Smith College
MottoἘν τῇ ἀρετῇ τὴν γνῶσιν (Greek)
Motto in English
To Virtue, Knowledge (2 Peter 1:5)[1]
TypePrivate liberal arts women's college
Established1871; 153 years ago (1871) (opened 1875; 149 years ago (1875))
Academic affiliation
Endowment$2.4 billion (2022)[2]
PresidentSarah Willie-LeBreton
Academic staff
Students2,873 (2022-23)[4]
Undergraduates2,523 (2022-23)[4]
Postgraduates401 (fall 2018)[5]

42°19′3″N 72°38′15″W / 42.31750°N 72.63750°W / 42.31750; -72.63750
Colors   Blue with gold trim[6]
Sporting affiliations

Smith College is a private liberal arts women's college in Northampton, Massachusetts. It was chartered in 1871 by Sophia Smith and opened in 1875. It is a member of the historic Seven Sisters colleges, a group of women's colleges in the Northeastern United States. Smith is also a member of the Five College Consortium[8] with four other institutions in the Pioneer Valley: Mount Holyoke College, Amherst College, Hampshire College, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst;[9] students of each college are allowed to attend classes at any other member institution. On campus are Smith's Museum of Art and Botanic Garden, the latter designed by Frederick Law Olmsted.

Smith has 50 academic departments and programs and is structured around an open curriculum, with requirements being a writing intensive class during the first year and the fulfillment of a major. Examinations vary from self-scheduled exams, scheduled exams, and take-home exams. Undergraduate admissions are exclusively restricted to women, although Smith announced a trans-inclusive admissions policy in 2015.[10][11] Smith offers several graduate degrees, all of which accept applicants regardless of gender, and co-administers programs alongside other Five College Consortium members. The college was the first historically women's college to offer an undergraduate engineering degree.[12] Admissions are considered selective. It was the first women's college to join the NCAA, and its sports teams are known as the Pioneers.

Smith alumnae include notable authors, journalists, activists, feminists, politicians, investors, philanthropists, actresses, filmmakers, academics, businesswomen, CEOs, two First Ladies of the United States, and recipients of the Pulitzer Prize, Rhodes Scholarship, Academy Award, Emmy Award, MacArthur Grant, Peabody Award, and Tony Award.


Early history

A view of Smith's campus c. 1900

The college was chartered in 1871 by a bequest of Sophia Smith and opened its doors in 1875 with 14 students and 6 faculty.[13] When Smith inherited a fortune from her father aged 65, she 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:[14]

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.

The campus was planned and planted in the 1890s as a botanical garden and arboretum, designed by noted American landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted.[15] By 1915, the student enrollment was 1,724, and the faculty numbered 163.

LTJG Harriet Ida Pickens and ENS Frances Wills, first African-American WAVES to be commissioned. They were members of the final graduating class at USNR Midshipmen's School (WR) Northampton, Massachusetts on December 21, 1944.

During the 1920s, two students at the college went missing: junior Alice Corbett disappeared on November 13, 1925,[16] and was never found; freshman Frances Smith disappeared on January 13, 1928—her body was recovered from the Connecticut River months later.[17]

By 2010, the school had 2,600 undergraduates on campus and 250 students studying elsewhere.[18] The campus landscape now encompasses 147 acres (59 ha) and includes more than 1,200 varieties of trees and shrubs. Smith is the largest privately endowed college for women in the United States.[19]

United States Naval Reserve Midshipmen's School

The United States Naval Reserve Midshipmen's School at Smith College 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.[20]

21st century

In April 2015, the faculty adopted an open-access policy to make its scholarship publicly accessible online.[21]

On September 15, 2022, the Board of Trustees announced Sarah Willie-LeBreton had been selected as the 12th president of Smith College, effective July 1, 2023.[22]


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.


Smith's campus as it appears today

Smith College has 285 professors in 50 academic departments and programs, for a faculty-student ratio of 1:9.[18] It was the first 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.

