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Notable Alums

Famous chefs, Pulitzer Prize winners, political columnists, environmental researchers, film directors, venture capitalists, physicists, poets, playwrights, CEOs—Smith women apply their learning throughout their lives in thousands of professions and communities.

You may have heard of our famous graduates, such as Julia Child, Gloria Steinem and Sylvia Plath. But there are many more stories of leadership and success that demonstrate where the Smith experience can take you.

They Went to Smith

If you’re still not sure where a Smith education can take you, consider the outstanding record of achievement by Smith alums. These are just a few examples among a host of accomplishments that have pushed the world forward.

  • Tracie Benally ’19, Navajo teacher
  • Kimberley Drew ’12, writer and American art influencer
  • Margaret Nyamumbo ’11, founder and CEO of Kahawa 1893
  • Shaharzad Akbar ’09, director for Open Society Afghanistan
  • Garrett Bradley ’07, artist and Oscar-nominated filmmaker
  • Jessie Banhazl ’06, entrepreneur and founder of Green City Growers
  • Emily Robichaux ’05, director of finance and product development at Groundswell
  • Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy ’02, investigative television reporter and Academy Award-winning documentary filmmaker
  • Luma Mufleh ’97, activist and founder of the Fugees Family
  • Devin Alexander ’93, chef, cookbook author and chef of NBC’s “The Biggest Loser”
  • Deborah N. Archer ’93, civil rights leader and president of the American Civil Liberties Union
  • Simran Sethi ’92, environmental journalist and educator
  • Claudia San Pedro ’91, CEO of Sonic Corp.
  • Farah Pandith ’90, adjunct senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations; senior fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government
  • S. Mona Ghosh Sinha ’88, advocate for gender equality
  • Thelma Golden ’87, director and chief curator at the Studio Museum in Harlem
  • Jane Nielsen ’86, CFO of Ralph Lauren Corporation
  • Maria Maggenti ’86, film and television screenwriter and director (The Incredibly True Adventure of Two Girls in Love)
  • Sherry Rehman ’85, founding chair of the Jinnah Institute and vice president of the Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarians 
  • Kathleen Marshall ’85, Tony Award-winning Broadway choreographer and director
  • Tammy Baldwin ’84, U.S. Senator from Wisconsin
  • Margaret Edson ’83, teacher and author of the Pulitzer Prize–winning play Wit
  • Lauren Lazin ’82, award-winning independent filmmaker (Tupac: Resurrection) and producer
  • Pamela Craig ’79, partner in Accenture, the world’s largest management information consulting firm
  • Christine McCarthy ’77, chief financial officer of the Walt Disney Company
  • Yolanda King ’76, actress, producer, lecturer
  • Marilynn Davis ’73, assistant secretary for administration at the Department of Housing and Urban Development for the Clinton administration
  • Julie Nixon Eisenhower ’70, author of Special People and Pat Nixon: The Untold Story
  • Shelley Hack ’70, actress (Annie Hall, Charlie’s Angels)
  • Pearl Yau Toy ’69, physician and professor of laboratory medicine at the University of California in San Francisco
  • Laura Tyson ’69, professor at the Haas School of Business at the University of California at Berkeley; former head of the National Economic Council
  • Sandy Skoglund ’68, installation artist, photographer and sculptor
  • Rochelle Braff Lazarus ’68, chairman emeritus of Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide
  • Juliet Taylor ’67, casting director for more than 100 movies, including Taxi Driver and Woody Allen’s films
  • Jane Harman ’66, director, president and CEO of the Woodrow Wilson Center and former nine-term U.S. representative from California
  • Molly Ivins ’66, political columnist and commentator
  • Victoria Chan Palay ’65, neurobiologist and former Olympic athlete
  • Sally Quinn ’63, author and commentator
  • Marilyn Carlson Nelson ’61, former chairman and CEO of the Carlson Companies and former chair of the National Women’s Business Council
  • Jane Yolen ’60, award-winning children’s book author
  • Gloria Steinem ’56, founder of Ms. magazine and noted feminist writer
  • Sylvia Plath ’55, poet; author of The Bell Jar and Ariel
  • Xie Xide ’49, physicist and former president of Fudan University in China
  • Barbara Bush ’47, former First Lady of the United States
  • Marylin Bender Altschul ’44, author and former editor of Business World and the New York Times’ business and finance section
  • Nancy Reagan ’43, former First Lady of the United States
  • Betty Friedan ’42, author of The Feminine Mystique
  • Madeleine L’Engle ’41, award-winning author of A Wrinkle in Time
  • Julia Child ’34, cookbook author and star of TV’s“The French Chef”
  • Anne Morrow Lindbergh ’28, aviator and author of Gift from the Sea
  • Margaret Mitchell ’22, author of Gone With the Wind
  • Otelia Cromwell 1900, educator, author; first African American woman to receive a doctorate from Yale

