Smith Alumnae Quarterly Centennial

23Dec09

I always enjoy receiving the Smith Alumnae Quarterly. It’s like a little surprise in my mailbox. Unlike most folks, I tend to read front to back; I don’t start with the class notes. This issue, of course, is the centennial, and was full of Smith and the SAQ over the years. It’s amazing to see the timeline of things, to note, for instance, when house mothers left and HRs came in. To see that Tori Murden has not only crossed the Atlantic but been to the South Pole as well. To read about all the presidents over the years, etc.

john connolly interim president smith collegeHowever, I was saddened to read that the interim presidency of John Connolly in 2001-2002 didn’t merit a mention. Obviously I (Sarah, class of 2005) am slightly biased, given that I was there when he was in office. But it was a very memorable year.

Apparently he was promised a quiet reign in between Ruth Simmon’s departure and the arrival of the not-yet-chosen Carol Christ, but it was not to be. There was September 11th right after the year began. Professor Connolly called everyone into JMG hall and gave a speech I will never forget. Then the spring had the racial and homophobic slurs and tensions that included another emergency all-college meeting.

And all this during the normal chaos and craziness of typical Smith life. All the while, Professor Connolly exuded a steadfast calm and thoughtfulness. I know he doesn’t count as one of Smith’s official presidents, but I consider him an integral part of my Smith experience.

What else was left out of the Quarterly’s Centennial issue?

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4 Responses to “Smith Alumnae Quarterly Centennial”

  1. I too really enjoyed the most recent SAQ. I’m glad you guys got a mention!

  2. @TheArtofPolitics: Thanks! We didn’t know it was coming, but we were delighted to get another mention!

  3. I absolutely agree with you about Professor Connolly. I was so sad to see Ruth go, but after he made that powerful speech on September 11, I firmly believed in him.

    For that entire ’01-’02 year I remember that for EVERY single lecture or concert I attended, I could count on him sitting in the first row. Even the lectures that had nothing to do with philosophy or even academia, he was there. At least once in a late-night lecture in Seelye, I remember seeing him doze off quietly, and I realized then how exhausting his job was–an interim president who couldn’t make big changes, but was having to deal with huge changes in the world around the college. How stressed he must have been, and yet he was always quietly cheery when I saw him.

    I will always be grateful for his comforting and supportive presence that year, and how wonderfully accessible he was to everyone by attending all those campus events.

  4. @Sonora Miller: That speech was a turning point for me, too.



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