Articles, Blog

Smith College 2019 Ivy Day Convocation

August 21, 2019

(cheerful marching band music) (marching band percussion solo) (crowd cheering) (cheerful marching band music)
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(cheerful marching band music) (cheerful chatter)
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with percussion solo) (cheerful marching band music) (percussion solo) (cheerful chatter)
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(percussion solo) (percussion solo) (cheerful marching band music) (cheerful marching band music) – Good morning. (audience responding) Welcome to Ivy Day. (crowd cheering) Welcome to staff, faculty, alums, junior ushers and class of 2019. (crowd cheering) New Englanders, it turns out there is such a thing as sun after all. (crowd cheering) Welcome to alums and seniors connected now in the arc of women of
promise who are no doubt bearing out lives of
distinction and purpose and imagination, perseverance,
courage and hope. Welcome to paraders and I’m sorry, but can the class of ’69 please rise and show us your outfits? (crowd cheering) This is how it’s done, my friends. (audience applauding) Ramadan Mubarak for
anyone who is celebrating the Holy Season of Ramadan. (crowd cheering) Today we praise that which was
once a tiny lone shoot of ivy will extend its tendrils
into time for years to come. By now, all of you have learned that if your ivy has died
within the first week of your freshman year, it is not a bad omen for
the rest of your life. (audience laughing) Praise you, alumni, praise
how you see yourselves reflected anew in the
weeping willow, sealy lawn and gray court gates each time you return. Praise and thank you to events management and the Alumni Association, who have pulled off for yet another year what is the most logistically
complicated ritual in all of Smith. (audience laughing)
(applauding) Praise you alum for each time you return and see yourselves reflected anew in the Weeping Willow, sealy
lawn and gray court gates, praise Paradise Pond that
rises up in a rainy spring. Praise all that is underneath the surface. Praise the river, how it sometimes buoy’s our sorrows and our joys
as we walk along its banks. Praise the life and
breath of Smith College, the housekeepers,
(audience cheering) the grounds keepers, the
chefs and the custodians. (audience cheering) Praise how they have kept and
comforted and nourished us, praise all the staff,
the deans, the directors, the librarians, the area coordinators, all the village builders. (audience cheering) Praise the centers, praise the faculty, from labs to literature,
to botanics, to orgo, from swag to sociology. (audience cheering) Praise the disease
curers, the book writers, the artists, the narrative makers, praise Muslims and Jews and all religions. Praise black and brown, gay and straight, praise the differently
abled, praise women, all kinds of women.
(audience cheering) Praise those who have to prove themselves every day in the eyes of society. Praise doors that open to all people. Praise the revolutions that begin here. (audience cheering) Praise Ottilia Cromwell. (audience cheering) Praise not only one way
of defining excellence, but many ways of embracing struggle. Praise each of you here today. Praise you seniors, you
have made a precious and unique contribution to this place. Praise the ivy and may
this moment help us to grow our roots wild and wonderful
through this broken but beautiful world. Let us begin. (audience applauding) – Little wardrobe adjustment here. Good morning. (audience responding) Welcome members of the class of 2019. Welcome faculty, alumni,
parents, friends of graduates. Happy Ivy Day. (audience cheering) My name is Susan Green. I’m here from Denver, Colorado. I was a psychology major at Smith. (audience cheering) And lived right in the middle
of campus in Chapin House. (scattered cheering) Those are my people, right there. (audience laughing) It is my great privilege
to congratulate the seniors on your graduation tomorrow. This is really a big
accomplishment, isn’t it? It’s quite remarkable. Throughout your lives, you
will reap abundant benefits from your time here in
ways that are predictable and in ways that will surprise you. I promise you, the value
of your Smith education is gonna continue to grow and
blossom throughout your life. Ivy Day celebrations,
graduations and reunions are markers that remind all of us of the strength of our common
experience as Smithy’s. Our shared experiences
extend across generations and connect us to this remarkable
place and to one another. Ivy day is a very powerful experience. It’s certainly fun. The excitement and
laughter, the funny signs, the reoccurring waves of
a red, yellow and blue, green class ribbons, the
cheers for each class as they march past the reviewing stand and yet it is so much more. I remember clearly my
own graduation weekend, which was 51 years ago in May of 1968. I watched the 50th reunion
class march past us, the graduating seniors. I thought the class which
was the class of 1918, isn’t that amazing? (laughing) Looked pretty spry, but they were so old. (audience laughing) Now I look at the class
of 1969 right out here in front of me, celebrating
your 50th reunion and I think you look so darn young. (audience applauding)
(cheering) So, to the class of 2019, think about the shared history
you are experiencing today. The class of ’69 cheered
the class of 1919 on Ivy Day at their graduation and with
one degree of separation, through this class, the class of ’69, you are connected to the class of 1919, that marched on Ivy day 100
years ago today, this weekend. (audience applauding) When you return for your reunions, pay attention to the older classes, listen to their stories
of women’s history, of political history, of social history, of economic history. One day in the distant
future, you will be parading for your 50th reunion. I know that’s really hard to believe, but it actually does
happen and you will be welcoming the graduating class of 2069. (scattered applause)
(cheering) (laughing) And connecting to the Smith community for 150 years through the class of 1969, so that goes from 1919, to 2069 and you are part of that wingspan. You too will bear witness to
150 years of women’s history. So let’s take a moment to
consider what happened in 1919. Smith students were celebrating
