President's Column

A Word from Our Club President ...

July 2015

What a great annual meeting! It was such a treat to hear from Professor John Davis at the Walker Art Center June 7. Thank you to our club’s Immediate Past-President Paula Prahl and Vice President Emily Beck for their efforts in organizing such a wonderful event. During the meeting, the chairs of Smith Day 2015, Stephanie Frost, Helen Leslie, and Laura Miller, announced the theme for this year’s sale—Minnesota Arts Celebration: Smithies Celebrating the Vibrant Minnesota Arts Scene. If you are interested in helping with Smith Day—whether it’s chairing a department or donating items or time—please contact Stephanie, Helen, or Laura (visit our contact form).

It was my honor to be elected to a two-year term as president of the Smith College Club of Minnesota at the Annual Meeting. I'm very excited about this role and am thankful to have watched and learned from past presidents, including Paula Prahl, Barbara Klaas, Laurie Kramer, Betsey Whitbeck, Ellen Van Iwaarden, and Marty Swain.

During my term, I hope to increase engagement in the club, especially for recent graduates, who may one day become club officers and Smith Day chairs! Also, through frequent programming during the year, I hope to encourage the development of relationships among club members.

A little bit about my background: I graduated from Smith in 2006, majoring in economics and French studies. After graduation, I moved to New York to work at a large corporate law firm as a mergers and acquisitions legal assistant. I then moved back to Minnesota to attend the University of Minnesota Law School and am currently a corporate associate at Faegre Baker Daniels LLP.

When I returned to Minneapolis in 2007, I immediately emailed the then-current president of the Smith Club and asked how I could help. I remember my first project was with Barbara Knott ’97 and Leisl Hargens ’98, the Alumnae Admissions Coordinators (AACs) at the time, hand-writing notes to about 350 prospective students. It's nice that Smith now has electronic post-cards! I then served as an AAC for a few years. Being an AAC is such a fun position, because you get to meet with amazing high school students and watch them grow into strong, independent women once they get to Smith.

After my time as an AAC, I served as the club’s vice president and also joined the nominating committee. In 2012, I began to volunteer as a Network Alumnae Admissions Coordinator (NAAC) for the Midwest Region. NAACs act as intermediaries between the Smith Admissions Office and AACs.

And now, I'm excited to serve as president of our Club! The Smith Club of Minnesota means so much to me. As many of you have also experienced, the Smith family is always there for you — in the good times and the bad. I feel so lucky to be part of this community.

We’ve already had one event this summer; Laura Miller, Mariquita Anderson, and I attended an improv show where Gubby Kubik ’11 performed (see page 5). While at the show, a new club within the club was formed—a Supper Club! Mariquita, who is a new member of our club, will be organizing those events, so stayed tune (see page 4 for our first one). I can't wait to try restaurants around town with other food-loving Smithies!

Coming up August 23 there will be an Executive Committee meeting to set the agenda for the year ahead. If you have any ideas or suggestions on how the club can serve you better, please feel free to reach out to me (see contact form).

I look forward to seeing you at future events!

Justina Roberts '06

A Word from Our Club President ...

January 2015

Congratulations to all Smith Club members! As you’ll read in this newsletter (page 2), we held a terrific 80th birthday celebration for Smith Day last fall. Close to 100 gathered for lunch, and even more shopped our sale. Most important, we raised significant funds to support scholarships at Smith. To have such a continuously running — and successful — event is an amazing feat.

Of course this kind of undertaking doesn’t happen by chance. It occurs and succeeds only because of the dedicated volunteers who selflessly offer their time and energy. This year was no exception. Our chairwomen deserve special recognition. Peggy Leppik, Barbara Klaas, and Lisa Peilen worked “all angles” of this event and dug deep into their networks to ensure great donations and sufficient volunteers to support each department. Of course they each brought experience to the process, as they have chaired multiple Smith Days in the past! I can’t thank them and all the volunteers enough. Great work.

