Receive Smith Medal at Rally Day
For their extraordinary professional achievements and outstanding service to their communities, five alumnae have been named 2010 recipients of the Smith Medal.
Established in 1962 to recognize women who exemplify in their lives and work "the true purpose" of a liberal arts education, the honor will be bestowed at Rally Day on February 17.
Judge Seymour has played a key role in changing the place of women in the federal judiciary. In 1979, she became the first woman judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. In 1994, she became the first woman chief judge on that circuit, serving in the position until 2000. She took senior judge status in January 2005.
Seymour is known for her ability to make progressive rulings—those that indicate her devotion to constitutional ideals—in a conservative circuit. In Brown v. Board of Education, a 1992 decision in which the Tenth Circuit ordered a lower court to formulate a remedy that addressed the remaining vestiges of school segregation in Topeka, Kansas, Judge Seymour wrote: "We are mindful of the limited authority and ability of the courts to reshape society, but we possess an abiding respect for the constitutional guarantee of equal protection and the responsibility of the courts to insure that government fulfills its promise to all its citizens."
After graduating from Smith in 1962, magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, Seymour finished Harvard Law School in 1965—one of only 23 women in a class of 550. Before her appointment to the bench, she had practiced law in Boston, Houston and Tulsa.
Stevens is professor of mathematics and computer science at Saint Louis University, where she served for five years as department chair. An accomplished research mathematician, she has made unique contributions in mentoring and education. In 1994, she co-created Project NExT (New Experiences in Teaching), a professional development program for those with new and recent doctorates in the mathematical sciences. As of August 2009, more than 1,100 people had participated.
Stevens' early career work as a legislative assistant to New York Congressman Ted Weiss, on issues involving defense, arms control, education, science and technology, convinced her of the utility of mathematical skills in discussions of public policy. From 1987 to 1989, she was a National Science Foundation program officer for precollege and undergraduate math education.
After graduating from Smith in 1970, Stevens earned her master's and doctoral degrees in mathematics at Harvard University. In 1984-85, Stevens was the Congressional Science Fellow.
In February 2007, Sarah Thomas became the first woman and the first non-British person to assume the post of Bodley's librarian and director of library services at Oxford University. She is responsible for the operation of the largest university library system in the United Kingdom and one of the world’s premier research libraries.
Thomas' interest in libraries began as a student working at Neilson Library. After graduating from Smith in 1970 with a major in German, she earned a master's in library science at Simmons and a doctorate in German literature at Johns Hopkins. In a career spanning nearly four decades, Thomas has catalogued books in Harvard's Widener Library, taught German at Johns Hopkins, coordinated research libraries in California and directed a collaborative cataloguing initiative at the Library of Congress.
Thomas joined the executive committee of the Friends of the Smith College Libraries in 1994 and served as chair of the Friends from 2001 to 2007.
Brian has been executive director of the Project On Government Oversight, a politically independent, nonprofit watchdog organization, since 1993. There she has been responsible for investigations that have led to major reforms and cuts in wasteful spending in such areas as oil industry fraud on government land, drug industry influence on health policy, and defense contractor waste and fraud.
Praised for her "take-no-prisoners" approach to exposing fraud, waste and corruption among government agencies and contractors, Brian works with whistleblowers and government insiders, Capitol Hill decision-makers, agency policymakers and the media. She has also worked to fortify government oversight systems through training congressional staff in oversight techniques and bolstering the federal Inspectors General.
In 2006, Brian was inducted into the Freedom of Information Act Hall of Fame. She graduated from Smith with a degree in government in 1985.
Mufleh has devoted herself to assisting refugee populations integrate into American society through her work as soccer coach and founder of Fugees Family, Inc. She began her work with refugees when she stumbled across a group of boys playing soccer in the streets of Clarkston, Georgia, and asked to join them. As a lifelong soccer player and experienced coach, Mufleh formed the Fugees—short for "refugees"—a soccer team for whom she became coach, counselor, academic tutor and role model.
Fugees' players hail from 25 different countries, including Afghanistan, Sudan and Burma, and represent numerous cultures and religions. In less than a decade, her project has grown from one group of 20 boys to four boys' teams with more than 80 participants. In 2006 Mufleh founded the nonprofit organization Fugees Family, Inc. to better serve the needs of the refugee community. In addition to soccer, the Fugees Family now runs a middle school, an academic summer camp and college counseling sessions.
Originally from Amman, Jordan, Mufleh came to this country to attend Smith College and graduated in 1997.