Deborah N. Archer ’93
First Black president of the ACLU 

Barbara Hulley Ackermann ’48 
First woman mayor of Cambridge, Massachusetts

Marylin Bender Altschul ’44 
First woman editor of The New York Times business section

Christine Von Wedemeyer Beshar ’53 
First woman partner in New York City’s largest law firm

Hari Brissimi ’48 
First woman director in the office of the UN High Commission

Adelaide Brown 1888 
First woman on California State Board of Health

Ann Brown ’59 
First woman chair of Consumer Product Safety Commission

Barbara Pierce Bush ’47 and Nancy Davis Reagan ’43 
First ladies of the United States

Ann Baumgartner Carl ’39 
First woman to fly a jet plane

Eunice Hunton Carter 1921 
First black woman district attorney in New York City

Victoria Chan-Palay ’65 
First woman to receive a medical degree summa cum laude from Harvard

Helen (Penny) Bates Chenery ’43 
First woman president of Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association

Mitsuru Claire Chino ’88 
First female executive officer of any major trading company in Japan, and the youngest

Adelaide Cromwell ’40 
First African American faculty member at Hunter College and at Smith College

Otelia Cromwell 1900 
First African American woman to receive a doctorate from Yale

Lucile Atcherson Curtis 1913 
First woman appointed to the U.S. Foreign Service

Madeline McWhinney Dale ’43 
First woman officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York City

Katherine Woodruff Fanning ’49 
First woman president of American Society of Newspaper Editors

Renee Clair Fox ’49 
First woman chair of a department (sociology) at UPenn

Martha Euphemia Lofton Haynes 1914 
First African American woman to earn a Ph.D. in mathematics

Gloria W. Heath ’43 
First woman to be awarded the Barbour Air Safety Award

Harriet Putnam Henry ’45 
First woman judge in Maine

Peggy Clark Kelley ’35 
First woman president of United Scenic Artists

Marjorie Fine Knowles ’60 
First inspector general of the U.S. Department of Labor

Maria Lopez ’75 
First Hispanic woman appointed to Massachusetts Superior Court

Nancy Weiss Malkiel ’65 
First woman dean of the college at Princeton

Joanne Martin ’68 
First woman to earn tenure at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business

Elizabeth Stoffregen May ’28 
First woman member of board of directors of U.S. Export-Import Bank

Victoria Murden McClure ’85 
First woman to row the Atlantic Ocean alone

Ng’endo Mwangi ’61 
First woman physician in Kenya

Elizabeth W. Myers ’57 
First woman ordained an Episcopal priest in Diocese of Central PA

Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy ’02 
First Pakistani to win an Academy Award (Saving Face, 2012)

Keiko Matsudo Orrall '89
First Asian American woman to be elected as a State Representative to the Massachusetts Legislature

Farah Pandith ’90 
First special representative to Muslim communities at the U.S. Department of State

Elizabeth Woodruff Pine ’55 
First woman to be elected a New York State Justice

Florence Rena Sabin 1893 
First woman elected to the National Academy of Sciences

Eleanor Sanger ’50 
First woman network television sports producer

Sallie McFague Te Selle ’55 
First woman dean of an American theological school (Vanderbilt)

Ferdinan B. Nancy Stevenson ’49 
First woman to serve as lieutenant governor of South Carolina

Laura D’Andrea Tyson ’69 
First woman to chair White House Council of Economic Advisers

Helen Walbridge 1902 
First woman doctor on staff at New York Hospital in Manhattan

Barbara Polk Washburn ’35 
First woman to climb Mt. McKinley