Smith announces new scholarships, expanded partnership with Holyoke, Greenfield community colleges

Last modified: Friday, December 12, 2014

NORTHAMPTON — Smith College is opening a new door to welcome students on a non-traditional path in their education.

The college announced Wednesday the creation of its Community College Scholarship Program, which will award four full-tuition scholarships to students with a minimum of 32 credits from Holyoke Community College or Greenfield Community College.

Students awarded this scholarship will also have access to support in their transition in the form of specialized academic advising and faculty and peer mentoring.

“We are really excited to launch this program and to expand our engagement with very important educational institutions in the area,” said Audrey Smith, vice president of admission at Smith College.

Smith said that the new program is part of a long-running commitment at the college to provide access for students of all educational and economic backgrounds. She noted that the school has offered full tuition scholarships to students in the Springfield and Holyoke public schools for several years, and that this is a way to expand these opportunities to local community colleges.

“We are truly a global college,” she said. “But our immediate area matters very much to us.”

Sidonia Dalby, associate director of admission at Smith College, added that it also is committed to paving the way to four-year degrees for women who did not begin a four-year college immediately after high school. The Ada Comstock Scholars Program, for which Dalby is the adviser, was established in 1975 to give women who are 24 and older, or are veterans or have a dependent other than a spouse the opportunity to complete a degree at a reasonable pace. She said Smith students currently range in age from 18 to 65.

Dalby said she does most of her recruiting at community colleges, and noted that these institutions provide both affordability and convenience for women who had to start working at a young age due to family circumstances, have served in the military, or were not sure what to study upon graduation from high school.

“A lot of people find they get turned on academically and intellectually in a way they didn’t before, or didn’t have the opportunity to,” Dalby said.

More information on how to apply will soon be available on the Smith College website at Audrey Smith said the first round of applicants will be considered in the spring for admission in fall 2015.

Holyoke Community College president William Messner and Greenfield Community College president Robert Pura have said the new program will allow for more transfer students from their institutions. Messner called the new program “good news” for students who otherwise could not afford to transfer to Smith.

“Smith has long been a top transfer choice for our best female graduates, and this new program recognizes the rigorous academic preparation they receive at HCC,” Messner said in a statement.

Smith College president Kathleen McCartney said that over the years, the college has enrolled many “extraordinary women” from both Holyoke Community College and Greenfield Community College.

“They have become vital, engaged members of the community, helping to transform our classrooms during their student years, and bringing vision, energy and commitment to the world after graduation,” McCartney said in a statement. “This new program formalizes our commitment to them, to our local community colleges and to educational needs of this region.”

Gena Mangiaratti can be reached at


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