Meet the 2018 Smith Medalists

Three extraordinary alumnae will receive the Smith College Medal at Rally Day, in recognition of their contributions to their communities and the world.

This year’s medalists, announced at a faculty meeting Wednesday, Sept. 13, are:

  • Advertising executive Rochelle “Shelly” Braff Lazarus ’68
  • Psychologist Ann Stringfellow Masten ’73
  • Art museum leader Rebecca Rabinow ’88

The Smith Medal was established in 1962 to recognize alumnae who exemplify in their lives and work “the true purpose” of a liberal arts education. More than 200 outstanding alumnae have received the award in recognition of their professional achievements and outstanding service.

This year’s honorees will receive their medals at a ceremony on Rally Day, Wednesday, Feb. 21, at 1:30 p.m. in John M. Greene Hall. Classes are canceled for the occasion, which marks the first time seniors publicly wear their gowns—along with inventive hats in keeping with the day’s spirit of Smith pride.

Kimberly Scott ’91, who was to receive a Smith Medal, is unable to attend the ceremony.

About the 2018 Smith Medalists


Rochelle “Shelly” Braff Lazarus ’68

Shelly Lazarus has been working “in the business she loves” for more than four decades, almost all of that time at Ogilvy & Mather. After serving in positions of increasing responsibility, she was named the agency’s worldwide CEO in 1996 and chairman in 1997. She became chairman emeritus in July 2012. Widely honored for her pioneering accomplishments, Lazarus is a member of the American Advertising Federation Hall of Fame and the Direct Marketing Association’s Hall of Fame, and was the first woman to receive the Advertising Educational Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award. She also has been named many times to Fortune magazine’s annual ranking of America’s 50 Most Powerful Women in Business. Lazarus serves on a number of corporate and nonprofit boards, including those of The Blackstone Group, General Electric, Merck, Lincoln Center, the World Wildlife Fund and Columbia Business School, where she received her M.B.A. Lazarus has been a member of Advertising Women of New York, and has chaired the American Association of Advertising Agencies. She served for five years as chair of Smith College’s Board of Trustees.


Ann Stringfellow Masten ’73

Ann Stringfellow Masten is a leading psychologist who focuses on competence, risk and resilience in human development, especially in children and families threatened by adversity. The goal of her work is to inform science, practice and policy around human adaptation and resilience. Regents Professor at the University of Minnesota, where she also serves as the Irving B. Harris Professor in Child Development and the Distinguished McKnight University Chair, she directs the Project Competence Studies of Risk and Resilience, which includes a longitudinal study which has followed a sample of community children and their families for more than 20 years. Nationally and internationally, Masten works with colleagues across disciplines to understand adaptation and development, particularly in relation to migration, disasters and war. The recipient of grants from the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development—among others—Masten has been honored with the American Psychological Association’s Urie Bronfenbrenner Award for Lifetime Contributions to Developmental Psychology in the Service of Science and Society. Masten holds a Ph.D. degree from the University of Minnesota.


Rebecca Rabinow ’88

One of the nation’s leading museum curators—and one of the few women to lead a major art institution—Rebecca Rabinow last year was named director of the Menil Collection in Houston after serving for many years as a member of the curatorial staff at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, most recently as curator in charge of the Leonard A. Lauder Research Center for Modern Art. In her 17 years at the Met, Rabinow helped organize more than 20 special exhibitions, including “The Steins Collect: Matisse, Picasso and the Parisian Avant-Garde” (2011-12), which received the Dedalus Foundation’s inaugural Exhibition Catalogue Award and the Frick Center for the History of Collecting’s Biennial Prize; “Matisse: In Search of True Painting” (2012–13); and “Cubism: The Leonard A. Lauder Collection” (2014–15), which earned the Association of Art Museum Curators’ First Place Award for Excellence for its catalog, as well as the New York State Historical Association’s Henry Allen Moe Prize. A graduate of Smith and New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts, Rabinow chaired the Metropolitan Museum’s Forum of Curators, Conservators and Scientists in 2014–15.