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The Gifts of Smith College, May 11, 2020

To the Class of 2020,

In any normal year, today would mark the beginning of Senior Week at Smith, a chance to be in community with each other and celebrate the gift of lifelong friendships. Alas, this is not an ordinary year; however, we do have a few surprises that we hope will delight you.

In March, I asked our alums what advice and encouragement they could offer the class of 2020. They responded, as Smithies always do, with enthusiasm, empathy and love—an incredible amount of love. Notes flooded in from around the world, from recent grads to members of the class of 1945. I invite you to read those notes here.

Second, as you may know, Michelle Stahl AC ’95 launched a grassroots effort to celebrate the class of 2020 through the first-ever Global Illumination Night. This week, alums, staff, faculty, students, parents and friends across the world will add their lights to this celebration. We have collected some of those lights here to share with you. Keep an eye on Smith’s Facebook page on the evening of May 16, too, to see some of the lights shining in your honor. As you celebrate Commencement, may you be surrounded by their warmth.

As you approach Commencement, I hope you think of it not as a moment of departure, but a moment of arrival. You are about to enter a community of 54,000 alums who are waiting to welcome you with open arms.

You should also have received—will receive shortly—two gifts from me in the mail to remind you of your lifelong connection to Smith. I will have more to say to you on Commencement Day.

I am excited to celebrate with you this Sunday, May 17th. Be well.

Warm regards to all,