We’ve just celebrated the 129th Commencement at Smith with Gloria Steinem, Class of 1956, as the guest speaker. You can read the text of her speech at: http://www.smith.edu/collegerelations/com2007.php. The first commencement where a woman was the guest speaker occurred in 1919, at the 40th commencement celebration of Smith! Virginia Crocheron Guildersleeve was the Dean of Barnard College. Her speech titled, “Ordeal by Fire” discussed women’s colleges and the challenges and opportunities the First World War brought to them.
Original copies of Commencement speeches are available in the Class Records in the College Archives. Published versions are also available in issues of the Smith Alumnae Quarterly magazine. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us!
A complete list of Smith College Commencement speakers can be found at: http://www.smith.edu/collegerelations/speakers.php