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Students Honor Smith Faculty, Staff at Rally Day

Smith students honored two faculty members and two staff members with awards of appreciation during the annual Rally Day convocation on Wednesday, February 22, in Sage Hall.

Faculty Teaching Awards
Given annually by students to honor faculty members’ dedication to excellent teaching, the Faculty Teaching Award was established 22 years ago as a way for students to thank educators for their support, encouragement and inspiration. The Student Government Association solicits nominations and selects the winners.

“Our professors guide us through difficult decisions, challenge us to think in unexpected patterns, and make us read and write until we sweat blood,” said Kathleen Gabel ’06, chair of the selection committee, who announced the winners. “And we love them for it.” The winners of the 2006 award, Gabel said, “have distinguished themselves as being exceptionally dedicated to the education of the whole student and whom embody the spirit of Smith College.”

David Newbury, the Gwendolen Carter Professor of African Studies, history department, received the Faculty Teaching Award for tenured faculty.

Newbury’s research focuses on three major projects dealing with the historical dynamics of Central and East Africa. He teaches courses pertaining to the history, environment, famine, and missions and missionaries in Africa, and on women in African history. His books include African Historiographies: What History for Which Africa?, and Kings and Clans: A Social History of the Lake Kivu Rift Valley.

“In and outside of class, students always seem to know who he is and have a great deal of respect and admiration for him,” said Gabel. According to one of his students, she said, “he is just an all-around phenomenal person, and the best professor I’ve ever been fortunate enough to have been instructed by.”

Robert Hosmer, senior lecturer in English language and literature, received the Faculty Teaching Award for non-tenured faculty.

Hosmer teaches fiction, poetry and masterpieces of Western literature while specializing in the work of 20th-century women writers, including Virginia Woolf, Penelope Fitzgerald and Muriel Spark. He is the author of the forthcoming Shall We Say I Had Fun with My Imagination: Essays in Honor of Muriel Spark.

“His promise to students is that his class will never be a waste of time,” said Gabel. “According to students, it never is.”

Elizabeth B. Wyandt Gavel Award
The Gavel Award is given annually by students to Smith staff members “who have given extraordinarily of themselves to the Smith College community as a whole.” Established in 1984, the Gavel Award is administered by the Student Government Association.

The 2006 Gavel Award winners are:

Janine Nye, a housekeeper in Parsons House. “We are a community, a family,” said Nye of her, her cohorts and the students in Parsons in accepting the award. “We work as a team and that’s what Smith encourages us to do.”

Matthew Gawron, assistant director of the Campus Center. More than anyone else on campus, Gawron, said the student presenters, “knows the ins and outs of the Campus Center. He’s our Campus Center role model.”

In addition, the Rally Day convocation awarded prizes to winners of the annual Banner Award contest, which rallies students to paint banners in the Rally Day theme, which this year was “Thinking Caps and Party Hats.” The winner for Best Use of Theme was Park House. The winner for the Most Creative banner was the Ada Comstock Scholars Program. The banners are displayed in the Campus Center.


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