Smith Day has taken multiple forms over its 80 years. Once an event held in private homes, this perennial favorite has morphed over time, bending to the interests and capabilities of the club members. For most of the 25 years I’ve been involved, it has been a single-day event, held the first Saturday after Labor Day. We’ve changed up the location, moved from 2 days to 1 day, altered the departments, offered various lunch options, and added professional help with certain aspects such as moving the merchandise. I’m committed to making sure we continue to make the right kind of changes needed to keep this amazing tradition going. I’m certain we’ll make it to 100!

We solicited feedback in the form of a survey at the event this year and got great comments from 76 of you. Many respondents were regular Smith Day attendees, either alumnae or guests/family. The number one reason for attendance is “shopping,” followed closely by “seeing friends.” The Hopkins Center for the Arts got high reviews as a venue, especially because of the parking, sunlight, and supportive staff. A couple of attendees suggestd a more central location. Respondents had mixed views on timing, with a large group liking the traditional timing but many noting the difficulty of participating during the busy first week of school. This was a consistent theme in why people did not volunteer to work at Smith Day. We got a few ideas on improving the event, like “always sell the winning raffle ticket to me” and “bring back the booze.” We’ve always been a spirited group!

It’s terrific to have this interest and set of suggestions. But I’m mindful we’ve only heard from a portion of those who attended this year. We need to hear from all of you. I’ve included the same survey in this newsletter and would really appreciate receiving comments back. Please return it to me by mail (address on survey) or send a scan or ideas my way at [email removed]. We’re only as strong as our ideas!

To round out the Smith Day conversation, it is important to note that it’s not too early to think about Smith Day 2015. We’ve secured the Hopkins Center for the Arts for Saturday, September 12. Our donation depots are open for business and awaiting your items. Co-Chairs are in place, so now is the time to think about volunteering and donating. A Smith education has been so special for us. Let’s make it is possible for more young women.

I look forward to seeing many of you over the next few months. Watch for Smith Club events in our email updates. Until then, I wish you all a Happy New Year and a safe winter, perhaps with a warm escape at some point.

Paula Prahl '84

A Word from Our Club President ...

July 2014

It was such a treat to gather with members of the Smith Club of Minnesota at our Annual Meeting at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Despite the rainy weather, we had a terrific time with an outstanding presentation by our own Diane Richard (’88), who is the brain trust behind the award-winning online MIA publication VERSO. If you haven’t seen it, I highly suggest downloading the application. It really is impressive. Our equally impressive Smith Drummers kicked off the morning. By the chatter in the room, I believe I can say we all had a great time.

I was happy to report to the membership that our club is strong. Having just returned from my 30th reunion, I also reported that I think the college is strong as well. The campus looks good, the students are engaged and wonderfully enthusiastic about Smith. And the new president, Kathleen McCartney, or K-Mac, as the students call her, is fantastic. Not one to let a challenge go to waste, President McCartney spent the weekend discussing the issues of freedom of expression, using the absence of Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund and planned commencement speaker, as an example. As many of you know, Madame Lagarde withdrew from the program the week prior, due to some protest by students and faculty. President McCartney told most of the groups with whom she met about how the college needs to have a robust dialogue about allowing full conversations about issues, not just the “politically correct” views. She also told humorous stories about negotiating with Lagarde’s people. As President McCartney said, “Her people told me that Madame Lagarde does not change her mind…and I said, ‘Yes she does, she said she would come!’” K-Mac will be a great leader for Smith.

Here are some reasons I believe our Club is strong:

♦ Our scholarship endowment is at a record $2.4 million dollars. This is critical to the college, as over 60% of students now receive financial aid. This past year we made a Smith education possible for two students from Minnesota.

♦ Our club has over 600 members. Of them, 400 are connected with us online. Roughly 120 participate in one or more events over the course of a year.

♦ Our club has had some fun programming over the year: We gathered to watch the inauguration of our new president. We toured an exhibit of medical technology in the time of Downton Abbey, curated by Emily Hagens ’10. We gathered for brunch and tea and for a reading of Polly Grose’s ’54 new play, and we were lucky to welcome Kathleen McCartney to Minnesota.

