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Smith College

Smith College is a private, independent women's liberal arts college located in Northampton, Massachusetts, United States. It is the largest member of the Seven Sisters.


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College 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. When she inherited a fortune from her father 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." 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, Smith is the largest privately endowed college for women in the country. 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. The United States Naval Reserve Midshipmen's School at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, was training grounds for junior officers of the Women's Reserve of the U.S. Naval Reserve (WAVES) and was nicknamed "USS Northampton." On August 28, 1942, a total of 120 women reported to the school for training. Smith has been led by 11 presidents and two acting presidents. (Elizabeth Cutter Morrow was the first acting president of Smith College and the first female head of the college, but she did not use the title of president.) 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. Laurenus Clark Seelye 1875�1910 Marion LeRoy Burton 1910�1917 William Allan Neilson 1917�1939 Elizabeth Cutter Morrow 1939�1940 (acting president) Herbert Davis 1940�1949 Benjamin Fletcher Wright 1949�1959 Thomas Corwin Mendenhall 1959�1975 Jill Ker Conway 1975�1985 Mary Maples Dunn 1985�1995 Ruth Simmons 1995�2001 John M. Connolly 2001�2002 (acting president) Carol T. Christ 2002�2013 Kathleen McCartney 2013�present On December 10, 2012, the Board of Trustees announced that Kathleen McCartney had been selected as the 11th president of Smith College effective July 1, 2013, with an official inauguration to follow in October 2013

College Specialty


The mission of the Smith College School for Social Work is to advance the aims of the profession through education for excellence in clinical social work practice and through the development and dissemination of knowledge. Clinical social work practice is concerned with the interdependence between individuals and their environments and the use of theoretically grounded, relationship based, culturally informed interventions to promote healing, growth and empowerment. Clinical social work recognizes and responds to the complexities of the human condition: its strengths, possibilities, systems of meaning, resilience, vulnerabilities and tragedies. As a collaborative process, clinical social work expresses the core values of the profession, including recognition of client self-determination, growth and change in the client system and pursuit of social justice. It rests upon a liberal arts base and integrates evolving theories about individuals, families, groups, communities, and the larger social systems in which they are embedded. In its educational practices, the school promotes critical thinking and self-reflection to help students expand their knowledge in the substantive areas of human behavior and the social environment, social work practice, research, social policy, field, values and ethics, diversity, populations-at-risk and social and economic justice. The school educates students in the application of professional values and ethics, collaboration with other disciplines and the evaluation and dissemination of evolving theories and practice models. The school shares with the social work profession its historic commitment to serve oppressed, disadvantaged and at risk members of our society. It is committed to implementing a curriculum that addresses the concerns, issues and interests of these populations. The school joins with the profession to struggle against inequality and oppression based on such variables as: race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation, religion, age and disability. The school and Smith College are committed to promote social justice, service to society and appreciation of individual and cultural diversity in a multicultural community. The school recognizes the pernicious consequences of racism and works to identify and diminish the overt and covert aspects of racism. Smith College School for Social Work is committed to work toward becoming an anti-racism institution. The school implements its educational mission through its masters and doctoral degree programs, as well as through its Program of Continuing Education. Through its scholarship, publications and research and program initiatives, the school contributes to the development and dissemination of knowledge relevant to social work. In its affiliation with a liberal arts college, the school places a priority on the process of teaching and learning and community service. The school maintains relationships of mutual respect and influence with its affiliated agencies, major professional organizations and other representatives of the social work practice community to aid in curriculum renewal and to contribute to the development of the profession as a whole.



Among the most notable of Smith College's alumni are chef, author and television personality Julia Child (class of 1934); The Feminine Mystique author and feminist Betty Friedan (class of 1942); former First Lady of the United States Nancy Reagan (class of 1943); feminist, activist, and journalist Gloria Steinem (class of 1956); renowned poet Sylvia Plath (class of 1955); business leaders Shelly Lazarus, the former CEO and Chairman of Ogilvy & Mather, and Phebe Novakovic, the current Chairman and CEO of General Dynamics; renowned Economist Laura D'Andrea Tyson (class of 1969), the former Director of the National Economic Council and the first female Dean of London Business School; activist Yolanda King (class of 1976); United States Senator Tammy Baldwin (class of 1984); and Orange Is the New Black author Piper Kerman (class of 1992). Notable attendees who did not graduate from Smith include Gone With the Wind author Margaret Mitchell and former First Lady Barbara Bush. 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.