Message from the Chair of the Board
About the President
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About the Search
Past Presidents
What People Are Saying

“Smith has made a truly inspired choice. Kathy McCartney is a distinguished scholar, a wonderful teacher and an extraordinarily effective academic leader. I have had the privilege of working with her both as a trustee of Tufts and as dean of Harvard’s Graduate School of Education. In each role, she has displayed great judgment, wisdom and humility. Equally loved by students and faculty alike, Kathy understands how to create opportunities for students and faculty to work, learn and grow together. She will be a fabulous president of Smith.”

Lawrence S. Bacow

President Emeritus, Tufts University; President in Residence, Harvard Graduate School of Education

“I am impressed by Kathy’s collaborative manner and ‘can-do’ attitude. These demonstrated leadership capabilities, as well as others, will serve Smith quite well as we move forward with our vision. Kathy will embrace the Smith community with enthusiasm.”

Agnes Bundy Scanlan ’79

Trustee, Smith College; Search Committee Member

“Kathy’s passion for creating quality education with a conscience in the 21st century aligns perfectly with Smith’s mission. Kathy is a visionary and will take Smith to the next level in our history and as a community. I believe that students will view Kathy as not only their president but a role model and fellow Smithie. I encourage students to reach out and connect with Kathy. This will be fairly easy because Kathy enjoys being in the company of students and being active in their lives. I warmly extend my arms and welcome Kathy to Smith. I am excited to see where her leadership will take us.”

Yasmine Evans ’13

Student Representative, Presidential Search Committee

“Kathleen McCartney is an accomplished educator who has shown strong leadership throughout her academic career and, most recently, as the dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Smith College is proud to welcome her as its 11th president. In an impressive field of candidates, Kathy stood out as one who will guide Smith College to new heights of excellence. Sophia Smith’s legacy is in good hands.”

Elizabeth Mugar Eveillard ’69

Chair, Smith College Board of Trustees; Search Committee Member

“Kathy McCartney has been a superlative leader of our Ed School during a pivotal moment in its history. She has guided the launch of an imaginative new doctoral program in education leadership, oriented to practice, as well as a highly interdisciplinary new Ph.D. program in education, oriented to research. She has strengthened and energized the faculty, increased student aid, deepened the school's connections with other parts of the university, and elevated its impact on the world of education far beyond Harvard. She has done all this with boundless energy, a constant commitment to high standards and innovation, and a relentless passion for enhancing learning in all its forms. Kathy has always asked how we can challenge ourselves to do better, and Harvard and the world of learning are much better as a result.”

Drew Gilpin Faust

President, Harvard University

“Kathy is gifted in so many ways. She is incredibly smart and warm and has a magnetic personality. She has been a transformational leader at Harvard, both admired and beloved. She is ambitious for Smith and for Smith students, and she is energized by the joys and challenges of educational leadership. She is genuine, authentic, thoughtful and fun. Kathy and her husband, Bill, are passionate educators and delightful people who will love Smith and Northampton.”

Lynn Smith Fox ’77

Trustee, Smith College; President, Alumnae Association of Smith College; Search Committee Member

“Kathleen McCartney is an outstanding scholar, educator, administrator and human being. She is a recognized leader worldwide in the education of individuals across the age spectrum. At Smith, she will strengthen an already widely admired liberal arts college, making it central in articulating and demonstrating how to fashion graduates who stand out for their knowledge, skills and personal character.”

Howard Gardner

Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education

“Kathy has amazing credentials—an accomplished scholar, a skilled administrator, an impressive fundraiser, an innovative thinker—and she is a committed champion for women and women’s education. She values the ideas and perspectives of others and listens closely. Every time I talked to her throughout the search process, I came away with many new ideas and feeling like I do when I have a good conversation with a friend. Kathy is ambitious for Smith, and I look forward to working with her.”