♦ Smith Day 2013 was a great success, and we look for our 2014 80th Smith Day to be just as successful. We were able to send $4,800 to support the Praxis internship program at the school and $13,000 to our scholarship fund.

Like any organization, we may have some challenges. My intention in the coming year is to focus on two:

♦  First, a full 1/3 of our members are not connected to us via e-mail. This severely limits our communications and completely leaves them out of the Twin Cities Alumni Network event schedule. I’m not certain what the solution is, but we’ll look for one.

♦  Second, I think it is time for a review of Smith Day and our fundraising capacity. I am not suggesting we do away with the event…not even close.

But we are facing a changing and competitive market for gently used clothing, with consignment and competing events growing. Our other challenge is that the timing is very challenging for some club members. Simply put, the first week of school is a difficult time to volunteer (or attend) for mothers as well as for teachers.

These challenges are not huge, and we’re lucky for that. Part of the way we’ll stay strong is to do the review and creative thinking that keep us fresh. I look forward to another great year!

I am so thankful for the officers who support the Smith Club of Minnesota: Justina Roberts has completed her VP term and is followed by Emily Hagens. Stephanie Frost completed a second term as Secretary and is followed by Kathryn Sutton (Stephanie will move onto the Nominating Committee). We continue to be supported by Kate Lehmann, Treasurer, and Marty Swain, Communications/Membership guru. Our AAC crew, Samantha Oestreicher, Anna Allen, and Maggie McCaffrey are joined by Hayden Howland and continue to do a great job of finding students and fostering their excitement about Smith. Their excellent report (see above) points to the strength of the college and this club. I also want to thank Barbara Klaas and Betsey Whitbeck for their work on the Nominating Committee. We have a great tradition and a great club. Congratuations!

Paula Prahl ’84

A Word from Our Club President ...

June 2013

Thank you! I can’t believe it’s been two years since I was elected president of the club. The time has really flown by. I’ve been privileged to be your club president. I’ve met many amazing women, and my biggest regret is that I did not have the time or opportunity to meet and get to know even more of you. I will continue to be involved with club events and meet new members, and I encourage you to do the same. I guarantee your life will be enriched by the incredible women in this club!

Winter and spring proved to be a busy time. Since January, we have had seven club-related events, and all have included a wide age-range of alumnae, including very recent graduates, which is just great. And we still have the annual meeting coming up on Friday, June 14.

Club activities spanned from the creative to the cerebral. In January, Sheila Moar ’74 shared her voyage of moving from the corporate world to becoming an entrepreneur, fulfilling her dream of creating and selling her own jewelry. She provided great tips to those interested in venturing out on their own. Thanks to Cecily Hines ’73 for hosting.

Emily Hagens ’10 and her mother reprised the valentine-making salon in February, giving attendees the opportunity to handcraft unique valentines and feast on the Hagens’ fabulous treats.

Another group of women (and one brave male guest) tapped into their creative side by learning to hand drum at the Women’s Drum Center in March. The group had fun creating beautiful rhythmic sounds and reduced their stress levels too. Don’t be surprised if you see a performance at a future Smith Club event!

April was packed with activities. Stephanie Ross ’86 shared her knowledge of the Enneagram to help us better understand our behaviors and the behaviors of others. Wendy Lutter ’89 hosted almost 20 of us for this fun and enlightening evening. Later in the month, Samantha Oestreicher ’05, one of our three Alumnae Admissions Coordinators (AACs), hosted a care-package salon. With donations from several club members, packages with food and fun treats were assembled and sent to 37 of Minnesota’s Smith students to help get them through finals week.

Despite one of our record April snowstorms causing a delay of the MissRepresentation salon, the evening was worth the wait. Over 30 club members and guests watched MissRepresentation, a film that looks at the portrayal of women in the media and advocates for change. After the movie, lively discussion, facilitated by two panelists from MinnPost (thanks to Laurie Kramer)―Beth Hawkins and Cyndy Brucato―made it a thought-provoking evening. In fact, both panelists made a point of telling me they were impressed by the caliber of the discussion!

