As the tenure of President Carol T. Christ approached its end, many in the local community and beyond have come forth to honor the ways in which she has shaped Smith College.
“When you lead a college,” she wrote in her letter to the Smith community announcing her decision to retire, “you step into a river that flows before and after your time in its waters.”
For those in the community, Christ’s retirement marks a momentary pause in the flow of the college’s history. Some recent honors reflect President Christ’s broad Smith legacy.
Honored in Academia
On Saturday, May 11, Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) awarded President Christ an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters “for her passionate pursuit of women’s education, her dedicated commitment to fostering female leadership, and her global vision for diversity.”
In granting the honorary degree, WPI noted, “When she concludes her [Smith] tenure in June, she will leave behind a lasting mark, one etched by her dedication to diversity, innovation, strategic planning and global thinking… The transformative power of education has defined Christ’s life and career.
“Christ’s imprint has been felt well beyond the physical boundaries of the college. She’s dedicated herself to expanding Smith’s global presence by forging partnerships such as Women’s Education Worldwide, a 50-college initiative jointly launched with Mount Holyoke that works to increase female access to quality education. She collaborated on the Women in Public Service Project, a joint effort of leading women’s colleges and the Department of State that works to invigorate the presence of women in the public sector. Last year, under Christ’s guidance, Smith accepted a role as academic planning partner in the Asian Women’s Leadership University to be established in Malaysia.”
Honored on Campus
This May, the Smith College Museum of Art honored President Christ by naming a new gallery, the Carol T. Christ Asian Art Gallery. The gallery is funded by gifts from trustees, including a foundational gift from Peggy Block Danziger ’62. The gallery will recognize, in the words of Board Chair Betty Eveillard, President Christ’s “outstanding service to the college.”
“Carol brought to Smith a deep knowledge of the changing needs of a liberal arts education and a total understanding of the financial challenges facing private colleges,” Eveillard said.
The new 1,250-square-foot gallery, to be created through the configuration of space on the museum’s lower level, is expected to be open in fall 2015.
Honored in Her Community
Two months before, on March 11, President Christ was recognized for her contributions to Northampton, Hampshire County and the Pioneer Valley.
Northampton Mayor David Narkewicz and area business and community leaders gathered in her honor at a special reception hosted by the Greater Northampton Chamber of Commerce, the Hampshire County Regional Tourism Council and the Hampshire Regional Chamber of Commerce.
Honored for Her Service
On May 29, the United Way of Hampshire County will give President Christ its Hennessey Award, presented to the individual who, through exemplary leadership, service and dedication, made the greatest impact on the current campaign.
Smith is one of the leading contributors to the United Way of Hampshire County’s annual LIVE UNITED campaign, consistently accounting for 10 percent or more of the drive’s total. Funds raised by the United Way help local people in need in numerous ways.