Skip Navigation
A Culture of Care
Read Smith’s plans for the fall 2020 semester
and the college’s ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Honorary Degrees 2015

Smith College awarded honorary degrees to seven distinguished guests at the 137th Commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 17. In addition to speaker Juliet V. García, the honorary degree recipients are:

Mahzarin Banaji

Mahzarin Banaji, the Richard Clarke Cabot Professor of Social Ethics at Harvard, is a leading researcher on subconscious biases and the co-author of Blind Spot: Hidden Biases of Good People. Her work has been widely honored for its impact on social justice. Elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Banaji has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation and the National Science Foundation, among others. Banaji holds a B.A. degree from Nizam College, an M.A. from Osmania University in Hyderabad, and a Ph.D. from Ohio State University.

Sally Benson

Sally Benson is a globally renowned climate scientist and member of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. A member of the faculty at Stanford University, she serves as director of the Precourt Institute for Energy, the hub of energy research and education at Stanford, and also directs Stanford’s Global Climate and Energy Project, a university-industry partnership that develops innovative energy supplies. Benson is the author of more than 160 scientific publications and the co-founding editor of MRS Energy and Sustainability. Benson holds a B.S. degree in geology from Barnard College and earned M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of California-Berkeley.

Marilyn Carlson Nelson ’61

Marilyn Carlson Nelson ’61 is co-CEO of Carlson Holdings, Inc. and the former CEO and chair of Minneapolis-based Carlson, a global travel and hospitality company which includes such brands as Radisson Blu, Quorvus Collection, Radisson, Country Inns & Suites and Carlson Wagonlit Travel. Under Nelson’s leadership, Carlson doubled its system-wide revenues and became an industry leader in the fight to combat the sexual trafficking of children in travel and tourism. For her efforts, she received the Oslo Business for Peace Award and was awarded the White House’s Presidential Award for Extraordinary Efforts to Combat Trafficking in Persons. Nelson studied at the Sorbonne in Paris and at the Institut des Hautes Etudes Economiques et Politiques in Geneva.

Adelaide Cromwell ’40

Adelaide Cromwell ’40 became the first African-American professor appointed at Smith in 1945. After teaching at Smith, she served for more than 30 years on the sociology faculty at Boston University, where she founded the Afro-American studies program and co-founded the African studies program. A 1940 graduate of Smith, Cromwell holds a certificate in social work from Bryn Mawr College and a Ph.D. in sociology from Radcliffe College. A recipient of the Smith Medal in 1971, she is also the niece of Otelia Cromwell, Class of 1900, the first African-American graduate of Smith College.

Frances Crowe

At age 95, Northampton resident Frances Crowe is a peace activist and pacifist, well known in the Pioneer Valley and beyond for her fearless work on the ground and for her ability to inspire others. Crowe is the founder of the Northampton Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, the Sane Nuclear Policy Committee and the Valley Peace Center. She holds degrees from Stephens College and Syracuse University, and conducted graduate work at Columbia University and The New School for Social Research. Her papers are in the Sophia Smith Collection at Smith.

Deborah Voigt

One of the world’s preeminent dramatic sopranos, Deborah Voigt made her Carnegie Hall debut in 1988, and has since built one of the most accomplished careers in opera. Voigt is especially well known for her roles in operas by Wagner and Strauss, as well as for her recitals and performances of popular songs. She records widely, and she has appeared regularly as both a performer and as a host of the Metropolitan Opera’s Live in HD series, which is transmitted live to movie theaters around the world. Her memoir, Call Me Debbie: True Confessions of a Down-to-Earth Diva, was released late last year.