News for the Smith College Community //September 23, 1999
Go Ahead, Make My (Mountain) Day
Get ready for Mountain Day. It will occur this year sometime before October 8. Just listen for the bells ringing in the Quadrangle, chapel and College Hall at 7:05, 7:15 and 7:30 a.m. That's how you'll know it's Mountain Day and classes and academic appointments are canceled until 7 p.m. Evening events will be held as scheduled.
A "free gift of the faculty to the students" was how Alice Katharine Fallows, class of 1897, described Smith's Mountain Day in her 1898 article for Scribner's Magazine. Both before and since, Mountain Day has enjoyed a number of metamorphoses. What is now a routine "surprise" holiday has evolved throughout Smith's history.
A tradition here for more than 100 years, Mountain Day is a time to enjoy the natural beauty of the fall foliage from winding back roads and sweeping mountain vistas. The earliest record of Smith's Mountain Day appeared in a student diary entry from 1877. Back then when the bells rang out students would head for the hills in every mode of available transportation, their baskets and bundles full of treats such as ice cream, ginger ale and graham wafers. Some would climb to the top of Mount Nonotuck (Mount Tom) or Mount Sugarloaf with their alpenstocks. Others would hike up their skirts and wade in streams. And some, perhaps inspired by their surroundings and day of freedom, would write songs and poems. Still others brought home autumnal trappings for their houses like cornstalks, leaves and pumpkins.
But hardly anyone stayed in her room. "The girl who stays within the college walls on that day is a rare exception," noted President L. Clark Seelye in The Early History of Smith College, 1871-1910, published in 1923. By 1887, Mountain Day, also known then as "Holiday Thursday," received official recognition by a "regular printing in the school's catalogue."
It isn't clear when Mountain Day became an annual event. A 1940 press release called it an "unscheduled 'promised day' since 1908." But not every year saw a Mountain Day and not every Mountain Day was halcyon. On October 5, 1938, Dean Marjorie Hope Nicolson announced that "the chances are very strong that you are not going to have a Mountain Day." She was right. The holiday was canceled when a hurricane ripped through the Connecticut River Valley causing extensive damage and loss of life. In 1943, during World War II, students were asked not to use the trains on Mountain Day. The next year on October 9, 1944, students faced the rainiest Mountain Day on record and subsequently received "a humble apology at the full college assembly" from the new president of the college, Herbert Davis. Having come from England he was undaunted by the forecasted showers and called Mountain Day anyway.
Regardless of Mountain Day's past inconsistencies, the college bells will definitely ring out on one of this fall's bright, colorful days to give students a break from academics and a chance to enjoy a long-standing Smith tradition -- and perhaps establish a few new ones of their own.
East Coast Home Away from Home
By Adele Johnsen '02
Indeed, the East Coast and the Midwest have some dramatic differences and I did face a bit of an adjustment when I arrived. I had never before lived in an area with such a dynamic and colorful atmosphere. I was overwhelmed by Northampton's constant traffic, its coffeehouses and ice cream shops, its street music. And I was impressed by the intelligence, strength and diversity of the people here. It was a new experience for me to have friends who had never been to the Midwest (and couldn't believe that it's anything but cornfields) yet had traveled and lived all over the world. Suddenly I was the one with the accent and odd expressions. When I walked into a convenience store and asked where I could find the pop, I got a puzzled look or a chuckle from the clerk. Oh, and I still haven't gotten used to the fact that every time I look at the skyline, I see mountains.
My journey and my ongoing adjustment are certainly not unique among Smith students. College literature, after all, boasts of students originating from 50 states and 55 countries. I admit that my family's cramped, 24-hour drive out here seemed long. But I realize that it pales in comparison to my classmates' treks from nations as distant as Croatia, Japan and Nigeria. Sure, I had to switch from saying "pop" to "soda", but I didn't need to adjust to an entirely new language or culture. I didn't even need to worry about buying sweaters and boots, then wait nervously to brave cold weather for the first time like those from Florida, Hawaii and Texas.
Still, moving to Massachusetts seemed like a terrible idea last August as I watched my friends head off to local colleges together. Aware that a thousand miles east on I-90 a very different world was lying in wait, I just knew I had made a big mistake.
