News for the Smith College Community //December 13, 2001
New Director Takes Helm of SFS
Though there are some obvious differences between her former and new employers, Smith's new director of student financial services says there are some welcome similarities as well.
Linda Dagradi, who assumed her new position as director of student financial services last month, left a similar position at Springfield College, where she had served as director of financial aid since 1988. She succeeds Myra Smith, who last year accepted a position at Yale University.
Springfield and Smith colleges are two very different institutions, emphasizes Dagradi. Springfield College has a wide array of student demographies, she says, from its graduate student body and sizable population of nontraditional-aged undergraduate students to professionals who participate in the college's weekend educational programs. "It makes for a very different mix of needs."
And while Smith's student population is by no means homogeneous, it's mostly made up of traditional-aged undergraduates. Also, while Dagradi's former position focused on financial aid, Smith's Office of Student Financial Services (SFS) comprises financial aid and bursar services, combining student billing and employment, financing and other services.
Despite their differences, Dagradi notes that, like the office she oversaw at Springfield College, Smith's Office of Student Financial Services is a well-run, friendly place to work.
The Springfield College office, she says, "like this one, was characterized by longevity, at least at the administrative level." Also, both offices have a well-defined mission, Dagradi explains, and share a sense of dedication. "I'll certainly miss that office," she says. "But I'm walking into a place where people work well as a team. It's nice to work with people you like, and who like each other."
After 13 years with the same employer, Dagradi is making necessary adjustments to her new confines, she says, becoming acclimated to a different delivery system of services, learning campus computer software and hardware, and putting names with faces around the college.
She expects her management of the SFS office to evolve naturally, as she will administer change as necessary and oversee the inevitable growth that will accompany the college's progress. "I believe that change is inevitable," she says, "and that how change is managed is a benchmark about the organizational effectiveness and response capability of an institution. My feeling is that change is organic. Eventually, we will change on a natural course."
While much of Dagradi's background has centered on financial aid issues, her education and professional experience include a range of capacities in higher education. "My background is fairly eclectic," as she puts it. Having received an undergraduate degree in history from American International College in Springfield, Dagradi earned a doctorate in education at UMass in Amherst in educational research and institutional change. She has also served as director of financial aid at Chicopee's Elms College and serves as a trustee for the College Board.
A one-time substitute teacher in the West Springfield school system, Dagradi sees her background in personal and technical communication as a necessary strength, she notes, in an office that often deals with sensitive subject matter. "With the kind of work we do, everyone has to be in the same chapter," she says.
Dagradi lives in Wilbraham with her
husband, Richard Ryan, and their daughter, Kali Ryan, who is
in the sixth grade.
Here Comes the Sun at Winter Party
As they arrive at this year's Winter Party at the Indoor Track and Tennis Facility (ITT), Smith community members may feel as though they've been transported to warmer climes. Bright, sunny colors will adorn the ITT and soothing, shimmering waters will reflect the party's tropical theme. And throughout the evening, dancing lessons will be offered in Latin American styles like salsa, merengue and bachata.
All employees, emeriti and members of the 25-Year Club are invited to join acting president John Connolly and his wife, Marianna, in the sunshine of this year's Winter Party on Saturday, December 15, from 8 to 11:30 p.m. Invitees are welcome to bring a guest to the party and should present their invitations at the door, which will open at 7:45 p.m.
Of course, the exotica at this year's party won't end with the decorations and music. White Glove Catering will offer an eclectic menu of beef teriyaki and vegetables, roast turkey breast, pasta, Caesar salad, gorgonzola bread, vegetarian spring rolls and fresh fruit. For dessert, revelers can choose from six flavors of Steve Herrell's ice cream, including tropical piña colada. All the while, sparkling drinks, coffee, beer and wine will be available.
The music will kick off with a performance by Smith employee Stuart Getz and Friends, who will be followed by deejay Kazzanova. If you would like the deejay to play a particular CD, send your choice to Meg Averill, in the president's office, labeled with your name, campus extension and address and the specific tracks you would like played.
This year has been a particularly trying one, offering a poignant mix of joy and sadness. At Smith, while we've struggled with the tragic events of September 11, we've also worked hard to enact and develop new initiatives, even as we bade farewell to Ruth Simmons and named a new president. But in times of adversity, the college has been strengthened by the dedication of staff and faculty to the institution's mission and needs. To celebrate the spirit of community at Smith, President Connolly invites all employees and their guests to join him for an evening in the sun.