In 2008, Smith joined the SAT optional movement for undergraduate admission.[23][24]

Smith runs its own junior year abroad (JYA) programs in four European cities: Paris, Hamburg, Florence, and Geneva.[25] 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 did not major in mathematics as undergraduates or whose mathematics major was not strong.[26]

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.[27]

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.[28]

Through Smith's internship program, "Praxis: The Liberal Arts at Work," all undergraduates are guaranteed access to one college-funded internship during their 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.[29]

Its most popular undergraduate majors, based on 2021 graduates, were:[30]

Ada Comstock Scholars Program

Ada Comstock, class of 1897

The Ada Comstock Scholars Program is an undergraduate degree program that serves Smith students of nontraditional college age. The program accommodates approximately 100 women ranging in age from mid-twenties to over sixty. Ada Comstock Scholars attend the same classes as traditional undergraduates, either full or part-time, and participate fully in a variety of extracurricular activities. They may live on or off campus. Financial aid is available to each Ada Comstock Scholar with demonstrated need.[31]

Beginning in 1968, with the approval of the Committee on Educational Policy, Smith College initiated a trial program loosely titled The Continuing Education Degree for several women of non-traditional age who were looking to complete their unfinished degrees. Their successes inspired President Thomas C. Mendenhall and Dean Alice Dickinson to officially expand the program. In January 1975, the Ada Comstock Scholars Program has formally established under President Jill Ker Conway and in the fall of that year, forty-five women were enrolled. The students range in age, background, and geographical location. The growth of the program peaked at just over 400 students in 1988.

The program is named for Ada Louise Comstock Notestein (1876–1973), an 1897 Smith graduate, professor of English and dean of Smith from 1912 to 1923, and president of Radcliffe College from 1923 to 1943. Ada Comstock Notestein devoted much of her life to the academic excellence of women. Considering education and personal growth to be a lifelong process, she stayed actively involved in women's higher education until her death at the age of 97.[32]

Graduate degrees and study options

The Smith College School for Social Work is housed in Lily Hall.

Smith's graduate program is open to applicants of any gender. Degrees offered are 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.[33]

Also offered as a non-degree studies program is the Diploma in American Studies.[34] 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 School for Social Work 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 offers a Master of Social Work (M.S.W.) degree as well as 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 Amherst.

Admissions and rankings


The 2022 annual ranking of U.S. News & World Report categorizes Smith as 'most selective'.[35]

For the Class of 2027 (enrolling fall 2023), Smith received 9,868 applications (reflecting a 36 percent increase over last year), accepted 1,875 (19.0%), and enrolled 630. Smith’s applicant pool has increased 36 percent over the past year, which the college attributes to the decision to move to ‘loan-free’ financial aid.[36] The middle 50% range of SAT scores was 670–750 for critical reading and 670–770 for math, while the middle 50% range for the ACT composite score was 31–34 for enrolled first-year students. The average SAT for Smith College is 1430 even though Smith is also a test-optional college.[36]


Academic rankings
Liberal arts
U.S. News & World Report[37]16
Washington Monthly[38]23
WSJ/College Pulse[40]41

U.S. News & World Report's 2021 rankings placed Smith tied for the 15th overall best liberal arts college in the U.S., and rated it eighth for "Best Value", tied for 17th in "Best Undergraduate Engineering Program" at schools where doctorate not offered, tied for 19th in "Best Undergraduate Teaching", and tied for 94th in "Top Performers on Social Mobility".[41] In 2019, Forbes rated Smith 81st overall in its America's Top Colleges ranking of 650 military academies, national universities, and liberal arts colleges.[42] Kiplinger's Personal Finance places Smith 16th in its 2019 ranking of 149 best value liberal arts colleges in the United States.[43] For 2020, Washington Monthly ranked Smith 23rd among 218 liberal arts colleges in the U.S. based on its contribution to the public good, as measured by social mobility, research, and promoting public service.[44] Smith College is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.[45]


Residential culture and student life

Smith requires most undergraduate students to live in on-campus houses unless they reside locally with their families. 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 41 separate houses, ranging in architectural style from 18th-century to contemporary. It is rumored the architecture of Chapin House was the inspiration for the Tara Plantation House in Gone with the Wind. (Author Margaret Mitchell went to Smith for one year and lived in Chapin.)[46] A novelty of Smith's homelike atmosphere is the continuing popularity of Sophia Smith's recipe[47] 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.[3]

Two cultural spaces on campus are used by students of color to build their community: the Mwangi Cultural Center and Unity House. Mwangi originally opened as the Afro-American Cultural Center in 1968 but was later renamed in honor of the first female physician in Kenya, and Smith alum, Dr. Ng’endo Mwangi ('61). After loaning Mwangi to the other cultural organizations on campus for four years, the Black Students’ Alliance decided to reclaim Mwangi in April 1990.[citation needed] Leaders, members, and supporters of cultural organizations got together to form a group called UNITY, in October of the same year, to demand a space for other cultural organizations. Today, Unity House serves as a home to the 11 cultural organizations on campus.[citation needed]

The Julia McWilliams Child '34 Campus Center at Smith College.

