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Smith Appoints Jessica F. Nicoll Museum of Art Director

Jessica F. Nicoll ’83, chief curator of the Portland Museum of Art in Maine, has been named the new director of the Smith College Museum of Art. Her appointment begins August 1.

An authority on American artists, Nicoll has published many scholarly articles on the work of Winslow Homer, and on topics as varied as architecture of federal-style mansions and Quaker quilts. Her piece about itinerant artists is forthcoming in the Encyclopedia of New England Culture.

“The Smith College Museum of Art’s elegant new facility, outstanding collection and wonderful staff make the institution a powerful educational resource for its community and have made this an irresistible opportunity for me,” says Nicoll. “As a graduate of Smith, I find this opportunity doubly exciting -- a chance to do the work I love for the benefit of a community that I care about deeply.” She succeeds Suzannah Fabing, who is retiring after 13 years, and during whose tenure the museum underwent an extensive renovation.

New Director Chosen for Picker Engineering Program

One of the country’s preeminent researchers in high-temperature materials, Linda E. Jones of Alfred University, was recently named director of Smith College’s pioneering Picker Engineering Program. She will begin her appointment July 1, succeeding Domenico Grasso and interim director Joseph O’Rourke.

A faculty member at Alfred University since 1991, Jones rose from assistant professor in ceramic engineering and materials science to professor and chair of the Materials Science and Engineering Program, a post she has held since 2003. Ceramic engineers create and combine materials for new applications, such as human joint replacements that will be accepted by a body and last a lifetime. Since joining Alfred University in western New York state, Jones has received 32 national grants and awards totaling nearly $3 million to fund her research. Her work examines novel forms of carbon, including carbon oxidation and diamond oxidation, high-temperature solid gas reactions, and the environmental effects of ceramic and glass manufacturing.

“The Picker Engineering Program, whose mission is to educate the future leaders of the profession, has in Linda a leading researcher, educator and administrator,” says O’Rourke, Spencer T. and Ann W. Olin Professor of Computer Science and Mathematics, who led the search committee. “Within a strong pool of applicants, she was nothing short of remarkable.”

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