At the suggestion of Staff Council and with Connolly's support, the Winter Party Committee has made an effort to reduce the costs of this year's party and to donate unused funds to a September 11 charity to be selected by the staff and faculty councils.
As always, volunteers are needed before and after the party to assist with setup and cleanup. To volunteer, contact Averill (extension 2108, email@example.com) or Louise Barden (extension 2151, firstname.lastname@example.org).
But most importantly, come to the Winter Party 2001 for celebration, food, fun, friendship and warmth -- sunscreen not required.
Smith United Way Campaign Exceeds Goal
With slightly fewer donors than last year, the Smith United Way Campaign 2001 has exceeded its $140,000 goal with donations totaling $146,643 -- an increase of more than $2,000 over last year's total.
Meanwhile, the two final drawings were held for campaign donors, on November 16 and December 7. Jennifer Innes and Elizabeth Carr each won a free lunch at the Smith College Club; Sue Frazier and Martha Guzowski won reserved parking spaces; Piotr Decowski, brunch for two at Green Street Café; Sue Freeman, a $50 gift certificate at Mole Hollow Candles; Jennifer Baril, one day off with pay; Jessica Howell and Diane Cuneo, $5 gift certificates for Davis Center; Diane Jacobs, a CD recording of Sonatas by Monica Jakuc, fortepiano; Chris Hannon and Eileen Dunn, $25 gift certificates to Packard's; John Detmold, a CD recording, Francesca LeBrun Sonatas by Monica Jakuc; Jim Snedeker, a $25 gift certificate for Trellis Works; Claire Kmetz, a wood turning by Eric Reeves; Joan Brink, one month of tanning at Northampton Athletic Club; Cindy Furtek, dinner for two at the Smith College Club; Michael Trombley, a book, Scott Hamilton: Fireworks on Ice, by Linda Shaugnessy; Phyllis Cummings and Carol Bevan-Bogart, CD recordings of Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 by the Smith College Glee Club and Orchestra; Chris Forgey and David Bickar, CD recordings of Mozart's Requiem by Smith College choral groups; Jan Ebbets, a $50 gift certificate for Montana's Steak House; Dale West and Susan Hollingworth each won one night at the Country Inn Suites at The Delaney House; Janet Van Blerkom and Nickie Michaud, CD recordings of Brahms' Ein Deutsches Requiem, Op. 45; Scott Messinger and Rebecca Davis each won two tickets to the Academy of Music; Bonnie May, a flavored coffee and pastry break for four at Davis Center; Deborah Johnson, a $50 gift certificate for Del Raye Bar and Grill; Elise Gibson, a $25 gift certificate for Grécourt Bookshop; Nancy Martin, dinner for two at Green Street Café; Gail Hathaway, a book, Elvis Stojko: Skating From the Blade, by Linda Shaugnessy; Alona Horn, two nights for two at the Autumn Inn; Sylvia Crafts, art work by Gary Niswonger; Jim Montgomery, a $20 gas certificate from Steenburgh Realty in Williamsburg; Tom Weiner, a one-hour massage from Stay in Touch Center for Massage; Pat Wheeler, two nights for two at the Inn at Northampton.
For Art Majors, A Temporary Home
In a little more than a year, Smith's $35 million renovation of the Fine Arts Center -- the most extensive reconstruction project in the college's history -- will yield a sophisticated arts complex with added classroom and studio space, state-of-the-art multimedia resources and, in the Museum of Art, a new floor of sky-lit galleries.
But in the meantime, until early 2003 (provided all remains on schedule), the museum's renowned art collection is on hiatus, touring various corners of the world, and the art department's faculty, staff and students are making their campus homes in temporary quarters on the other side of Elm Street, at the Clarke School for the Deaf.
And while art majors are aware of the compromises they are asked to make during the art complex's renovation, most appreciate the college's efforts to retain the availability of its art department, library and museum.
"I used to go to the museum all the time, and it was a good resource to have the art right in front of me," says art history major Caroline Ewing '02. "There's something irreplaceable about being in front of a piece of art, and Smith has such a good collection. I can't go to the museum to compare ideas anymore."
However, Ewing is impressed with Smith's commitment to making art accessible to the community in other ways. For example, many of the art department's images have been replicated digitally and are available to members of the college community through a program called Insight. Through the digitized collection, "you can still get the stuff you need," Ewing explains.
She's also impressed with "the way Smith is inviting artists to come here and create installations," she adds. Among those is North Carolina sculptor Patrick Dougherty's Paradise Gate, a whimsical castle constructed with sticks and saplings that presides over Burton Lawn.