Two recent additions to the campus, both of which enhance its sense of community, are the architecturally dramatic Julia McWilliams Child '34 Campus Center[48][49] and the state-of-the-art Olin Fitness Center.[50]

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.[51]

The campus also boasts a botanic garden that includes a variety of specialty gardens including a rock garden and historic glass greenhouses dating back to 1895. The botanic garden formerly featured a Japanese tea hut, which was removed in October 2015 following concerns over "issues of safety and vandalism."[52]

Smith offers "panel discussions and seminars for lesbian, bisexual, and transgender students on subjects such as coming out as transgender at work."[53] 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 transgender students who don't identify with the pronouns "she" and "her."[54]

Until 2013, transgender women were not allowed to attend Smith unless all their legal documentation consistently stated they were female. This policy came to public attention in March 2013 when Smith rejected the application of a trans woman named Calliope Wong. In the rejection letter, Smith's Dean of Admission Debra Shaver wrote "Your FAFSA indicates your gender as male. Therefore, Smith cannot process your application." This policy was changed in 2013 to only require all nonlegal application materials to indicate a female identity, including references. Not satisfied with the change, students as well as various alumni formed the group Q&A ("Queers and Allies") to advocate for more trans-inclusive policies.[55] Q&A subsequently protested the policy on Facebook and other social media websites, as well as staging protests on campus that garnered significant media attention.[56] In 2014, Smith formed an Admissions Policy Study Group, co-chaired by Daphne Lamothe and Audrey Smith, who at the time were an associate professor of Afro-American studies and vice president for enrollment, respectively.[57] The group recommended that to be considered for admission to Smith, applicants live and/or identify as a woman, check the "female" box when applying and that the President establish a working group to support all trans and non-binary students at Smith.[58] These recommendations went to the faculty[58] and the Board of Trustees[59] and in 2015, Smith announced a new policy that only required female identification on the common application.[60] Under the policy, transgender men and non-binary or genderqueer applicants are not eligible for admission.[61] This new policy also affirms that any student who, once admitted, transitions to another identity other than "female" and, who completes the college's graduation requirements, will be awarded a Smith degree.[62] The Resource Center for Sexuality and Gender; The Office for Equity and Inclusion and its Trans/Non-binary Working Group; Transcending Gender, a student group focused on support and education; and the Transgender Support Group run by Counseling Services work to support trans and non-binary students at Smith across the gender identity spectrum.

In the fall of 2018, students at Smith protested after a Smith employee called the police on a black student working at Smith over the summer when the employee saw her in a common space. Organized by the Black Students’ Alliance and the Smith African & Caribbean Students Association, students protested and walked out of the annual Smith convocation.[63] While the incident received national attention and news coverage, Smith conducted an independent investigation and investigators found that there was no bias in the incident.[64] In response to the incident, Smith hosted an Inclusion and Diversity Conference on April 10, 2019, featuring workshops and presenters run by various members of the Smith community.[65] However, during that time another controversy arose: the hiring of Mount Holyoke College and Smith's joint police chief, Daniel Hect. Students from both campuses brought to their administrators' attention the fact that Hect had "liked" right-wing tweets on Twitter, such as Donald Trump tweeting "Build that Wall!" and a tweet from the National Rifle Association of America, before deleting his account once the conflict with students began. At the conference, students protested a presentation from the campus police, including Hect, about policing in a diverse community. Protests continued the next day when hundreds of students participated in a sit-in organized by the group Students for Social Justice and Institutional Change outside of John M. Greene Hall. The coalition presented a broad list of demands to the administration, proposing reform to many sectors of campus life, including curriculum, health and counseling services, accessibility, policing, admissions policies, and affinity housing.[66] In response to the demands, Smith launched a working group charged with identifying key themes in response to the day of inclusion and ensuing protests[67] and revamped the Office of Equity and Inclusion, adding programmatic changes, new or modified positions, training and development opportunities and new events to promote inclusion and equity.[68]

In October 2020, Smith alumna Jodi Shaw, then Student Support Coordinator in the Department of Residence Life, began posting videos commenting on mandated diversity training for staff at Smith College on her YouTube channel. Shaw characterized the training as contributing to a climate of "harassment, discrimination, and hostility" at the college, especially for staff.[69] On February 19, 2021, columnist Bari Weiss published Shaw's resignation letter on Weiss's Substack blog. In it, Shaw described the implementation of the training as "psychologically abusive" and the culture as "deeply hostile and fearful." She alleged that the college had "offered a settlement in exchange for my silence, but I turned it down".[69][70] On February 22, Smith College published a letter from President Kathleen McCartney alleging that an unnamed former employee had accused the college of "creating a racially hostile environment for white people, a baseless claim that the college flatly denies," and that "it was the employee herself who demanded payment of an exceptionally large sum in exchange for dropping a threatened legal claim and agreeing to standard confidentiality provisions." McCartney affirmed that the college's "commitment to, and strategies for, advancing equity and inclusion are grounded in evidence."[71]

