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Cultivating Joy

Alums and students connect across Europe March 2024

Jacqui DeFelice with Anne Hornung-Soukup ’74, a third-generation Smithie (middle), and Hiroko Tsuboi-Friedman ’93 (right) in Geneva.

Jacqui DeFelice with Anne Hornung-Soukup ’74, a third-generation Smithie (middle), and Hiroko Tsuboi-Friedman ’93 (right) in Geneva.


Published April 18, 2024

My name is Jacqui DeFelice, and I’m the director of international alum relations and development at Smith. I’ve just returned from two amazing weeks in Europe, and I want to share with you the joy and power of Smith’s global community. Smithies gathered across Europe—in Denmark, France, Switzerland, Germany, England, and Ireland—and each event abundantly demonstrated what the famous Smith network really means: Current students, prospective students, and alums connecting with, supporting, and celebrating each other. Take a look!

My first stop was in Aalborg, Denmark, marking the inaugural event of the newly formed Nordic Network for Smith College. The event brought alums and students together from Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, Finland, Norway, and Germany.

“It’s truly special what comes out of a Smithie gathering across backgrounds, ages, and life experiences! I couldn’t feel more proud, humbled, and inspired... I look forward to our next event to gather Smithies in the Nordics and beyond!”
Yamanda Boukmakh ‘16, Nordic Network Leader, Denmark

My second stop was Paris, where I met with study abroad students, alums, and the study abroad directors Marie-Madeleine Charlier and Professor Rob Dorit.

The study abroad students are immersed in the French language and culture and have a semi-formal agreement to not speak English with each other. They had to be reassured that it was okay to make an exception in my company. Phew!

Next stop, Geneva! Almost 40 alums and students gathered on March 8, a remarkable number. Anne Hornung-Soukup ’74, who has been an amazing volunteer leader of the Smith in Europe Reunions, described the joy of these reunions and encouraged everyone to join the Smith in Europe Reunion in Paris this October 24–27.

Students gathered around a table in Paris.

Students currently studying abroad in Paris. I’m second from left.

Berlin, Germany, presented an opportunity for me to meet for the first time with our alums there. The photo from this gathering took place in a very lively venue on the banks of the Spree River. Smith has not had an official network in Berlin, but since the event there, two alums (Chen Li “Stella” ’19 and Xiaowei Li “Vivian” ’16) have volunteered to take on leadership roles.

People gathered around a table in Berlin, Germany

Alums in Berlin gather with Jutta Gutzeit (front row second from left), director of the study abroad program in Germany. Jutta came all the way from Hamburg for the occasion.

In London on March 15, the Smith College Club of Great Britain hosted its annual winter dinner at the University Women’s Club. Smith Professor Gillian Murray Kendall spoke on Shakespeare, asking:

”How does Shakespeare muster his English and send it forth to do battle in his ceaseless effort to portray, finally, what it means to be human?”

Alums in London also had the opportunity to engage with Kevin Morrison, the director of the Lewis Global Studies Center at Smith, building deeper connections and insights into the college’s global studies strategy.

“I feel that I am slowly gaining a deeper understanding of and appreciation for the way that Smithies engage with the world after they depart Northampton. It is refreshing to see your continued dedication to your alma mater. I do hope that you will drop by the Lewis Global Studies Center next time you are on campus.”
Kevin Morrison, director of the Lewis Global Studies Center
Students, alums, and professors in London

Smith alums and students in London gather for the annual Winter Dinner at the University Women’s Club.

Last stop, Dublin, on St. Patrick’s Day weekend! We gathered at a restaurant overlooking the iconic Ha'penny Bridge, right in the center of the lively St. Paddy’s Day celebrations. One of the alums, Ivy Bannister ’72 (far left in the photo), was incredibly delighted since she has lived in Dublin for 40 years and this is the first Smith College gathering she has attended. We hope to gather the community together again later this spring when Denys Candy, director of the Jandon Center for Community Engagement, leads a group of students to Ireland as part of their Overcoming Divided Histories project, which examines differing representations of Irish identity in Belfast and Dublin.

Alums gather with a Smith College banner in Dublin

Alums from Smith’s undergraduate and diploma programs met to celebrate their Smith connections on St. Paddy’s Day weekend in Dublin.

All these Smithie gatherings illustrate the profound joy that emerges when our community comes together. Each city, from Aalborg to Dublin, brought its own unique flavor to our collective story, reminding us of the enduring strength of Smith's international ties.

Looking to the future, we have an exciting lineup of international events. Notably, the eagerly anticipated Smith in Europe Reunion is set to take place in the heart of Paris from October 24–27, 2024, offering a unique opportunity for alums across the continent and beyond to reconnect and create new memories. June 12–15, 2025, we will celebrate a major milestone—the 100th anniversary of the Smith College study abroad program in Paris. This promises to be a spectacular celebration of the enduring legacy and impact of global education that Smith has championed for a century.

Further expanding our global outreach, in July 2024 I am heading to Africa. My journey will take me to Nairobi, Kenya, followed by stops in Johannesburg and Cape Town, South Africa. Here, I hope to help strengthen and build the alum networks by engaging the local communities of alums and exploring new opportunities for collaboration and support.

I am so inspired by the powerful connections Smithies have to Smith and each other. Everything you do strengthens this remarkable global community, from giving of your time, giving to the Smith Fund, mentoring students, attending events, offering internships, and much more. Thank you!

More Snapshots of Joy

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