The highlight of the spring was Carol Christ’s visit to Minnesota in April. As one of her final activities as Smith College president, Carol is traveling to select clubs as a farewell and to promote “Women for the World,” the campaign she launched. We were extremely fortunate to be chosen for one of her visits. And we showed the college that they chose wisely. Over 90 alumnae came to the Minneapolis Club to enjoy lunch and listen to President Christ reflect on her time at Smith and hear her lead a discussion with two well-known alumnae who had a big impact on Carol’s tenure at Smith: Shelly Braff Lazarus ’68 and Minnesota’s very own Marilyn Carlson Nelson ’61.

President Christ ended the luncheon by playing a video highlighting the importance and benefits of “Women for the World: the Campaign for Smith” (the video also has a segment on Marilyn Carlson Nelson). You can see a version of the video by going to

One of the key points of the campaign is the importance of alumnae participation in giving to the college. While total funds are of course important, what the college is really looking for and is rated on by outside organizations is the proportion of alumnae who participate. No amount is too small—if you give, you’re counted! So even if you can give only a very small amount, it’s better than not giving at all. Development and event staff who traveled with President Christ said they love coming to Minnesota, as we are such a vibrant and engaged club. Let’s demonstrate that engagement even more by achieving a 100% Minnesota participation rate!

Our next club event, as summer kicks in, is our annual meeting on June 14. If you haven’t received your invitation, please contact Justina Roberts. We are very fortunate that well-known Smith College Economics Professor Andrew Zimbalist will be our guest speaker. Not only is he in high demand and hard to get for club events, he is also in demand by the national media whenever an issue about the economics of professional and collegiate sports arises. He will talk with us about the economic impact of stadiums and sports teams on communities.

In addition to our club events, we have several other areas where we have made our mark. In April, a group from our club presented a webinar on our Oral History Project to club leaders across the globe. The webinar was well received and is now posted on the Alumnae Association’s website. We have been contacted by alumnae to learn more and have sold some of our books to other clubs.

Because of the success of Smith Day this past year and our club’s financial position, we were able to send $18,000 to our endowed scholarship fund and $5,000 to support two Praxis scholarships. As of the end of December 2012, we have almost $2.2 million in our endowed scholarship fund, which generated almost $111,000 in income credit. From this, the college was able to provide scholarship funds to three current Minnesota students. See page 4 for letters to our club from students who have benefited from our efforts. What a significant accomplishment by our club. We should all feel proud. And it gives us an even bigger incentive to volunteer and shop at Smith Day!

Thank you to ALL of the wonderful women who have shared their talents, opened their homes, and made our club activities possible. I want to especially thank our club’s Executive Committee for their commitment and unending support. Their countless hours of work make this club successful. You, too, can get involved. Come to club events, volunteer at Smith Day, or step up to be a club leader. You will not be disappointed.

Barbara Klaas ’74

A Word from Our Club President ...

December 2012

Once a month, a group of my women friends go out to dinner together. Sometimes, only a few of us show up; other times we fill the restaurant. We call ourselves AWE: Amazing Women Eating. Our common bond is that we all live or have lived in the same neighborhood. While the eating is great, it’s the connection with interesting women that draws us to these dinners.

The Smith College Club of Minnesota is more encompassing in its activities and purpose than my AWE group, but in spirit it’s similar. It’s a vehicle for meeting and relating to smart, energetic, and talented women. Our club is all about connections—with classmates from Smith, with alumnae from different years or decades who openly share their energy and wisdom, and with women who have similar interests in work or play. Many of us come to a club salon now and then when the topic is of interest. Others come to our annual meeting. Lots of tireless souls work and reconnect while financially supporting our scholarship fund before and during Smith Day.

Smith Day is the perfect example of and venue for these valuable connections to happen. This year, as in years past, we had department chairs, volunteers, and shoppers from classes in the early 40s up through 2012—a span of over seven decades of Smith women working, shopping, and eating together!

