August 2016 Smithie of the Month – Kate Thomas

Kate Thomas
Class of 2000
How long have you lived in Philadelphia? What’s your favorite restaurant in the city?  West Philadelphia born and… erm.  I don’t eat out very often, but I am fond of Dim Sum Garden.
What are you up to now?  I recently sold my business, a fencing club that I built about five years ago.  Now I’m jumping off into an even more improbable project involving Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln and… singing.  And dancing.  There’s actually a tangential project that feels very, very Smith that is digging into the women around these two men, who were so incredibly strong and determined and… trapped by the social norms of the day.  They’re clamoring for their own stage and I really want to hear what they have to say to one another!
What house did you live in on campus and what was your favorite thing about it?  I lived in Albright.  I was incredibly involved outside my house so I was a bit of a hermit in my house.  I treasured it as a respite from all the everything outside.
Why did you choose Smith?  I swore up and down that I would never ever ever go to a women’s college – all my friends were guys, it just wasn’t my scene.  And then at some point early in my senior year of high school I looked around at the adult women I respected and gradually realized that not only was I going to apply to Smith, I was going to apply early decision.
Who was your favorite professor/what was your best class?  I was a music major and still feel so fortunate for how incredible the music faculty was.  (Is!  Most of them are still there!)  They all played a huge part in my going on to get a PhD in music history.  But I am particularly grateful to Ruth Solie, whose seminars focused on close readings and tight writing. I had a moment in my senior year, a flash of realizing that it had taken 21 years but I finally felt like I was juuuuuust starting to read and really engage with texts, just learning how to write and truly communicate thoughts.  It was exhilarating.  Sixteen years later and I’m still grateful every day.
How did your Smith experience shape your life?  I’ve made a couple big jumps in my life – huge, exciting, terrifying projects and changes.  The confidence and determination that I built at Smith – through challenging, rigorous classes and opportunities like heading student clubs and working summer internships in my field (with funding from Smith!) – has helped me recognize the dreams, realize that I could achieve them, and then sit my tail-feathers down and get to it and through it.  But more importantly, I am consistently amazed at the joy and courage and support I find in my friends and classmates as they do the same.

Book Award Recipients

This spring, the Smith College Club of Philadelphia was pleased to present book awards to 15 talented young women in the Philadelphia area.

Jayleen Ayala (below, on right) was Olney Charter High School’s first ever recipient of the Smith Book Award.  Jayleen has just completed her junior year and is ranked in the top 5% of her class.


Congratulations to Jayleen and the award recipients at the following Philadelphia area high schools:

Abington Senior High School

Academy of Notre Dame

Agnes Irwin School

AIM Academy

Conestoga High School

J.R. Masterman

Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy

Mastery Charter High School

Olney Charter High School

Penncrest High School

Pennsbury High School

Philadelphia High School for Girls

Plymouth Whitemarsh High School

Solebury High School

Upper Darby High School

Do you have an area high school that you’d like to see on this list next year? Let us know!

Book awards are funded 100% from donations. Just $20 sponsors a book award! If you would like to support this program and help us recognize even more outstanding students next year, consider adding a book award donation when you send in your 2015-2016 annual dues. (Club dues cover the fiscal year starting July 1).

February 2015, Smithie of the Month – Lindsey Allen

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Name:  Lindsey Allen

Class Year:  2008

How long have you lived in Philadelphia?

I have lived in Philly for 6 ½ years. I moved here for graduate school right after Smith and immediately loved the city.

What’s your favorite restaurant in the city?

This questions is a very difficult one to answer… I usually prefer to try something new whenever I eat out. My favorites include the small taco joints in the Italian Market – and when I’m feeling fancy, it’s Zahav or Han Dynasty.

What are you up to now?

I am a Senior Architectural Historian for Johnson, Mirmiran & Thompson (an engineering and design firm in Philly), where I work with federal agencies and engineers to identify and protect historic and cultural resources that may be affected by proposed infrastructure projects. I also volunteer with the Young Friends of the Preservation Alliance, the Community Design Collaborative, and am treasurer for the Smith College Club of Philadelphia.

