It’s been 50
years since Smith College held its Commencement ceremony in the morning, but this year we plan
to return to that tradition with the 128th Commencement, scheduled for Sunday, May 21, at 10
a.m. Please plan accordingly.
Patricia “Trish” Jackson, most recently an associate vice president for
development at Dartmouth College, became Smith’s vice president for advancement on September
1. A former advancement director at Mount Holyoke College who has led fund-raising efforts in
higher education for more than 20 years, Jackson will manage a professional staff and volunteer
committees to garner support for Smith from alumnae, friends, corporations and foundations. “I
am delighted to return to the Pioneer Valley to join the Smith community,” said Jackson,
who succeeds Karin George ’86. “I am particularly excited to have the chance to work
with a talented faculty and staff, passionate and involved alumnae and a remarkable leader in
Carol Christ.” Jackson
earned a bachelor of psychology from Scripps College and a master of business administration
from Drucker School of Management at the Claremont Graduate University.
President Carol Christ recently appointed
Rick Myers, director of budget and financial planning, to the new position of chief
planning and budget officer. His new role will allow for a greater emphasis on strategic planning,
an area in which the college expects to focus intensively in the coming years. Tamra Bates has
been appointed director of the Campus Center; she was formerly the center’s assistant director.
The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, Inc. (ABET)
recently awarded accreditation to Smith’s pioneering Picker Engineering Program, which
was established in 1999 and enrolled the first students in fall 2000. The status
is retroactive to include the first two Smith classes that graduated with bachelor of science
degrees in engineering, from the nation’s
first such program at a women’s college.
The accreditation process provides a structured
mechanism to assess and evaluate the quality of academic programs in an effort to
help students and parents in making informed choices. In recognition of the importance of accreditation,
Smith invited ABET to conduct a program evaluation during the 2004-05
academic year. “Although we expected to receive accreditation, the letter was a joy to read,” said
Linda E. Jones, director of the Picker Engineering Program. “It reaffirmed the importance of
everything we do in the process of educating students who will go on to make meaningful contributions
to society as the leaders of tomorrow.”
Engineering is now one of the most popular majors among entering Smith students. Two new faculty members
joined the program this year, and two more will be hired in the near future.
Students can now earn a Buddhist studies certificate through the
Five College Certificate Programs, which provide a directed course of study in various interdisciplinary
fields through the resources available at Smith, Mount Holyoke, Amherst and Hampshire colleges and
the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Peter Gregory, Jill Ker Conway Professor of Religion
and East Asian Studies, explains that the Pioneer Valley of western Massachusetts, in which the Five
Colleges are located, is rich with Buddhist groups. “Roughly, within a 20-mile radius of Smith,
there are over 40 different Buddhist groups.” Also, according to Five College officials,
the area boasts one of the largest concentrations of scholars of Buddhist studies
in the United States. Certificate programs are offered in addition to, or in conjunction with,
The Titan Arum, a rare plant also known as the “corpse flower” for
its strong odor while flowering, was front-page news in local newspapers as it bloomed
Lyman Conservatory for several days in early August. This was the first time the
endangered plant has ever flowered in Massachusetts. Photo by Fish/Parham.
Thanks to the generous support of Smith alumnae, friends and volunteers, a $1.75 million endowment
was established recently for the Landscape Studies Program at Smith, the first liberal arts undergraduate
program of its kind in the country. The multidisciplinary program links art, architecture and
literary studies with biological sciences, the social sciences and engineering. In its first
year as an academic minor, this interdisciplinary study of the environment offers Smith students
nearly 50 related courses, a growing number of internships and developing collaborative projects
among departments and programs across campus. A national search begins this fall for a full-time
faculty member who can further develop the program. According to Anne Leone ’72, professor
of French studies and chair of the landscape studies steering committee, the newly established
endowment “represents the passionate belief of alumnae, faculty and professionals in the
field that Smith is positioned to address these issues better than any place in the United States.”
The same architectural firm commissioned to design New York’s International Freedom Tower,
which will be built on the World Trade Center site, also designed Smith’s own Cutter and
Ziskind houses. One of the largest architectural firms in the world, the New York City–based
firm of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill created the plans in 1957 for Cutter and Ziskind in the
International Style, a modern architectural movement that grew popular in the United States immediately
after World War II. Cutter and Ziskind’s style is characterized by geometric and sleek
functional lines on a grid pattern and is a distinct departure from the more classical and historical
forms of other Smith housing.
What most distinguishes a Smith education? What intellectual
abilities should Smith strive to develop in women of the 21st century? As part of
new strategic planning process, President Carol T. Christ is inviting alumnae to
share their thoughts on how the Smith experience influences their lives, work, and
values in an effort to learn how we can shape the college’s future so that a Smith education
continues to produce generations of remarkable women. In addition to a series of
conversations at events over the next 18 months, alumnae can share their ideas at www.smith.edu/future/shaping.
In the short time the site has been up, alumnae have already identified several key
topics based on the strengths of their education and their later experience in the world. We
hope many others will give the college the benefit of their varied experiences.
A show at the Smith College Museum of
Art offers the first United States exploration of the broad scope of French portraiture
during the neoclassical era, including painting, drawings, sculpture and miniatures. A painting
from the museum’s own collection -- Portrait of
a Youth, acquired over 75 years ago and thought to be a work by Théodore Géricault -- inspired
the exhibition when the painting was reattributed to another French painter, Anne-Louis
Girodet-Trioson. The show is on view through December 11.
For the first time in
a single location, original letters, manuscripts and photographs will be displayed
from both the Sylvia Plath archive at Smith College and from the Ted Hughes archive at Emory
University. The Grolier Club of New York will host the exhibition “No Other Appetite:
Sylvia Plath, Ted Hughes and the Blood Jet of Poetry” through November 19. The exhibition,
co-curated by Karen Kukil, associate curator of rare books at Smith, and by Emory’s Stephen
C. Enniss, also contains personal mementos and notes from the early days of the marriage until
well after Sylvia’s death in 1963. For more information visit www.grolierclub.org.
The 2004-05 academic year marked a couple of anniversaries
for Smith College architecture classes. Since the introduction in 1904–05 of the first
full-fledged course on the history of architecture, Smith has offered such courses for 100 years.
In addition to MIT, which is the oldest architectural school in the country, Smith is believed
to have continuously taught architecture to women longer than any other institutions in the country.
Also of note is the 75-year anniversary for architecture studios, which have been taught here