News for the Smith College Community //October 5, 2000
25 Years of Ada Comstock Scholars
In 1975, when the Ada Comstock Scholars Program began at Smith with 33 students, the college had little idea how the program would work, whether it would grow, whom it would ultimately serve and what form it might take. There were no other programs specifically of its kind in the country.
"I learned from the students, I learned what they needed," says Eleanor Rothman, who was hired then to launch the program. "I learned what I needed to know from the people who knew it."
This week, the Ada Comstock Scholars Program will celebrate its silver anniversary. In its 25 years, it has become nationally renowned for educating women who are older than the traditional college age, has grown consistently to enroll more than 200 students a year, and has served as a model for several similar programs at colleges around the country, including the Francis Perkins Program at Mount Holyoke College. Smith's program remains the largest and oldest program of its kind for nontraditional-aged college students.
Counting more than 1,400 alumnae who have attended Smith as Ada Comstock Scholars (endearingly referred to as Adas), the program has offered a Smith education to a diverse array of women with a range of backgrounds. Many Adas managed successful careers, for example, as dancers, musicians, writers, chefs and nurses before coming to Smith, Rothman says. Others may have interrupted their education to raise children. Still others, who might not have had opportunities to continue their education after high school, have made their way performing various jobs before discovering a yearning to learn further. The scholars have spanned an age range of seven decades.
Many of them will visit Smith on October 14 and 15 when the program celebrates its silver anniversary with a weekend gala titled "Transformations" that will engage Adas present and past in a panel discussion, talent showcase, story-telling hour and art exhibition.
The Smith community is invited to the "Transformations" keynote event, a faculty panel moderated by Provost/Dean of the Faculty John Connolly, that will address ways in which Ada Comstock Scholars have transformed the Smith classroom and experience. Also open to the public is an art exhibit, featuring the works of Adas, on display at Forbes Library through October 28. A reception for the exhibition, which opened on October 6, will be held on October 15 from 2 to 4 p.m. in the library. During the weekend celebration, Adas will take part in several discussion groups and gatherings around campus. For more information on the celebration, consult www.smith.edu/advancement/25celeb.html or send e-mail to email@example.com.
The diverse personalities and experiences of women in the Ada program have changed the dynamic of the college, says Rothman, by bringing to the Smith classroom a wealth of viewpoints and rich perspectives that might not otherwise be presented. "The faculty love Ada Comstock Scholars in class," she says. "They're dedicated students, they do their work, they're eager, they're interested."
Named for Ada Louise Comstock, who graduated from Smith in 1897 and later served as dean of Smith and president of Radcliffe, the Ada program requires its members to complete the same requirements as traditional-aged undergraduates, says Rothman. The only difference is that they can take as long as they need to complete the degree, she says.
To keep the program accessible to women
from all economic backgrounds, the college, as part of its comprehensive
campaign, is raising funds toward an Ada Comstock
Rothman, who now directs the fundraising
initiatives for the program, says she is immensely proud of the
Ada program's 25-year record. "It's an enormous source of
satisfaction to me that the program has been as successful as
it is," she says. "I never imagined that I would have
had the privilege of meeting so many interesting women and having
such an impact on their lives."
Addiction to Be the Topic of Symposium
The History of Science and Technology Program will make some history of its own on Friday and Saturday, October 13 and 14. Its symposium titled "Of Human Bondage: Perspectives on Addiction" will break new ground by taking an interdisciplinary look at one of society's most enduring and puzzling social problems.
The symposium will explore addiction from the earliest known anthropological evidence of the condition to the latest research on the effects of addictive drugs on the brain. It will also consider the changing definitions of addiction, its cultural contexts (e.g. among 19th-century artists and 20th-century jazz musicians), and the future of drugs such as Prozac. In addition, a panel of therapeutic practitioners will talk about the current state of their field.
Marjorie Senechal, Louise W. Kahn Professor of Mathematics and director of the History of Science and Technology Program, feels that the topic has a critical immediacy. "Addiction is a problem that touches everyone's life in some way at some time," she says. "There's not a family in America untouched by it. This symposium is a chance to consider the historical, medical, and social perspectives that are so essential to understanding addiction."
