September 17, 2002
CAROL T. CHRIST WILL BE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
AS SMITH COLLEGE PRESIDENT
IN CEREMONY SATURDAY, OCTOBER 19
Formal Installation Highlights
Three Days of Inaugural Festivities
Editor's note: reporters and
photographers covering the inauguration should request media
passes from the Smith News Office by 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct.
17. Reserved seating for the installation ceremony will be available
to the media at the front of the ITT. The ceremony is expected
to last approximately one hour. Copies of Christ's inauguration
speech will be available to reporters immediately following the
NORTHAMPTON, Mass.-Carol T. Christ
will be inaugurated as Smith College's tenth president at a festive
installation ceremony at noon, Saturday, Oct. 19, at the college's
Indoor Track and Tennis Facility (ITT).
The event is free, open to the public and wheelchair accessible.
The installation ceremony will begin with a procession of Smith
College faculty, trustees and past presidents, as well as delegates
from more than 100 other colleges, universities and learned societies.
Christ's friends and family will attend the event, as will Smith
students, staff and alumnae, as well as community members and
higher education leaders from around the country. Many students
are expected to attend with their families, as the inauguration
coincides with the college's annual family weekend.
Christ, whose appointment was announced on July 20, 2001, began
her duties as Smith president in June 2002. The installation
ceremony represents her formal investiture and will include the
presentation of the symbols of office, the presidential medal
and the Smith College mace.
In addition to the installation ceremony, highlights of the weekend
include a reading by acclaimed poet Adrienne Rich; a faculty
lecture titled "A Women's College for the World's Women"
by Provost and Dean of Faculty Susan Bourque; a panel discussion
featuring Smith alumnae, among them Gloria Steinem and Molly
Ivins; exhibitions, concerts and theater performances; and fireworks
over Paradise Pond.
Born in New York City in 1944, Christ attended public schools
in northern New Jersey. In 1966, she graduated with high honors
from Douglass College and went on to Yale University, where she
received the Ph.D. in English.
In 1970, Christ joined the English faculty at the University
of California, Berkeley. As chair of her department from 1985
1988, she built and maintained one of the top-ranked English
departments in the country. She entered the university's administration
in 1988, serving first as dean of humanities and later as provost
and dean of the College of Letters and Sciences. In 1994, Christ
was appointed vice chancellor and provost (and later became executive
vice chancellor). During her six years as Berkeley's top academic
officer, she was credited with sharpening the institution's intellectual
focus and building top-rated departments in the humanities and
sciences. In addition, she helped shape Berkeley's campus policy
in response to Proposition 209, the 1996 California law barring
the consideration of race in college admissions.
Christ, who was the highest-ranking female administrator at Berkeley
until she returned to full-time teaching in 2000, has a well-established
reputation as a champion of women's issues and diversity. Her
first administrative position was assistant to the chancellor
on issues involving the status of women. She describes her undergraduate
education at Douglass, the women's college of Rutgers University,
as formative and has, in the words of a colleague, "an intellectual
and emotional commitment to women's education."
Throughout her administrative career, Christ has maintained an
active program of teaching and research. In addition to lecturing
and presenting papers to scholarly organizations and academic
institutions across the U.S., she has published two books: "The
Finer Optic: The Aesthetic of Particularity in Victorian Poetry"
and "Victorian and Modern Poetics." She is currently
teaching a seminar at Smith on the plays of George Bernard Shaw
and Oscar Wilde.
Christ has two children. Her son, Jonathan Sklute, is a recent
graduate of New York University; and her daughter, Elizabeth
Sklute, is a student at Mills College.
-- 30 --
Christ's husband, Paul Alpers, is a scholar of the literature
of the English Renaissance.
Smith College is consistently ranked among the nation's foremost
liberal arts colleges. Enrolling 2,800 students from every state
and 55 other countries, Smith is the largest undergraduate women's
college in the country. It was founded in 1871.