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Joy Felt Around the World

Smith alums from 15 countries gather in Seoul to cheer on inauguration and celebrate.

Published October 31, 2023

Long before President Sarah Willie-LeBreton’s inauguration on October 21, Smith alums around the world were joyfully anticipating the historic event, many located thousands of miles from Northampton.

Nowhere was that more apparent than in Seoul, where alums gathered for the Smith in Asia Reunion, which took place October 19 to 22. Alums from around the world attended, including from Australia, Belgium, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Korea, Pakistan, Paraguay, Singapore, Switzerland, Turkey, and the United States.

Over four days, reunioneers enjoyed the rich cultural heritage of Korea, including a visit to the National Folk Museum of Korea, a guided tour of the magnificent Deoksugung Palace, and an exhibit at Jeongdong 1928 Art Center by Korean American artist Nam June Paik, a pioneer in performance and technology-based art. They were also invited to spend an afternoon wearing hanbok, the traditional Korean jacket and skirt.

Special Reunion programming featured a discussion of trends in Korean media with Keo Lee, Netflix Korea director of content, interviewed by journalist Hyo-Won Lee ’05. A visit to Vinyl and Plastic, a music store and library designed by Mary Spackman ’91, and an exclusive skincare and makeup demonstration topped off the programming.

No reunion is complete without indulging in a tantalizing array of regional delicacies. Smith alums had the pleasure of savoring Korean BBQ and other mouthwatering regional dishes.

Heartfelt thanks go to our dedicated alums in Korea, including Jennifer Han ’01 and Hyuna Lee ’98, for their exceptional leadership and effort in organizing this event, the second Smith in Asia Reunion.

“Amazingly, as we walked around Seoul waving our Smith College flags, we met five or six other alums who were visiting Seoul from around the world,” says Director of International Alumnae Relations and Development Jacqui DeFelice. “Smithies are everywhere!”