Professor of English Douglas Patey, one of the event's organizers, explains that the program's goal for the symposium was twofold. "We wanted to expose the campus and the community to the History of Science and Technology Program," he says. "Beyond that, we wanted to explore a theme that has relevance for the campus, both as scholars and as residents of the 21st century. Addiction, with its classical and contemporary concerns, fit the bill perfectly."
Patey and Senechal point out that the interdisciplinary approach is what makes the symposium unique. "So often, scholars meet only with other scholars, practitioners with practitioners," says Patey, "and policy-makers with other policy makers. This symposium will bring them together to share their very different perspectives on a common theme."
The symposium will feature two keynote addresses. The first, "What Is Addiction?" will be presented on October 13 by Jerome Jaffe, of the University of Maryland Medical School, at 8 p.m. in Neilson Browsing Room. Jaffe, a pioneer in addiction research and methadone treatment, was the first United States "Drug Czar" (1971-73) and later served as director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and its Addiction Research Center. David Musto, professor of the history of medicine and psychiatry at Yale University, will present the second keynote address, "The First Cocaine Epidemic," on October 14, at 1 p.m., also in Neilson Browsing Room. Musto is the author of The American Disease: Origins of Narcotic Control.
Three lectures will take place in succession on the morning of October 14, in Seelye Hall, room 201. "The Archaeology of Addiction" will be given at 9 a.m. by Richard Rudgley, of Oxford University, author of The Encyclopedia of Addictive Substances. His lecture will be followed by "Addiction in Homer and Aristotle," a talk given by symposium organizer Harold Skulsky, Mary A. Jordan Professor of English; and "Absinthe: Chemistry and Culture," delivered by Lâle Aka Burk, chemistry department lecturer. Also on the program are Harvard University's Bertha Madras, one of the world's leading researchers in the biochemistry of addiction, and Richard Davis, a renowned jazz bassist and professor of music at the University of Wisconsin.
"We could not have put together better panels," says Senechal. "These people are leaders in their fields. This symposium offers the Smith community -- and the community at large -- a unique opportunity to learn about addiction from the people who understand it best."
For a complete event schedule and speaker biographies, visit the symposium link on the History of Science and Technology Program Web page at www.smith.edu/hsc/.
College Tech Incubator to Assist Students
Media reports often suggest that Silicon Valley and its computer company counterparts across the country are overflowing with technological whizzes -- brilliant software engineers and young dot-com millionaires. The reality is that few women share in these newfound technology opportunities, and that many uses for computer technology and the Internet still remain unexplored.
Smith College and Women in Technology International (WITI), a professional organization dedicated to advancing women in technology through education, have found a way to address both these problems. The WITI Invent Center at Smith, a campus technology incubator, is scheduled to open by fall 2001. The center, the first of its kind at a women's college, will provide the tools and resources to help women choose technology careers, launch technology-based enterprises, and meet technology-related challenges. It will offer assistance, support and venture capital to launch new women-owned startups.
Operated in collaboration with the Smith Career Development Office, the center will also provide enhanced resources for job searching, internships, job fairs, and business development opportunities through ongoing relationships with WITI corporate members.
All Invited in Reborn Spirituality
The college's new Protestant chaplain, the Rev. Leon Tilson Burrows, describes his experience at Smith so far as the witnessing of a kind of rebirth. Burrows, who began leading Sunday services in Helen Hills Hills Chapel a year ago, was hired as chaplain last January on an interim basis before being appointed for the Protestant chaplaincies at Smith and Amherst colleges in July.
When he first arrived on campus last year, he says the typical Sunday service attracted only a scattering of students to the chapel. "When I came here, it was like 10 students," he says. Since then, the college's spiritual community seems to have reawakened, Burrows reports, and this semester his services attract rousing congregations of nearly 100 people. Last Easter Sunday, he says, the chapel was filled to its capacity of more than 500.
"Now it rises again," Burrows says of the newly robust atmosphere of spirituality on campus, likening the Smith chapel community to England's Coventry Cathedral, which was devastated by WWII bombing, then rebuilt to thrive again. He keeps a printed plate of the famous cathedral on a shelf in his office. "If you survive, you should never want to forget the devastation of the past, but turn it into a meditation on what positive can come from it, a reminder of hope."