Fortunately I was wrong.
My decision to venture east for school has ultimately been nothing but rewarding. I've met students from states and countries I've never been to. I've learned about cultures and religions I knew nothing about. I've explored New England, visited museums in Boston and seen plays in New York City. I'm getting an incredible education both inside and out of the classroom.
And every time I look at the skyline, I see mountains.
The Y2K Coordinating Committee has posed a series of questions to campus administrators that are designed to elicit information about Smith Y2K readiness. The questions with their answers will run weekly in AcaMedia between now and the end of the millennium.
Q. Assuming that there is power, are the copiers, fax, computers and printers in my office going to work?
A. Macintosh computers are not affected by the Y2K bug, but some Windows-compatible computers are. ITS technicians have tested every model of Dell computer on campus and checked vendor Y2K compliance statements. Approximately 54 percent of all Dell systems on campus are hardware compliant. A small number of machines (4 percent) are too old to be upgraded and will be replaced with compliant hardware before January 1. Software patches can repair the Y2K problems in the remaining 42 percent of the campus desktop computers. The patch will be installed automatically the first time the user connects to any campus Novell server on or after January 1, 2000. Instructions for manually implementing the corrective action will be available from ITS for desktop computers not connected to the campus network (e.g., faculty computers that are located off campus).
Prez Joins New Board
President Simmons was named last week to the advisory committee for the Gates Millennium Scholars Program, a $1 billion scholarship program established by William H. Gates 3rd and his wife, Melinda. Gates is the co-founder and chairman of the Microsoft Corporation. The program aims to reduce the financial barriers for African-American, Hispanic-American, Native-American and Asian-American students with high academic and leadership promise who are at a significant economic disadvantage while increasing the representation of these target groups in the disciplines of mathematics, science, engineering, education and library science. The program will provide $50 million in scholarship funds each year to guarantee recipients full financing for college and advanced degrees.
The Gates Millennium Scholars Program will be administered by the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) with help from the San Francisco-based Hispanic Scholarship Fund and the Denver-based American Indian College Fund. UNCF president William H. Gary 3rd has predicted that the scholarships, for at least 1,000 students a year over the next 20 years, will ultimately lead to noticeable growth in the numbers of under-represented minority students who receive doctorates.
Other members of the advisory committee are Walter Massey, nationally recognized African-American scientist; Peidad Robertson, superintendent/president of Santa Monica College; Gilberto Cardenas, assistant provost, director and Julian Samora Chair in Latino Studies at Notre Dame; James Larimore, dean at Dartmouth College; David Chang, president of the Polytechnic University; and Patty Stonesifer, co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Medical Ethics Topic of Series
Margaret Lock, this semester's William Allan Neilson Professor in Anthropology, will give a series of lectures with intriguing titles that might shed some light on one of today's most hotly debated topics: medical ethics.
Lock, a distinguished medical anthropologist in the departments of humanities and social sciences in medicine and anthropology at Montréal's McGill University, will deliver the lecture series, titled "An Economy of Bodies: Recycling and Remodeling Through Biomedical Technologies," throughout the semester as part of her professorship. The first lecture, "Twice Dead: Living Cadavers and Organ Donation," will take place Tuesday, September 28, at 8 p.m. in Wright Auditorium with a reception following in Wright Hall common room.
Lock, whose most recent work has focused on the Human Genome Project and on organ transplantation, particularly in Japan, has authored several books and articles on the anthropology of medicine and the body. Her book Encounters with Aging: Mythologies of Menopause in Japan and North America won the prestigious Eileen Basker Memorial Award from the Society for Medical Anthropology. Lock is also the co-author, with Nancy Scheper-Hughes, of three essays that have had considerable impact on her field: "Speaking Truth to Illness: Metaphors, Reification, and a Pedagogy for Patients"; "The Mindful Body: A Prolegomenon to Future Work in Medical Anthropology"; and "A Critical-Interpretive Approach in Medical Antrhopology: Rituals and Routines of Discipline and Dissent."