the end of World War I, the Treaty of Versailles was signed, the League of Nations was created. Isn’t that amazing? And McGonolman, who’s iconic
poem welcomes immigrants on the Statue of Liberty,
was jailed for distributing birth control information. Some things don’t change. (laughing) The 18th amendment prohibiting, establishing prohibition passed as did the 19th amendment,
granting women the right to vote. (audience cheering) On campus, President
Neilsen led a $2,000,000 capital campaign to
build a music building, a gym, an indoor swimming pool, an infirmary, and more dorms
and houses, 2,000,000 bucks. There were debates about
increasing faculty salaries and Smith students were headed to France to work on the post-war recovery. And then think about what
happened 50 years ago, 1969, the Vietnam War was raging, students were protesting in
Washington and on campuses across the country, the Beatles
held their last performance, 350,000 music fans descended
on rain soaked Woodstock, Neil Armstrong and Buzz
Aldrin landed on the moon and Sesame Street debuted and changed children’s television forever. (audience cheering) On campus, on this campus, coeducation and the
future of women’s colleges were the source of very heated debate. There were challenges to
curriculum requirements, pressure to create a black studies major and diversify faculty and student body. (audience cheering) Okay, class of 2019, what
barriers are you gonna break? How will your world be different in 2069? What role are you gonna play? In the coming days, you will
be starting new careers, beginning graduate school,
moving to unfamiliar cities, in short, starting new
chapters in your life. One thing you can be sure about, the alum sitting next
to you, in front of you, behind you, these are the people who are really going to
sustain you over the years. You have a Smith community, likely multiple Smith communities, no matter where your life takes you. – [Man] Yes, yes, yes! (audience applauding) – The Smith community, it’s global and they’re remarkable
woman and you get to decide, you have so many
opportunities ahead of you, to participate in, to lead. The Alumni Association will
forever be your touchpoint to this amazing college. We are here to keep you
connected to the campus and to one another. You will find as the years pass that your appreciation for Smith and what you experienced
here will only deepen. When you are on top of the world, share your talent, your
time, your charitable giving, pass it on for the next
generation of Smithy’s through the Alumni Association. Take another Smithy by the
hand and bring her into our circle of Smith’s global community. You’ll both be glad you did. So stay connected, participate, call on us, we will embrace you, we will support you, we will
welcome you with open arms. I wish you a wonderful
commencement and reunion weekend. To all the classes, thank you so much. It’s now my pleasure to introduce
our remarkable president, Kathleen McCartney. (audience applauding) – Well good morning and welcome. You know, every year I experience anew, how moving and powerful
it is to see our graduates and alumni dressed in white,
marching together as one. What a beautiful Smith tradition. This is my 6th Ivy Day celebration which means I’m welcoming back to campus all the alumni classes I
met during my first year. That feels really special to me. And of course I’m delighted
to be here this morning with the great class of 2019. (audience cheering)
(applauding) Also happy to be with the parents, other family members and friends and with the hundreds
of alumni celebrating milestone reunions like the class of 1969, let’s hear if from you one more time. (audience applauding) The class of 1979, make yourselves heard. (audience applauding) Class of 1989. (audience applauding) Go unicorns. Class of 1999. (audience applauding) and the class of 2009, welcome home. (audience applauding) So this morning, we
gather as a community– (audience cheering) (laughing) That’s great. (laughing) Okay. Well so what’s Ivy Day about really? It’s about celebrating Smith
and celebrating this network. It’s about celebrating
your place in the long arc of our college’s history. It’s about celebrating
the power of the work that each of you will
do throughout your lives and to the graduates,
you have worked hard. Savor this moment. Make a memory that you can
carry forward with you. You’d be surprised how
little you’re gonna remember about this moment, but
look around for a second. Seven seconds and you
get a permanent memory, do you know that? So you’re part of a remarkable community of change makers and barrier breakers. I think you saw that with these signs. Artist and activists,
teachers and scholars and in the years ahead, graduates, you will gain strength from
this community right here. You’ll take pride in your
classmates and fellow alumni as you learn of their successes and you will contribute
to your communities and to the world. You’ll manifest the commitment
that all Smithy’s share, working to make the world
more equitable, more just. You are Smith. And in return, this college, your college, will forever be your intellectual home. So last January, I
attended a Smith College business network meeting in San Francisco. It was a very popular event. There were about 140 alumni there, all of whom were excited
to hear Jen Mayor, Smith class of 1993,
who’s a design director at a firm called IDO. To give us an idea about
the design thinking process, Jen included an exercise
in her presentation. She began by asking us to work in pairs with someone we didn’t know. I turned around and said
to the young alumnus seated behind me, I guess
you’re stuck with me and she was a pretty good sport about it. Then Jen asked us to think about the last big item each of us had bought. Our task was to ask our
partners five questions about why they had made the purchase. When it was my turn to share, I told my partner about a new rug, Her first why question
was straight forward, why did you buy the rug? I told her that my husband Bill and I were furnishing a new home in
Newburyport, Massachusets. Why this particular
rug, she wanted to know. I told her it was love at first sight. It’s a handmade Indian
rug with pale blues, grays and creams. As soon as we saw it, we thought, this will provide the right
mood for the family room, calm, neutral. Her third question was one several friends have also asked us, why
did you buy the house now when you’re living in the
president’s house at Smith? I shared that our two
