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Smith College
Motto Ἐν τῇ ἀρετῇ τὴν γνῶσιν
Motto in English In Virtue [One Gains] Knowledge
Established Chartered in 1871; opened its doors in 1875
Type Private women's college
Endowment $1.1 billion (2009)[1]
President Carol T. Christ
Faculty 285[2]
Undergraduates 2,600[2]
Location Northampton, Massachusetts, USA
Colors white, blue, gold
              
Mascot Pioneer
Website smith.edu

Smith College is a private, independent women's liberal arts college located in Northampton, Massachusetts. It is the largest member of the Seven Sisters. Smith is also a member of the Five Colleges consortium,[3] which allows its students to attend classes at four other Pioneer Valley institutions: Mount Holyoke College, Amherst College, Hampshire College, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst.[4]

Contents

History

The college was chartered in 1871 by a bequest of Sophia Smith and opened its doors in 1875 with 14 students and six faculty.[5] When she inherited her family fortune at age 65, Smith decided that leaving her inheritance to found a women's college was the best way for her to fulfill the moral obligation she expressed in her will: "I hereby make the following provisions for the establishment and maintenance of an Institution for the higher education of young women, with the design to furnish for my own sex means and facilities for education equal to those which are afforded now in our colleges to young men."[6] By 1915–16 the student enrollment was 1,724 and the faculty numbered 163.

Today, with some 2,600 undergraduates on campus, and 250 students studying elsewhere,[4] Smith is the largest privately endowed college for women in the country.[7] The campus was planned and planted in the 1890s as a botanical garden and arboretum, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. The campus landscape now encompasses 147 acres (0.6 km2) and includes more than 1,200 varieties of trees and shrubs.

Smith has been led by 10 presidents and two acting presidents. For the 1975 centennial, the college inaugurated its first woman president, Jill Ker Conway, who came to Smith from Australia by way of Harvard and the University of Toronto. Since President Conway's term, all Smith presidents have been women, with the exception of John M. Connolly's one-year term as acting president in the interim after President Simmons left to lead Brown University.

Academics and educational programs

Smith College has 285 professors in 41 academic departments and programs, for a faculty:student ratio of 1:9. [5] It is the first and only women's college in the United States to grant its own undergraduate degrees in engineering. The Picker Engineering Program offers a single ABET accredited Bachelor of Science in engineering science, combining the fundamentals of multiple engineering disciplines. Picker students who maintain an overall GPA of 3.5 and a GPA of 3.5 within the major are automatically admitted to graduate study in engineering at Dartmouth College, Johns Hopkins University, Tufts University, and the University of Michigan.

Smith recently joined the SAT optional movement for undergraduate admission. [6]

Smith runs its own junior year abroad (JYA) programs in four European cities: Paris, Hamburg, Florence and Geneva. These programs are notable for requiring all studies to be conducted in the language of the host country (with both Paris and Geneva programs conducted in French). In some cases students live in homestays with local families. Nearly half of Smith's juniors study overseas, either through Smith JYA programs or at more than 40 other locations around the world.

Junior math majors from other undergraduate institutions are invited to study at Smith College for one year through the Center for Women in Mathematics. Established in the fall of 2007 by Professors Ruth Haas and Jim Henle, the program aims to allow young women to improve their mathematical abilities through classwork, research and involvement in a department centered on women. The Center also offers a post-baccalaureate year of math study to women who either did not major in mathematics as undergraduates or whose mathematics major was not strong.[8]

The Louise W. and Edmund J. Kahn Liberal Arts Institute supports collaborative research without regard to the traditional boundaries of academic departments and programs. Each year the Institute supports long-term and short-term projects proposed, planned and organized by members of the Smith College faculty. By becoming Kahn Fellows, students get involved in interdisciplinary research projects and work alongside faculty and visiting scholars for a year. [7]

Students can develop leadership skills through Smith's two-year Phoebe Reese Lewis Leadership Program. Participants train in public speaking, analytical thinking, teamwork strategies and the philosophical aspects of leadership. [8]

Through Smith's internship program, "Praxis: The Liberal Arts at Work," every undergraduate is guaranteed access to at least one-college funded internship during her years at the college. This program enables students to access interesting self-generated internship positions in social welfare and human services, the arts, media, health, education, and other fields. [9]

The Ada Comstock Scholars Program is a bachelor's degree program for non-traditional students.

