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President Valerie Smith Elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Portrait of President Valerie Smith

Swarthmore College President Valerie Smith has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, joining the illustrious ranks of one of the nation’s oldest scholarly societies.

“This honor signifies the high regard in which you are held by leaders in your field and members throughout the nation,” Nancy C. Andrews, chair of the board, and David W. Oxtoby, president, wrote in notifying Smith of the news.

Established in 1780, the Academy is a center for creative thinkers from every field and profession, including more than 250 Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winners. It honors excellence in scholarship and innovation, and connects leaders from around the world to explore society’s challenges, identify solutions, and promote nonpartisan recommendations that advance the public good.

Its members have helped set the course for research and analysis in science and technology, international affairs and global security, social policy, education, and the arts and humanities.

“I’m deeply honored to accept this invitation to an organization that is committed to the work of strengthening the global community,” says Smith. “It is both humbling and exciting to be a part of this esteemed interdisciplinary group that is working tirelessly to advance our world and is unafraid to take on its greatest challenges.”

Smith joins the Academy’s historic members, from founders John Adams and Benjamin Franklin, to Albert Einstein, Margaret Mead, Jonas Salk, Martin Luther King Jr., and John F. Kennedy. Toni Morrison, a key figure in Smith’s scholarly pursuits, was also a member of the academy.

Smith and her fellow new members “are united by a place in history and by an opportunity to shape the future through the Academy’s work to advance the public good,” added Oxtoby.

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