Installed in April, Paradise Gate was created "to help maintain an art presence on campus while the Fine Arts Center is closed," explains the Museum of Art's Web site.
And in October, artist Stephen Antonakos' neon work Once, Again was installed on the ceiling of the Neilson Library outdoor passageway. Those installations, says Ewing, "serve as such a constant reminder of the importance of art at Smith. I don't know of a lot of schools that would do this."
The college also offers student bus trips to museums in New York and Boston, "which have been good," approves Ari Fort '02, another art history major. "It's been pretty reasonable to get over there. And there are other museums in the area, including a nice collection at Amherst. There are ways to get around it," she says of the temporary museum closure.
Ultimately, adds Fort, the completed construction will be a great asset to the art department and to the college. "I wish I could have the new Hillyer, but I'm graduating. I'm going to be jealous, not having had the use of such a nice facility."
Sara Martin '04, looks forward to using the new facility once she returns from her junior year abroad. "All the departments will be unified again, the teachers will be able to use the museum's materials to teach again, and the space will be so nice," she says.
Though Ewing won't get the opportunity to use the new Fine Arts Center, she appreciates the benefits that the facility will bring to art majors to come. "I'm excited to have the new building for our future students," she says.
New Group Adds Groove to Glee Club
There's a new a cappella group on campus. It's called The Groove and it's made up of members from the Smith College Glee Club. And while it joins an impressive list of Smith a cappella troupes, The Groove will be the only one derived from a formal college ensemble.
The Groove, with 10 singers, adds a whole new element to the Glee Club's traditional repertoire, spicing up the choir's performances with a variety of new songs, sounds and moves, says Jonathan Hirsh, Glee Club director. "We wanted to have an a cappella group within the choral program, so that people who are singing in the choral groups can have an opportunity like that," he explains.
"The idea of starting a new group was exciting to me, but I wasn't sure what would happen," says Rebecca Raymond '02, whom Hirsh appointed as the "pitch" for The Groove. "I run rehearsals, run sectionals, try to place people on parts that will make the songs sound the best, and try to mold the group so that we are in tune and so that it sounds nice," she explains.
Raymond has served as the pitch for the Vibes -- another Smith a cappella group -- for the past three years, she says, but launching a new group has "been a little rough," she admits.
"It's really hard to start an a cappella group," says Anna Mikelson '02, the group's business director. "All the other a cappella groups have been around for at least 10 years and so nobody [currently at Smith] has ever started one before. We don't have an established sound yet, and it's hard to get all the other parts together. It's a learning experience."
"It's going to take a couple years before The Groove becomes more successful and more well-known," adds Hirsh, "but it will be a very successful endeavor for the program."
By all accounts, the group has done an excellent job of finding its groove so far. Though Raymond says she was nervous about the group's two performances this semester -- one of Prince's "Lady Madonna" at the Pops Concert and another of Queen's "Under Pressure" (with "a little 'Ice, Ice Baby' mixed in," adds Raymond) at Autumn Serenade -- both were very successful.
"Watching the video of our Autumn Serenade performance was so great because we felt confident, looked confident and it went over really well," Raymond recalls. "I got a lot of positive feedback from music professors, music students and people who knew nothing about music and just wanted to come to the concert. People that I really respect told me that we were doing a great job, and that made me feel awesome."
Though The Groove has no more scheduled performances this semester, the group plans to perform at some spring choral concerts, Raymond says. Members of the Glee Club and first-year choruses were invited to audition for The Groove last spring, and the group began practicing and performing this fall. Late in the spring, the group will hold elections and auditions for next year. "I'd like to bring the number [of participants] up to 14 or 15," says Raymond. "Anyone in the Glee Club or the first-year chorus is invited to audition."
Meanwhile, they will be practicing new songs and "preparing to show the world why we named ourselves The Groove," says Raymond, who explains that the group plans to add a mixture of dance moves to its repertoire. "The point of the name is not just that we groove musically. We have every intention of physically grooving as well."
Today Features Smith Students, New Program
On November 23, NBC's Today show featured
Smith in a five-minute segment about the college's new Women
and Financial Independence program. Correspondent Anne
Among the segment's highlights: asked why college women should be knowledgeable about money, Lessard told Thompson, "I may or may not get married. That's not a focus of mine right now. I fully intend -- and I know my parents fully intend -- that I will be financially independent. I'm going to be doing it on my own, taking care of myself."