daughters live in towns near Newburyport and each is expecting a second baby this summer. Future Smithy’s. (audience laughing) They are girls. Bill and I want to be able
to visit our grandchildren and help our daughters without crowding them and their families. Why Newburyport, she wondered. I explained that Newburyport is bounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the east. I envision many walks by
the ocean when I retire. Why is the ocean so special to you, she queried with genuine interest and then a sentence popped out of my mouth that surprised me, I confided, when I leave this world, I know I will miss walks by the beach. A good friend of mine recently took a job after several years of retirement. When I asked him what
motivated his return to work, he said, how many beach
walks can you take? And you know what I told him? An infinite number. (audience laughing) So Jen’s exercise was a great introduction to the creative process
of design thinking. I went from describing a rug purchase to identifying an existential practice that matters deeply to me, all in five seemingly simple questions. After I answered the last question, I began to reflect on why I
do love beach walks so much. After a few steps on the
sand, I feel at peace. I don’t think about
what to make for dinner. I don’t think about how
many emails are in my inbox. Instead, I’m focused on
the rhythm of the waves which breath in and out
in a predictable cadence, the ever shifting sunlight
on the surface of the water and the ripples in the
sand beneath my feet, created by the last receding tide. Any walk can be a meditation. It isn’t that I had never
thought about this before, rather it’s that my understanding
seemed deeper somehow after the design thinking process. Love of nature is a
familiar enough concept. Scientists describe the desire for humans to connect with the
natural world as biophilia. The beauty of mountains, pastures, plains, and the sea, disrupts
the chaos of modern life and provides us with what T.S. Elliot once called a still
point in a turning world. Last year while walking by
the Mill River near campus, I tweeted a photo with a
two-word caption, forest bathing, which is the Japanese concept of immersing oneself in nature. Many of my followers
resonated with the tweet. Even if you’ve never heard
the phrase forest bathing, it sounds great, doesn’t it? There’s an abundance of
research to support the thesis that time spent in the natural
world elevates our mood. Although the mechanism for
this phenomenon is unclear, physicians have speculated about it. Neurologist and author, Oliver Sacks, described the impact of nature this way, we find ourselves simultaneously calmed and reinvigorated, engaged in mind, refreshed in body and spirit. When poets write about nature, they do so with their
characteristic wisdom. Here’s a favorite of mine
by Wendell Barry called, the Piece of Wild Things. When despair for the world grows in me and I wake in the night at the least sound in fear of what my life and
my children’s lives may be, I go and lie down where the Wood Drake rests in his beauty on the water and the great Heron feeds. I come into the piece of the wild things who do not tax their lives
with forethought of grief. I come into the presence of still water and I feel above me the day blind stars waiting for the light. For a time I rest in the grace
of the world and am free. I love the juxtaposition
between peace and wild things, a rhetorical device to
highlight the unexpected. We don’t typically connect
the words peace and wild yet the wildness of
nature engenders peace. Humans attempt to create this
kind of peace deliberately in our homes when they
design and build gardens. Our new home in Newburyport
has a very small backyard. So Bill and I have been watching episodes of the British television
series, Big Dreams, Small Spaces to get some ideas. Have you seen it? When I daydream now, I
think of what we will plant, Lillie’s of the Valley,
a favorite of my mother, perhaps Wisteria, which graces the president’s house here at Smith. Check it out, it’s in full bloom today. Perhaps Holly bushes so we’ll have color and greenery in the winter. Last year, a student taking a
course in landscape studies, dropped by my office hours to ask me about the new garden by the president’s house. She wanted to know how it came to be. The truth is, I was an easy
mark when the former director of the botanic garden showed me plans for a formal garden
overlooking Paradise Pond. An alumni who’s a noted
landscape architect once referred to the pond as the beating heart of the Smith campus. So clearly this view deserved a garden. From time to time, people stop to tell me how much they enjoy the new garden which Elliot Chase Knowlen, class of 1954, funded and named for her
mother, Beatrice Chase, class of 1928. Beatrice’s nickname was Happy. So now Smith has the Happy Chase Garden, a perfect name for the space. When I told the student
about how good it felt to have played a small role
in the creation of the garden, she recommended I read a book titled, Gardens, an Essay on the Human Condition, by Robert Poe Harrison. Harrison argues the
cultivation of the soil and cultivation of the
spirit are co-natural. In April, when my brother-in-law, David, learned he had only weeks to live, he told my husband and me, I hope I live to see my red
bud tree bloom one last time. He didn’t. Earlier in the year, I had
read an essay by Rachel Clark, a palliative care physician
about life’s last moments. Her advice to the dying
and their loved ones is to open a window because, in her words, just nature is enough. Her patients yearn for fresh air, for a blackbird song, and for flowers. One patient describes seeing, and I quote, the whitest, frothiest, blossomest blossom that there ever could be, from his window. Perhaps we yearn for nature when we die as we struggle to separate from this beautiful physical world. And perhaps I was channeling
this essay somehow when I confided to my
design thinking partner about the importance
of beach walks for me. There won’t be an infinite number of them and maybe that’s why they’re so precious. When I meet with students and alumni, one of my why questions for you is always, why did you decide to study at Smith? For so many of you, it was
the beauty of the landscape that drew you here. Smith is defined by a
profound sense of place. So many of you used the same metaphor to describe the experience