This September, the club hosted its biannual Newcomers’ Event. New members included Leigh Cressman ’06, Elizabeth Ford ’05, Claire Romera ’00, Lara Hamsher ’12 , Samantha Oestreicher ’05,and Maren Delap ’11. Several executive committee members shared club traditions and activities during the evening as a special welcome to the club.

But don’t think you have to be a newly graduated alum or wait for the next Newcomers’ Event to become active with our club. Salons offer an intimate setting for connecting—and not all are as strenuous as our Mississippi River kayaking-against-the-current adventure last summer! At our October 22 salon, for example, 10 club members learned from an expert that you can recycle more than you think. Carol Engebretson, a master recycler and sister-in-law of Ann Carr (’70), shared her expertise on current recycling, future trends, and composting. We proudly recycled, reused, or composted everything we used during the salon!

Our club also provides opportunities to stay connected to and informed about Smith. Current students who benefit from the club’s endowed scholarship fund and Praxis internship funds send us regular updates, recent graduates offer us their insights about life on campus, and members of Smith’s faculty and staff frequently speak at club meetings.

We are always looking for ideas and suggestions for activities or topics that will bring Minnesota Smithies together, around the Twin Cities or elsewhere in the state. Please contact Justina Roberts or me (see our Officers page for contact info) if you have an idea.

We Smith women are amazing, and the more of us who get together, the more fun and rewards we all enjoy. I urge you to get as involved and join us when you can, as often as you can!

Barbara Klaas ’74

A Word from Our Club President ...

July 2012

Hot! Hot! Hot! Yes, the summer has been hot, but I am talking about our spring Smith Club activities!

The annual meeting on May 6 celebrated the publication of the club’s renowned Oral History Project, Strong Women Building Strong Communities: Book 2, and honored the women whose stories are told in the book. A slideshow narrated by Smithies who worked on the project highlighted the childhoods, Smith experiences, careers and volunteer activities, accomplishments, and challenges faced by this amazing group of women. It was a moving and motivating experience. To think we have such incredible women in Minnesota and that they all come from our dear Smith College! Several of the guests and spouses there took time after the event to let me know how touched and impressed they were. Amanda Geno, Development Officer from Smith College, who was there representing the college, e-mailed to say: “What an incredible, dedicated group of alumnae you have in Minnesota…. Given the Club’s amazing oral history work, there are few other alumnae in the country who understand so well the importance of preserving women’s historical materials.”

Many, many club members worked to preserve these stories in published form: the interviewees, interviewers, transcribers, writers, editors, and committee members who shepherded the whole project. Their names appear in the sidebar to this article. In addition to aknowledging the women who so graciously agreed to share their stories, I want especially to thank Laurie Kramer ’69, Betsey Whitbeck ’71, Marty Swain ’71, Margaret Nikoleit ’84, and Holly Dowds ’71; they spearheaded the project and provided excellent editorial support. And Laurie did a spectacular job creating the slideshow. We were also fortunate to have several women from Book 1 join in May celebration. This project is known throughout the Smith College alumnae world, and many clubs are interested in learning from us.

During the business meeting, Smith Day Chairs Peggy Leppik ’65, Elissa Mautner ’77, and I unveiled this year’s Smith Day theme—Smith Day on Broadway—in a musical skit.  New officers were elected: Stephanie Frost ’77 as secretary (she graciously agreed to take on another term), and Justina Roberts ’06 as vice president . Justina has also been selected by the Alumnae Association to be the Regional Alumnae Admissions Coordinator for the Midwest! We thanked Becky McManus for her excellent service to the club as outgoing vice president. Becky did a great job organizing the annual meeting as her last official duty!

Good news was reported on the club’s finances. We sent $4,800 to the college to support two Praxis internships; and we sent $15,000 for our club’s endowed scholarship fund. At the end of 2011, this fund had reached more that $2.2 million. We are approaching the fund’s 50th anniversary in 2014! (To keep our club and our endowed fund strong, we need you to pay your dues, purchase Book 2, and shop at Smith Day! All of this can be accomplished September 8 at Smith Day on Broadway.)

