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John M. Greene Award

Deborah Duncan ’77

Debbie Duncan ’77 presents from the podium at John M. Greene Hall

Deborah Duncan ’77, Chair, Smith Board of Trustees 2016–2020.


The John M. Greene Award is given by the Board of Trustees to those who have rendered service to Smith College "beyond the call of duty" and who personify the Smith motto, “To virtue, knowledge,” in their service and in their lives.

Since its inception in 1980, the award has been presented to 40 outstanding individuals. Today, we add an extraordinary woman to that distinguished group.

Deborah Duncan.

Smith College Class of 1977.

Chair, from 2016 to 2020, of the Smith College Board of Trustees.

Debbie, as an alumna volunteer, donor, trustee and board chair, you have demonstrated an exceptional commitment to Smith College. During your term as board chair, you advanced the critical work of Smith’s present while preparing the college for a strong and resilient future. In those four years, we broke ground and began construction on the reimagined Neilson Library, a work of art and the intellectual heart of our campus. We also made bold commitments to environmental sustainability and to climate leadership through the Study Group on Climate Change and the Advisory Committee on Investor Responsibility. Furthermore, you also generously supported CEEDS and the MacLeish Field Station through your philanthropy. 

During your time as chair you also led the board in a significant reorganization, resulting in structures and processes better aligned with the board’s distinctive culture and values. Through retreats focused on innovation and future thinking, you encouraged trustees to look outward and forward, thereby yielding important insights on how to strengthen and advance Smith’s place in the world. In every board deliberation, you invited discussion and debate, which ensured that all members felt included and all voices were heard. 

Your vision and the changes you championed moved the board forward into a new era of strategic leadership. For this and more, we, the Smith College Board of Trustees, thank you for your dedication and honor you for your extraordinary service. 

Alison Overseth ’80
Chair, Board of Trustees
April 29, 2022