of being on this campus, it grounds you. A phrase in the last
line of Wendlebury’s poem is poignant, grace of the world. Grace renews us, the peace and wildness
of this campus renews us. You sensed this on your first visit. You sense it here today. Student’s, as you prepare to leave us, I hope you will reflect on
your many walks through campus, especially the quiet ones
when you ambled to your house, arm in arm with a friend. And as the alumni know,
you’re always welcome to return to this place
you once called home, where the pond, the shaded paths, and the mountains will be waiting for you. Thank you. (audience applauding) I now call upon Ingrid
Magales, class of 2019, to deliver the expression
of student gratitude. (audience cheering)
(applauding) – Good morning. (audience responding) Am I worth it? (audience responding) Am I even good enough to be here? – [Woman] Oh yes you are. – I’m sure that many of
us have asked ourselves these two questions and perhaps even believed that the answer was no. Our challenges and the unknown can pose a threat to the ability to place trust in ourselves, to see and acknowledge
our personal strengths. My name is Ingrid Magales. I’m an Ada Comstock Scholar, (audience cheering) a government major and a proud member of the class of 2019. (applauding) I’m also the daughter
of two wonderful parents who deeply recognize the
value of an education, but who never had the chance
to pursue it themselves and today, I would like
to take this opportunity to thank them and share a
little bit of my story with you. My upbringing in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, allowed me to witness social injustice, crime, violence and the limited access to quality education,
but it also taught me the importance of focusing my efforts to assist my fellow community members. My parents encouraged me to fully commit to all of my endeavors from
teaching music to children in the urban slums, known as favelas, to recognizing social
events within our community. Given one’s all, was and still remains
the standard in our home. And armed with these values, I moved to the United States
to pursue a higher education at the age of 22. I faced great difficulties in adapting to the new environment,
including a tremendous challenge of learning English as an adult. After nearly three
years of language study, my dream to pursue a
higher education (crying) (audience cheering)
(applauding) seemed within reach. Five years after I arrived in America, I had accomplished an associates degree in liberal arts in Noral
Community College, Connecticut, (audience applauding) graduating at the top of my class and being accepted into the prestigious Ada Comstock Scholar
Program at Smith College. (audience cheering)
(applauding) And tomorrow, I’ll become
the first in my family to complete a college degree. (audience applauding) I remember my first day at Smith. I was taking Golf 100 with
Professor Negoria White and I know some of you are not a big fan of political theory, but Professor White has his own ways of making
students like his classes. In fact, that class changed my life. It was the very first
time I had ever read Plato and my mind was just blown
with his claims about society, government and human nature and I wanted to read every single word of the Plato’s Republic and I did at least during the two
first weeks of classes until I realized that 24 hours in a day were not enough to read
three chapters of Plato. That was when I began to doubt myself. I felt so overwhelmed
and extremely stressed and I asked myself the two questions that I opened my speech with, am I worth it, am I even
good enough to be here? But Smith meant resourcefulness. It meant empowerment. It meant work, but it
also meant friendship. I was so blessed to have found friends who have become closer
than siblings to me. The challenges I encountered in my classes were overcome with
persistence, resilience, and great supports of friends. Thank you Deandra and Zoia for the role that you played in my academic success. And to Sydney, my dear fellow Ada, I will never forget a moment when you saw the heavy weight in my eyes. You provided with that moment of comfort, you looked at me and
said, you are not alone. I’m grateful for your life
and for our friendship. Thank you. (audience applauding) My time at Smith has
made me more confident, more aware of my strengths. It presented me with endless opportunities that I would never have imagined. Encouraged by Rebekah Holvey, the director and dean
of International Study, I spent the spring, 2018
semester in Geneva, Switzerland. (audience cheering) I interned for Plan International, an NGO that advocated for
girls and young women’s rights. I spoke twice at the
UN Human Rights Council and I developed a training platform that taught NGO’s and
civil society organizations on how to engage with the UN mechanisms. This platform was translated
into four languages and it has been used in
10 different countries within the Asian and African continents. (audience cheering) None of these would have been possible without the support I received from Smith and its generous financial aid. In fact, during my time at Smith, I encountered unexpected expenses, from fixing my car to
having to pay medical bills and I’m grateful for the
generous financial support received to alleviate some of this burden. I’m especially grateful for the lives of Dean Andrea Rossi-Reder. (audience applauding) And Sudonia Dalby. (audience applauding) For their love and dedication
to the aid of the community. During my senior year,
I began stressing out about my uncertain future. Can anyone relate to that? (scattered laughter) As an international student, there was great pressure to
find a job after graduation in order to make Visa requirements, but once again, peers,
staff and faculty members played a crucial role in my success. I received great support
from my dear family at the Lazaria center
for career development, especially from Deborah Weinhoven. I am indebted to all of them
for their unwavering support towards my professional career. I have accepted an employment offer from Sanford Heisla Sharp, a public interest law firm
located in Washington D.C. where I will be working–
(audience cheering) Where I will be working
as a legal assistant for a period of one year and
then in the fall of 2020, I will be attending the Flesher
School of Law and Diplomacy at Hofstra University.
