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Campus Construction

The busy sounds of hammer and buzzsaw were everywhere on campus this summer. For the first time in its history, College Hall, built in 1875, was completely vacated for extensive renovations. In addition to wiring upgrades and a new fire alarm system, the building was equipped with new hot water heating and central air conditioning systems. Finishing touches prepared the newly built Conway House on Prospect Street (below), a 10-unit apartment building, for its new occupants—Smith Ada Comstock Scholars and their families. Rita McCoubrey and daughter Josie settled in on move-in day in late August as did Audrey and Wess Dakan and their son Louis.

New Trustees

The college welcomed new trustees to its board in May. They are: Rachel Bartels ’88, Ka’Neda Ellison ’06, Anne Morita ’90, Lois Perelson-Gross ’83 and James Shulman.

Professor Honored for His Sudan Advocacy Work

Eric Reeves, Smith professor of English language and literature, received an honorary degree from Mount Holyoke College during its 169th commencement exercises on May 28. Reeves, who has become an internationally prominent expert on the genocidal atrocities perpetrated by the government of Sudan in the country’s Darfur region, has published numerous editorial essays on the subject in the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times and other newspapers, and has testified on human rights before the U.S. Congress. Reeves, who joined the Smith faculty in 1979 after attending Williams College and the University of Pennsylvania, will also receive the Bicentennial Medal from Williams at the college’s convocation this fall, in recognition of his Sudan research and advocacy. The medal is the college’s highest alumnae award.

Trustees Vote to Ban Sudan Investments

Citing the Sudanese government’s campaign of genocide in the Darfur region, Smith College has banned investment in companies directly or indirectly supporting that regime. The Smith College Board of Trustees voted to take that action at its May meeting, based on a recommendation of the college’s Committee on Investor Responsibility, and after research undertaken at the request of Smith’s president, Carol T. Christ. “Withholding investment offers the possibility that private organizations in the United States can encourage a policy change in a foreign country, specifically, in this case, the end of the genocidal policies of the Sudanese government,” said Mary Patterson McPherson, chair of the board of trustees and member of the Smith class of 1957. “While the recent peace accord is grounds for cautious optimism,” she added, “we still believe that international pressure is necessary and compelling.” This vote by the board of trustees is the fourth time the board has banned specific investments since a 1979 vote explicitly affirmed that the college’s moral mission must play a role in the investment of its endowment.

Books of Note on the Business of Sports

A new book by Professor Andrew Zimbalist, The Bottom Line: Observations and Arguments on the Sports Business, examines the major issues the American sports industry faces today. Zimbalist, who is the Robert A. Woods Professor of Economics at Smith, has been called “one of the best writers among economists working today.” His other recent books include National Pastime: How Americans Play Baseball and the Rest of the World Plays Soccer (co-authored with Stefan Szymanski), which was named as an outstanding academic title by Choice magazine, and In the Best Interests of Baseball: The Revolutionary Reign of Bud Selig.

New Names

Academic programs formerly known as women’s studies and math are now titled the Program for the Study of Women and Gender and the Department of Mathematics and Statistics.

Learning the Language of Museums

The daily work of the students attending the new six-week Summer Institute in Art Museum Studies at Smith College -- the only program of its kind for undergraduates -- provided an intensive, behind-the-scenes crash course on the business of operating a museum. The program combined classroom instruction, visits to museums and meetings with their professional staffs, and the hands-on experience of mounting a small art exhibition at Smith’s Museum of Art.

Two New Faces on Campus

Longtime student advocate Julianne D. Ohotnicky started work in June as Smith’s new dean of students. Formerly, she was associate dean of students at Clark University. In her 15 years of experience in student life, Ohotnicky has held positions at a number of colleges and universities in Massachusetts, including Brandeis University, Merrimack College and Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Ohotnicky earned a bachelor of arts in foreign affairs and economics from Assumption College in 1991 and a master of arts in higher education administration from the University of Connecticut in 1995.

Smith College alumna Karen Boehnke ’99 returned to campus in September to become director of annual support and volunteer engagement in the college’s Office of Advancement. Before assuming her new position here, she was director of the annual fund and development operations at the University of California, Berkeley, College of Engineering, where she began as an associate director three years ago. Since earning her bachelor of arts degree in education from Smith, Boehnke has served as an annual fund volunteer for the college.

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