Other HOT events this spring included valentine making, hosted by Emily Hagens ’10. Participants not only brought home homemade and heartfelt valentines, but they feasted on delicious brunch fare. About 20 Smithies and their guests toured the Hennepin Theatre Trust’s State and Orpheum theaters and then adjourned for happy hour at Solera. The tour included the chance to go on stage, backstage, and learn about the architecture and decors that make these theaters gems of the Twin Cities.

Theater SalonThen, on March 18, about 20 Smithies and their guests toured the Hennepin Theatre Trust’s State and Orpheum theaters and adjourned for happy hour at Solera. The tour included the chance to go onstage, tour the backstage area, and learn about the architecture and decors that make these theaters such gems of the Twin Cities.

In April, the AACs (Alumnae Admissions Coordinators) organized the shipping of finals-week care packages to about 30 on-campus Minnesota Smith students. Special thanks go to Ann Simonds, Stephanie Frost, and Ann Carr for providing food and goodies for the packages. We received wonderful thank you notes from the students, who feel very supported by our club.

KayakingAnd on July 1, just as this newsletter was going to press, 15 Smithies and their guests enjoyed kayaking the Mississippi River. How fun to be on the river looking up at the cliffs, while getting a good workout too!

I look forward to seeing you at Smith Day, September 8. Working and shopping at Smith Day are terrific ways to meet and reconnect with the wonderful Smith women in Minnesota. If you have never attended before, let me know and I will make sure you meet some great new friends. Have a fun summer. We will have even more HOT events in the fall.

Barbara Klaas ’74

A Word from Our Club President ...

January 2012

Autumn proved to be a busy time for the club.

Smith Day, in early September, was a huge success, thanks to our shoppers, volunteers, and donors. We have included a full article about Smith Day on page 2.

During October, club members participated in two theatrical salons. Polly Grose ’54 hosted a gathering where several Smithies demonstrated their theatrical talents reading Polly’s play “A London Concerto,” which is based on her life in London married to British husband David Grose. According to Polly, not only did the Smithies outperform professional readers, the audience of critics, who gave the play a “thumbs up,” also provided valuable insights. The next theatrical event was a preview performance of “The Birth of Venus,” written by Lisa Meyer ’11 and directed by 20% Theatre Company founder Claire Avitabile ’08. The play, which explores the depths of love and friendship, was performed at Smith in May 2011. The Minneapolis performance was its first professional production. The acting and directing were excellent; audience members enjoyed a lively discussion afterward with the playwright, director, and actors.

In November, club members created fascinator hairpieces that easily could have been worn by guests at the Royal Wedding. (See picture)

Upcoming events include another creative opportunity: Make Your Own Valentines (see below).

On Sunday, March 18, we’ll have the opportunity to take a tour of the historic State and Pantages Theaters on Hennepin. The tour begins at 3:30 pm and the cost is $5 per person. For those interested, we will adjourn for drinks and appetizers after the tour. (Watch your e-mail inbox for details about upcoming salons.)

The club’s Annual Meeting will follow in late April or May. Watch your mailbox for the invitation.

Some of you, I know, have watched your e-mail inbox and mailbox in vain for mailings from our club. I am really sorry, and perplexed, by the communication troubles some have had. Our club relies for addresses on the college’s Alumnae Directory. We use regular mail for our newsletters, Annual Meeting invitations, and Smith Day invitations; we use e-mail for salon announcements, club announcements, or other Smith College–related event announcements. E-mail, we hope, is timely, and it certainly helps keep our costs down.

To make sure that we have your addresses right, or if you know of another Smithie who is not getting mailings or e-mails, please go to Choose “For Alumnae” on the right side of the Web page. If you have an account, log in and make sure that both your mail and e-mail address are listed; it should also show that you are signed up for broadcast e-mails. If there is anything incorrect or missing, please update your profile (online, by phone, or by mail). If you or someone you know is not signed up on the Alumnae Directory, please click on “login” on the left side of the Web page, and you will be sent to the Alumnae Directory page. You will see “Not yet registered for the community” and then you can click on the link to register now. If you have trouble, please call me ([number removed]) or send me an e-mail message ([email removed]) and I’ll be happy to help you register.

