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August 2, 2006

Buddhist Priest to Address Smith College School for Social Work Graduates


Six doctoral degrees and 114 master's degrees will be awarded

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. – The Reverend Hilda Gutiérrez Baldoquín will address 120 graduate students during the Smith College School for Social Work commencement ceremony Friday, Aug. 18, at 4 p.m.

The school’s 86th graduation ceremony will be held in the Indoor Track and Tennis Facility and is free and open to the public. Six doctoral candidates and 114 master's candidates are slated to receive degrees that day.

Born in Cuba of African and Spanish heritage, Baldoquín, who is commonly referred to as Ryumon, practices Soto Zen, one of the two main branches of Zen Buddhism. She is the founder of the People of Color Sitting Group at the San Francisco Zen Center and co-founder of the Buddhist Meditation Group for the LGBTQ community at The Center, also in San Francisco. Locally, Baldoquín leads retreats for people of color at the Dhamma Dema Meditation Center in Northampton.

Baldoquín is the editor of the anthology “Dharma Color and Culture: New Voices in Western Buddhism.” The collection of writings by people of color – primarily American writers of African, Asian, Latino and Native American heritages – share experiences with and perspectives on the traditional Buddhist concepts of suffering.

Earlier in her life, Baldoquín worked in the fields of multicultural organizational change and conflict resolution as a consultant, trainer, facilitator and translator. During that time, she co-authored “Face to Face: Solving Conflicts Without Giving In” and “Taking the First Step: A Guide for Cultural Programming.”

The Smith College School for Social Work, founded in 1918, enrolls some 325 women and men pursuing master’s and doctoral degrees in social work with a concentration in clinical practice.Students alternate three summers of intensive on-campus classroom instruction with two eight-month periods of extensive fieldwork in agencies across the country.

One of the oldest and most distinguished schools for clinical social work in the United States, the school has led the field in developing innovative educational and fieldwork responses to trauma, war, dislocation, poverty, abuse and violence. Smith College enrolls about 2,600 students from every state and 60 other countries and is the largest undergraduate women’s college in the country.


Office of College Relations
Smith College
Garrison Hall
Northampton, Massachusetts 01063

Kristen Cole
Media Relations Director
T (413) 585-2190
F (413) 585-2174

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