you, President Christ, on Behalf of Smith Students
By Dahna Black ’13,
President, Student Government Association
Energy. Intellectual power.
Those were the words used by
college administrators in describing President Christ and
her Smith tenure during a fireside chat in April, hosted
by the Student Government Association (SGA).
I would add
a few words to the list: humanity, compassion, consideration,
I was given the opportunity
to work directly with President Christ on matters of college
policy in my role as SGA president, and saw firsthand her
dedication to the student body, her belief in the college's
mission, and always, her willingness to go the extra mile
for Smith and its students.
Until I worked with President
Christ, I took for granted the way our college functions—the way students are respected and
given the tools to make the Smith community their own. She
brought a wealth of knowledge and experience to her presidency
that she was always willing to share with students. Through
my interactions with other students at similar institutions,
I realized that the opportunity for students to meet regularly
with their college president—as we are invited to do during
her weekly open hours—is unique. President Christ fostered
an environment on campus in which the students have a voice.
In her absence, she sought administrative staff members to
meet with us, who share her vision for open dialogue and
a strong community.
Last fall, when President Christ
heard students were organizing around an issue related to
access to education for underrepresented students, she immediately
offered her support. She drafted an official email outlining
the college’s policy surrounding the issue and highlighted
her previous efforts to support underrepresented students
seeking an education at Smith. I was amazed by her willingness
to help a group of students mobilizing to change college
policy, and by her genuine interest in supporting the extramural
activities of students to foster community on our campus.
President Christ has represented
us well. Many on campus are familiar with the initiatives
she promoted during her time here, culminating in the Women
for the World Campaign and an inspiring commitment to educating
women worldwide. She has spoken on many occasions about the
importance of women's leadership, and has been honored by
other institutions for her efforts to increase the role of
women in STEM education. However, she does not receive enough
recognition for representing the model of leadership she
I observed President Christ’s leadership style in many meetings regarding college
policy, and I learned a lot from her. She leads with a hopeful,
calm, and pleasant demeanor. Whether it is in a meeting with
the Board of Trustees, the faculty, or students, President
Christ treats everyone with respect and honors their opinion.
Even during difficult times, President Christ remembers to
ask about others' well-being, and can lighten the darkest
of rooms with her humor.
It has been an honor to work
with President Christ this year. I am grateful to her for
the work she has done to better our community during her
tenure. She was an incredible role model for me in my capacity
as president of the Student Government Association, and I
truly admire her.
Thank you, President Christ.