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President’s Cabinet

Jennifer Chrisler ’92

Vice President for Alumnae Relations and Executive Director of the Alumnae Association
Jennifer Chrisler is responsible for engaging alumnae through compelling programs that reinforce Smith’s standing as a thought leader on global women’s issues. She works with administrative and academic offices across the college, as well as with the Alumnae Association of Smith College board of directors, to align alumnae programming with the college’s strategic objectives and to enhance alumnae professional and volunteer networks. Chrisler serves as an ex officio member of the AASC board.

David DeSwert

David DeSwert

Associate Vice President for Finance
David DeSwert oversees the college’s annual operating and capital budgets and is responsible for guiding the college's medium- and long-term financial planning. Specific budget responsibilities include supporting the development of the annual budget and creating and implementing approaches for financial analysis, forecasting, planning, and reporting. In addition, he is responsible for the fiduciary administration and oversight of all government and private grants and contracts, with an emphasis on post-award administration and accounting.

Samantha Earp

Vice President for Information Technology
Samantha Earp is responsible for leading the college’s core information technology, operations and services and oversees the Information Technology Services group. She is responsible for the effectiveness and efficiency of services, the delivery of critical initiatives, and the development and implementation of a vision for IT that aligns resources and priorities with the college’s current and emerging goals. Earp came to Smith in September 2016 from Harvard University, where she was executive director of HarvardX, a university-wide strategic initiative that creates open online learning experiences for residential and online learners. Previously, Earp was the managing director for academic technology services at Harvard and spent 12 years in information and academic technology roles at Duke University. 

Laurie Fenlason

Vice President for Public Affairs and Strategic Initiatives
Laurie Fenlason serves as the chief public affairs officer of the college and counsel to the president on matters of institutional strategy and planning, strategic communication, visibility and constituent relations. She oversees the Office of College Relations/Public Affairs, which is responsible for campus communications, media relations, alumnae and development communications, publications, digital communications and social media, special events, community relations and government relations. Her staff also oversees Smith-branded and external summer programs and the Smith College Conference Center.

Dwight Hamilton

Dwight K. Hamilton, J.D.

Vice President for Inclusion, Diversity and Equity
Dwight K. Hamilton is charged with guiding the development of all diversity and equity-related initiatives and programs at the college as well as contributing to the recruitment and retention of diverse faculty, students and staff. Hamilton oversees the creation and revision of policies regarding gender-based and sexual misconduct, religious accommodation, sexual assault response, transgender inclusiveness, and procedures that result in increased hiring of women and underrepresented racial groups.

Michael W. Howard

Vice President for Finance and Administration
Mike Howard is responsible for all matters related to the financial operation of the college, including financial planning, accounting, and the college’s relationship with Investure, the consortial investment office. In addition, he has responsibility for human resources, facilities management, dining services, environmental sustainability and campus police. Howard came to Smith in 2014 from MIT where he served as vice president for finance.

Donna Lisker

Dean of the College and Vice President for Campus Life
Donna Lisker was appointed dean of the college and vice president for campus life in July 2014. Her areas of responsibility include the class deans office; the Ada Comstock Scholars Program; the dean of students office, which includes student affairs, student engagement and residential life; international study; athletics; disability services; health and counseling services; religious and spiritual life; the Lazarus Center for Career Development; the Wurtele Center for Work and Life; the Lewis Global Studies Center; and the Center for Community Collaboration. Prior to coming to Smith, she had a 15-year career at Duke University.

Elena Palladino

Secretary of the Board of Trustees and Secretary of the College
Elena Palladino serves as the Secretary of the Board of Trustees and Secretary of the College. She supports the work of the board and serves as custodian of official college records. Elena is a graduate of Simmons College and holds an Ed.M. in higher education from Harvard University. 

Bill Peterson

Associate Provost and Dean for Academic Development
Bill Peterson manages the academic budget of the college overseen by the provost. He chairs the Committee on Faculty Compensation and Development and the Committee on Study Abroad. He has responsibility for faculty development, support in research and teaching, and serves as the director of sponsored research. Among his responsibilities are the Botanic Garden, the Clark Science Center, the Campus School, and non-tenure track faculty recruitment and hiring.

Beth Balmuth Raffeld

Vice President for Development
Beth Balmuth Raffeld came to Smith in 2013 having previously served MIT as the executive director of the Office of Philanthropic Partnerships. Beth manages all Smith development programs—major and principal gifts, The Smith Fund, international development, corporate and foundation relations, planned giving and Smith’s Executive Education program. Additionally, Raffeld oversees the Women for the World Campaign. She serves as an adviser to the president and the Board of Trustees on issues related to development. Beth began her development career in the early 1980s serving Smith College as a major gift officer during President Mary Maples Dunn’s tenure.

Danielle Ramdath

Associate Dean of the Faculty
Danielle Ramdath is the associate dean of the faculty and director of graduate programs. She works with the Smith faculty to shape the undergraduate and graduate curriculum and to advance their professional development through all stages of their careers. She began her teaching career as an assistant professor of mathematics at Bryn Mawr College, and from 1999 to 2007 served as a program officer in higher education at The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, where she worked in the Liberal Arts College program area and directed the Historically Black Colleges and Appalachian Colleges program areas.

Katherine Rowe

Provost and Dean of the Faculty
Katherine Rowe serves as Smith's chief academic officer and works closely with the president. She is responsible for the curriculum and for support for faculty teaching and research; she chairs the Committee on Academic Priorities and oversees the long-term composition of the faculty. A leader in digital innovations for teaching and research in the humanities, she pursued a professional interest in cinema and media studies through graduate coursework at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. She is co-founder of Luminary Digital Media, a social reading platform that is bringing literary works to mobile devices, including iPad apps of the Folger Library Shakespeare editions

Audrey Smith

Vice President for Enrollment
Audrey Smith is responsible for all aspects of undergraduate student recruitment, selection, enrollment, financial aid and undergraduate student records for the college. She oversees the admission, registrar and Student Financial Services offices, and provides institutional leadership in developing and implementing student recruitment and financial aid strategies. Her responsibilities include articulating annual and long-term admission goals, developing strategies to meet financial aid and revenue goals, ensuring compliance in the areas of student records, billing and financial aid for the college and School for Social Work, and supporting the college's priorities of excellence and diversity in its student body.