On February 24, 2021, the New York Times reported on worsening tensions between students, staff, and administrators around issues of racial justice and the college's diversity training. President McCartney stated that "Good training is never about making people too uncomfortable or to feel ashamed or anything. I think our staff is content and are embracing it." A former janitor told the paper that he had gone through numerous training sessions in race and intersectionality at Smith and that they had left staff workers cynical.[72]


See also: Smith College Housing

Smith College has many different houses serving as dormitories. Each house is self-governing. While many students remain in the same house for the entirety of their four years at Smith, they are not obligated to do so and may move to different houses on campus as space allows. While houses previously collected dues, in the 2019–2020 school year they were eradicated to avoid placing financial pressure on low-income students or students who were otherwise unable to pay without sacrificing funding for the House.

Houses are found in four main regions of campus: Upper and Lower Elm Street, Green Street, Center Campus, and the Quadrangle. Each part can, in turn, be divided into smaller areas to more precisely provide the location of the house in question. In 2019, the college shifted from officially recognizing the four main areas of campus to instead categorizing houses in four neighborhoods: Ivy, Paradise, Mountain, and Garden. This change was largely internal and categorizes houses by size rather than location.

Green Street houses
Center Campus houses
Upper Elm Street houses
The Botanic Gardens at Smith College
Lower Elm Street houses
East Quadrangle houses
West Quadrangle houses

Campus folklore

Smith has numerous folk tales and ghost stories emerging from the histories of some of its historic buildings. It was named the most haunted college in America by College Consensus.[89] One such tale holds 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 the ghost of a heartbroken Burgoyne haunted the staircase. Since Sessions House became part of college housing in the 20th century, 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.[90]

Clubs, sports, and organizations

In addition to its 11 varsity sports,[91] there are currently more than 120 clubs and organizations.[92]


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 leading role in women's athletics (the first women's basketball game was played at Smith in 1893).[93][94]

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. The spirit mark is 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. Smith athletes won some of the early national intercollegiate women's tennis championships in singles (Louise Raymond, 1938 and 1939) and doubles (1933, 1935, 1938 and 1948).[95]

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 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 reunions, continue to identify with and use their class color thereafter.

Cultural organizations

There are 11 chartered cultural organizations that fall under the UNITY title: the Asian Students’ Association (ASA), Black Students’ Alliance (BSA), Chinese Interregional Student Cultural Org (CISCO), South Asian Student Association of Smith (EKTA), Indigenous Smith Students and Allies (ISSA), International Students Organization (ISO), Korean Students Association (KSA), the Latin American Students Organization (LASO), Multiethnic Interracial Smith College (MISC), Smithies of Caribbean Ancestry (SOCA), and the Vietnamese Students Association (VSA). Smith College Website Multicultural Affairs The Black Students’ Alliance is the oldest of all Unity organizations. In the Fall of 2012, as an effort to document the history of students of color on the Smith campus, the Weaving Voices Archives Project was created.

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.

Mountain Day 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 about 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. Many of the Houses go apple-picking together. In recent years, on Mountain Day, it is customary to wear flannel.

Cromwell Day, named for Smith's first African-American student, Otelia Cromwell, and her niece Adelaide Cromwell, began in 1989 to provide students with an in-depth program specifically addressing issues of racism and diversity. Afternoon classes are canceled, and students are invited to participate in lectures, workshops, symposia, and cultural events focused on a different theme each year. In 2020, Otelia Cromwell Day was renamed "Cromwell Day" to simultaneously honor Otelia Cromwell's niece Adelaide Cromwell, Smith College's first African-American faculty member.

Rally Day 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 on a historical theme and features a distinguished keynote speaker and the awarding of Smith College Medals to accomplished alumnae.

Reunions and commencement events

The Alumnae Association of Smith College hosts official class reunions every five years. 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 underclassmen 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 the 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 building's 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 and 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.

There have been several controversies surrounding commencement over the years. See Smith College commencement controversies to learn more.

