Smith College Sets Commencement
Four Distinguished Women to
Receive Honorary Degrees
Editor's note: Reporters and
photographers interested in covering Smith's commencement
should request press passes by calling (413) 585-2190 or
e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday, May 14. Seats for
media representatives will be available in the press box
adjacent to the stage. Photos of Woodruff and the other honorary
degree recipients are available upon request.
NORTHAMPTON, Mass. -- At 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 16, in
the Quadrangle, Smith College will hold its 126th commencement
ceremony, honoring 690 graduating seniors, including 74 students
in the Ada Comstock Scholars Program for women beyond the
traditional college age, as well as 66 advanced degree candidates.
Distinguished broadcast journalist Judy Woodruff will be
the commencement speaker and will be given an honorary degree.
In addition to Woodruff, three other leaders and visionaries
in their respective fields will be recognized with honorary
degrees. They are Rita Colwell, former director of the National
Science Foundation (NSF); Thelma Golden, deputy director
of exhibitions and programs for the Studio Museum in Harlem;
and Patricia Williams, professor of law at Columbia University.
Smith's commencement ceremony is open to the public at
no charge; no tickets are required. (In case of rain, the
event will take place in the Indoor Track and Tennis Facility.)
Judy Woodruff, a veteran broadcast journalist who has worked
for CNN since 1993, anchors "Judy Woodruff's Inside
Politics." Before joining CNN in 1993, Woodruff was
the chief Washington correspondent for "The MacNeil/Lehrer
NewsHour" as well as chief Washington, D.C., correspondent
for NBC's "Today." She also served as NBC News'
White House correspondent during the Carter and Reagan administrations.
Woodruff is a founding co-chair of the International Women's
Media Foundation and serves on the boards of trustees of
the Freedom Forum and Urban Institute. She earned her bachelor's
degree from Duke University, where she is a trustee emerita.
At Smith, she will receive a doctor of humane letters degree.
Rita Colwell, who will receive a doctor of science degree,
is Distinguished University Professor Emerita at the University
of Maryland at College Park and at Johns Hopkins University
Bloomberg School of Public Health and is also chairman of
Canon US Life Science, Inc. From 1998 to February 2004, Colwell
served as the director of the National Science Foundation
As director of NSF, Colwell's policy approach enabled the
agency to strengthen its core activities, as well as establish
support for major initiatives, including nanotechnology,
bio-complexity, information technology and the 21st-century
workforce. Among her major interests are K-12 science and
mathematics education, graduate science and engineering education
and the increased participation of women and minorities in
science and engineering.
Colwell has held many advisory and leadership positions
in the U.S. government, nonprofit science policy organizations
and private foundations, as well as in the international
scientific research community. She has authored or co-authored
16 books and more than 700 scientific publications, produced
the award-winning film, "Invisible Seas" and served
on the editorial boards of many scientific journals.
She holds a bachelor of science degree in bacteriology and master of science
degree in genetics from Purdue University, as well as a doctoral degree in
oceanography from the University of Washington.
Thelma Golden, who will receive a doctor of fine arts degree,
is well known for her groundbreaking and controversial 1995
exhibition at the Whitney Museum titled "Black Male:
Representations of Masculinity in Contemporary American Art." She
has been deputy director for exhibitions and programs at
The Studio Museum in Harlem since January 2000. From 1988
to 1998, Golden was at the Whitney Museum, where she began
as a curatorial assistant and then served, consecutively,
as director and exhibition coordinator at the Whitney Museum
at Phillip Morris from 1991 to 1993; associate curator and
director of branch museums from 1993 to 1996; and curator
from 1996 to 1998.
In addition to her curatorial work, Golden teaches, lectures
and writes widely about contemporary art, cultural issues
and the curatorial practice. She has been a visiting professor
at Columbia, Yale and Cornell universities. Golden received
a bachelor of arts in African-American studies and art history
from Smith in 1987.
Patricia Williams, professor of law at Columbia University,
will receive a doctor of laws degree. An interdisciplinary
legal scholar, Williams has written widely on aspects of
race in America. Her highly regarded first book, "The
Alchemy of Race and Rights: A Diary of a Law Professor," was
published in 1991; it was followed by "The Rooster's
Egg: On the Persistence of Prejudice" in 1995 and "Seeing
a Color-Blind Future: The Paradox of Race" in 1997.
A Wellesley College graduate, Williams earned her law degree
from Harvard University. She served as deputy city attorney
in the Los Angeles City Attorney's office, and as staff attorney
for the Western Center on Law and Poverty in Los Angeles,
and taught on the faculty of Golden Gate College, the City
University of New York in Queens and the University of Wisconsin
at Madison before going to Columbia University School of
Law in 1991.
Beyond her teaching, Williams writes commentary on race,
gender and law, and on other issues of legal theory that
is published in major newspapers and periodicals. Her column "Diary
of a Mad Law Professor" appears regularly in The Nation
magazine. In 2000, Williams was one of 25 recipients of a
MacArthur Fellowship, the "genius" award given
annually by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
Smith College is consistently ranked among the nation's
foremost liberal arts colleges. Enrolling 2,800 students
from every state and 60 other countries, Smith is the largest
undergraduate women's college in the country.
Office of College
Northampton, Massachusetts 01063
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