Tapes of the segment are available; contact Laurie Fenlason, director of media relations, at extension 2190 or email@example.com.
No Mum Show, But Better Facilities
Every November since the early part of the last century, the Lyman Conservatory has adorned its greenhouses with exotic chrysanthemums from around the world in colors, shapes and species rarely seen in the northeast United States. This year, the popular Mum Show did not go on.
Instead, the conservatory is undergoing a comprehensive renovation that will restore its greenhouses, expand classroom and lab space, relocate staff offices, add exhibition space and improve the buildings' accessibility. More than a century after the construction of Smith's first greenhouse, built in 1895, the 13 buildings that now compose the Lyman Conservatory are undergoing a $5 million expansion project launched last April.
In the years since the firm Lord and Burnham (also the builders of the Palm House in England's Kew Gardens) completed construction of the original structure, the conservatory has become an essential resource to the college community. It has also become an immensely popular and internationally acclaimed research and exhibiting facility, attracting some 60,000 visitors a year, from elementary school and senior-citizen groups to devotees of the garden's annual mum and bulb shows.
Despite its popularity, the conservatory has never undergone a thorough modernization, says Michael Marcotrigiano, director of the Botanic Garden, and its ability to accommodate visitors and guests has become increasingly limited. "The major purpose of the [renovation] project was to restore the glass houses, to replace rotting wood, add new glass, new automated venting systems and some humidity controlling systems," Marcotrigiano explains. "In the process of that project, we realized we never had enough public space. The glass houses were parallel to the storage of an art museum, but you also need a gallery. Glass houses are pretty to walk through, but you can't extract themes without an exhibition space."
Portions of the conservatory have been closed since renovations began and the Botanic Garden staff has relocated its offices to Green Street. Restoration of the glass houses is being carried out one at a time, Marcotrigiano says, because the 2,500 species of plants located inside cannot be moved all at once.
During the renovations, the conservatory has remained open to the public. "Many of the houses are still open, and the grounds are still open," says Marcotrigiano. Unfortunately, the Mum Show and equally popular spring Bulb Show have had to be canceled this year and next. "People don't realize how many visitors come through," he says. "And groups can't be let in now, so [the closure] has really impacted grade schools and senior citizen groups."
Still, Marcotrigiano is confident that "in the big picture, the renovations are going to make things much better." The new public spaces should be completed by September; the greenhouses will take at least another year to complete. When they're all finished, Marcotrigiano hopes the renovations will result in "more student involvement," he says. "We want to get exhibits that develop the arts and sciences of plants. There will be a lot of potential for students interested in museum studies and a great potential for interaction between students and the Botanic Garden."
And, just as important, the Mum Show will be back.
When the Weekend Comes
During the week, most Smith students spend their time shuttling around campus between meals and meetings, classes and commitments. For many, their spare time -- if they have any -- is spent in labs and library carrels.
But come the weekend, for some it's time to play. For others, it's like another weekday, except without the classes. And whether Smith students live on Green Street or in the Quad, the weekend usually offers a necessary balance of Quad parties and academic priorities, a mixture of studying and socializing, long hours in Neilson Library tempered perhaps with a night at Amherst's TAP.
"I usually do a lot of homework, have things like tea parties with friends, and maybe go downtown and get ice cream," Abigail Allen '03, house president of Tyler, says of her weekends. "Usually pretty low-key stuff."
Stereotypically speaking, Allen -- who is among the reputedly erudite Green Street residents -- should be spending the weekends buried in books. But, according to Allen, Green Street's no-nonsense reputation "is kind of overdone. I think people tend to be pretty serious about studying, but we still have a significant number of people who go to parties in the Quad or at Amherst and UMass. We usually don't hold as many parties [as other areas of campus], and that works well for me. I like that people have a choice of atmosphere."
Crystal Adegbola '04 plans her weekend schedule by checking the Five College calendar to see "what's going on around campus" and in the area. The Five College calendar is a compendium of local movies, concerts, dance performances, athletic events, lectures and art exhibitions. On a recent November weekend, activities ranged from a Renaissance Banquet at UMass, a jazz concert at Smith and a Mount Holyoke faculty dance performance, to a volunteer service project to repair and build trails in the Holyoke Range, organized by Hampshire College.
"I don't really stay in the house much," notes Adegbola. "I'll go see a movie off campus, or if there's something worthwhile at UMass, I might go thereor to a good party or dance performance or something."