Environmental sustainability

Paradise Pond with portion of athletic fields visible (center left)

Smith has a contract with Zipcar in efforts to reduce individually owned-cars on campus. The college has also promoted sustainability through academics and through the arts.[96]

All Smith dining locations have discontinued the use of disposable "to-go" supplies, instead encouraging students to bring their own reusable containers and utensils if they wish to bring food back to their rooms. 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 Nalgene. 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. In the fall of 2017, Smith dining halls began to offer plastic Tupperware containers students may borrow and return to the dining halls to be washed.

For Smith's efforts regarding sustainability, the institution earned a grade of A− on the "College Sustainability Report Card 2010" administered by the Sustainable Endowments Institute. Smith was lauded for many of the indicator categories, including student involvement, green building, and transportation, but was marked down for endowment transparency.[97]

Notable alumnae

Main article: List of Smith College people

Among the more notable of Smith College's alumnae in chronological order are:

Notable staff

Main article: List of Smith College people

In 1960, three Smith professors, one who had been there for 38 years, were fired or "allowed to retire" for being gay. This was chronicled in a book (The Scarlet Professor—Newton Arvin: A Literary Life Shattered by Scandal (Doubleday, 2001), by Barry Werth), and the PBS Independent Lens film, The Great Pink Scare.[105] It was also depicted in an opera based on Werth's book in 2017 at Amherst College.[106] In 2002, Smith, the nation's largest liberal arts college for women, acknowledged a wrong from four decades earlier by creating a lecture series and a small scholarship—the $100,000 Dorius/Spofford Fund for the Study of Civil Liberties and Freedom of Expression, and the Newton Arvin Prize in American Studies, a $500 annual stipend. But despite faculty appeals, there was no apology.[107]