We want all Minnesota Smithies to be connected to our club and events. There is now another reason to make sure you receive club e-mails: The Twin Cities Alumni Network (TCAN). TCAN, an association of select alumni clubs including Ivy League colleges, facilitates interclub events, including social, business, educational, and community-service activities. When appropriate and space permits, participating alumni clubs will include other club alumni in their club activities. Robin Hartwell ’86 has been instrumental in the creation of this network, and our club’s executive committee has agreed to try it out. You should have received an e-mail message on January 4 listing a couple of TCAN events. Let me know if you didn’t get it.

I also have very good news to report about the Smith Club of Minnesota Scholarship Fund. The college’s 2010-11 endowment return of over 19% increased the market value of the college’s portfolio to pre-recession levels. Our Scholarship Fund now has a market value of over $2.2 million. This is great news!

Finally, I had the good fortune of visiting Northampton right before New Year’s Day. Although the college buildings were locked up for break, the campus and the grounds looked spectacular. No snow and unseasonably warm weather meant green grass and open water on Paradise Pond. Baskin’s “The Owl” near Wright Hall looked ready to hoot and lay an egg; Elliot Offner’s “Great Blue Heron” by Lyman Plant House looked ready to take flight. Walking around Smith brought back many memories and a sense of gratitude for the wonderful educational experience it provides. Our club’s fundraising allows young women to experience Smith College, and our club’s activities allow us all to share the wisdom, experience, and talent of Smith graduates.

See you at our salons and our Annual Meeting!

Barbara Klaas ’74

A Word from Our Club President ...

January 2011

With winter, the Smith Club’s festivities move indoors, and so it was with our labyrinth exploration on November 18 (2010). Eighteen of us met at Hennepin Avenue Methodist Church, where a nearly full-sized labyrinth printed on canvas was laid out on the floor. Following our “walking” of the labyrinth, we were fortunate to enjoy an hour’s discussion led by M.J. McGregor, friend to many in the Smith Club although a Macalester graduate herself. M.J. supplied numerous visual aids focusing on the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Chartres, where the world’s principal labyrinth was laid into stone in the nave around the turn of the last millennium.

M.J. taught us about the Chartres labyrinth’s history as well as about the development of the labyrinth in general. Many ancient civilizations had labyrinthine forms that were used for meditation, entertainment, and religious pursuits, such as those the Syrians created and those of Roman design in Herculaneum. Fascination with the Chartres labyrinth led M.J. to write her doctoral thesis on experiences people have had when walking it. In that vein, each of the attendees commented on her experience or on thoughts she may have had while walking. As usual with Smithies, it was a thought-provoking discussion. We then adjourned to the Woman’s Club for a delicious dinner and lots of conversation.

On another note, our fall Smith Day event (see the Smith Day link at left) was a great success again this year, enabling our club to subsidize two Praxis internships and make the annual contribution to our endowed scholarship fund which, by the way, is working its way back up to the more than $2 million value it had achieved before the economic slide. Heartfelt thanks go to Smith Day co-chairs Pamela Coleman and Cybel Monson, as well as to our entire group of workers and donors. Peggy Martin hosted a fun wrap-up meeting at her home later in the fall, and when polled, the group emphatically voted to have another Smith Day next year! Even better, we have our co-chairs in place already.

More activities are coming up in the next few months, like a creative, fun beading evening. Bring your old beads or buy new ones to create a fashionable concoction for yourself or someone else. The main attraction, of course, will be just spending an evening with the interesting and, in my view, quite enlightened women from Smith and their friends and family members. We always welcome non-Smith guests to our club meetings and activities. We’ll announce details of this and other events by e-mail, so watch your messages. If you don’t use e-mail, contact me (Betsey–see contact info in Officers link to the left) so you’re sure to be included.

Betsey Whitbeck ’71

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