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Photo by Mike Thomasson/Pivot Media

How Does Your Roof Grow?

When it is completed, Ford Hall, Smith College's new building for science and engineering, will boast 20,000 square feet of planted roof. The installation, commonly referred to as a "green" roof, is an environmentally sustainable feature of the structure that is expected to significantly reduce the stormwater runoff from Ford Hall and the amount of heat the building emits.

Most of the planted roof—located 65 feet above the sidewalk—will support various species of sedum, leaf succulents that have water–storing leaves.

For more information, visit View a photo gallery of the green roof installation.

New Undergraduate Concentration

Smith recently introduced the Museums Concentration, a distinctive offering at the undergraduate level and one that will provide students with an intellectual framework for understanding the field of museums. The museum course of study draws on the Smith College Museum of Art's collection of more than 23,000 original works of art, the college's rich liberal arts curriculum, and the depth and breadth of academic resources within the Five College consortium. Annually, 15 undergraduates will be accepted to the program, with the first participating students admitted for the 2009–10 academic year. Each will be required to take five courses in prescribed areas, pursue two practical experiences and complete a research project during the senior year. This course of study is one of two new concentrations offered by the college; the other is the Archives Concentration (see below). Visit for more information.

Reading Other People's Mail

Photo courtesy of Smith College Archives.

When the April 20 issue of the New Yorker featured a story about two Smith alumnae from the class of 1909—Dorothy Woodruff and Rosamond Underwood—who left privileged lives in the East to become schoolteachers in Colorado in 1916, the staff of Smith's Sophia Smith Collection took notice. Among the materials in the SSC are the Dorothy Woodruff Hillman Papers, 1916–96, in which photographs and correspondence offer a glimpse into the year the two women spent teaching children of homesteaders.

The collection is among the many primary sources that may be of interest to students in the Archives Concentration, a distinctive offering at the undergraduate level and one that will provide students with an understanding of the theory and practice of archival and public history methods through the use of primary sources.

The plan of study draws on the resources of the Sophia Smith Collection, one of the oldest women's history archives in the nation, as well as the College Archives and the Mortimer Rare Book Room.

Like a similar concentration in museum studies, the Archives Concentration is one way Smith is helping students make the most of the college's open curriculum. Students will pursue the concentration in tandem with the academic requirements for their majors.

Visit for more information.

Photo courtesy of the Hallmark Channel.

Cybill Shepherd Goes to Smith in Hallmark TV Movie

In an upcoming Hallmark Channel original movie, Mrs. Washington Goes to Smith, Cybill Shepherd (Moonlighting, The Last Picture Show) stars as a woman in her 50s who returns to Smith College to finish her bachelor's degree. Smith alumna Susan Rice '63 wrote the script for the film, which is scheduled to premier Saturday, August 1. Shepherd's role as an Ada Comstock Scholar studying at Smith is one that she calls "just a huge boost to me as an artist and a person."

Reading Assignment

New York Times best–seller The Green Collar Economy by Van Jones has been selected as the summer reading for 2009. Jones illustrates how the United States can invent and invest its way out of the pollution–based grey economy and into the healthy new green economy. Built by a broad coalition deeply rooted in the lives and struggles of ordinary people, this path has the practical benefit of both cutting energy prices and generating enough work to pull the U.S. economy out of its present downward spiral. Entering students will gather during orientation to discuss the book in small groups led by a faculty or staff member.

David Cohen

Mathematician Honored

David Cohen, professor of mathematics and statistics and a member of the Smith faculty for more than four decades, was named 2009 Honored Professor during the commencement ceremony on May 17. Since 1987, Smith has presented the Honored Professor Award every year to a faculty member who has given long and distinguished service to the college. Cohen is an expert in empirical logic and quantum theory, as well as the mathematical education of non–mathematicians. He has written four influential books including Conversational Calculus and Calculus: The Language of Change, which he co–authored with his longtime Smith colleague Professor James Henle.

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