Smith College Admission Academics Student Life About Smith news Offices
Five College Calendar
Smith eDigest
Submit an Idea
News Archive
News Publications
Planning an Event
Contact Us
News & Events
By Eric Weld   Date: 4/19/10 Bookmark and Share

Smith Lore Now Available to the Public

Go ahead, ask a question about Smith, any question. 1. After whom was Lawrence House named? 2. How did the tradition of Rally Day begin? 3. What famous actor donated the sculpture by Auguste Rodin that stands in the Museum of Art atrium? [*See answers below]

Chances are the answers to your Smith questions can be found in the online Smith encyclopedia, known as Smithipedia, which was launched on Moodle in spring 2008. There you can find backgrounds and histories of Smith clubs and organizations, its founders, popular culture, traditions, activism and much more. The resource is easy to use, arranged in broad categories, such as Smith and Politics, then broken into more specific categories—Civil Rights and Smith College Before 1960—that link to compendia of information on the topic.

Until now, however, Smithipedia has been accessible only to those with Novell access—mostly current students, faculty and staff. This past weekend, during Celebrating Collaborations—the annual event in which students present their research in collaboration with faculty—a team of STRIDE students who have worked with President Christ and College Archivist Nanci Young announced the opening of Smithipedia to the world during a presentation about their experience working on the site. The resource from now on will be available to anyone with Internet access, without use of a password to enter.

“By opening up the Smithipedia site to the public we hope that anyone interested in Smith history can learn something new from it, or share a memory,” said Young. “After all, Smith history is not limited to the confines of campus. A lot of our history is created by graduates and others who have stepped beyond the Grécourt Gates.”

Smithipedia was developed and launched by Young with the encouragement of President Christ. The resource continues to grow with ongoing additions of information investigated and prepared for publication on the site by STRIDE students, under Young’s editing and supervision.

“Although it will never be truly complete, Smithipedia covers a wide range of subjects in Smith history,” said Katy Hovanes ’12, one of the student contributors. “Many of the events, issues and even organizations in Smith’s past still have bearing on the college in the present. Smithipedia provides an easy way to learn about that history, as well as a jumping-off point for more in-depth research by individuals who would like to learn more.”

As the encyclopedia goes public, users of Smithipedia will be able to contribute items as well, in similar fashion to the ubiquitous Wikipedia, the Internet encyclopedia with millions of entries, which allows users to write and submit items.

“By officially launching Smithipedia to the public, students can explore the offerings, make suggestions and submit their own work, and learn the history of many organizations, buildings, people and traditions,” said Alexandra Ghiz ’12, who also works on the resource.

As it grows and goes public, Smithipedia’s administrators hope to add other media, such as images, audio and video links. And always, more information about Smith.

“Hopefully, more people will post comments now that we can share or follow upon, and perhaps Smithipedia users will be compelled to add their own entries,” invited Young.

To submit entries to Smithipedia, send information to Young at

[*Answers, cited from Smithipedia: 1. Lawrence House, built in 1892, was named after Elizabeth Crocker “Tippy” Lawrence, Class of 1883, who served as president of the Alumnae Association, 1909-1911; 2. Rally Day began in February 1876 as an annual celebration of George Washington’s birthday—it was first called Rally Day in 1906 because of the “rally” that marks the tradition; 3. Richard Burton donated the Auguste Rodin work following his visit to campus, with Elizabeth Taylor in 1966, to film the movie Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?]

DirectoryCalendarCampus MapVirtual TourContact UsSite A-Z