Burrows will be formally inducted on Sunday, October 15, at 10:30 a.m., during an Ecumenical Christian Church service of installation in the chapel. He will deliver the sermon at the service, and the Praise Choir will provide the music. Members of the Smith community are invited to the service. A brunch will follow at the Smith College Club. At 4 p.m. Burrows will lead a service of installation at Amherst College's Johnson Chapel, where he serves a third of his time as Protestant chaplain.
As chaplain to two colleges, Burrows employs an array of skills. Not only does he oversee and participate in Sunday Protestant services at Smith and Amherst, which involves writing and delivering sermons, planning a selection of music and coordinating a range of content. He also acts as counselor and confidant to students, mostly at Smith, from more than a dozen religious denominations, who are seeking guidance.
Burrows says that he feels at home dealing with a diversity of backgrounds and experiences. His own life has been a series of rebirths and personal reinventions. He likes to joke that he is now in his third life, for example, after having lived first as a successful church organist, then briefly as an interior designer. He's quick to emphasize that his varied past serves him well on a campus that strives for diversity of race, experience, age, belief, interests and certainly religion. "We have to acknowledge that people here are searching," he says of Smith students.
Indeed, Burrows attributes Smith's revitalized spirituality partly to the chapel's attitude of inclusion, a pervasive appreciation on campus for each others' differences and an understanding of each person's individual search. "We want Helen Hills Hills Chapel to continue to mirror the campus' struggle with diversity," he says. "We want to ask, 'How can we be a more inclusive community? How do we include everyone?' This is a place where people can be invited in and sit beside people who are different from them. We can all coexist. Everyone is invited."
How Did You Spend Your Mountain Day?
By Eunnie Park '01
On the foggy morning of September 29, bells from College Hall and the chapel rang out across campus to announce the arrival of Mountain Day 2000. For students, it's one of the most anticipated days of the year. And in houses all over campus, and residences off campus, students excitedly bustled and prepared for their unexpected day off, each making plans to celebrate Mountain Day in her own way. For most, considering the exquisite weather, it was a day to head outdoors.
On her first Mountain Day, Carrie Smith '04, who lives in Chapin House, felt the spirit of tradition. She packed a lunch from her dining room and joined a couple of fellow Chapin housemates for the prescribed Mountain Day activity: a mountain hike, in Smith's case, along the Metacomet-Monadnock Trail. Smith says she appreciates the idea of Mountain Day. "It's a good break from classes," she says. "It's nice to have a day for yourself and explore what's going on outside."
Meanwhile, Angie Weiss '01 celebrated what will be her last Mountain Day strolling Shelburne Falls' renowned Bridge of Flowers and exploring its glacial potholes, a naturally occurring bed of water-eroded rock formations. "It was amazing," says Weiss. "We sat on the rocks, ate our picnic, went to little antique shops. We also got to see glass blowers. It was really nice."
Juliana Han '03 spent her Mountain Day with faculty members and students of the music department, hiking and picnicking at the Fitzgerald Lake Conservation Area in Florence. The outing was planned by Professor of Music Monica Jakuc and music department liaisons, says Han, in an effort to renew an old Mountain Day tradition. "The music department used to climb mountains together in the '70s," she says. "[Jakuc] wanted to bring back the idea-it sounded nice." Of spending her Mountain Day with professors, Han says, "It was actually kind of cool. It was out of class and relaxed. We didn't really talk about school."
Mountain Day was first officially recognized by the college in 1887 as an annual "surprise" day on which students could take time off from classes to enjoy the fall foliage in the Pioneer Valley and beyond.
But for some, this year's Mountain
Day did not automatically signify a day off from the classroom
or their studies. Polina Dimova '01J, for one, says she was not
so delighted to hear the ringing bells the morning of September
29. "I heard the people on my floor shouting 'Happy Mountain
Day,'" she says, "but I was hoping they were saying
'Happy Birthday.' I really didn't want it to be Mountain Day.
I had a UMass class and a [Smith] night class. It was very unfortunate."