Lock will deliver three more public lectures in the series: "Rethinking the Normal through New Genetics" on October 27; "Human Diversity and the Moral Economy of the Cells and Tissues," November 16; and "Biopolitics, GM Foods and GM People," December 7. All lectures will take place at 8 p.m. in Wright Hall Auditorium with a reception fol-lowing in Wright Hall common room.
A Slogan is Born
The phrase "This is about Smith" is showing up all over campus. People are asking where it came from and what it means.
Last April, Smith's advancement staff began working with a design group to create an image that would identify materials for a fundraising campaign. They wanted something that wouldn't conflict with any existing logo but would call attention to a steady stream of information about the facilities and program enhancements Smith is undertaking. A quick Web search showed just how many times the same words are used to describe campaigns. Advancement staff decided something different was needed.
Throughout the discussion, people kept noting that "this isn't about new buildings, it's about Smith." Or someone would remark, "It's more than just a campaign; this is about the future of the whole college -- it's about Smith."
After several focus groups and consideration of more than 65 slogans, a staff member reminded us that we kept saying "This isn't about "blank"; this is about Smith." Why not make that the campaign slogan, she asked. It was new, different, and had a certain attitude that fit the college's plans for the new century.
The designers rendered the slogan in shades of teal, magenta, lime, and coral. It fit on just about anything, qualifying whatever it covered as something to do with Smith. A campaign statement, a newsletter, tote bags, banners, T-shirts, baseball caps, brochures, stickers, and a video now carry the line.
On the weekend of October 22-24, banners all over campus will mark special activities celebrating the liberal arts and the beginning of Smith's 125th year of excellence. Everything that faculty, students, staff, alumnae and family visitors see will be "about Smith." The slogan calls attention to the people and quality of education that have made Smith a great college in the past and will shape its future.
If you'd like your own "This is
about Smith" stickers call ext. 2668. And watch for the
phrase in new places throughout the year.
Annual Event to Fete Excellent Employees
When Kimberly DeJesus was a little girl, she remembers accompanying her mother, Olga Perez, to Talbot House to help her set up a special dinner for the students Perez called "her girls." That was nearly 20 years ago, and the residents of Talbot still come home to candlelight dinners, fresh flowers and homemade cookies prepared by Perez, a dining room assistant with Residence and Dining Services. Perez on occasion even provides pinatas and sombreros when she decides students need a "Tex-Mex Night." DeJesus now is also a Smith employee, an administrative assistant in the class deans office. Her mother's example still sets the standard for service she provides to students.
Perez last summer was one of 15 recipients of the college's new Employee Excellence Awards. Like the other 14 winners, Perez was nominated by her peers for the award, which included a $1,000 after-tax honorarium. Awards were given to college employees in the categories of service, teamwork and community. Perez won an award for outstanding service.
The 15 award winners will be honored during a Staff Recognition Ceremony on Thursday, September 30, at 2:30 p.m. in Sweeney Concert Hall. The ceremony will also recognize employees who have served for 10, 15, 20, 25, 30 and 35 years and those who have a perfect attendance record during the past year. A reception will follow the ceremony.
The Employee Excellence Award program began last November as a tool to improve staff morale while rewarding leadership and superior job performance, says Gaynelle Weiss, associate director of human resources, who oversees the program. "There are so many people doing such a good job here at the college. We wanted to send a message that Smith values excellence and is strengthened immeasurably by employees who aspire to excellence in their work."
First-year Dillon Wright-Fitzgerald has many goals: she intends to study English, religion or philosophy, for example. Poetry and music also interest her. But the recent publication of her short story "Shells" has helped her focus on her goal of being a writer. "Shells," drawn from the author's memories of a hot summer afternoon shared with her sister, placed her as one of five finalists in USA Weekend's 1999 student fiction contest.
Writing is not new for Wright-Fitzgerald, said her mother, Carol Wright, in the Press Enterprise, a Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, newspaper. She's been at it since she was 4, Wright says. "It was something she had to do. It wasn't anything I had to encourage. It came from within." An avid reader with a fondness for the classics in literature and poetry, Wright-Fitzgerald says she's been looking forward to starting at Smith. As a home-schooled student she is sure to find the living and the learning environment different here. "It will be different, I know, but in many ways I think I'm ready for that," she says. "I look forward to getting into the books. I really like to learn." Wright-Fitzgerald also plays violin in the Williamsport and Schuylkill Symphony orchestras.
