No Nudes Is Good News

Alumnae can heave a sigh of relief. In August, the Smithsonian Institution returned to Smith possession of nude photographs taken in 1950 (with the permission of the students involved) for research purposes. College Archivist Margery Sly took the photos and negatives from a Smithsonian storage facility and personally fed all 1,260 pieces into a shredding machine.

The photos' existence came to public attention after a January 15 New York Times Magazine article misleadingly implied that Smith's "posture pictures" were available to researchers at the Smithsonian. In the process of clarifying the Times' story, the college discovered that, while no posture pictures were on file, the Smithsonian did have similar "somatotype" photos taken at Smith in 1950 by researcher W. H. Sheldon's research team. The photos were part of his nationwide project to establish the norms for variation in human physical structure, and were acquired by the Smithsonian archive in 1987 with other Sheldon materials.

With the destruction of these somatotype photos (Smith's posture pictures were burned in 1984), alumnae need not worry that their youthful forms will ever be viewed, even by researchers.

New Faces Join Smith Faculty

Eighteen people joined Smith's full-time faculty ranks this fall. They are: Dany Adams, assistant professor of biological sciences; Ernest Alleva, assistant professor of philosophy; Amelita Grace Cajiuat, lecturer in music; Patricia DiBartolo, instructor in psychology; Elliot Fratkin, assistant professor of anthropology; Hongchu Fu, lecturer in East Asian languages and literatures; Eric Garberson, assistant professor of art; Mary Geske, assistant professor of government; Luc Gilleman, assistant professor of English language and literature; Mareike Herrmann, assistant professor of German studies; Jin-hee Kim, lecturer in East Asian languages and literatures; Giancarlo Lombardi, lecturer in Italian language and literature; Stéphanie Loubère, École Normale visiting lecturer in French language and literature; Lee Ann Riccardi, instructor in art; Maureen Ryan, assistant professor of classical languages and literatures; Ben Singer, instructor in film studies; Sophie Volpp, instructor in East Asian languages and literatures; and Shin Watanabe, lecturer in East Asian languages and literatures.

In addition, the following are new faculty on visiting or special appointments during the 1995-96 school year: CNN's China correspondent Mike Chinoy, lecturer in government; Rey Chow, William Allan Neilson Professor of Comparative Literature; Karl Kirchwey, Grace Hazard Conkling Writer-in-Residence; Annette Kreutziger-Herr, Hamburg Exchange Lecturer in Music; Mark Morford, Kennedy Professor in Renaissance Studies; Jane Tuckerman, Harnish Visiting Artist; and Dagmar von Hoff, Hamburg Exchange Lecturer in German and Women's Studies.

Last Class of the Century Begins

This fall's first-year students--the Class of 1999--will be the last class to graduate in the 20th century. And according to one measure of student quality, SAT scores, they're the most academically gifted class to enter Smith since 1974. Dean of Enrollment Management Ann Wright says this continues a recent trend that's seen the overall quality of Smith's incoming class increase annually since 1991, a period of demographic decline that gave colleges far fewer well-qualified candidates.

Awards, honors and Alma Mater

For the seventh time in eight years, Smith is among the top 10 national liberal arts colleges in U.S. News & World Report's annual edition of "America's Best Colleges." Smith was rated #10, based on two types of criteria: a survey gauging a college's reputation among its peers, and measures of academic quality provided by each college. The latter includes student selectivity, faculty resources, financial resources, retention rate and alumni/ae satisfaction.

Smith's alma mater, much loved but awkward to sing, got a slight makeover this summer from Paul Flight, acting director of choral activities. While he was careful not to take great liberties with "Fairest Alma Mater," Flight revamped the most unwieldy parts of the song. Trustees approved his revisions, and the amended alma mater made its debut at September Convocation.

On a more extended musical note, Professor of Music Ronald Perera's second opera debuted at Smith in September. Based on John Updike's 1988 novel of the same name, S. fuses American musical theater and classical opera. Playwright Constance Congdon wrote the libretto, and the production was staged by former Smith theatre professor Mark Harrison.

A Better Chance, a national program helping academically talented children of color gain access to top college preparatory schools, honored Ruth Simmons in May with the Benjamin Mays Award. It is presented to an individual who "embodies the finest principles of personal commitment to excellence, integrity, achievement and concern for the welfare of others."

Dean of the College Ann Burger, having served three presidents, will step down at the end of this academic year. In her 12 years as dean, Burger established the offices of international study and disability services and restructured the class deans' office and the office of student affairs. She will assist President Simmons with special projects. A national search will be launched for Burger's successor. And Nancy Cook Steeper '59 will retire on June 30, after 10 years' service as executive director of the Alumnae Association and over 20 additional years in positions at the Office of Admission, Career Development Office and Friends of the Libraries.

With her own decade's experience at Smith fresh in her mind, Mary Maples Dunn should be a valuable member of the new Commission on the Academic Presidency, a 22-member panel studying how to make college and university presidencies nationally more attractive to job candidates and more effective for their institutions.

Smith faculty attracted a record-breaking $2 million in grant awards for their research this year. Thirty-eight professors received 46 grants from 35 federal agencies, private foundations and scholarly organizations. They funded projects ranging from science programs for women and people of color to an economic study of competitive forces and health-care system changes.

The board of trustees welcomed another new member at its latest meeting. He is Alberto Ibargüen, executive vice president of operations at Newsday, Inc., a subsidiary of Times Mirror Company.

Smith College apologizes for the omission of the name of Elisa Oh '95 from the list of Phi Beta Kappa members published in the May commencement program. Oh was elected to the society in the fall of 1994.

Smith's Community College Connections program, which encourages two-year-college students to go on to four-year colleges, this past summer emphasized the involvement of Native American students. The program hopes to increase the number of American Indians who continue their studies; currently only 9 percent nationally have completed four years of college, compared to 20 percent of the total U.S. population.

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded Smith a three-year, $350,000 grant for curriculum renewal and faculty development. It will support a variety of initiatives designed to strengthen teaching, develop new forms of computer-assisted learning, encourage curricular coordination between departments and interdisciplinary programs, and reduce expenditures for temporary and replacement faculty.

Campus Security officers can now get on the beaten paths and get closer to the people and places they safeguard. Mounted on new Trek police-style bicycles and primed with intensive training in using them in the line of duty, Smith officers added cycle patrols to their cruiser rounds in September. The new mounted police are less conspicuous, and can reach more parts of the campus, than their cruiser-using colleagues. (Just try chasing a suspect over a curb or down a flight of stairs in a sedan!)

In Memoriam: John J. Conway, husband of former Smith president Jill Ker Conway, died July 11 of a hemorrhage to the brain. He served on the faculty at Harvard and at York University in his native Toronto, and also taught in the Five College area. Conway will be remembered for "his wit, his magically melodious voice, luminous intellect and neo-classical ideals in education" and for his academic interests in literature, history, theology and philosophy.

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