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Smith College President Kathleen McCartney
Kathleen McCartney

Smith College President

Smith College President Kathleen McCartney has announced that she will step down in June 2023, after 10 years of service.

February 25, 2022
President Kathleen McCartney

“I was humbled when called to serve as the 11th president of Smith, and the work has been deeply rewarding,” she wrote. “For this reason, I find myself filled with gratitude to all of you in the Smith community.”

Alison Overseth ’80, chair of Smith’s board of trustees, praised McCartney as “an inspirational, aspirational and values-driven leader…Since the beginning of her tenure, Kathy has championed with purpose and conviction meaningful advancements that make Smith stronger in every dimension.”

McCartney’s tenure has been distinguished by extraordinary growth and change in nearly every aspect of college life. Under her leadership, Smith became significantly more affordable and accessible—expanding scholarship aid, eliminating loans from undergraduate financial aid packages, and creating new funds to support new and current students, as well as recent graduates.

“Together, as members of this remarkable college—with its venerable traditions and its distinguished history—we continue to embrace change and the opportunities it presents.”
President Kathleen McCartney

President Kathleen McCartney

Smith also undertook a broad re-imagining of curricular and co-curricular programs. The college established new majors (in Middle East studies as well as statistical and data sciences), created groundbreaking new programs (in writing and public discourse, and in design thinking, among others), and expanded the centers to provide students with new opportunities in leadership, innovation and entrepreneurship, and more. Smith reshaped its campus, developing innovative new classrooms, gardens and buildings—most notably, the stunning new Neilson Library, designed by Maya Lin.

The college moved forward on critical social issues, committing to a forward-looking plan “Toward Racial Justice,” and supporting new initiatives to ensure that Smith is a place where everyone has a deep sense of belonging. Smith also charted a bold path to becoming carbon neutral by 2030.

President Kathleen McCartney

Philanthropic gifts to Smith reached new levels: The college secured a record-setting $605 million through the Women for the World Campaign and beyond; and in 2020, Smith received the largest gift in its history - $50 million - to support financial aid and career development.

President Kathleen McCartney

Through these gifts, as well as strong market performance, Smith is stronger financially than ever before, with a $2.6-billion endowment that is now managed internally.  

McCartney plans to spend the next 16 months focusing on key college priorities, including working toward becoming need-blind in college admission and enhancing Smith’s career development programs.

Susan Molineaux ’75, vice chair of the board of trustees, will chair a search committee for Smith’s next president. Additional information will be available in the coming weeks.

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