Recent works by sculptor Elliot Offner, Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities, will be displayed in the Forum Gallery on New York's Fifth Avenue beginning Tuesday, September 28. An opening reception, beginning at 5:30 p.m., will kick off the exhibition titled "Elliot Offner: Recent Sculpture" on display at the gallery through October 23. The exhibition is sponsored by the Alumnae of Smith College with the Forum Gallery and celebrates Offner's 38 years of service at Smith. It's his seventh exhibition at the gallery. A percentage of proceeds from the exhibition will be donated by Offner and the gallery to Smith.
Naturalist Laurie Sanders is something
of a local celebrity. Sanders, Mill River field coordinator for
Five Colleges Inc., hosts a new series of nature reports airing
Mondays at 7:30 a.m. during National Public Radio's Morning Edition.
"Field Notes" is a program of short reports on natural
areas, fauna and flora along the Connecticut River watershed.
The program's topics range from bank swallows, salmon and fall
foliage, to snakes and lampreys. All reports offer insight into
both the visible and the hidden aspects of the local environment.
Sanders is a 1988 graduate of Smith College. She earned her master's
degree in botany from the University of Vermont.
Sources of further information, if any, are indicated in parentheses. Notices should be submitted by mail, by e-mail (email@example.com) or by fax (extension 2174).
January 2000 Interterm
Library Hours for Autumn Recess
Hillyer Art Library (ext. 2940)
Josten Performing Arts Library (ext.
Young Science Library (ext.2950)
Fall Preview Days
Faculty & Staff
JYA 2001-02 Directorships
Turkish Earthquake Relief Fund
President's Open Hours
Foreign Service Examination
Peer Writing Assistance
Teaching in Japan
Smith Goes to the Big E
The following were available at presstime. Application reviews for all these positions will begin immediately. To learn more, call ext. 2278.
Program assistant, Advancement.
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, September 27
Debate Society general
Association of Low Income Students (ALIS) meeting Learn how to survive economically at Smith. Join ALIS (Lori, ext. 6231). 7 p.m., Chapin House living room
Keystone (Campus Crusade for Christ) cell group Join others for Bible study (Erika, ext. 6574 or Christine, ext. 7363). 4:45-6 p.m., Dawes House
Other events and
Language lunch tables
Yoga class Noncredit, for students. Limited to 40. Sponsors: Office of the Dean of the College, ESS. 4:305:45 p.m., Davis ballroom
Tuesday, September 28
Reading Ferida Durakovíc, PEN Award-winning Bosnian poet, from Heart of Darkness, her first collection to appear in English. Also, poet Christopher Merrill will read from his book on the Balkan wars; and there will be a screening of "One Woman's Sarajevo," a portrait of Durakovíc that appeared on ABC's Nightline. Book-signing follows. 7:30 p.m., Neilson Browsing Room*
Lecture "Twice Dead: Living Cadavers and Organ Donation." Margaret Lock, Department of Social Studies of Medicine, McGill University. See story, page 4. Reception follows in Wright Hall common room. 8 p.m., Wright auditorium*
Film The Day The Earth Stood Still (1951). Robert Wise. Screening of the science-fiction classic with introductory comments by William Oram, English language and literature. Part of the series "The Science Fiction of Space," organized by the Kahn Institute. 7:30 p.m., Stoddard auditorium*
Amnesty International meeting 4:15 p.m., Seelye 105
SGA Senate meeting open forum. All students welcome to address the senate regarding any aspect of Smith life. 7:15 p.m., Seelye 201
Hillel at Noon "Jewish Body Image." Noon, Dawes House Kosher Kitchen
Newman Association dinner meeting Join us for food, fellowship and fun. All welcome. 6 p.m., Bodman lounge, Chapel
Other events and
Question & Answer Session with PEN Award-winning Bosnian poet Ferida Durakovíc. Students interested in attending must see Cindy Furtek in the Poetry Center office, Wright Hall, to pick up a packet of Durakovíc's poems. 3:30-5 p.m., Wright common room