Graduate degrees and study options

Smith offers men and women graduate work leading to the degrees of master of arts in teaching (elementary, middle or high school), master of fine arts, master of education of the deaf, master of science in biological sciences, master of science in exercise and sport studies and master and Ph.D. in social work. In special one-year programs, international students may qualify for a certificate of graduate studies or a diploma in American studies. Each year approximately 100 men and women pursue advanced graduate work at Smith. [10]

Also offered in a non-degree studies program is the Diploma in American Studies. [11] This is a highly competitive one-year program open only to international students of advanced undergraduate or graduate standing. It is designed primarily, although not exclusively, for those who are teaching or who plan to teach some aspect of American culture and institutions.

The Smith College master of social work (M.S.W.) degree is nationally recognized for its specialization in clinical social work and puts a heavy emphasis on direct field work practice. The program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. The school also offers a Ph.D. program designed to prepare MSWs for leadership positions in clinical research education and practice.

The college has a limited number of other programs leading to Ph.D.s, and is part of a cooperative doctoral program co-administered by Amherst College, Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

Houses

Smith College has many different houses serving as dormitories. First there are three main areas divded into Green Street and Center Campus, The Quadrangle, and Upper and Lower Elm Street. On Green Street there is Chapin, Hubbard, Lawrence, Morris, Tyler, and Washburn house. In Center Campus there is Cutter, Friedman Apartments, Haven/Wesley, Hpokins, Park Complex, Sessions Complex, Tenney, and Ziskind. In the Quadrangle there is an East and West side. In the East Quad there are Cushing, Emerson, Jordan, King, and Scales house, whereas the West Quad are Comstock, Gardiner, Morrow, Wilder, and Wilson. In Upper Elm Street there is Capen, Dawes, Lamont, Northrop, Parsons Complex, and Talbot. On Lower Elm Street there is Albright, Baldwin, Chase, Conway, Duckett, Gillet, 150 Elm, 12 Bedford Terrace, and 26 Bedford Terrace.

Traditions

Colors and mascot

Smith College's spirit mark, introduced in December 2008.

Smith's athletic teams have been known as the Pioneers since 1986. The name expresses the spirit of Smith's students and the college's leadership role in women's athletics (the first women's basketball game was played at Smith in 1893).

A new spirit mark was unveiled to the Smith community in December 2008. The new visual identity for Smith's sports teams marks the culmination of a yearlong project to promote visibility and enthusiasm for Smith's intercollegiate and club teams—and to generate school spirit broadly. It will be used for athletics uniforms, casual apparel and promotional items for clubs and organizations. As Smith was the first women’s college to join the NCAA, the new mark is seen as linking the college’s pioneering alumnae athletes to their equally determined and competitive counterparts today. [12]

Smith College does not have college colors in the usual sense. Its official color is white, trimmed with gold, but the official college logo is currently blue and yellow (a previous logo was burgundy and white). NCAA athletic teams have competed in blue and white (or blue and yellow, in the case of the soccer, crew, swimming, and squash teams) uniforms since the 1970s, and selected Pioneers as the official name and mascot in 1986. Popular club sports are free to choose their own colors and mascot; both Rugby and Fencing have chosen red and black.

Smith has a rotating system of class colors dating back to the 1880s, when intramural athletics and other campus competitions were usually held by class. Today, class colors are yellow, red, blue and green, with incoming first-year classes assigned the color of the previous year's graduating class; their color then "follows" them through to graduation. Alumnae classes, particularly at reunion, continue to identify with and use their class color thereafter.

