Reunions 2, 2008

May 23, 2008

Smith women love to return to campus!  There are so many Smith alumnae that return, and so few places of accommodation in the Valley, that we have 2 weekends of Reunion fun!  We’re now in the beginnings of the 2nd weekend of reunion.  The College Archives is pretty busy during these times.  This morning I had an alumna from the Class of 1938 donate materials of the class; we’ve pulled together mini-exhibit for the 12 classes that are returning.  Saturday afternoon 98 women from the Class of 1953 meet in Alumnae Gymnasium for their class meeting and I will give two talks about what’s in the College Archives and what the Archives is all about!  If recent past statistics say anything,  the College Archives staff meet, on average, with 40 individuals during our weekend of open hours.

It’s wonderful that so many women care about the history of Smith–and are a part of the history of Smith!  We, the staff, look forward to all the opportunities to meet and talk with Smith alumnae!

Illumination Night

May 23, 2008

Well, I sure have been off the ‘blog-o-sphere’ of late!  Today is the first day of our second weekend of reunion events here at Smith.  Last weekend was the big one for seniors: Commencement was held on Sunday morning, May 18th.  There were lot’s of families, friends and supporters of Smith on campus.  The weather was fairly cooperative, except for the Saturday night rain out of Illumination Night.  Everyone loves Illumination Night, so there were many disappointed folks out there.

What is Illumination Night, you ask?  One of the earliest mentions of the night is in the Hampshire County Journal of June 23, 1888 when it describes, “…The College ground were brilliantly decorated with Chinese lanterns Tuesday night, when the annual reception took place in Hillyer art gallery…”  1,000 lanterns lit campus that night.  As the years progressed music became an important part of the festivities with the Glee Club, alumnae and step singing happening.  Singing competitions were held on the steps of the old Students Building.  In the 1950s the Glee Club performed on the island in Paradise Pond.  Today there is still plenty of musical activity to Illumination Night, including group singing, and formal bands playing.  When the rain does come down, Illumination Night has been held in various places: the College Hall Social Hall, Alumnae Gymnasium, the Indoor Track and Tennis Courts, and now the Campus Center.