(audience cheering) I think I need a tissue by now. (laughing) – [Woman] There’s some underneath. – I’m sorry. (laughing) I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that some of the faculty have become as close as family to us and Leone, the professor of French studies and director of Landscape Studies Program became a central figure
in my life at Smith. From encouraging me to
pursue my studies in French to completing my applications
for graduate schools, merci beau coup and for
everything you have done for me. (audience applauding) This morning, my heart
is filled with gratitude and I thank god for every single blessing that changed the course of my life and for the alumni for the tremendous role that all of you have played in our lives. Tomorrow this student chapter
at this amazing institution, officially ends as we join
the Smith alumni community. Here we found friends, sisters, mentors, who greatly shaped our trajectory and to you, my fellow
peers, you are worth it. (audience applauding) You are much more than just good enough. You are the most exceptional human beings I have had the honor to meet. Always remember to believe in yourself, in your dreams, in your power and when you find
yourself facing self-doubt and uncertainty in any other pursuits, remember the words of
Martin Luther King Junior, take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step. Thank you and congratulations
class of 2019. (audience applauding) – Thank you, Ingrid for
sharing your journey and your Smith story and for representing our astonishing graduates
of the class of 2019. (audience applauding) Good morning, everyone. Welcome back to Smith to
all of you who are here and to those who are
listening and watching over life stream, welcome. I’m Beth Refel and I’m the
senior vice president for Smith Alumni Relations and Development. It’s my distinct honor to greet you at this wonderful celebration for Smith, welcoming our amazing
alumni and our remarkable graduating seniors. I also want to join in
giving a big shout out to the fabulous staff of the alumni relations and development and to all college employees
for making this happen and bringing us to this fabulous day. (audience applauding) The Smith College Ivy Day tradition began in 1884 when the graduating class planted ivy to symbolize
their life-long connection and dedication to Smith. All these years later, Ivy Day represents the moment when our
community comes together in recognition of the
power of Sophia Smith’s founding vision for this great college. There is nothing more exciting than to gather together smart, innovative, ambitious Smithy’s,
50,000 Smithy’s strong, you are a force to be reckoned with, one of the largest alumni
networks in the world. (audience applauding) We see this in the sheer
numbers of you here today and we see it in your
remarkable engagement and philanthropic support for Smith. Every gift, no matter the
size, is a powerful endorsement and vote of confidence in
our great college’s mission to educate women of promise
for lives of distinction and purpose. However, just as important as the impact of the dollars raised by
each class here today, is the participation percentage
of alumni stepping forward and participating. The more people who
give to Smith annually, the more competitive
we are among our peers and the higher our national ranking. Thanks in large part to all of you. Together, we truly are
keeping Smith strong. This morning, I had
the pleasure therefore, of recognizing your Smith
spirit and generosity by announcing the awards
for reunion attendance and class fund raising. Women supporting women, there
is nothing more powerful. (audience applauding) Throughout Smith’s 140 year history, alumni, parents, students and friends had given the resources to
keep Smith at the forefront of higher education and I’m happy to say, the college has never been stronger. Today, with your help,
we are especially focused on building a state-of-the-art
21st century library and particularly focused
on continuing to increase scholarship aid for our students. As President McCartney says,
access means excellence. Your partnership is a matter
of tremendous pride for us all, worthy of this public celebration
on this beautiful day. In that spirit, I would
like to acknowledge the extraordinary
contributions of each class who’s represented here today. Would each class fund raising
volunteers please stand as your class totals and
awards are announced. The class of 2009. (applauding) Celebrating your 10th reunion,
over the past five years, you have collectively raised $42,119. (applauding) With an average class
participation rate of 20%. Congratulations on winning
your participation challenge with Mount Holyoke College. (applauding) The class of 1999 in celebration
of your 20th reunion, you have raised $130,323
over the past five years with an average percentage rate of 24%. (applauding) Congratulations also to you for winning your participation challenge
with Mount Holyoke College. (applause) And celebrating the 30th
reunion, the great class of 1989. (applauding) In the past five years,
you have raised $549,230. (applauding) With an average percentage of 34% of your class contributing. And you also have won the
participation challenge with Mount Holyoke College. (applauding) The extraordinary class of 1979. (applauding) Celebrating your 40th reunion. You have raised a five
year gift of $2,003,952, an average of 34% of
your class contributing. Thank you. (applauding) And the amazing class of 1969. (applauding) Celebrating your milestone 50th reunion. Each year, a special award is given to the reunion class that
raises the largest gift over the five years
since its last reunion. Your five year gift total is 18 million– (applauding) – Bravo!