Sources of further information, if any, are indicated in parentheses. Notices should be submitted by mail, by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org) or by fax (extension 2171).
Fine Arts Center Addresses
Faculty & Staff
Denim Day 2000
Participants who make a donation of
at least $5 (payable to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation)
to members of the Staff Council Activities Committee or one of
their helpers will receive a pink ribbon pin, the national symbol
of breast cancer awareness, and may wear denim to work on Friday,
October 6. Donations will also be accepted at the Smith College
Club from approximately 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. during the week of
October 26; or can be sent to Cindy Rucci in Neilson Library.
This year's campaign is dedicated to the memory of Toni Veilleux,
a longtime employee of Residence and Dining Services, who succumbed
to breast cancer on November 11, 1999.
Bosch Fellowship Deadline
Drop Course Deadline
JYA Information Meetings
Seeking New Peer Tutors
Counseling Service Workshops
Study Abroad Meetings
Peer Writing Assistance
Amnesty International Meetings
Sources of further information, if any, are shown in parentheses at the end of event descriptions. An asterisk following a listing indicates that the event is open to the public. Admission charges, if any, are listed when known. Items for this section must be submitted on Event Service Request Forms.
Monday, October 9
No events scheduled
Tuesday, October 10
SGA Senate meeting Open forum. All students welcome. 7:15 p.m., Seelye 201
Volleyball vs. MIT 7 p.m., Ainsworth Gym*
Field hockey vs. Clark 7 p.m., athletic field*
CDO will hold no evening hours due to autumn recess
Wednesday, October 11
CDO information session Lexecon, a Boston business/financial consulting firm, will discuss career opportunities. Students must submit résumés to the CDO by October 25 to be eligible for an interview with Lexecon later this semester. 7:30 p.m., Wright common room
Meeting of social chairs. 6-7 p.m., Duckett Dining Room B
Buddhist service and discussion. 7:15 p.m., Bodman Lounge, chapel
ECC Bible study "What It Is to Be Human." Bring questions, frustrations and curiosities. 10 p.m., Bodman Lounge, chapel
Language lunch tables Classical languages. 12:15 p.m., Duckett Special Dining Room C
Yoga class Noncredit, for students. All levels. 4:45-6 p.m., Davis Ballroom
Watch and discuss the first presidential debate between Vice President Al Gore and Governor George W. Bush of Texas. 8 p.m., Wright auditorium*
Thursday, October 12
Neilson Lecture "Sensibility and Selfhood." Thomas M. Greene, Frederick Clifford Ford Professor Emeritus of English and Comparative Literature, Yale University, will deliver the second of four lectures in a series titled "Calling from Diffusion: Hermeneutics of the Promenade," which examines the nature of the promenade poem as it is practiced by contemporary poets and as it has developed over six centuries. Greene's lecture will feature the poems Canzoniere #129 by Petrarch, Regeneration by Vaughan, and L'Allegro and Il Penseroso by Milton. Reception follows. 4:30 p.m., Seelye 201*
Lecture "Yoruba Intelligentsia and the Production of Historical Knowledge." Toyin Falola, Department of History, University of Texas, Austin. Final event of "Famine, Death and Historical Knowledge-A Lecture Series on Modern Africa." 8 p.m., Neilson Browsing Room*
Informational meeting Williams-Mystic Seaport Program offers a chance to study the world's oceans through a 10-day off-shore Atlantic voyage, a 10-day investigation of the Pacific coast and intensive research at Mystic Seaport in Mystic, Connecticut. Sip New England Clam Chowder at the meeting. 3 p.m., Seelye 201
Meeting for Heads of
Organizations. Call ext. 4999 or e-mail smith_orgs@
Informational meeting Twelve College Exchange. For students (primarily class of 2003) interested in the program for 2001-02. 5 p.m., Seelye 106
Meeting Association of Low-Income Students. All welcome. 7:30 p.m., Fussers, Talbot
CDO information session Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, Information Technology Division. 7:30 p.m., Wright common room