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

I lived in Jordan House and absolutely loved the fierce loyalty of the friends I made while I was there; my closest friends still today are the ones I lived with in JoHo. Also, we had some pretty epic parties.

Why did you choose Smith?

A number of reasons factored into my decision to attend Smith, including the study abroad opportunities, the fantastic academic reputation, the extensive and supportive alumnae network, and of course the beautiful campus. It was easy to love and it quickly became, and remained, my top choice for college. The trigger, however, was their financial aid support. I knew I would attend the school who offered my family the most affordable option and I was THRILLED it was Smith.

What is your favorite Smith tradition and why?

My favorite Smith tradition has to be the overall housing (not dorm!) system. The combination of class years, majors and personalities within and among the houses was one of my favorite aspects of Smith. I was involved all my years there – from academic advisor my sophomore year to house president my senior year.

Do you have a defining/favorite/most memorable/transformative Smith moment?

I think my most transformative Smith moment occurred after I graduated. While I was there, I was often convinced that I got in by mistake – I did not feel up to snuff academically and had to work very hard to keep up. These feelings stayed with me, even when I was accepted to UPenn for a graduate degree in Historic Preservation. It wasn’t until I started graduate school that I realized that all the work I put in to keeping up with the rigorous Smith academic program had in fact pushed me ahead of the curve when I left. And I am incredibly grateful for that.

How did your Smith experience shape your life?

So many ways. Personally, I built confidence in myself both in the classroom and among my peers. My closest relationships were built at Smith and I met so many diverse people who continue to influence my life.  I became a more critical thinker and a better leader, which has helped me succeed in graduate school and in my professional career.

Smithie of the Month–Vita Reid, November 2014

Smithie of The Month

Vita Reid - Smith College 1991

Name:  Delvita (Vita) Reid

Class Year:   AC 1993

Age:  55

Where have you lived?

I was born in Philadelphia, and was raised to adolescence in Lake Wales, Florida and Buck Hill Falls, Pennsylvania. At age 12, I returned to Philadelphia and attended the Philadelphia High School for Girls. I resided in University City for several years prior to moving lock, stock and barrel to Massachusetts to attend Smith in 1990. Shortly after graduation, I lived in San Francisco, CA with another Smithie, the Head Resident of Lawrence House during my senior year.  I have lived in Philadelphia continuously since 1998.

What’s your favorite restaurant in the city?

My favorite restaurant hands down is La Croix at the Rittenhouse Hotel. Aside from having the most scrumptious Best of Philadelphia Sunday Brunch in town, their impeccable service is second to none.

What are you up to now?

I currently reside in the South Street/Head House District. I have two professions: (1) voiceover talent; and (2) litigation and estates administration paralegal. I am also an avid bridge player, and hope to win a world medal in a mixed-pairs event in ten years. I would like to attend law school and practice wills, trusts and estates law for high-net-worth clientele. I will be taking the LSAT in February 2015. My goal is to establish a nonprofit organization to educate people about the importance of drafting a will, to assist in the formulation of an estate plan, and to administer estates for low-income executors and testators.

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

Although I lived in Lawrence House during my senior year, Cutter House was by far my favorite domicile. I really enjoyed myself, as I made it a point to savor every moment of academic life. I made numerous friends in Cutter House, and we have kept in contact with each other to this day. Here I am surrounded by my Cutter House chums:

Smith College - Vita Reid with Cutter House FriendsPhoto courtesy of Kathie Giltinan, AC 1993.

Why did you choose Smith?

When I know I’m about to push beyond my comfort zone, I do everything I can to avoid self-sabotage. I wanted to make sure I did not talk myself out of applying to college. So I applied to Smith early decision. I chose Smith because I always set the bar high when establishing a goal, which forces me to reach for its attainment. Besides, I’m 5’10” tall, and I have very long arms!