– Let me– (applauding) Let me finish that number. $18,675,501. (laughing) With an average of 58% participation. (applauding) And this year alone,
we are so proud of you and so grateful that you have
reached 69% participation. (applauding) Thank you. We appreciate your incredible loyalty and your amazing generosity and while I have the attention
of the class of 1969, I’d like to announce that they’ve also won the award for the highest
percentage of classmates in attendance for a reunion
with 43% of you here today. (applauding) And the award for the
most number of classmates in attendance with 223
of you here celebrating. (applauding) the class of 1969 has also won our Great Court Society Award
which comes to the class with the greatest number of new members who have included Smith College in their estate plans
since the last reunion. Thank you. Congratulations. (applauding) Also here today, I want
to acknowledge the parents and families of our graduating seniors. I know first hand, as a mother, the pride you are feeling, watching as your children
transform from Smith students to Smith alumni right before your eyes. We are proud to admit them
into the alumni family of Smith College. Your support began when you
applauded your student’s choice to come to Smith. Through your gifts to the Smith Fund and engagement with the
Smith family’s network, you’ve demonstrated an
unwavering commitment to your student’s success
and in support of education. Parents have contributed
1.1 million dollars to the college, this year alone and we are very, very grateful. (applauding) One of the most powerful
ways alumni show their pride in Smith is by giving
annually and consistently to the Smith Fund and therefore, being counted in our overall
participation numbers. We honor these devoted supporters, all of whom have given at
least five consecutive years as Smith’s Stars. Your commitment reflects your deep desire to ensure Smith’s continued excellence on the shoulders of the
generations of alumni who have come before you. This type of consistent giving is critical to the college’s financial health and we invite everyone to join in becoming a Smith Star with consistent annual donations to Smith. All Smith Stars here
today have a Smith star on your name tag and I’d like
to ask you at this moment if all Smith Stars please
would stand and be recognized. (applauding) And I’d like to congratulate
again, the class of 1969 for having the most Smith
Stars here this weekend. (applauding) And finally, last but not least, I also would like to
congratulate the wonderful graduating class of 2019,
thank you for having 31% participation to your senior gift. Thank you so much. (applauding) We’re proud of you and
are uplifted by your sense of gratitude to embrace
the spirit of philanthropy that is a deep Smith tradition
and we welcome you to the Alumni Association of Smith College. (applauding) With today’s Ivy Day celebration, we’re reminded of all that Smith has given and all that Smith has been given. In founding her namesake college, Sophia Smith, in 1871,
bequeathed the establishment of an institution for the higher education of young women for lives of distinction. Every story we tell about
our astonishing graduates, every gift we make, every
good word we say about Smith, every connection we make
to another Smith alumna, is evidence that we are
living up to Sophia’s vision. Be proud of Smith. Be proud of each other. Thank you all for all you are doing to keep Smith strong. I now invite our senior class
president, Aminata Kahn, to the stage.
(applauding) To accept on behalf of the class of 2019, two important gifts. (audience applauding) Aminata, while we are
certain that your class commitment, intelligence,
leadership skills and creativity will surely
guarantee your success and the success of all your classmates, we also want to give you seed money to make reaching that
success a little easier. From the office of alumni relations, we present to the class of 2019, a gift in the amount of
$2,000 to your class treasury. – Thank you. (giggling)
(applauding) – Additionally, on behalf
of the 50th reunion class of 1969, I invite the class president, Janet Williams-Harrison to the podium to present their gift
to the class of 2019. (applauding) – Hi. (laughing) Oh thank you. – We, the members of
the great Smith College class of 1969,
(applauding) on the occasion of our 50th reunion, are pleased to present the gift of $2,019 to the graduating class
of 2019 as seed money for their own milestone,
50th reunion in 2069. (laughing)
(applauding) – Thank you so much. Thank you. (laughing) (applauding) (cheering) – Would Hannah Phyllis
Grasso, class of 2019, please come forward to lead us in (speaking a foreign language). (singing foreign lyrics) (marching)
(singing foreign lyrics) (applauding) Would Susan Etheridge, dean of the college and vice president for campus life and Joe O’Rourke, interim
provost and dean of the faculty, please come forward to award the prizes to degree candidate and recognize honors received by this graduating class. (applauding) – Good morning. I’m Susan Etheridge, dean of the college and member of the faculty and of the great Smith class of 1977. (applauding) And this morning, I join in
offering my congratulations to the great class of 2019. (applauding) Today, I have the privilege of announcing the names of seniors who
distinguished themselves in particular academic pursuits and in service to the college. Although prize winners
from all four classes are listed in your program, only graduating senior prize
