May 2016 Archways

Campus Buzz


Former Brown President Ruth Simmons delivers Commencement address

Ruth J. Simmons, former president of both Brown University and Smith College, delivered the Commencement address to the Class of 2016 and degree candidates from its two graduate schools this May.
The first African-American president of an Ivy League institution, Simmons served at Brown from 2001 to 2012. Under her leadership, Brown significantly improved its standing as one of the world’s finest research universities. At Smith, she launched a number of important academic initiatives, including an engineering program, the first at an American women’s college.

Bryn Mawr President Kim Cassidy says, “Ruth Simmons’s visionary leadership and her ability to enact critical change across multiple institutions facing different kinds of challenges made her an ideal candidate to address the Class of 2016.”

Bibliotecha Philadelphiensis

With 50 volumes adding up to 15,000 pages, Bryn Mawr has one of the area’s premier collections of medieval manuscripts. No surprise then that the College is the second-largest contributor among the 15 taking part in Bibliotheca Philadelphiensis, a project to digitize virtually all of the region’s medieval manuscripts—a total of almost 160,000 pages from more than 400 volumes.

The bulk of the College’s holdings comes from New York collector Howard Lehman Goodhart and his daughter, Renaissance scholar Phyllis Goodhart Gordan ’35, who built their collection in the 1930s and 1940s.
Says Bryn Mawr Special Collections Director Eric Pumroy, “Ms. Gordan’s interest in Renaissance Humanism is reflected in the presence of three works by Poggio Bracciolini and five by Leonardo Bruni, all written in Italy in the mid-15th century. There are also two mid-15th century Latin translations of Greek works—John Chrysostom and Eusebius—done by Francesco Griffolini of Arezzo and George of Trebizond, two of the critical figures in bringing Greek literature to western Europe, and an Italian edition of Petrarch’s Rime.”

The Bibliotheca Philadelphiensis images will be accessible online, in the public domain, and easily downloadable at high resolution. Organized by the Philadelphia Area Consortium of Special Collections Libraries, the project is funded by the Council on Library and Information Resources with generous support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

New Dean on Campus

Jennifer L. Walters, associate dean of the College for Community Life and dean of Religious Life at Smith College, will assume the role of dean of the undergraduate college in late July.
“Jennifer has deep experience supporting the intellectual, social, and physical well-being of diverse communities,” says President Kim Cassidy. “From a robust pool of applicants, she stood out to students, staff, and faculty alike as a candidate with a deep understanding of and commitment to inclusion, agency, and academic excellence.”

At Smith, Walters served as acting director of the Office of Institutional Diversity and the Center for Community Collaboration, co-directed the Women’s Narratives Project, and worked with the Steinem Initiative to connect academics and women’s social justice movements.

Asia and the Environment

The Tri-Co has received a $701,000 four-year grant as part of the Henry Luce Foundation’s Luce Initiative on Asian Studies and the Environment to develop a holistic vision for expanding and integrating opportunities for the study of Asia and the environment throughout the curriculum. The grant supports workshops and presentations by visiting scholars and the development of 360° and interdisciplinary courses with a travel component to China. Taking the lead on the 360° component, Bryn Mawr will develop a new cluster focusing on food and the East Asian environment as well as reoffering Perspectives on Sustainability: Disasters, and Rebuilding in Japan; Contemplative Traditions; and China and the Environment.