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Science Grant: Smith's plans to develop a new Center for Molecular Biosciences got a boost in May with a four-year $1.3 million grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute to support the sciences. According to Thomas Litwin, director of the Smith Science Center, the Hughes grant will fund "creating a space that brings people together in an interdisciplinary forum." The award will also support outreach to high school students and teachers through the Summer Science and Engineering Program for girls and the Summer Institute for teachers.

New Institutional Diversity Director: Professor Naomi Miller is Smith's new director of institutional diversity and assistant to the president. Before this appointment, Miller was a professor of English literature and women's studies at the University of Arizona. She was selected in 2003-04 by the American Council on Education for a fellowship that enabled her to conduct two major studies at Princeton University: one on the challenges facing diverse students at Princeton and the other on the challenges faced by women faculty and graduate students in science and engineering. She assumed her Smith position in September.

High Honors: Smith President Carol T. Christ has been elected as a fellow to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She is among 178 new fellows and 24 new foreign honorary members who were awarded the prestigious academy membership -- all world-renowned leaders in scholarship, business, the arts and public affairs. An annual induction ceremony will be held in October at the academy's headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

New College Relations Chief: Laurie Fenlason, former director of media relations, has taken the helm in the Office of College Relations after being appointed as Smith's executive director of public affairs and special assistant to the president on July 1. Before coming to Smith six years ago, she was the executive director of college relations at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, New York. A graduate of Bryn Mawr College, Fenlason succeeds Ann Shanahan, who retired in June.

Scholarly Contributions: Howard Nenner, Roe/Straut Professor in the Humanities, was quite busy this year serving as associate editor of the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, which is a collection of 50,000 biographies of people who have influenced British history and society. The 2004 edition will be published in October. As associate editor, Nenner, a historian, was responsible for a block of 160 biographies on lawyers, judges and others influential in law from the original dictionary. He wrote two articles for the tome, one on Orlando Bridgeman and one on "The Regicides." Frank Ellis, Mary Augusta Jordan Professor Emeritus of English, also contributed to the dictionary with articles on John Wilmot, Second Earl of Rochester; Robert Parsons; and Sir Fleetwood Sheppard, courtier, wit and poet.

Chapter of the Year: The Smith College Democrats were awarded Chapter of the Year during this summer's College Democrats of America Convention in Boston. The award denotes the most successful and hard-working college Democrats in the country. This is the first time that a small liberal arts college has received the award.

Retirement Kudos: Former Chief Public Affairs Officer Ann Shanahan '59, who retired in June after 19 years of work in public and media relations at Smith, was awarded the John M. Greene Award, which is bestowed upon individuals who have rendered service to the college beyond the call of duty and who personify the Smith motto, "To virtue, knowledge," in their service and in their lives. The award, given since 1980, was named for John Morton Greene, pastor and adviser to Sophia Smith.

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