winners are announced today. I will announce the prize winners by academic department, so
please refer to your program to see the names and descriptions of the particular prizes
each student has won. Most of these prizes have
not yet been announced so the recipients will be surprised. Prize winners, take note, at the close of the ceremony this morning, go to the prize table at
Emerson Arch, that way, under the sign, prizes and awards, where you will receive a letter revealing what your prize is. We will have a chance to
applaud all of the winners when I finish reading the names. So are you ready? Here are the seniors awarded the prizes in each department. Africana Studies, Nicola Metzker, Kai Imani Olivia Ruby Cunningham Shirley. American Studies, Clair Alice Baumgardner, Jenna Lee Gilly, Rebekah Claire Tibbits. Anthropology, Gwendolyn
Ruth Jones, Shaloo Swey. Art, Nicole Berodan, Hayley Gail Peterson, Athena Sophidese. Astronomy, Olana Kamarova. Athletics, Lauren Bondy, Molly Rose Day, Lydia Pedrick D’Angelo, Iko Chicowski. Biochemistry, Lydia Pedrick D’Angelo. Biological sciences, Sabrina Codaron, Lydia Pedrick D’Angelo, Eleanor Getts, Sarah Emma Louise Hants,
Stephanie Anne Long, Zoey Alise Murrell, Hefsa Mahamut Murray, Simren Shaney, Gabriel Uslunshoulers, Bailey Nelson Whitney,
Bethlehem Asnako Iksaw. Buddhist Studies, Levy Sage Singleton, Helen Hillshils Chapel,
Jennifer Moran, Diana Umana. Chemistry, Nancy Quan, Cindy Robin Hoo, Julia Kim, Aminata
Khan, Autumn Bari Minio, Claire Alexander Benson. Classics, Hazel Grace Calderon,
Abigail Doritea Raminga, Margaret Elizabeth Nolting. Comparative Literature, Sarah
Denny Arnold, Kulu Fayeem. Computer Science, Ojaswi
Ajira, Pearla Alejandra Garcia, Artemus Metaxa Kakabuli,
Logan James Swanson. Dance, Sophia Evelina
Engleman, Noli Maganite, I’ll do that again, Noli Marganite Rosen. Office of the dean of the
college, Daisy Osterga Gonzalez, Diandra Dylan, Asha
Hinson, Nina Grace Henry, Sydney Hoverston, Amaljia
E. Leder, Mia Carolyn Lloyd, Melanie Winn, Jana Anarosa,
I’ll do that again, Jana Anarose Peppi, Emma Louise Steward. East Asian Languages and Literature, Sarah Marie Colick, Eva Marie
Olsen, Josline Colleen Ang. Economics, Morgan Barney,
Julia Ng, Umema Kulua, Melanie Winn, Sweu Lily
Kian, Dushen Vivian Wang. Education and Child
Study, Jennifer Gutierrez. Engineering, Sarah Winichu,
Beatrix May Dalton, Amber Camila Garcia, Hafonlee Seely. English, Miles Bond,
Samantha Rosamen Brown, Nora Holmes Daniels, Elena
Ursken, Julia Anne Faulkner, Anna Sophia Jutina, Lacey Carol Harvey, Gracey Budrough Kinsey, Emily Anne Morris, Charlotte Marie Palmer, Tanya M. Richie, Kai Imani Olivia Ruby Cunningham Shirley, Julia B. Smith. Environmental Science and Policy Program, Sydney Noah Babaro, Deandra
Dylan, Chloe Anne Harris, Stephanie Long, Elena Ariane Martinez. Film and Media Studies,
Alison Shey Menagheti. French Studies, Melanie
Bonseor, Sabrina Cordoron, Devon Nicole Doling,
Emma Freeman, excuse me, Elizabeth Freeman, Genan Louisa Fugal, Andrea Quinanza, Lucy Chen
Hall, Lia Francesca Minone, Natalie Norberg, Anna Denise Chuchunea, Carla Penae, Brinping
Seblie, Julia B. Smith, Raymond Clark Van Husen,
Madison Mackenzie Bogal. Geo-Sciences, Sophia Jean
Johnson, Rihanna Zoe Nolan. German Studies, Madeline Stewart Fraser, Anne Marcel McCauley, Zoey Real. Government, Sarah Marie
Kolich, Pamela Larken. History, Madeline Steward
Fraser, Molly Rose Henry, Abigail Dorotea Fromniga,
Daniela Paradise, Rebekah Claire Tibbits. Inclusion Diversity and
Equity, Jennifer Gutierrez, Daisy Payez. Italian Studies, Hannah
McNeil Gockel, Jane Koontz, Hannah Louise Matthews,
Olivia Ruth Pugsley. Janden Center for Community Engagement, Lily Lee, Lloyda Pan,
Anna Denise Chichanea, Emily Emoral Whittier, Shujin Jen. Jewish Studies, Abigail Claire Weaver. Landscape Studies, Jenan Louisa Fugel, Jessica Elizabeth McKnight. Latin American and Latino, Latina Studies, Ellison Deana Hersh. Mathematics and Statistics,
Umema Hulua, Tishan Liu Widonu. Medieval Studies, Charlotte Marie Palmer. Middle East Studies, Megan Keenan Half. Music, Kyle Marcos Alphin,
Kennedy Ellen Barber Fraser, Hannah Phyllis Grasso,
Natalie Jean Labosea, Cass Ford Mertin, Emma Ng,
Charlotte Marie Palmer, Jessie Wong. Neuro-science, Jamie Chan, Emily Halsted. Philosophy, Alissa Anderson,
Alexandra Josephine Kolikov, Maddie Kulki, Maryellen Stollman
Vanderveen, Allena Wong. Physics, Margaret Miles
Allard, Sara M. Elgazoley, Olana Komarova, Weijan Lynn. Psychology, Asha Henson. Religion, Abigail Lily Allen. Russian East European
and Eurasian Studies, Adelaid Helen Bacon, Grace Park. Sociology, Emma Jalebocure,
Katerina Gephart. South Asian Studies, Anushka
Jen, Mandira Bencott. Spanish and Portuguese,
Willow Crawford Crudell, Kaia Hemmer Baumstead. Statistical and Data
Sciences, Juliana Algord, Theodore Marty Bongfeld, Isabelle Brown, Lillian Buckengroff, Gillian
Anne Oshanaseacannon, Rosemary Ewing, Gabriel Jeanferrar, Courtney Cora Grace
Grant, Sophie, excuse me, Zoey Sophia Margoles, Lisa
Menna, Tanya M. Richie, Abigail Claire Weaver. Program for the study of women and gender, Jenna Lee Gilley, Rebekah Claire Tibbets. And a great big round of applause for all our prize winners. Thank you. (applauding) – I’m Joe O’Rourke,
provost dean of the faculty and I bring greetings
on behalf of the faculty to the class of 2019. The Smith faculty has nurtured
your intellectual growth and we have celebrated
your accomplishments in classrooms, labs, in music
and theater performances and art exhibits, athletics,
in student government, in community engagement,