Residential culture and student life

Smith recommends all first-year undergraduate students, as well as most other undergraduates, to live in on-campus houses. This policy is intended to add to the camaraderie and social cohesion of its students. Unlike most institutions of its type, Smith College does not have dorms, but rather 36 separate houses, ranging in style from 18th-century to contemporary architecture. (A popular rumor perpetuated by students is that Sophia Smith stated in her will that each house be constructed in the style of the period; this is, however, only an urban legend.) The houses, where students live in groups of 13 to 80, are so attractive that visitors originally preferring a coed college often change their minds. "Smith kind of won me over," says Katie Green, who thought she would go to a school with men. "When else in your life can you get the experience of being surrounded by smart, motivated young women who really care about what they're doing?" [13]

Two recent additions to the campus, both of which enhance its sense of community, are the architecturally dramatic Campus Center [14] and the state-of-the-art Olin Fitness Center [15].

In 2009, construction was also completed on Ford Hall, a new science and engineering facility. According to the Smith College website, Ford Hall is a "...facility that will intentionally blur the boundaries between traditional disciplines, creating an optimum environment for students and faculty to address key scientific and technological developments of our time." The building was officially dedicated on October 16, 2009.[9]

The campus also boasts a botanic garden that includes a Japanese tea house, a variety of specialty gardens including a rock garden, and historic glass greenhouses dating back to 1895. It is rumored that the architecture of Chapin House was the inspiration for the one in Tara in Gone with the Wind. (Margaret Mitchell went to Smith for one year.)

A novelty of Smith's homelike atmosphere is the continuing popularity of Sophia Smith's recipe [16] for molasses cookies. These are often served at the traditional Friday afternoon tea held in each house, where students, faculty and staff members and alumnae socialize.[2]

Smith offers "panel discussions and seminars for lesbian, bisexual, and transgender students on subjects such as coming out as transgender at work." [10] In 2003, Smith students voted to remove pronouns from the language of the Student Government Association constitution, in order to make that document inclusive of transgendered students who don't identify with the female pronouns "she" and "her."[11]

Academic year events

"Convocation" signals the start of the fall semester. For new students it is the first chance to experience Smith College's tradition and spirit. Likewise, for some returning students, the annual event is like a big, welcome-home party as well as an occasion for celebration and an opportunity for creative attire. House communities develop imaginative themes for group fashion, and Smith seniors put special touches on favorite hats to create their own unique "senior hats," to be worn for the first time at Convocation.

Smith students celebrate Mountain Day, October 2008.

Mountain Day is a tradition borrowed from Mount Holyoke College and is observed early in the fall semester. The President of the College selects a crisp, sunny, beautiful autumn day when the leaves are in full color, and announces the cancellation of classes by having bells rung on campus at 7:15 AM on the chosen day. The eager anticipation of Mountain Day leads to intense speculation and an abnormally high interest in meteorology by students in the weeks leading up to the surprise announcement. Traditional observance of Mountain Day by students might involve New England road trips or outdoor pursuits, and college dining services provides box lunches to be taken off-campus. (Other students take the opportunity to catch up on their sleep!)

Otelia Cromwell Day, named for Smith's first African-American student, began in 1989 to provide students with an in-depth program specifically addressing issues of racism and diversity. Afternoon classes are cancelled, and students are invited to participate in lectures, workshops, symposia and cultural events focused on a different theme each year.

In February 1876, the College began an annual observance of George Washington's birthday. In 1894, a rally became part of the day's events, and the focus of the celebration became primarily patriotic rather than exclusively social—though always with a women's college twist. Students that year staged a mock debate on the subject, "Does Higher Education Unfit a Man for Domestic Life?" In 1906 the celebration was first referred to as Rally Day (although the name was not used officially by the College until 1992). In 1944, seniors made Rally Day the first public wearing of their graduation caps and gowns; since then, mortarboards have been replaced by wacky, often homemade hats. Today, the Rally Day Convocation is centered around a historical theme, and features a distinguished keynote speaker and the awarding of Smith College Medals to accomplished alumnae.

