January 2016 Smithie of the Month: Sue Badeau

WIth Nancy Roseman (2)

(Sue Badeau – L, with friend and fellow Smithie, Nancy Roseman – L)

Name: Sue (Susan Hoag) Badeau

Class Year: 1979 (and 1980 – I started in the class of 1980, but decided to accelerate and graduate in 3 years so I finished in the year of 1979 – I have friends in both classes!)

How long have you lived in Philadelphia?

I Moved to Philly in 1992 – this is my 24th year here.

What’s your favorite restaurant in the city?

That’s a tough one, I travel so much for my work, and eat out on the road so often, that I rarely eat out when home, although I do frequent the Trolley Car Diner a lot with my grandchildren (they each get a one-on-one “date” with Nanna and Poppa at the Trolley Car). I like to support small local restaurants. Tiffin is one of my favorites.

What are you up to now?

I Love being a grandmother and great grandmother but still working countless hours as an educator in the field of trauma-informed care for children and an advocate for children in the child welfare, juvenile justice and other systems. I do a lot of writing – have published a few books and have a couple more in the pipeline. Also, we devote as much time as we can to a wonderful program in Kenya called Imara which helps educate and empower young Kenyan girls, and I am currently president of the Board of an International organization – the North American Council on Adoptable Children.

What house did you live in on campus and what was your favorite thing about it?

Laura Scales House – well, I picked it because I could get my own room, but what I loved most about it turned out to be the friends and camaraderie with my “almost roommates” and some have remained life-long friends. My favorite recent Smith-related experience was attending the inauguration of one of my very best Smith friends, Nancy Roseman as the President of Dickinson College I also loved the huge basement at Scales House where I set up an office for my little “business” typing papers for other students for 50 cents a page!

Why did you choose Smith?

I wanted to be able to major in dance (ballet, and more) but my parents didn’t feel that was the best option for my future (they were wise). Nevertheless, I wanted a school with strong academics AND a good dance program, and the idea of a women’s college really appealed to me.

What is your favorite Smith tradition and why?

Social activism. I really cut my teeth on the activism that has been a part of my life as a result of the opportunities and exposure I had at Smith.

Who was your favorite professor/what was your best class?

Sue Freeman and all the classes I took from her in the education department. But I loved my dance and theatre classes as well and Len Berkman was a favorite in that arena.

Do you have a defining/favorite/most memorable/transformative Smith moment? Being selected as an official “press” representative from Smith to ride the press bus and interview candidates during the 1978-79 run-up to the presidential elections. I met Jimmy Carter, Ted Kennedy and other candidates, and also got to sit on the press bus with the likes of Hamilton Jordan and Jody Powell. It really fueled my passions for both politics (with both small and capital “P”) and journalism.

What makes a Smithie unique?

There are many different Smithie profiles and I love the diversity and wish it would become even more diverse. But the common characteristic is drive, passion and a desire to make a difference in the world.

How did your Smith experience shape your life?

I met people who opened my eyes to injustices and realities I had not known or seen while growing up in small-town Vermont. The ideals and goals which have shaped my life and career were forged at Smith.

(Below: Sue Badeau – L, with Jill Ker Conway – R)

Smith Conway Sue speaking


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