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School for Social Work: 85 Years Young

By Trinity Peacock-Broyles '03

Newly renovated 117-year-old Lilly Hall is once again home to the Smith College School for Social Work and the Graduate Studies Office. The school will be celebrating its return to Lilly as well as its 85th Anniversary from June 27 to 29. As a part of the activities, the school will hold a conference titled “From Shell Shock to PTSD: The Evolutionary Context of the School for Social Work,” which will examine the school’s history of responding to such traumas as the effects of war and poverty, racism, domestic violence and homophobia.

Carolyn Jacobs, the newly named dean of the school, will oversee the celebration. Jacobs was appointed by the Smith College Board of Trustees in February. A member of the school’s faculty since 1980, she holds the Elizabeth Marting Treuhaft Chair as full professor. She has been acting dean since July 2000 and during her tenure, she increased the school’s financial stability, reconfigured the admission process and assisted in planning the Lilly Hall renovation.

The $3 million renovation project, completed this spring, restored the building to its distinctive 19th-century character and high Victorian Gothic architectural style. Although a pesky resident squirrel chewed through some equipment lines during the winter construction, and unforeseen structural problems arose as well, the bond-financed project was completed on schedule. The many upgrades included installing an elevator, making the building fully accessible to persons with disabilities; replacing the roof; and cleaning the building facade. New mechanical systems replaced outdated ones and interior spaces were reconfigured.

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