Andrew Guswa

Director, Smith College Center for the Environment, Ecological Design and Sustainability; Professor, Picker Engineering Program; Search Committee Member

“From my first encounter with Kathy I saw an academically accomplished woman whose ideas ‘popped’ throughout our conversation. She has transformed the Harvard Graduate School of Education into a purpose-driven and powerful institution. She is a proven leader who has an innate understanding of Smith's mission of educating women. I have no doubt that Kathy will lead us to a future in which Smith more powerfully affects the lives of women everywhere. She will give the college’s mission a global reach while still attending to what the college does on campus every day. She is attuned to the work/life balance issues that are so vital to our faculty and staff, and will lead with clarity and thoughtfulness.”

Alexandra Keller

Associate Professor of Film Studies, Smith College; Director of Film Studies Program; Search Committee Member

“Kathy McCartney is a preeminent scholar, a nationally recognized leader in education, a proven innovator and a woman for the world. When we think about the future of Smith, we believe that its next decade will be its best decade. With Kathy leading Smith, we are putting a strong foundation in place to achieve this aspiration for our students and the entire Smith community. I couldn’t be more pleased that she will be our next president.”

Louise M. Parent ’72

Chair, Presidential Search Committee; Vice Chair, Smith College Board of Trustees

“Kathy personifies Sophia Smith’s vision of educating women of promise for lives of distinction. She is perfectly poised to lead Smith’s Women for the World campaign, a campaign that is focused on access, leadership and global education for women. Kathy has demonstrated superb fundraising abilities; her charisma, personal story, powerful intellect and authenticity resonate deeply with Smith’s history and institutional values. She is eager to take Smith’s message and mission forward and excited to get to know our extraordinary alumnae, students and faculty.”

Lois Perelson-Gross ’83

Trustee, Smith College; Search Committee Member

“Getting to know Kathy McCartney was one of the highlights of my experience at the University of New Hampshire, where we overlapped for three years. Kathy is a top researcher in the field of developmental and educational psychology. In fact, one of her earliest papers, written when she was a graduate student, was required reading for me as a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Michigan. With respect to the intellectual life of the college Kathy fits in very well. Kathy brings to College Hall charisma, wisdom, and the ability to listen well. Kathy’s academic experience, values and administrative expertise are an excellent fit for Smith College, and Smith College is going to be an excellent fit for Kathy.”

Bill Peterson

Professor of Psychology, Smith College

“It is difficult to imagine a better choice for Smith College’s new president than Kathleen McCartney. She is a nationally recognized leader in higher education and a passionate educator. Her ability to inspire others to fulfill their best dreams and highest potential is unparalleled. I’m confident that the Smith community will thrive under her thoughtful leadership.”

Deborah A. Phillips

President, Foundation for Child Development

“Kathy’s ability to lead strong places into even stronger futures makes her a great fit for Smith. She is thoughtful, imaginative and a committed communicator. She has many talents, but what struck me was how her academic work on issues like day care and pre-kindergarten education has had such a significant impact on the lives of women; she has a very meaningful set of lenses for seeing—and leading—Smith’s special place in higher education and in the world.”

James Shulman

Trustee, Smith College; Search Committee Member

“Kathy has been a change maker in her life and her career. Her passion for women’s leadership embodies our bold aspirations for Smith, and her personal story resonates with us. She has not only realized her own dreams but, as a mentor, has helped others fulfill theirs. A first-generation college graduate, Kathy values the liberal arts and fully appreciates the importance of opportunity and access. As a global citizen, she understands the importance of engaging a diverse community. She has a keen intellect and warm sense of humor, and I believe that she will honor the legacy of Sophia Smith, leading us strongly into the next decade.”

Sharmila (Mona) Ghosh Sinha ’88

Trustee, Smith College; Search Committee Member

“Kathleen McCartney is a visionary and strategic thinker who will inspire us to think about new directions, build on our strengths and lead us with confidence through challenges. As a faculty member, I am especially pleased about the great connections she has to her current faculty at Harvard and her excitement about building those connections at Smith. She is collaborative, believes in listening to a range of perspectives and will help bring us together as an institution.”

Nancy Whittier

Professor of Sociology, Smith College; Search Committee Member