Supporting Lives of Distinction Through The Smith Fund
Anne Williams ’92 was the first in her family to go to college. Now she’s helping others do the same by giving back to The Smith Fund’s Essential Smith designation, which supports scholarship aid for countless international, non-traditional and financially disadvantaged students who help create a thriving and diverse campus life and make the Smith experience so meaningful.
“I remember attending my second year Reunion and hearing that ‘Smith is committed to educating women of promise for lives of distinction’. To this day, that sends shivers down my spine,” she says. She continues, “Smith always stood out for me because it always had students who couldn’t afford to go, but still managed to attend.”
The daughter of a waitress and a mechanic, Anne knew early on she wanted to go to Smith. “I remember learning about Smith at a college fair in high school. Instantly I knew I had to go there. I applied early and got in. I didn’t end up applying to anywhere else,” she says.
Anne received financial aid and performed work study, from washing dishes to checking IDs at the student gym. She studied French and religion and Biblical literature. “I was always interested in religion because I remember asking myself why we believe what we believe,” she says. She graduated with student debt, pointing out that, unlike some of her classmates, she didn’t know any professionals who encouraged her to study business. That would come later.
Anne settled in Boston after college, working as an administrative assistant at a non-profit. The opportunity exposed her to international development and public health, and she soon ended up in the Peace Corps, volunteering in Cameroon.
“Support of The Smith Fund means you’re changing someone’s life and their impact on the world.”
Even during those lean years, Anne’s commitment to The Smith Fund never wavered. “There was a period in my 20s when it wasn’t easy to give, and I didn’t have an arsenal of business women advising me on how to navigate into a career path. I was still figuring it out. But having learned to think critically and write persuasively at Smith meant that I could always land interesting work, and I was very grateful.”
After the Peace Corps, Anne earned an MBA at Georgetown and built a career in marketing. As her career grew, her giving to The Smith Fund did as well. “Support of The Smith Fund means you’re changing someone’s life and their impact on the world,” she says.
Anne’s commitment to paying it forward goes beyond her giving to Smith. During her time in the Peace Corps, she met a young girl in Cameroon. With Anne’s help, that young woman attended community college in the United States.
For Anne, it all goes back to that speech she heard at her second Smith Reunion: “Am I living a life of distinction? Smith made me who I am. It enabled me, and I can give back. Smith is part of my story.”
To learn more about The Smith Fund, visit our website or contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 800-241-2056, option 1. Visit our secure giving page to make a gift. You can learn more about supporting scholarships at smith.edu/access.