Field hockey vs. Mount
Wednesday, September 29
Lecture "Der Shawl des Theodor Storm oder Das Schreiben und Der Markt." Dr. Horst Ohde, Universität Hamburg. Five College German Studies seminar. 8 p.m., Seelye 207
CDO workshop "Introduction to Employment Recruiting Programs." See 9/27 listing. 4:30 p.m., CDO
CDO informational meeting NSEP Undergraduate Scholarships. Learn about the National Security Education Program that offers American undergraduates scholarships to study foreign cultures and languages. 4:30 p.m., CDO
Impact cell group Join other women of color to study the Bible (Mo, ext. 7226). 4:30-6 p.m., Mwangi Center, Lilly Hall
Meeting Chapel Heads of Religious Organizations. With dinner (Jenny, ext. 4720, Trisha, ext. 7933). 6 p.m. Bodman lounge, Chapel
Buddhist service and discussion 7:15 p.m., Bodman Lounge, Chapel
Ecumenical Christian Church Bible study Explore attitudes of the apostle Paul toward women and how we can use his words today. All welcome. (Joy Caires, ext. 6351.) 10 p.m., Bodman lounge, Chapel
Other events and
Tea with President Ruth Simmons Part of the chapel's series "What is Education For?" The president will talk about connections between her personal beliefs and chosen career. 4:15 p.m. Alumnae House
Yoga class Noncredit, for students. Limited to 40. Sponsors: Office of the Dean of the College, ESS. 4:30-5:45 p.m., Davis ballroom
Thursday, September 30
Lecture: "Educational Innovations in Multimedia Systems." Wayne Burleson, University of Massachusetts. Sponsor: computer science department. 4 p.m., McConnell 404
Workshop "Drop-in Drawing." Free; no registration required. 5:30-7:30 p.m., Museum of Art*
Other events and
Language lunch tables
Special event Staff Recognition Ceremony. Festivities will honor staff with 10, 15, 20, 25, 30 and 35 years of service and recognize winners of Employee Excellence Awards. Reception follows. 2:30 p.m., Sweeney Concert Hall
Soccer vs. Wesleyan
Friday, October 1
Shabbat service Dinner follows in Dawes House Kosher Kitchen. 5:15 p.m., Dewey common room
Other events and
Saturday, October 2
Other events and
Field hockey vs. Babson, 1 p.m., athletic fields*
Special event Mendhi Night. A South Asian event with mendhi, hand painting with henna. Tickets: $2 for just mendhi; $5 for dinner and mendhi. 5:30-9:30 p.m., Scott gym*
Sunday, October 3
Morning worship in the Protestant tradition. All welcome. 10:30 a.m., Chapel
Roman Catholic Eucharistic Liturgy Fr. Bill McConville, OFM, celebrant; Elizabeth Carr, Catholic chaplain. Sunday supper follows. All welcome. 4:30 p.m., Chapel*
"American Spectrum" features American paintings and sculptures from the early 18th century to the present. Begins September 25 with an opening reception, 6-8 p.m. at the museum. Through December 22. Museum of Art
"Oliver Larkin" features a selection of watercolors, drawings and marionettes by the former Smith professor. Organized by Luce curatorial assistant Maureen McKenna. On October 16, the Museum of Art will host a symposium titled "Art and Life in America: A Celebration of the Legacy of Oliver Larkin and American Art at Smith College." Registration forms, due by October 1, available on line at www.smith.edu/artmuseum. For more information call McKenna, ext. 2770. Through October 24. Main Gallery, Museum of Art
"Prints by Paul Gauguin" features the French impressionist's works from his first lithographs on zinc to woodcuts he published in Tahiti. Organized by Ann Sievers, associate curator of prints, drawings and photographs, in honor of Elizabeth Mongan. Through October 30. Print Room, Museum of Art
"A Century of Physics" features 11 posters of milestones in the history of physics produced by the American Physical Society (APS) to celebrate its centennial in March 1999. For more information see the APS Website at www.aps.org. Through September 30. McConnell foyer