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The Inauguration of Sarah Willie-LeBreton

On October 21, 2023, Sarah Willie-LeBreton will formally take office as Smith’s 12th president. An experienced scholar, sociologist, and leader, she is well positioned to usher Smith into its next chapter by fostering community and addressing social inequalities.

Please join us in celebrating her and welcoming her into our vibrant campus community with lectures, pop-up installations, musical performances, luncheons, a dance party—and more.

For more information and questions, please email or call 413-585-2669.

Saturday, October 21, 2023, at 2 p.m.
Indoor Track and Tennis Facility
Smith College
Northampton, Massachusetts

Schedule of Events

All events are open to the Smith community and the general public.
Check out inauguration activities with our interactive map.


Friday, October 20
Smith Campus Showcase

Welcome Hours

10 a.m.–4 p.m.
Location: Smith College Alumnae House
Please join us at the renovated historic Smith College Alumnae House on Elm Street and enjoy our new Welcome Center, where you will also find information about the inauguration weekend.

Botanic Garden Tour

10 a.m.–4 p.m.
Location: Lyman Conservatory
Explore the Botanic Garden of Smith College! Visit Lyman Conservatory and discover our tropical and temperate glasshouses, pick up a map of our campus gardens, and experience our current exhibit, The Bell Jars: Lyman Conservatory and Sylvia Plath’s Botanical Imagination. Botanic garden curators, horticulturists, and educators will be on site to answer questions and discuss what it means to be a botanic garden at a liberal arts college.

Neilson Library Tours

10 a.m.–noon
Location: Neilson Library
Guided tours of the renovated Neilson Library, designed by Maya Lin, will be offered every 30 minutes between 10 a.m. and noon.

The first tour will start at 10 a.m., and the last tour is at 11:30 a.m. Please meet inside the main entrance to Neilson Library, facing Seelye Lawn, to join a guided tour. Tours will be limited to 10 people. Self-guided tour booklets are also available at any time in the brochure rack at the main entrance.

Campus School Tour

10 a.m.–1 p.m.
Location: Gill Hall 33 Prospect Street
Discover Smith College's innovative kindergarten–grade 6 lab school. Campus School’s dedicated faculty and staff will be available to lead tours, address your inquiries, and delve into what it means to be a part of a lab school at a prestigious liberal arts college.

Campus School offers a unique educational experience, featuring exciting excursions to the Smith College Museum of Art, botanic garden, Poetry Center, and Design Thinking Lab. 

When you arrive, please ring the doorbell, and we will promptly welcome you inside.

Geothermal Presentation

10:30–11:15 a.m.
Location: TBD
Becoming Carbon Neutral at Smith College: The Geothermal Energy Project 
Presenters: Beth Hooker, administrative director of the Center for the Environment, Ecological Design, and Sustainability, and Matthew Tomaszeski, associate vice president for campus planning and sustainability.

Smith College is making big moves to address the world’s climate crisis through its pledge to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030 and its $210 million investment in geothermal energy. The journey to carbon neutrality has been formed from an early carbon commitment to the present-day construction project to transform the heating and cooling system on campus, marking Smith College as a pioneer in sustainability. Education is a hallmark of this success: Smith explicitly links impact with its mission and is committed to shaping climate leaders who can address society’s challenges.

Dining Showcase Lunch &
Campus Tea

11 a.m.-2 p.m.
Locations: Dining halls across campus
Dining rooms across campus will showcase a variety of lunch options and campus tea, featuring a branded custom tea, continuing one of Smith’s oldest campus traditions.

Special Collections Tours

1–4 p.m.
Location: Neilson Library
Visit the new home of Special Collections in Neilson Library with Elizabeth Myers, director of Special Collections, and Leslie Fields, head of Special Collections public services. Learn about the unique materials in the College Archives, Mortimer Rare Book Collection, and Sophia Smith Collection of Women’s History; see our temperature- and humidity-controlled stacks; explore our exhibit projects; and hear about all of our new student education programs.

Please meet outside Neilson 304, the Special Collections seminar room, to join a 30-minute introduction and guided tour. Tours will be limited to 10 people, and will begin at 1, 2, 3, and 4 p.m.

Dance Party and S’mores with the President

8 p.m.
Location: Chapin Lawn
Join the campus community and our 12th president for an evening treat.

Saturday, October 21

Academic Programs

9–11:30 a.m.
Locations: Varied across campus
Information on specific events and locations to follow.

Inaugural Luncheon

11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m.
Location: Chapin Lawn/Campus Center
Join the campus community for a celebratory lunch.

Installation of President Sarah Willie-LeBreton

2 p.m.
Location: Indoor Track and Tennis Facility and livestreamed here.
The Smith community (students, faculty, staff, alums, trustees, and the public) will be joined by delegates from colleges and universities around the world for the formal presentation of the symbols and responsibilities of office to Smith’s 12th president.

All-Community Reception

4–5:30 p.m.
Location: Chapin Lawn/Campus Center
Join the campus community as we celebrate the installation of Smith’s 12th president, featuring live music from Sweet Honey in the Rock and Smith student a cappella group Blackappella.

The Grammy-nominated, iconic, women-led African American vocal ensemble Sweet Honey in the Rock marks its 50th anniversary with a powerful three-year celebration that will honor its storied past and set the course for the future of the group, which has been called “one of the most dynamic, versatile, and still relevant musical collectives in music today.”

Campus Illumination

5:30–10 p.m.
Walk through campus and enjoy the beauty and magic of another tradition as the grounds are lit up with lanterns and light displays to celebrate our 12th president.



Travel and Accommodations

The college is easily accessible by air, car, train, or bus, and you’ll find a variety of accommodations just a short distance from campus in the vibrant city of Northampton.