Rally Day is observed in the Spring; an all-college gathering honors distinguished alumnae, and a musical is held depicting life at Smith.

Reunions and Commencement events

The Alumnae Association of Smith College hosts official class reunions every five years, plus a special two-year reunion. All alumnae from all classes are welcome to return in any year; "off-year" alumnae attend campus-wide events as the "Class of 1776."

Traditional reunion and Commencement events are linked, and celebrate the close ties between Smith's alumnae and its graduating seniors and their families. At the conclusion of final exams, most underclasswomen leave the campus, while seniors remain in their houses for a week to celebrate and prepare for Commencement. Alumnae arrive for reunions later in the week, and many alumnae arrange for official accommodations in the campus houses, right alongside senior residents.

Ivy Day

Ivy Day, the day before Commencement, is the high point of reunion and a significant event for seniors as well. Junior ushers lead a parade through campus, carrying vines of ivy to be planted by the departing seniors as a symbol of their lifelong connection to the college. Alumnae (and, often, their children), dressed in white and wearing sashes in their class color, line up in reverse order by class along both sides of the route. Seniors line up nearest the end of the parade route, wearing traditional white outfits and each carrying a single red rose. All cheer each alumnae class as it marches past, then fall in to join the end of the parade. Many alumnae classes carry signs with humorous poems or slogans, or hold balloons or wear hats in their class color. Ivy Day festivities conclude in the Quad, where the seniors plant their ivy and speakers address alumnae on the progress of fundraising and the state of the college.

Illumination Night, beginning at dusk on the Saturday evening before Commencement, is a celebration of the campus and a send-off of sorts for graduating seniors. Throughout central campus, electric street lights are replaced for one night by multicolored Japanese-style paper lanterns, lit with real candles. These hang on both sides of every walking path and cast a soft glow over the buildings and lawns. Student a cappella singing groups and improv comedy troupes roam the campus, stopping occasionally to entertain the crowds. A jazz band, hired by the college, turns the science buildings' courtyard into a dance floor. Seniors, alumnae, faculty and their families spend the evening on walking tours of the illuminated campus and Botanic Gardens. The major official event of the night is the Senior Step Sing: seniors gather on the steps of Neilson Library, where they are serenaded by members of the Sophomore Push committee, then are physically pushed off the stairs and "into the real world."

Until the early 1990s, all alumnae reunions were held during Commencement weekend. However, as the number of returning alumnae grew beyond the capacity of the campus, reunions were split into Reunion I/Commencement Weekend and Reunion II, held the following weekend. "Significant" reunions (50-, 25- and 10- year, but also 2-year) and the earliest reunion classes (65-year and prior) are assigned to Reunion I; other reunions (5-, 15-, 20-, 30-year, and so on) are assigned to Reunion II.

Campus folklore

Smith has numerous folk tales and ghost stories that emerge from the histories of some of its historic buildings. One such tale holds that Sessions House is inhabited by the ghost of Lucy Hunt, who died of a broken heart after being separated from her lover, General Burgoyne. Reports of a ghost in Sessions House predate its history as a campus house. Built in 1751 by the Hunt family, the house has a secret staircase where, according to legend, the Hunt's eldest daughter Lucy would rendezvous with her lover, General Burgoyne. The two were ultimately driven apart, and in the 1880s it was believed that the ghost of a heartbroken Burgoyne haunted the staircase. Since Sessions House became part of college housing in the 1900s, the specter has taken on a decidedly feminine identity, and some former residents of Sessions claim to have seen Lucy's ghost in the stairwell.

