Smith Reunion 2023
- June 5, 2023
By Maro Elliott ’11
Over two spectacular weekends in May, more than 2,000 alums gathered on campus to celebrate the graduating senior class and the lifelong joy of being Smithies. Generations of alums took part in cherished traditions, such as Ivy Day, Illumination Night, the Alum Parade and class meals and programs. They also experienced firsthand many of the new developments on campus—the beautifully renovated Alumnae House and stunning Neilson Library among them.
"Smith has truly been a gift to my life and I am forever grateful for the visit. Reunion invigorated me for what lies ahead."
— Reunion attendee
During “Smith Today: A Conversation with President Kathy McCartney,” Smith’s president thanked alums for their remarkable dedication to the college: “This is a story of our shared ambitions, a story about our successes and a story about our partnership,” she said. President McCartney went on to highlight achievements of her ten-year tenure, including:
- Replacing loans with grants in undergraduate financial aid packages and greatly increasing financial aid awards.
- Increasing admission applications by 122 percent.
- Initiating Smith’s geothermal energy project, which will help the college achieve carbon neutrality by 2030.
- Creating new majors in data sciences and Middle East studies, new tracks in ethics and biogeology, concentrations in journalism and collaborative innovation and added research opportunities for students in the humanities and social sciences.
- Completing campus improvements such as the Schacht Center, Neilson Library, Alumnae House, Crew House renovations, Friedman Apartments and Happy Chase Garden.
"I love being reminded of the sisterhood of Smithies and why it is so important, and the good things Smith and her alums have accomplished."
— Reunion attendee
Alums were moved by President McCartney’s deep gratitude for her time at Smith. In her address following the Alum Parade, she summed up the spirit of the event when she said, “When I count my blessings, I count Smith alums twice.”
Other Reunion programs included faculty talks and performances, a panel on diversity and human rights, tours of SCMA and the Botanic Garden, dance parties and yoga classes. Career development was the focus of several presentations: “Confident Networking” with Emily Jeanne Brown '11 and Jaime Lee '04 and “Intentional Relationship Building” with Emily Frank '93 and Imani Missouri '08.
At the student life panel moderated by Joanna May, vice president for enrollment, May shared impressive figures from the college’s recent record-breaking admission season:
- Members of the class of 2027 were chosen from the largest and most diverse applicant pool in Smith’s history.
- Smith’s admit rate—a measure of the college’s selectivity—dropped to 19 percent.
- Applications from students outside of the Northeast and New England increased by 40 percent.
At the Alumnae House, Smithies socialized in the Welcome Center, browsed the Alumnae Library and made wearable buttons with imagery from the Smith College Archives. The photography exhibition on view, 100 Years of Smithies, held a delightful surprise for alums Eda Stark '08 and Catie Roads-Redhouse '08: a photo of themselves taken 15 years ago on Ivy Day. “It’s an honor!” said Roads-Redhouse about being included in the exhibition.
In Seelye Hall, faculty member Emily Norton started her presentation about the exciting learning taking place at Smith's Design Thinking Initiative with a riddle: “What defies defining, but exists everywhere?”. (The answer, according to the person who originally posed the question, Alice Rawsthorn: design!) Norton discussed the initiative’s dedication to equity and accessibility (“Who is most impacted by design decisions?”) and the use of recycled materials, presenting innovative projects made by students in the Prototyping Studio.
"My favorite experience was just BEING here—and there's never enough time."
— Reunion attendee
Countries Represented by Reuning Alums
Australia, Austria, Belgium, Benin, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Ghana, Georgia, Grenada, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Malaysia, Mauritius, the Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Pakistan, Scotland, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The alum who came to Reunion from the farthest away was Paul Manoharan, who traveled 10,004 miles from Sydney, Australia, for the 60th Reunion of the Interdisciplinary Studies Diploma Program, which brings international students to Smith for an intensive year of study and research.
Class Awards Highlights
- Most Smith Stars (alums who have given for at least five consecutive years): Class of 1968
- Highest Giving Total: Class of 1968
- Highest Attendance (Number): Class of 2003
- Highest Attendance (Percent): Class of 1983
- Most Smith Stars: Class of 1958
- Most Members in the Friends of Athletics, Botanical Gardens, Libraries and SCMA: Class of 1973
- Grécourt Award (class that added the most new society members since last reunion): Class of 1973
- Highest Giving Total: Class of 1973
- Highest Attendance (Number and Percent): Class of 1973
Reunion Videos and Photos
- Scenes from Reunion: Photo Gallery 1, Photo Gallery 2
- Ivy Day Webcast
- Ivy Day Program
- Presentation of Awards & Prizes
- Scenes from Ivy Day: Photo Gallery 1, Photo Gallery 2
- Facebook video: Ivy Day Parade
- Facebook video: Class Assembly
- Commencement Webcast
- Commencement Program
- Gate Article: Graduates are ‘Uniquely Qualified’ to Make the World Better
- Scenes from Commencement: Photo Gallery 1, Photo Gallery 2
June 5, 2023