Language lunch tables Korean, Russian. 12:15 p.m., Duckett Special Dining Room
Friday, October 13
Lecture "What is Addiction?" Jerome Jaffe, University of Maryland School of Medicine, will deliver the keynote address for the conference "Of Human Bondage: Perspectives on Addiction," sponsored by the History of Science and Technology Program (see story, page 1). 8 p.m., Neilson Browsing Room*
ECC Fellowship Music, games and the fun aspect of Christianity. Dinner provided. All welcome. 5-7 p.m., Bodman Lounge, chapel
Keystone B.I.G. meeting Weekly fellowship meeting of Campus Crusade for Christ. 7 p.m., Wright common room
Alumnae House tea Lawrence and Morrow Houses are cordially invited to attend. 4 p.m., Alumnae House Living Room
Saturday, October 14
Lecture "The First Cocaine Epidemic." David F. Musto, Yale University. Second keynote address of the conference "Of Human Bondage: Perspectives on Addiction." 1 p.m., Neilson Browsing Room*
Panel discussion Speakers at the keynote event of the Ada Comstock Scholars Program's silver anniversary will discuss how Adas on campus have transformed the classroom and Smith College experience for all students and faculty. Moderated by Provost/Dean of the Faculty John Connolly, panel members include Randall K. Bartlett, professor of economics; William Oram, professor of English; Marjorie Lee Senechal, professor of mathematics; and Frances Volkmann, professor emerita of psychology. (See story, page 1.) 1:30-3 p.m., Sage Hall*
Panel discussion "Clinical Approaches to Addiction." Davina Miller, director, Eating Disorders Partial Hospitalization Program, Franklin Medical Center; Theodore Miller, director, The Brattleboro Retreat; and Alan Dayno, medical director, Community Substance Abuse Center of West Springfield. Part of the conference "Of Human Bondage: Perspectives on Addiction." 2:30 p.m., Neilson Browsing Room*
Lecture "Gray Matters: Prozac, Cocaine and the Meanings of Medicine." Pamela Korsmeyer, freelance writer. Part of "Of Human Bondage: Perspectives on Addiction." 3:30 p.m., Neilson Browsing Room*
Lecture "Jazz and Addiction." Richard Davis, University of Wisconsin. Part of "Of Human Bondage: Perspectives on Addiction." 4:30 p.m., Neilson Browsing Room*
Lecture "Talking When Talking is Tough: Taking on Difficult Conversations about Race, Sexual Orientation, Gender, Class, and Other Aspects of Social Identity." Susan Donner and Joshua Miller, faculty members of the Smith College School for Social Work, will deliver the keynote lecture for the school's Alumnae Symposium. 10 a.m.-noon, Seelye 106
Panel presentation "Admission, Financial Aid, Field Work and Student Life." Part of the Smith College School for Social Work Alumnae Symposium. Limited seating; call ext. 7960 for a reservation. 1-3 p.m., Seelye 106.
Sunday, October 15
Meeting Feminists of
Quaker (Friends) meeting for worship. Preceded by informal discussion at 9:30 a.m. All welcome, childcare available. 11 a.m., Bass 203, 204*
Roman Catholic Mass Fr. Stephen-Joseph Ross, OCD, celebrant, and Elizabeth Carr, Catholic chaplain. Dinner follows in Bodman Lounge. All welcome. 4:30 p.m., chapel*
"Bronze, Steel, and Stone: Selections from the Nasher Collection," a special temporary exhibition hosted by the Smith College Museum of Art and installed on Burton lawn, featuring five sculptures lent by Raymond D. Nasher in memory of his late wife, Patsy Rabinowitz Nasher '49. Runs through October 29. Burton lawn*
"Expanding Educational Opportunities: The Ada Comstock Program," a special exhibit created in conjunction with "Transformations," a weekend of programs celebrating the silver anniversary of the Ada Comstock Scholars Program. The exhibit explores the program's early history through photographs and other materials from the college archives. Runs through October 20. Alumnae House lobby
"Inside Out: An Exhibition of Artist's Books About Breast Cancer and the Healing Process of Creativity." Books by book artist Martha Hall '71. Runs through October 17. Mortimer Rare Book Room*
"Labore et Constantia: Rare books from the Dimock Collection at Smith College," curated by Mark Morford and Margaret Eaton-Salners '01. Runs through December 31. Neilson third floor*