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History & Traditions

Explore History and Tradition

Smith College began more than 140 years ago in the mind and conscience of a New England woman. The money used to buy the first land, construct the first buildings and begin the endowment was the bequest of Sophia Smith. When she inherited a large fortune at age 65, Sophia Smith decided, after much deliberation and advice, that leaving her inheritance to found a women’s college was the best way “to furnish for my own sex means and facilities for education equal to those which are afforded now in our colleges to young men.”

Video: The Life and Legacy of Otelia Cromwell

“The Life and Legacy of Otelia Cromwell” was part of the college's 25th annual celebration honoring Smith’s first African American graduate.