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Transitions in College Relations

August 5, 2019

Dear staff and faculty,

As many of you know, Laurie Fenlason has been fulfilling dual roles since my first year at Smith by serving as vice president for public affairs as well as chief strategy officer. I am pleased that she has accepted my invitation to serve full-time as Smith’s vice president for strategic initiatives. In this role she will continue to be responsible for assisting the president with developing, communicating and executing Smith College’s strategy, as she did for Lives of Distinction and Purpose. This role is increasingly common on college campuses. Some of you may recall that David Greene, who supported President Ruth Simmons as chief of staff, later became vice president for strategic initiatives at the University of Chicago. 

I have appointed Sam Masinter, associate vice president for college relations, to serve as interim vice president for public affairs, effective September 1. Since coming to Smith in 2011, Sam has overseen many aspects of the college’s communications and outreach, including community relations, social media, events management and crisis communications. Before coming to Smith, he served as assistant director and acting director of public affairs at Amherst College. 

I am grateful for Laurie’s leadership of College Relations/Public Affairs over her 21 years at Smith and for her team’s outstanding work. I expect to launch a search for our next vice president for public affairs sometime later this academic year. In the meantime, I appreciate Sam’s willingness to serve as interim vice president and am confident that we will continue the visibility, positive positioning and constituent engagement for which Smith is known. 


Kathleen McCartney
President, Smith College