Smithie of the Month–Lisa Carmalt, August 2014

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Smithie of The Month
Name: Lisa Platt Carmalt
Class Year: 1968

How long have you lived in Philadelphia? What’s your favorite restaurant in the city?
I moved to Philadelphia from New Jersey 5 1⁄2 years ago. I like the Vietnam Café on 47th Street.

What are you up to now?
I am retired from a career as a non-profit director, consultant to non-profits, and instructor of English as a Second Language. An organization I founded in Trenton, Interfaith Caregivers of Greater Mercer County (in-home services to seniors and people with disabilities), is now in its 20th year.  I helped start similar programs around the country through the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.  While retired I have volunteered for several organizations which promote literacy.  I’m taking classes through an outreach program of Temple U.  I visit my grandchildren in Seattle whenever possible.

What house did you live in on campus and what was your favorite thing about it?
I lived in Gillett which was convenient to the Hatfield language building where I studied Russian and to JM Green and Hills Chapel where I practiced organ. Of course my friends were the best part.

Why did you choose Smith?
Partly because my mother and others I admired had gone there. Also it was strong in languages and music. And I liked the house system.

Who was your favorite professor?
I especially liked one of my Russian Lit profs, Maria Banerjee, and my piano prof, Lory Wallfisch.

Do you have a favorite/most memorable Smith moment?
The ’68 Chamber Singers European tour was a highlight. I still enjoy choral singing locally and perform with an a cappella quartet in Trenton.

How did your Smith experience shape your life?
Smith prepared me to work for change. The college was in a time of transition and re-definition while I was there. The women’s movement and civil rights were gaining momentum in the world outside. The role of single-sex colleges was being re-examined. I absorbed a desire to make my community a better place, which I have attempted to do since then as a non-profit leader and as a volunteer. Since moving to Philly I have loved working with young alums on revitalizing our local Smith club. It has been exciting to hear from them about the many changes that have made the college what it is today. Here’s to the new Smith of the 21st century!

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