What is your favorite Smith tradition and why?

Afternoon tea! I just loved sticking out my pinkie, sipping tea from those lovely tea cups, and enjoying those delicious desserts. I so looked forward to Fridays to decompress for a short while from the rigors of academia. I also loved volunteering on Ivy Day:

Smith Collge - Vita Reid at Ivy Day

How did your Smith experience shape your life?

My first semester was fraught with fear and doubt. I spent the first several weeks in Spanish class thinking to myself, “I don’t understand a word my professor is saying. I’m not going to make it.” I was terrified. There I was a 31-year-old woman, among all those young people. “What on earth was I thinking when I applied to this school?!” “Have you lost your mind?!?”

Then all of a sudden uncertainty melted away triumphantly and everything started to fall in place like a stack of strategically-positioned dominos: (1) I got A’s on my Spanish compositions; (2) so many of my professors enjoyed reading my papers, including Professor Randy Frost who wrote, “Excellent Paper!  The best I have seen in some time.”; (3) I was asked by Jim Henle and David Cohen to serve as undergraduate assistant for Intensive Calculus and Discrete Mathematics for two semesters; (4) One of my professors recommended that I be a peer writing tutor; and; (5) I made the Dean’s List. I not only graduated, … I excelled!

I came to the realization that if I can excel at Smith College, then I can do anything. So each year I make a commitment to push the envelope and do something I’ve never done before, no matter how big or small: (a) I’ve flown a plane over the Oregon Wilderness; (b) I flew to Milan, Italy alone and spent 21 days traveling throughout Italy (I did that on a dare); (c) I became a voiceover talent; and (d) I crocheted a baby blanket.  There is so much to look forward to in this life, and I plan to do as much as I possibly can for as long as I possibly can.  Smith College has graced me with an indomitable spirit, and for that I am eternally grateful.

Looking Ahead: Career Advice

Colleen O’Mara, Associate Director for Alumnae Engagement for the Smith College Alumnae Association, specializes in career development programs for alums. In January she will be visiting Philadelphia to provide professional workshops and counseling sessions to our local alums.

Are you interested in getting some advice or feedback from her? Let us know what sorts of topics you’d like to explore with her. Please fill out our survey here so that we can plan an effective engagement. In the past, Colleen has facilitated workshops on changing careers, staying in touch with the work world while raising kids full-time, resume & cover letter-writing, using social media to better your career, and many other topics.



Greetings, Philly Smithies!

Welcome to our new-and-improved Smith College Club of Philadelphia website. Having kept a pretty spare site in the past, we’ve expanded to keep you up-to-date on Club activities and information.

Our website isn’t the only thing undergoing revitalization—after a few years of sporadic activity, SCCoP is coming back to life! In April 2011, 11 local Smithies met to get the ball rolling again.

And now it’s your turn to get involved! According to our charter, our first task is to elect officers. We need at least 30 votes! To do this, we hope you’ll join us for our Annual Meeting.

Smith College Club of Philadelphia Annual Meeting 2011

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Arthur Ross Gallery, University of Pennsylvania

For our annual meeting, please join us at UPenn’s Arthur Ross Gallery for a tour of Girl Culture, photographs by Lauren Greenfield which explore contemporary culture for girls, addressing issues such as sexuality, body image, and weight loss culture. Gallery Director and University Curator, Lynn Marsden-Atlass, will give a gallery talk and we will enjoy wine and hors d’ouevres. We will reserve the last 15 minutes for club business, including the election of officers. Thank you to Sheila Raman ’86 for helping to organize this event!

Cost: $12

Please RSVP by May 11 by sending the April 2011 Newsletter tear-off (Click Here to Download) with your check made out to Smith College Club of Philadelphia.


use PayPal:

In “Notes to Seller,” please provide your name and the phrase “Annual Meeting.”

The Arthur Ross Gallery is located at 220 S. 34th Street, Philadelphia, and is easily accessible by public transportation. Click here for more on location and directions.