Knock—Welcome to Smith
By Lily Samuels ’11
students in the Twin Cities (Minneapolis and St. Paul), Minnesota,
region who are notified of their acceptance to Smith College,
a surprise knock on their door soon follows. On the other
side of the door smiles a local Smith alumna, who presents
a special welcome: a single rose.
Along with the
rose comes a warm congratulations and an invitation to an “accepted
students tea” with the local Smith Club.
“They are always smiling and very grateful for the special delivery,” said Anna
Mikelson ’02, a member of the Twin Cities Smith Club, who directs the program
in which all new Smith students get a rose, personally delivered. “And surprised,
The special delivery comes about
one week after students have been notified of their acceptance
by the Office of Admission, said Mikelson. The students’ surprise
is the result of collusion between the Smith alumna assigned with the delivery
and the students’ parents, who are notified by telephone beforehand.
the Twin Cities Smith Club delivered an impressive 29 roses
to newly accepted Smith students.
Though no known record
of the tradition’s beginning exists, Mikelson
estimates that it has been taking place for approximately 25 years. “I can say
that I got flowers from the club when I was accepted,” she recounts. “It was
a very special moment!”
For Mikelson and other involved
alumnae, the tradition is meaningful on multiple levels.
Not only does it honor the beginning of a student’s career at Smith,
it also mirrors other venerated Smith traditions.
“I think it is a special tradition that they aren't expecting, and it's great
to paint that picture of Smith as a place with many traditions, right from the
beginning,” Mikelson explained. “I also like the fact that when you graduate
from Smith, you are given a rose at Ivy Day—so this is the first rose they get
from Smith, to start that journey!”
The accepted students tea is
a follow up to the presentation of the roses and is a chance
for the potential Smithies (and their parents) to connect
with alumnae and glean more information about the college
before making their decision to attend.
Other students who
have already accepted the offer use the tea—which
took place at the house of local alum Barbara Klaas ’74 this year—to connect
with future friends and housemates. “We had four girls this year who had already
decided to attend, and they were already talking about carpooling and discussing
which houses they want to live in! The tea is their first welcome to the college.”
The outreach of Smith clubs
like the one in Twin Cities is a way for alumnae to give
back to the Smith community. Debra Shaver, director of Admissions
at Smith, emphasizes the importance of alumnae connecting
with potential students.
“Alumnae play a very important role in encouraging students to come to Smith,” she
said. “Admitted students often cite contact with alumnae as an important reason
for their decision to apply and ultimately enroll. Without the commitment of
alumnae all over the world, we wouldn't enroll the class that we do—a diverse
class full of smart and engaging women.”