Smith College Medal Awarded to Four Alumnae: Rally Day Recap

Katherine Hazen '18 Staff Writer 

Four distinguished alumnae received their Smith Medals on Rally Day on Wednesday, Feb. 18.  The Smith Medal was established by college trustees in 1962 to honor alumnae who represent the “true purpose of a liberal arts education,” in their personal and professional lives, according to the Alumnae Association of Smith College’s website.  Faculty, alumnae and a committee composed of representatives of the trustees suggest candidates for the medal to the board of trustees.

These four medalists join a group of over 200 alumnae who have been recognized for their accomplishments.  Gillian Martin Sorenson ’63, Jane Abramson O’Connor ’69, Cynthia F. Bearer ’72 and Stephanie D. Neely ’85 hosted lectures on their work Tuesday before receiving their medals at the Rally Day Convocation.

Sorenson studied French during her time at Smith and boasts an illustrious career in diplomatic relations: she worked as assistant secretary general under Kofi Annan and Boutros Boutros-Ghali, senior adviser/advocate for the United Nations Foundation, and in many other positions.  Sorenson has been honored to be a Fellow at Harvard University twice.

O’Connor, once an English major, now works as vice president and editor-at-large at Penguin Random House. She is also the best-selling author of the Fancy Nancy children’s book series, which sold 22 million copies worldwide.

On Smith College website’s Rally Day page, Bearer is heralded as one of the best doctors in America, as well as one of America’s top pediatricians. She is also considered an expert on fetal alcohol syndrome and consequences of environmental toxins on children’s development.  The current Mary Gray Cobey Professor of Neonatology at the University of Maryland Hospital for Children studied mathematics during her Smith career and has continued to lead an impressive career of prolific achievements.

Neely chose to study economics after taking macroeconomics with Professor Randy Bartlett; she trail blazed for female minorities in the field of finance after attending University of Chicago School of Business post-Smith.  Neely currently works as vice president, treasurer and an officer of Allstate Insurance Company, and in the past, she directed Chicago’s $7 billion portfolio as treasurer and chief investment officer for the city.

The presentation of the Smith College Medals is available as a webcast on the Smith College website’s Rally Day page.