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Meet Four Alums Who Are Changing the World One Scholarship at a Time

Published September 4, 2020

Teresa Meighan Hacunda AC ’87 was the first in her family to attend college. Now she’s helping others do the same by supporting scholarships through a bequest to Smith. “The Smith experience helped me develop and see life in new ways,” she says. “Giving financially, small or large, to aid the needs of students today seems only right and is a wonderful investment in the future of our world.”

Since the college launched the Here for Every Voice initiative in 2019, more than 4,700 alumnae, parents and friends have donated $48 million to provide equal access to a Smith education.

“From supporting The Smith Fund to endowing scholarships and planning for Smith in their estates, our alumnae are making sure cost is not a barrier to education,” says Beth Balmuth Raffeld, senior vice president for alumnae relations and development. “Our alums tell us again and again that they found their voice at Smith and they want to ensure the next generation of leaders and changemakers has that opportunity as well.”

“Education is where giving matters most to me because it’s about investing in a person’s potential.”  —Betty Sudarsky ’73

Here, Hacunda and three other alums share how Smith made a difference in their lives, and how they believe scholarship aid can transform the lives of students.

Teresa Meighan Hacunda AC ’87

Teresa Meighan Hacunda AC ’87

Hometown: Northampton (for the third time), after 14 years in Providence, RI

Smith house: Off campus

Job: I retired as vice president of civic affairs and philanthropy at Covidien/Medtronic after a career in global sales and marketing with the company.

Achievement I’m proud of: Mentoring young adults through the nonprofit Year Up. 

Fun fact about me: I once took the stage at the House of Blues in Boston, in front of an audience that included the entire Red Sox team.

How I support scholarships: Donations to Smith and other institutions my husband and I attended started small and intermittent, but have always been important to us. Now we’ve decided to include Smith in our estate, by leaving a gift of property to the college.

What I love about Smith: The college’s dedication to inspire all women to engage, find their voice and achieve academically, socially and professionally. And I love that when I stroll the campus, I still know I belong.

How Smith made a difference in my life: The college’s nurturing environment built my confidence and opened doors. 

What I want to tell students today: A liberal arts education offers you a vast opportunity to try new fields of study and you’ll definitely find your way at Smith. 

Why I support scholarship aid: I am a first-generation college graduate. Financial support enabled me to get a top-notch education that would have been inaccessible otherwise.

Laura D'Andrea Tyson ’69

Laura D'Andrea Tyson ’69

Hometown: Bayonne, NJ

Smith house: Ziskind

Job: Distinguished professor of the Graduate School, Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley

Achievement I’m proud of: Appointed by President Clinton to chair the Council of Economic Advisers and the National Economic Council.

Fun fact about me: I work with the World Economic Forum as co-editor of its annual Global Gender Gap Report. My co-editor on the report, Saadia Zahidi, is also a Smith alum, class of 2002. 

How I support scholarships: I requested that a gift AT&T is making in recognition of my service to their board be used to fund an endowed scholarship. I’ll also be making contributions to the fund. 

My favorite thing about Smithies: They are intellectually curious, socially conscious, committed to women's empowerment and equity, dedicated to making the world a better place and confident without arrogance. 

What I want to tell students today: Think about how you can use the privilege of your Smith education to develop and lead inclusive and equitable organizations.

Why I support scholarship aid: Scholarships are essential to making a Smith education accessible and to creating a diverse student body from around the world.

Durreen Shahnaz ’89

Durreen Shahnaz ’89

Hometown: Dhaka, New York and Singapore—all the cities I consider home

Smith house: Duckett

Job: Founder and CEO of Impact Investment Exchange (IIX), which promotes gender equality, climate action and resilient communities through the financial markets. Over the past decade, IIX has unlocked millions of dollars and impacted the lives of 80 million women and their families around the globe. 

Achievement I’m proud of: Creating and listing the Women’s Livelihood Bond on the Singapore Stock Exchange, the first women-focused bond in the history of global financial markets.

How I support scholarships: I support international students through The Smith Fund.

My favorite thing about Smithies: You can always count on them to do the right thing.

How Smith made a difference in my life: Smith gave me the power to believe in myself. I wouldn't be where I am today without Smith. 

What I want to tell students today: Use the Smith experience to nurture your impossible dreams because every dream is possible. You just need the right environment to help you cultivate it, and Smith is that place. 

Why I support scholarship aid: Without the support and generosity of the alums before me, I could not have attended Smith. I am just doing my part to keep the cycle of giving and nurturing going.

Betty Sudarsky ’73

Betty Sudarsky ’73

Hometown: I grew up in West Hartford, CT, and now live in Newton, MA

Smith house: Chapin 

Job: My career was in publishing. I got my foot in the door in publicity at Houghton Mifflin and later worked in mergers and acquisitions at McGraw-Hill. Now, to stay close to books and to readers, I work at two independent bookstores organizing book clubs and discussions.

How I support scholarships: I've given through both The Smith Fund and the new Betty Sudarsky ’73/ Michael Bradley Endowed Scholarship Fund. I started this fund when I learned my gift would be eligible to receive matching funds from the Here for Every Voice Gift Matching Program, which will provide even more impact for deserving students.

My favorite thing about Smithies: Smith women are opinionated, resourceful, knowledgeable, fascinating. Smith women hold our own.

How Smith made a difference in my life: I received a wonderful education at Smith. I had the best professors who loved their subject matter and who made every class feel valuable. I also met my best friend of 51 years freshman year. And I met my husband through Smith as well. 

What I want to tell students today: Find something that enriches your life and the lives of others, then give your time, effort and resources to it. 

Why I support scholarship aid: I was taught that you leave your mark in the world by giving back. And education is where giving matters most to me because it’s about investing in a person’s potential. You’re giving the best young minds a chance to benefit from a Smith education.  

By Mary Giles; this article appears in the Fall 2020 Smith Alumnae Quarterly.

To learn more about supporting scholarship aid at Smith, please contact Betsy Carpenter ’93, associate vice president for development, at 413-585-2052 or