See also


  1. ^ "Commencement & Ivy Day Traditions". Smith College. Archived from the original on 13 July 2023. Retrieved 13 July 2023.
  2. ^ As of March 7, 2022. U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2021 Endowment Market Value and Change in Endowment Market Value from FY20 to FY21 (Report). National Association of College and University Business Officers and TIAA. 2022. Archived from the original on April 10, 2023. Retrieved June 5, 2023.
  3. ^ a b Just the Facts Archived 2005-05-12 at the Wayback Machine, Smith College website.
  4. ^ a b "Common Data Set 2022-2023" (PDF). Smith College. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2023-05-21. Retrieved 2023-08-14.
  5. ^ "Common Data Set 2018–2019" (PDF). Smith College. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2019-01-05.
  6. ^ "Smith College:Visual Identity Program". Smith College. 2012. Archived from the original on 20 May 2012. Retrieved 20 August 2012.
  7. ^ "NAICU – Membership". Archived from the original on November 9, 2015.
  8. ^ "Five Colleges, Incorporated: Home". Archived from the original on 2016-09-13. Retrieved 2016-09-16.
  9. ^ [1] Archived 2019-12-16 at the Wayback Machine Five College Consortium website. "Accessed July 9, 2009"
  10. ^ "Smith College Now Admits Trans Students". 2015-05-02. Archived from the original on 2021-11-20. Retrieved 2022-01-13.
  11. ^ "Smith College: Admission Policy Study Group". Archived from the original on 2015-05-05. Retrieved 2022-01-13.
  12. ^ "Blazing A Trail For Women, Smith College Prepares To Graduate The Country's First All-Female Class Of Engineers". April 20, 2004. Archived from the original on July 11, 2020. Retrieved June 8, 2020.
  13. ^ "Sophia Smith" Archived 2016-12-11 at the Wayback Machine, Smith College website.
  14. ^ Archived 2009-02-26 at the Wayback Machine, Smith College Web site
  15. ^ "100 Years And Counting, If These Trees Could Talk". Smith College website (News & Events). 2002-03-01. Archived from the original on 2014-12-26. Retrieved 2014-12-25.
  16. ^ "Smith College Student Vanishes Strangely". Press & Sun-Bulletin. Binghamton, New York. United Press. 14 November 1925. p. 1. Archived from the original on 19 November 2023. Retrieved 20 November 2023 – via
  17. ^ Foote, Alfred F. (November 1929). "The Strange Case of Frances St. John Smith". True Detective. pp. 18–24, 114–117. Retrieved December 24, 2013 – via Wayback Machine.
  18. ^ a b "Smith College: Just the Facts". Archived from the original on 2010-05-27. Retrieved 2010-09-12.
  19. ^ Peterson's Four-year Colleges 2008. Peterson. 2007. p. 2226. ISBN 978-0-7689-2400-8.
  20. ^ "Naval History – August 28". Lake Minnetonka Liberty, 2011. Archived from the original on April 2, 2012. Retrieved September 19, 2011.
  21. ^ "Smith College". ROARMAP: Registry of Open Access Repository Mandates and Policies. UK: University of Southampton. 23 July 2015. Archived from the original on 2017-07-13. Retrieved 2018-07-24.
  22. ^ "Smith College Selects Sarah Willie-LeBreton, Swarthmore Provost and Scholar of Social Inequality and African-American Culture, as Its 12th President" (Press release). Northampton, Mass.: Smith College. September 15, 2022. Archived from the original on July 16, 2023. Retrieved July 16, 2023.
  23. ^ Contrada, Fred (May 26, 2008). "Smith drops SATs". Archived from the original on June 25, 2016. Retrieved October 10, 2016.
  24. ^ "More colleges move toward optional SATs". CNN. Archived from the original on 2021-03-06. Retrieved 2021-02-24.
  25. ^ Smith College: Study Abroad Archived 2012-07-19 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on 2013-09-07.
  26. ^ "Smith College Women in Mathematics Program" National Association of Mathematicians, Spring 2007 Archived 2008-09-10 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 3 September 2008.
  27. ^ "Smith College: Kahn Liberal Arts Institute". Archived from the original on 2010-07-01. Retrieved 2010-09-12.
  28. ^ "Smith College: Academic Programs". Archived from the original on 2010-05-27. Retrieved 2010-09-12.
  29. ^ "Smith College: Academic Programs". Archived from the original on 2010-10-10. Retrieved 2010-09-12.
  30. ^ "Smith College". U.S. Dept of Education. Archived from the original on February 16, 2023. Retrieved February 16, 2023.
  31. ^ "Smith College: For Nontraditional Students". Smith College. Archived from the original on 2015-04-19. Retrieved 2015-04-23.
  32. ^ "Smith College: Class Deans". Smith College. Archived from the original on 2015-04-19. Retrieved 2015-04-23.
  33. ^ "Smith College: Graduate Study". Archived from the original on 2010-06-15. Retrieved 2010-09-12.
  34. ^ "Smith College: Graduate Study". Archived from the original on 2010-06-15. Retrieved 2010-09-12.
  35. ^ "U.S. News Best Colleges Rankings: Smith College". U.S. News & World Report. 2019. Archived from the original on July 2, 2019. Retrieved July 2, 2019.
  36. ^ a b "A Record-Breaking Admission Season, Part C". Smith College. Archived from the original on 2023-08-14. Retrieved 2023-08-14.
