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February 26, 2008

To Have and To Hold: Compulsive Hoarding Expert to Lecture

NORTHAMPTON, Mass.—Randy O. Frost, the Harold Edward and Elsa Siipola Israel Professor of Psychology, will present the 50th Annual Katharine Asher Engel Lecture at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, March 11, in Weinstein Auditorium, Wright Hall.

The title of Frost’s talk, “Buried in Treasures,” is also the name of his most recent book, a self-help guide for compulsive hoarders. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Frost is an internationally recognized expert on compulsive hoarding, a variation of obsessive-compulsive disorder that is marked by the acquisition of and failure to discard possessions that appear to be either useless or of limited value. It is estimated that nearly a million Americans obsessively acquire and save things most people consider worthless. While the behavior is quite common, it only becomes a clinical disorder when the resulting clutter presents problems in living.

In addition to his self-help guide, Frost authored a therapist manual for people who treat compulsive hoarders. Both books were published in 2006 by Oxford University Press.

Frost’s research on hoarding has focused on the study of phenomena – things as they are perceived – and the development of treatments for the disorder. Recently, he collaborated with several colleagues from Boston University and the Institute of Living in Hartford to create the New England Hoarding Consortium, an organization of clinicians and researchers dedicated to studying hoarding.

After earning his doctoral degree in clinical psychology from the University of Kansas in 1977, Frost joined the faculty at Smith.

The Katharine Asher Engel Lecture

The Katharine Asher Engel Lectureship was established in 1958 by the National Council of Jewish Women to honor the memory of Engel, its onetime president, and a 1920 Smith alumna. In endowing the lectureship, the council hoped to “create a bond between a remarkable woman, her college and the organization to which she was devoted.”

The annual lectureship is given by a member of the Smith faculty who has made an outstanding contribution to his or her field. Past honorees have included Newton Arvin, Thomas Mendenhall, Elliot Offner and Philip Reid.

For information about disability access or to request accommodations, please call (413) 585-2407. To request a sign language interpreter specifically, call (413) 585-2071 (voice or TTY) or e-mail All requests must be made at least 10 days prior to the event.

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

Marti Hobbes
News Assistant
T (413) 585-2190
F (413) 585-2174

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