As the social chair of Ziskind House, Adegbola is responsible, with others, for organizing events and activities, such as parties for her house. Involved in several other student groups and activities, she often finds her weekends crowded with meetings and commitments. "On Sundays I'll go to church, then to a BSA meeting or an SASA meeting, come back for dinner and work the rest of the evening," she explains. "The weekends are usually busy. I don't get much chill time."
Sarah Gelinas '05 lives in the Quad, and despite its reputation, "I would not consider this a party place," she says. Gelinas believes her weekend experiences to be "typical for a first year" as she explores the various activities available on the Smith campus and around the Five College area, determining what she will and will not return to in the future. "I've been to TAP a few times, and I have gone to Quad parties, although I probably never will again," she says. Gelinas often visits an off-campus friend on the weekends, she adds, which makes for a nice break from Smith.
Most Smith students enjoy venturing off campus, even if it's just for a foray into downtown Northampton. "I like to combine the Smith scene with what Northampton has to offer," says Katie Reed '02, also a Quad resident. "It's always fun to get a Herrell's [ice cream], people-watch or take in a movie at the Academy [of Music]. My weekends at Smith are always a surprise and always enjoyable."
Whether it's studying, working, relaxing or partying, Smith and its eclectic surroundings leave little excuse to do nothing -- unless that's what's intended.
"If you're bored on a weekend
here, it's really a matter of making an effort to see what's
going on," Reed points out. "Between Smith and Northampton,
there's never a shortage."
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).
Tree Removal in January
Jill Conway Event on TV
Campus School Open Houses
Financial Education Courses
Valley Land Fund
Foul Weather Flash
Mark Your Calendars
Faculty and Staff
American Studies in Japan
AKP Fellow Program
Annual Winter Party
Foster Homes Sought
Examination Workers Needed
Attention January Graduates
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.
Tuesday, January 8
Wednesday, January 9
Thursday, January 10
Sahaja Yoga Meditation Open to all religious backgrounds. 7 p.m., Bodman Lounge, Chapel*
Friday, January 11
Saturday, January 12
Sunday, January 13
Monday, January 14
Tuesday, January 15
Wednesday, January 16
Thursday, January 17
Sahaja Yoga Meditation Open to all religious backgrounds. 7 p.m., Bodman Lounge, Chapel*
Friday, January 18
Saturday, January 19
No events scheduled
Sunday, January 20
Monday, January 21
Tuesday, January 22
and cover letters: Presenting yourself on paper.
Wednesday, January 23
Thursday, January 24
Workshop Getting started: Identifying which values, skills, needs and preferences are important in shaping your job/internship search. 1:30 p.m., CDO Group Room
Sahaja Yoga Meditation Open to all religious backgrounds. 7 p.m., Bodman Lounge, Chapel*
Friday, January 25
Workshop Interviewing: Talking easily with a potential employer. 1:30 p.m., CDO Group Room
Saturday, January 26
Basketball vs. MIT. 2 p.m., Ainsworth Gym*
Sunday, January 27
Roman Catholic mass The Rev. Paul Crowley, SJ, celebrant, and Elizabeth Carr, Catholic chaplain. Dinner follows in Bodman Lounge. All welcome. 4:30 p.m., Chapel*
Kwan Yin-Buddhist Goddess of Compassion A six-foot square painting on cloth by Carlotta Hoffman, Northampton figure and abstract landscape artist and children's book illustrator. Part of On the Fence: Public Art in Public Space, the exhibition of works on the construction fence surrounding the Fine Arts Center. (Members of the Smith community who would like to participate in On the Fence should contact Nancy Rich, ext. 2773, or email@example.com.) Through December 15. Fine Arts Center Construction Fence*
A Space Odyssey 2001 An exhibition of photographic art by Anne Ross '55 featuring her newest digital images that explore the inner world of dream landscapes and surreal places. Through January 12, 2002. Alumnae House Gallery*
The Best of the Best A traveling exhibition of work by members of the Guild of Book Workers, a national organization of printers, bookbinders, calligraphers, papermakers and other workers in the book arts. The exhibition showcases a variety of work produced by traditional and modern techniques. Through December 21. Book Arts Gallery (Neilson Library Third Floor) and Morgan Gallery (Neilson Entrance Corridor)*
The Henry L. Seaver Collections: A Celebration of the 25th Anniversary of Henry L. Seaver's Stunning Bequest Through December. Mortimer Rare Book Room vestibule, Neilson Library, Third Floor*