Environmental Sustainability at Smith

Smith has taken numerous steps toward environmental sustainability, including a 30% reduction in energy use. Also, through a contract with Zipcar, the college has reduced the need for individually owned cars on campus. Complimenting this effort, the college has also promoted sustainability through academics and through the arts.[12] In Spring 2009, the campus actively participated in Earth Hour, an effort to shut off lights around the world.[12]

In keeping with its sustainability efforts, all Smith dining locations have discontinued the use of "to-go" supplies which included paper cups and plates, as well as plastic utensils. They now encourage students to bring their own, reusable containers and utensils if they wish to bring food back to their rooms. To further decresase use of disposable cups, Smith College provides all students with a reusable drink container at the beginning of each academic year. In past years, these containers have been variations on travel mugs, Sigg bottles, and nalgenes. Nalgenes, in particular, have achieved an almost trend-like status at Smith since the popularization of sustainability and reusability.

Those dining halls that still offer "To-Go" options no longer provide paper bags, and instead use wax paper bags, biodegradable plastic, and recyclable utensils made of vegetable cellulose.

Notable alumnae

A number of Smith alumnae have gone on to become notable in their respective fields and endeavors. Some examples include:

The Alumnae Association of Smith College considers all former students to be members, whether they graduated or not, and does not generally differentiate between graduates and non-graduates when identifying Smith alumnae.

Smith College in popular culture

References to Smith abound in literature. In Sylvia Plath's novel The Bell Jar, the protagonist Esther Greenwood attends Smith College. In Running With Scissors, a fictionalized memoir by Augusten Burroughs, the author details how he and his foster-sister, Natalie, took walks together on the campus. The fictional Catamount College in the novella Beasts by Joyce Carol Oates is based on Smith College. The character Chenault in The Rum Diary by Hunter S. Thompson went to Smith College. Commencement, a novel by J. Courtney Sullivan was published in 2009 and recounts the friendship of four Smith College classmates.

Smith has its place in films as well. The 1954 film White Christmas referenced Smith. The 1966 movie Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and the 1993 movie Malice were both filmed on the Smith campus. In the 1971 film Carnal Knowledge, Candice Bergen's character, Susan, is a Smith student, and portions of the film take place on the Smith campus. The character Joanna Kramer, played by Meryl Streep in the 1979 film Kramer vs. Kramer is a Smith College graduate. In the movie The Nanny Diaries Mrs. X is a Smith alumna. Spike Lee also has a reference to a Smithie as a lesbian paying an ex-biotech exec to inseminate her and many other homosexual women in the movie She Hate Me.

The title character in Butch Jamie is a Smith alum. Jamie is a butch lesbian actress who gets cast as a man in a film; in order to keep up her gender-bending charade, he/she manages to convince his love interest that the college allowed him to attend as a man due to the fact that the name Jamie can be either male of female. Three Smith alums worked on the film, including writer/director/actor Michelle Ehlen.

Well-known television shows integrate references to Smith into character plot lines. Charlotte York in the show Sex and the City is a Smith College graduate. In an episode of The Simpsons—"I'm Spelling as Fast as I Can"—Lisa Simpson is tempted by the Siren-like representatives of the Seven Sisters (and George Plimpton), who offer a scholarship to the Sister school of her choice (and a George Plimpton hot plate) if she will throw a Spelling Bee. Dr. Cristina Yang, a surgical resident played by Sandra Oh on Grey's Anatomy, graduated from Smith College with degrees in French Literature and Chemistry. Ainsley Hayes (played by Emily Procter), the conservative lawyer hired to work in the White House Counsel's Office on The West Wing, graduated from Smith. In an episode of Mad About You Paul's sister and her girlfriend are referred to as "The Fighting Lesbians." Paul (Paul Reiser) replies, "No, that would be the name of the Smith College Ice Hockey Team." Emily Gilmore in the show Gilmore Girls went to Smith and majored in history.

In the 2009 Heroes episode "A Clear and Present Danger", the Smith College viewbook is displayed prominently at the top of a stack of college materials Claire Bennet is apparently reviewing. Angela Petrelli asks Claire if she's found a favorite, to which Claire replies, "Hamilton, Smith, Georgetown, they're all the best schools in the country."