you have made us proud. Given your impressive accomplishments, it is a special pleasure to introduce those members of the class of 2019 who we honor for
excellence in their overall academic achievement
during their time at Smith. Since there are many and their names are printed in the program, I will not read them individually, but let me ask recipients
of the awards and honors to stand as a group at
the appropriate moment to receive the well deserved accolades of all of us present. At Smith, students are
eligible for election to eight national honors societies. Seven members of the class of 2019 have been elected to Delta Phi Alpha for excellence in the study of German. Please rise. (applauding) 24 members of the class of
2019 have been elected to Mu Sigma Ro for excellence
in the field of statistics. Please rise. (applauding) 13 members of the class of
2019 have been elected to Nu Ro Si, the national honor society in neuro-science, please rise. (applauding) 18 members of the class
of 2019 have been elected to Si Chi for excellence
in the field of psychology. Please rise. (applauding) 27 members of the class
of 2019 have been elected to Pi Sigma Alpha, the
national political science honor society, please rise. (applauding) And 97 members of the class of 2019 and two graduate students
have been elected to Sigma Psi on the basis of
their demonstrated excellence in the field of science, please rise. (applauding) Seven members of the class of 2019 have been elected to Tao
Beta Kappa for excellence in the field of engineering, please rise. (applauding) Finally, 62 members of the class of 2019 have been elected to Phi Beta Kappa in recognition of their
overall academic achievement. Please rise. (applauding) Let’s recognize all these achievements. Okay, next I would like to– (audience laughing) Sorry about that, next I’d
like to recognize honors conferred by the departments. Departmental honors are a long standing tradition at Smith, that
permits students to work independently and in depth on the topic of particular interest to
them in their major field. You will see the titles of their thesis along with the names
of the faculty advisors printed in the program. 89 members of the class of 2019 have completed this program
and have been awarded one of three categories of honors. May I introduce first those
10 members of the program awarded honors in their major. Please stand. (applauding) Next, those 44 awarded
high honors, please rise. (applauding) And lastly, those 35
awarded highest honors, may I ask you to rise. (applauding) Finally, it’s my pleasure to introduce those who are receiving Latin honors. For 49 years, confurow of
the baccalaureate degree with Latin honors has been based on the level of achievement
over the last three years of the college program. 89 members of the class
of 2019 have earned this designation by the high
level of their performance. First may I introduce those
51 who will receive the degree cum laude, with honor, please rise. (applauding) Next, those 29 students who
will receive the degree, magna cum laude. (applauding) Finally, we know how
hard each of you worked to earn your degree, so
it seems only fitting to bestow a special
mark on those whose work has earned the rare
honor of summa cum laude with highest praise. As I read their names, I
ask that these graduates come forward to receive a
special tassel and braid to be worn throughout the
commencement ceremonies. Madeline Steward Fraser. (applauding) Please come to the stage. Maria Gurmosh. (applauding) Molly Henry. (applauding) (laughing) Good shortcut. Nina Henry. (applauding) Olana Kormorova. (applauding) Omema Kalua. (applauding) Melanie Winn. (applauding) Hi. (chuckling) And Sui Woo Lily Chien. (applauding) Is she coming? (laughing) (cheering) (applauding) That’s it. To all our graduates, on
behalf of the faculty, I offer our warm congratulations and best wishes for continued success. You came to Smith as women of promise and now you’re leaving to lead lives of distinction and purpose. We wish you a proud and fond farewell and we will look forward to learning of your future accomplishments and welcoming you back as alumni. Thank you. (applauding) – And now I call upon
senior class president, Amanata Khan, to join
me for the traditional planting of the ivy. (audience cheering) – Oh, hold it up? (audience cheering) – [Woman] Go Amanata we love you! (cheerful chatter) (cheering)
(applauding) (applauding) – Would Hannah please
come forward once again to lead us in singing the
Smith College alumni song? (animated chattering) ♪ Alma mater, Smith College ♪ ♪ Source of memories longed to live ♪ ♪ All together, we acknowledge
these the gifts you give ♪ ♪ Alma mater, many are
the gifts you give ♪ ♪ Joy of friendship, joy of learning ♪ ♪ Time to wonder, search and see ♪ ♪ Treasure holding, hearts returning ♪ ♪ Through the years to me ♪ ♪ Alma mater, Smith College
ever close to thee ♪ (applauding)
(cheering) – Thank you, Hannah. As we close today’s ceremony, I’m struck by the power of the day, of our community and our shared history. It is a history of
leadership and connection, of bringing to life Sophia Smith’s vision of alumni using their education to do the most good for
the greatest number. Each of you sustains that vision through your own commitment
to this great college, to your communities and to the world. I thank you for being here. Enjoy the weekend. See you all at illumination. Have fun today. Have fun. (inspirational celebratory music) (gentle orchestral music) (cheerful orchestral music)

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