  37. ^ "Best Colleges 2024: National Liberal Arts Colleges". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved September 20, 2023.
  38. ^ "2023 Liberal Arts Rankings". Washington Monthly. Retrieved September 25, 2023.
  39. ^ "Forbes America's Top Colleges List 2023". Forbes. Retrieved September 22, 2023.
  40. ^ "2024 Best Colleges in the U.S." The Wall Street Journal/College Pulse. Retrieved January 27, 2024.
  41. ^ "Smith College Rankings". U.S. News & World Report. 2021. Archived from the original on November 24, 2019. Retrieved October 15, 2020.
  42. ^ "America's Top Colleges". Forbes. August 15, 2019. Archived from the original on August 4, 2012. Retrieved September 12, 2019.
  43. ^ "Kiplinger's Best College Values". Kiplinger's Personal Finance. July 2019. Archived from the original on 2019-08-23. Retrieved 2019-08-10.
  44. ^ "2020 Liberal Arts Colleges Ranking". Washington Monthly. Archived from the original on November 22, 2021. Retrieved October 15, 2020.
  45. ^ Massachusetts Institutions – NECHE, New England Commission of Higher Education, archived from the original on October 9, 2021, retrieved May 26, 2021
  46. ^ "Smith College: Residence Life". Archived from the original on 2018-01-04. Retrieved 2017-07-26.
  47. ^ "Sophia Through the Years". Archived from the original on 2018-03-09. Retrieved 2017-09-20.
  48. ^ "Smith College: Office of Student Engagement". Archived from the original on 2010-07-24. Retrieved 2010-09-12.
  49. ^ "Smith College Campus Center to be Named in Honor of Julia McWilliams Child '34". Smith College. November 17, 2022. Archived from the original on November 17, 2022. Retrieved November 17, 2022.
  50. ^ "Smith College: News". Archived from the original on 2011-07-20. Retrieved 2010-09-12.
  51. ^ Ford Hall: Archived 2010-03-05 at the Wayback Machine
  52. ^ "Smith College: Grecourt Gate Announcement". Archived from the original on 2016-10-12. Retrieved 2016-10-12.
  53. ^ "When She Graduates as He". Boston Globe. April 8, 2007. Archived from the original on 2009-01-27.
  54. ^ "Smith College: Office of Institutional Diversity". Archived from the original on 2011-01-28. Retrieved 2010-09-12.
  55. ^ Drew, Sophie. "Challenging Gender at a Women's Institution: Transgender Admission and Inclusion at Smith College". Women Leading Change. 3: 25–36.
  56. ^ Yandoli, Krystie Lee (30 April 2014). "Students At Smith Protest The College's Refusal To Admit Transgender Women". BuzzFeed. Archived from the original on 2020-05-16. Retrieved 2020-04-14.
  57. ^ "President – Letters – Admission Policy Study Group". Smith College. Archived from the original on 2020-07-09. Retrieved 2020-04-14.
  58. ^ a b "Smith College: Admission Policy Study Group". Archived from the original on 2020-07-13. Retrieved 2020-04-14.
  59. ^ Griggs, Brandon (4 May 2015). "Smith College to admit transgender women". CNN. Archived from the original on 2015-05-05. Retrieved 2020-04-14.
  60. ^ Jaschik, Scott. "Tipping Point for Trans Admissions?". Inside Higher Ed. Archived from the original on 6 July 2015. Retrieved 5 July 2015.
  61. ^ "Smith College: Admission Policy Study Group FAQ". Archived from the original on 2020-07-13. Retrieved 2020-04-14.
  62. ^ "Offices – Diversity – Gender Identity & Expression". Smith College. Archived from the original on 2019-11-29. Retrieved 2019-11-19.
  63. ^ Fern, Deirdre (September 5, 2018). "Protests mark start of the new semester at Smith College". The Boston Globe. Archived from the original on September 6, 2018. Retrieved 2020-04-14.
  64. ^ "Investigation finds no policy violations when police were called on a black student". 2018-10-29. Archived from the original on 2018-10-30. Retrieved 2020-04-14.
  65. ^ "President – Letters – Inclusion and Diversity Conference on April 10". Smith College. 2018-12-14. Archived from the original on 2019-01-05. Retrieved 2020-04-14.
  66. ^ Christensen, Dusty (2019-04-11). "As students protest, Smith and Mount Holyoke colleges put the new joint chief of police on leave". Daily Hampshire Gazette. Archived from the original on 2019-04-12. Retrieved 2020-04-14.
  67. ^ "Offices – Diversity – Inclusion Conference – Working Group Report". Smith College. Archived from the original on 2019-09-29. Retrieved 2020-04-14.
  68. ^ "About Smith – Toward Equity and Inclusion". Smith College. Archived from the original on 2020-03-29. Retrieved 2020-04-14.
  69. ^ a b Greta Jochem (2021-02-23). "Smith College denies ex-employee's claim that it's hostile to white people". Daily Hampshire Gazette. Archived from the original on 2021-02-23. Retrieved 2021-02-23.
  70. ^ Arianna MacNeill (2021-02-23). "Smith College president denies 'racially hostile' environment toward white people following employee's allegations". Archived from the original on 2021-02-24. Retrieved 2021-02-24.
  71. ^ Smith College president denies former employee's claim of hostile environment for white workers Archived 2021-02-23 at the Wayback Machine. Boston Globe, Feb. 22, 2021
