By Liv Yarrow, Brooklyn College, CUNY
Professor Smith joined our Classics faculty in 1972 and played a central role in the creation of the Latin/ Greek Institute. In 1985 she published a widely-used two-volume commentary on Plautus' Captivi, a play rich in themes of freedom and slavery. Her research stretched from Plutarch and Plautus to Zora Neale Hurston and Phyllis Wheatley. In recent years she regularly taught in the Africana Studies and Classics Departments. Professor Smith was the founding director of the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship program in 1989. In 1991 Smith was appointed founding director of the CUNY Pipeline Program and continued in that role until 2007. From 1995 to 2007, she also served as director of the Office of Educational Opportunity and Diversity Programs (OEODP) at the CUNY Graduate Center, receiving more than $11.5 million in external institutional grants to support initiatives to broaden participation in doctoral programs in STEM and SBES fields by students from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds. Her work has empowered thousands of CUNY students across the arts and sciences to further their education and build a more equitable and just future for all.