Swarthmore College President Valerie Smith has once again been named one of Philadelphia Business Journal’s 2021 Women of Distinction, an award that recognizes the Philadelphia area’s most influential female leaders. She also received the award in 2017. The program honors women in the community who are blazing a trail in their respective businesses, are respected for accomplishments within their industries, give back to the community, and are sought out as respected advisors and mentors within their field of influence. Smith is one of the 30 honorees chosen from more than 160 nominations for the award, now in its 26th year.
“I’m humbled and grateful to be recognized amongst this outstanding group of women leading our region into the future,” says Smith.
In addition to overcoming obstacles presented by the COVID-19 pandemic through creative thinking and ingenuity, Smith was recognized for her leadership and stewardship of innovative programs such as the President’s Fund for Racial Justice, the College's Roadmap to Zero Carbon, and the President’s Sustainability Research Fellowship program. Since 2016, a year after Smith became president, Swarthmore has been awarded the INSIGHT into Diversity’s Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award, recognizing colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion.
“I am motivated by the desire to see students, staff, and faculty members flourish, and the opportunity to advance the mission of the College to provide an outstanding liberal arts education and prepare students to serve the common good,” Smith added. "As we undertake a College-wide strategic planning process to lay the groundwork for the next chapter in Swarthmore’s history, I’m excited to develop programs and initiatives which will allow us to have an even greater positive impact on our community.”