  72. ^ Michael Powell (2021-02-24). "Inside a Battle Over Race, Class and Power at Smith College". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 2021-02-25. Retrieved 2021-02-25.
  73. ^ a b Karbo, Karen (2013). Julia Child Rules: Lessons On Savoring Life. Guilford, Connecticut: Globe Pequot Press: Morris Publishing Group. pp. 47–48. ISBN 9780762783090.
  74. ^ "Kimball Union Archives ~ Kate Eugenia Morris (Cone), Class of 1875". 8 February 2012. Archived from the original on 2014-02-22. Retrieved 2014-02-07.
  75. ^ "Smith College Residence Life – Morris House". Archived from the original on 2014-02-22. Retrieved 2014-02-07.
  76. ^ "Tyler House". Smith College. Archived from the original on 2021-09-02. Retrieved 2021-09-02.
  77. ^ Laura Crimaldi (March 29, 2018). "'I am still old and still in love' — Barbara Bush updates Smith classmates". The Boston Globe. Archived from the original on 2021-09-02. Retrieved 2021-09-02.
  78. ^ "Smith College: Residence Life". Archived from the original on 2018-01-04. Retrieved 2018-03-05.
  79. ^ "Student Life – Res Life – Smith Houses – Center Campus – Park Annex". Smith College. Archived from the original on 2019-12-15. Retrieved 2019-11-19.
  80. ^ "Sessions Complex". Smith College. Archived from the original on 2020-10-13. Retrieved 2020-10-15.
  81. ^ Lincoln, Eleanor T. (1983). This, The House We Live In. Northampton, MA: Smith College. pp. 112–115. ISBN 0-87391-030-3.
  82. ^ "Smith College: Residence Life". Smith College. Archived from the original on 2014-02-22. Retrieved 2014-02-07.
  83. ^ Lamont House « Smithipedia Archived 2013-12-04 at the Wayback Machine. (2010-06-22). Retrieved on 2014-04-12.
  84. ^ "Student Life – Res Life – Smith Houses – Green Street – Parsons Annex". Smith College. Archived from the original on 2019-12-15. Retrieved 2019-11-19.
  85. ^ "Smith College: Residence Life". Smith College. Archived from the original on 2014-02-22. Retrieved 2014-02-07.
  86. ^ Johnson, Colton. "Mary Augusta Jordan". Vassar Encyclopedia. Archived from the original on 22 February 2014. Retrieved 7 February 2014.
  87. ^ "Smith College: Residence Life". Smith College. Archived from the original on 2015-09-24. Retrieved 2015-08-15.
  88. ^ "Smith College: Residence Life". Smith College. Archived from the original on 2015-09-24. Retrieved 2015-08-15.
  89. ^ "TOP 10 MOST HAUNTED COLLEGES IN AMERICA". 8 December 2019. Archived from the original on 20 October 2020. Retrieved 15 October 2020.
  90. ^ "Ghost Stories « Smithipedia". Archived from the original on 2023-04-24. Retrieved 2023-07-16.
  91. ^ "Smith Pioneers". Smith Pioneers. Archived from the original on 2020-10-15. Retrieved 2020-10-15.
  92. ^ "Clubs & Organizations". Smith College. Archived from the original on 2020-10-16. Retrieved 2020-10-15.
  93. ^ "A Smith First: The New Game of Basketball". Smith College. Archived from the original on 2019-08-07. Retrieved 2019-11-19.
  94. ^ "Flashback Photo: Smith College Basketball Team, 1904". New England Historical Society. 2014-03-24. Archived from the original on 2019-07-08. Retrieved 2019-11-19.
  95. ^ "Pre-NCAA women's collegiate tennis". Tennis Forum. Archived from the original on 26 May 2021. Retrieved 25 May 2021 – via (Boston Globe, 1929–1953. St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 1954–1963.)
  96. ^ "Smith College: Green Smith". Archived from the original on 2010-09-30. Retrieved 2010-09-12.
  97. ^ "Smith College – Green Report Card 2010". 2008-06-30. Archived from the original on 2010-06-20. Retrieved 2010-09-12.
  98. ^ Christensen, Lawrence O.; Foley, William E.; Kremer, Gary (October 31, 1999). Dictionary of Missouri Biography. University of Missouri Press. ISBN 9780826260161 – via Google Books.
  99. ^ Littledale, Clara Savage. Edited by Barbara Sicherman, 1934– and Carol Hurd Green, 1935–; in Notable American Women: The Modern Period (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1980), 458–459
  100. ^ "1961 Hamper "Anne Rush Mollegen" (Smith College, Poughkeepsie, New York)". Generations Network. 1961. p. 158. Retrieved 3 November 2022.
  101. ^ "Jennifer Chrisler to Lead Alumnae Relations at Smith College". Grécourt Gate. Smith College. January 9, 2013. Archived from the original on 29 September 2022. Retrieved 12 April 2022.
  102. ^ “Professor Herbert Baxter Adams” by B. J. Ramage in The American Historical Magazine Vol. 6, No. 4 (OCTOBER, 1901), pp. 363–366
  103. ^ "Acclaimed Satirist and Best-Selling Novelist to Give Public "Performance" at Smith". Smith College. Archived from the original on 2012-09-04. Retrieved 2013-11-21.
  104. ^ Smith College Bulletin. 1946–1947. p. 96.
  105. ^ "The Great Pink Scare". Independent Television Service (ITVS). Archived from the original on 2017-11-07. Retrieved 2017-09-12.
  106. ^ "Opera Revisits 57-Year-Old 'Smut' Scandal At Smith College | WBUR News". 10 July 2017. Archived from the original on 2022-11-25. Retrieved 2020-11-13.
  107. ^ "Joel Dorius, 87, Victim in Celebrated Anti-Gay Case, Dies". The New York Times. 20 February 2006. Archived from the original on 29 September 2015. Retrieved 23 February 2017.