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Read Smith’s COVID-19 guidelines for the spring 2022 semester.

Presidential Colloquium Series

The Presidential Colloquium series regularly features influential thought leaders in a variety of fields—from poets and writers to economists and policy experts—to share their expertise, offer insights and inspire discourse on key social, political and global topics that call for our attention. In 2021–22, colloquium events will be offered in concert with Smith’s Year on Democracies.

Previous 2021–22 Events


Jennifer Rubin

Our Constitutional Inflection Point: Responses to Our Crisis of Democracy

Tuesday, April 12, 2022
5 p.m. Eastern, Sweeney Concert Hall, Sage Hall

Jennifer Rubin is an opinion writer for The Washington Post. She covers politics and policy, foreign and domestic, and provides insight into the conservative movement, the Republican and Democratic parties, and threats to Western democracies. She is the author of Resistance: How Women Saved Democracy From Donald Trump, which Kirkus described as “an excellent contribution to the literature of contemporary electoral politics.” Rubin is also an MSNBC contributor and frequent guest on syndicated radio programs. She came to The Post after three years with Commentary magazine. Prior to her career in journalism, Rubin practiced labor law for two decades, an experience that informs her work.


Annette Gordon-Reed

The Struggle For Democracy in America: From the Founding Era to Our Own

Thursday, March 31, 2022
5 p.m. Eastern, Sweeney Concert Hall, Sage Hall

Annette Gordon-Reed is a professor of history in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University, the Carl M. Loeb University Professor at Harvard Law School, and the award-winning author of six books. The first African-American recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for history, for The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family, she is also the author of On Juneteenth, which sets out to capture the importance of the holiday to American history. Gordon-Reed’s honors include the National Humanities Medal, a Guggenheim Fellowship and a MacArthur Fellowship. She was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and is a member of the Academy’s Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences. In 2019, she was elected a member of the American Philosophical Society.



Masha Gessen

Hope and Hopelessness

Tuesday, February 15, 2022
5 p.m. Eastern, virtual event

A trenchant observer of Russia and its history, Masha Gessen is the author of 12 books, including the National Book Award-winning The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia and The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin. Gessen’s latest book, Surviving Autocracy, has been described as a bracing overview of the calamitous trajectory of American democracy under the Trump administration. A staff writer at The New Yorker, Gessen has covered political subjects including Russia, autocracy and L.G.B.T. rights, among others. They have taught at Amherst and Oberlin colleges and currently serve on the faculty at Bard College. A recipient of many awards, including Guggenheim and Carnegie fellowships, Gessen has lived in New York since 2013.



Maria Hinojosa

Monday, December 6, 2021
5 p.m. Eastern, Sweeney Concert Hall, Sage Hall

As the first Latina reporter in many newsrooms, Maria Hinojosa dreamed of creating independent journalism that explored the diverse American experience. To that end, she created the Futuro Media Group, a nonprofit organization that creates content about the new American mainstream to empower people to navigate an increasingly diverse world. Hinojosa is the anchor and executive producer of the Peabody Award-winning Latino USA, distributed by PRX, and co-host of In The Thick. She is also a contributor to CBS Sunday Morning and a frequent guest on MSNBC. Hinojosa’s career includes reporting for PBS, CBS and CNN, and anchoring the Emmy Award-winning Maria Hinojosa: One-on-One. She is the author of two books and has won many awards, including the Ruben Salazar Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.



Carol Jenkins

Tuesday, September 21, 2021
5:30 p.m. Eastern, Sweeney Concert Hall, Sage Hall

Carol Jenkins is co-president and CEO of The ERA Coalition and the Fund for Women’s Equality, sister organizations dedicated to the passage and enactment of the Equal Rights Amendment. She is also a writer, media analyst, commentator and speaker on media issues, as well as an Emmy Award–winning journalist and documentary producer. Founding president of the Women’s Media Center, she served on the board of The African Medical Research Foundation, the largest health organization on the African continent. Her commentary has appeared in print and digital platforms including Jenkins is also the co-author, with her daughter, Elizabeth Hines, of Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire, which was named Best Nonfiction Book by the American Library Association’s Black Caucus. This colloquium is presented in conjunction with Smith College’s observance of Constitution Day.


U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi

Nancy Pelosi

Wednesday, September 8, 2021
8 p.m. Eastern, John M. Greene Hall


Nancy Pelosi is the 52nd speaker of the House of Representatives, having made history in 2007 when she was elected the first woman to serve in that role. Now in her third term as speaker, Pelosi made history again in January 2019 when she regained her position second-in-line to the presidency, the first person to do so in more than 60 years. For 33 years, Pelosi has represented San Francisco in Congress. As speaker, Pelosi has led the Congress in passing the Affordable Care Act and the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and in repealing the discriminatory “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, among other key accomplishments.