The webcomic Questionable Content mentions Smith College (usually referred to as "Smif" in the comic) as the place where one of the main characters, Marten, is employed as library staff, and one of the minor characters, Ellen, studies marine biology. Jeph Jacques, the author, went to Hampshire College, one of the neighboring schools. Some characters from the webcomic Minimalist Stick Figure Theatre, set primarily in Northampton, are students at Smith College.

In a recent Hallmark Channel original movie titled "Mrs. Washington Goes to Smith," Cybill Shepherd stars in a story about a woman in her 40s who returns to Smith College to finish her bachelor's degree. Smith alumna Susan Rice '63 wrote the script for the film, which aired August 1, 2009.

Notes

  1. ^ http://www.nacubo.org/Documents/research/2009_NCSE_Public_Tables_Endowment_Market_Values.pdf
  2. ^ a b c Just the Facts, Smith College website.
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ [2] Five College Consortium website, "Accessed July 9, 2009"
  5. ^ "Sophia Smith: Smith College's Founder", Smith College website.
  6. ^ [3] Smith College Web site
  7. ^ Peterson's Four-year Colleges 2008. Peterson. 2007. pp. 2226. ISBN 9780768924008. 
  8. ^ "Smith College Women in Mathematics Program" National Association of Mathematicians, Spring 2007, Accessed 3 September 2008
  9. ^ Ford Hall: http://www.smith.edu/fordhall/
  10. ^ April 8, 2007 article, Boston Globe, http://www.boston.com/news/globe/magazine/articles/2007/04/08/when_she_graduates_as_he/
  11. ^ Smith College: Office of Institutional Diversity
  12. ^ a b http://www.smith.edu/green/news.php

References

External links

Coordinates: 42°19′05″N 72°38′17″W / 42.318119°N 72.638139°W / 42.318119; -72.638139


1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

SMITH COLLEGE, an American institution for the higher education of women, at Northampton, Massachusetts. It was founded by the will of Sophia Smith (1796-1870) of Hatfield, who gave money to Smith Academy in Northampton and to Andover Theological Seminary, and who left about $365,000 "for the establishment and maintenance of an institution for the higher education of young women, with the design to furnish them means and facilities for education equal to those which are afforded in our colleges for young men"; she chose Northampton as the site of the college and selected the trustees. The college was chartered in 1871 and was opened in 1875.

On the college campus in the central part of Northampton are: College Hall, with administrative offices, an assembly hall, and lecture rooms; Seelye Hall, with department offices and recitation rooms; a library, completed in 1910 and containing 30,000 volumes in that year; an auditorium, with a large organ and a seating capacity of 2500; the Lilly Hall of Science; Chemistry Hall; an astronomical observatory; Music Hall; the Hillyer Art Gallery, with an endowment of $50,000 for the increase of its collections; the Students' Building for the social life of the students; the Lyman Plant House and the Botanic Garden; the Alumnae Gymnasium; the Allen Recreation Field; sixteen (in 1910) dwelling-houses for the students on the plan of private homes, not dormitories; an infirmary; and Sunnyside, a home for convalescents. Entrance requirements differ little from those of the College Entrance Examination Board. All undergraduate courses are largely elective and lead to the degree of Bachelor of Arts. Graduate courses lead to the degrees of Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy, the latter degree being rarely conferred and "only in recognition of high scholarly attainment and of ability to carry on original research." In1909-1910there were 104 teachers and 1635 students (of whom 8 were graduate students), and the college had an endowment of about $1,300,000. The annual tuition charge was $loo until 1909, when it became $150. There are six fellowships, of $500 each,which are granted for graduate research; and there are many undergraduate scholarships, and loans are made to needy students by the Smith Students' Aid Society {1897). The College contributes to the American Classical Schools at Athens and Rome, to the Zoological Station at Naples, and to the Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole, Massachusetts. The first president of the college from 1873 to September 1910 was Lawrenus Clark Seelye (b. 1837), a graduate of Union College and of Andover Theological Seminary.


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