President Christ was a surprised recipient of the Smith College Medal during Rally Day February 21.

President Christ was a surprised recipient of the Smith College Medal during Rally Day February 21.

This year’s Rally Day convocation, on February 21, began with seniors chanting the name of Smith’s tenth president—“Car-ol, Car-ol”—as Carol T. Christ entered John M. Greene Hall. The event concluded in much the same way.

In an announcement that was, as Christ described, “a well-kept secret,” the Smith College Medal Committee surprised the outgoing president by awarding her the Smith College Medal.

After 11 years leading Smith, Christ will retire in June. Alumna Judith Milestone ’66, chair of this year’s medal committee, commended Christ for her “pioneering leadership for the education of women around the world.”

“I’m overwhelmed…I so deeply believe in Smith’s mission and power in the world,” said Christ before a crowd of students that roared her name and stood to applaud the news.

Christ joined five Smith alumnae in receiving the Smith Medal. They are: Gail Kern Paster ’66, Shakespearean scholar; Kay Holekamp ’73, zoologist and field biologist; Janet Clarke McKinley ’76, global investor and philanthropist; Anne Searls De Groot ’78, scientist and entrepreneur; and Sherry Rehman ’85, Pakistan Ambassador to the United States.

Established in 1962, the Smith College Medal is given annually to those alumnae who, in the judgment of the trustees, exemplify in their lives and work the true purpose of a liberal arts education. Milestone called Christ “an honorary member of the Class of 1966.”

Christ closed the ceremony with a challenge to the Class of 2013.

“You and I are graduating together this spring from a place that has transformed our lives,” she said. “In the spirit of gratitude, I turn to you and ask that you join me in making your first gift back to Smith.”

If 80 percent of the graduating seniors make donations of any size by Ivy Day– that is, 559 students by 9 p.m. on Friday, May 17—Christ will contribute $2,013 toward the class gift to the Senior Campaign.

Rally Day also provides an annual opportunity to honor Smith community members with several different awards.

Faculty Teaching Award

Given annually by students to one non-tenured and one tenured faculty member to honor their dedication to excellent teaching, the Faculty Teaching Award was established 24 years ago as a way for students to thank educators for their support, encouragement and inspiration. This year’s recipients are Darcy Buerkle, associate professor of history, and Sara Pruss, assistant professor of geosciences.

Elizabeth B. Wyandt Gavel Award

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. This year’s recipients are Sandra Doucett, associate vice president for development, and Robin Wood, senior housekeeper of Morrow House.