Class Newsletter – Spring 2021

In Newsletters, Reunion, Uncategorized on April 6, 2021 at 12:26 am


Hello Class of 2001!! Though the Covid-19 pandemic still challenges many of us in so many ways, the availability of vaccines has brought hope that we will return to pre-pandemic life in the near future. Spring is finally in the air, marked by the annual Bulb Show at our beloved Botanical Garden (held virtually this year March 6- 21st). Some of us have enjoyed a brief, warm respite from winter this past week, venturing out from our work-at-home caves to enjoy the sunshine outdoors in our pandemic pajamas and yoga pants.  

Adding to the challenges of the pandemic, our Smith community became a brief focus of the national media in February (I highly recommend checking out President McCartney’s message to the community). As the College’s strong commitment to advancing racial justice was evaluated by the world outside of the Smith bubble, I found myself reaching out to my classmates and grateful for the ability to process these events as a community of Smithies. The connections we made together as undergraduates or when we met over Reunion weekends, or more recently, virtually over Zoom or through Facebook groups centered so many of us as we navigated the storm coming from people who don’t understand what makes Smith Smith. We leaned on each other through this experience as we’ve leaned on each other before, and will continue to do moving forward. The conversations I was a part of or witnessed were hard, but moving forward is a process that hurts. It is through the pain that something good comes, and we need to recognize the work that needs to be done in order for us to progress. Nothing is perfect, but together we can work together to create a better place.

I am so looking forward to connecting with you all at our reunion in just a few months!  

Take care and be well,

Kerri Tolokonsky-Blabac


Our 20th Reunion: 2001 Goes Platinum: Together Even When We’re Apart will be held virtually June 3-6. We have been busy brainstorming our virtual reunion programming and are excited by some of the ideas so far! There will be a lot of shared programming presented by Smith including the Ivy Day Parade, professor lectures, a virtual tea meet-up, and possible virtual tours of the library. We’ll also have programming just for 2001! Feel free to start digging out some Smith mementos, shirts, etc, to share as part of the festivities, and start looking for your old photos–we’re hoping to have you send them in soon for a fun slideshow. We’re also exploring the possibility of setting up additional sessions for such things as house-specific meet-ups, so if you’d be interested in being a house liaison, please contact Alexis Saarela. And just a note, our virtual reunion will be free for all, so please spread the word so we can get as many of our classmates together as possible!


We love reading your news! Send your class notes for the SAQ to our class secretary. You can also use the Smith Alumnae Quarterly Class Notes form. Online submissions go directly to class secretaries.


Class of ‘01 in the news: 

Geologist Nina Lanza ‘01 Searches for Signs of Life on Mars 

Merrill Garbus ‘01 and Tune-Yards perform on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert  


From Kate Stano: Fundraising is going full speed ahead, but we need your help to reach our 20th Reunion participation goal of 20%. Please consider making your gift today! The 20th Reunion is virtual and it is FREE. Perhaps consider donating all or part of what you would have paid to attend reunion to the Smith Fund to benefit current students. Gifts of any size are welcome and count towards our class participation!

From Lizzy Zacharias Owens: As many of you know, Kate and I are huge proponents of the importance of planned giving. It’s an easy way to make a big difference to Smith, and it doesn’t affect you at all!  I recently finished reading “Band of Sisters’ by Lauren Willig, which follows the Smith College Relief Unit (fictionalized but based on real people) on their journey to Grecourt, France.  Why am I mentioning this? The Grecourt Society is the name of the planned giving society at Smith, because it is about the importance of leaving a lasting legacy.  Smithies left an enduring legacy in Grecourt, France and the Gates in front of College Hall commemorate that legacy.  Join Kate and me–and many others–in leaving a gift in your estate plans for Smith.  Learn more here:

Save the date for our virtual 20th Reunion: June 3-6, 2021!

In Reunion on February 4, 2021 at 5:31 pm

Smith has announced that all reunions will be virtual this year – and the new date will be June 3–6, 2021! We will update with more as both we and the college finalize programming. But get ready to celebrate: 2001 Goes Platinum: Together Even When We’re Apart!

If you would like to volunteer and help plan, contact Alexis Saarela.

For more early information:

Class Newsletter – Fall 2020

In Newsletters, Reunion on February 4, 2021 at 5:29 pm
October 22, 2020
Greetings Class of ’01! I hope this message finds you well during this unprecedented (and seemingly endless) year. Our classmates are navigating through challenges teaching and caring for children at home, staying in touch with our extended family members via video, while juggling our own lives and careers. Each of us is trying to negotiate the COVID-19 pandemic in ways that are safe and sane for our families, our communities, and ourselves. As the fall season continues, many societal challenges lay ahead of us, including the pandemic, continued racial injustice, a contentious presidential election, and catastrophic climate events including wildfires and hurricanes. We see you and support you.

Staying connected and re-connecting with my important relationships has been one of the unexpected positive outcomes for me this year. Whether it’s a group chat with my Morrow housemates, following the college news on social media or pretending I’m back on campus using one of the college’s fall Zoom backgrounds, my network of friends and family have been one of my key self-care strategies keeping me going. I look forward to connecting with you all at our reunion later this year, in whatever form it takes. I wish you all strength and safety continuing to navigate through this year. 

– Megan Russell, co-president

 20th Reunion dates (currently scheduled, subject to change): May 13-16, 2021
With COVID-19 affecting all of us in unexpected ways, our Reunion, whether in-person or virtual, is still up in the air. We’re in close contact with the Alumnae Office to get the latest updates. As of early September, class volunteers have been asked to hold off booking any specific events until we receive more definitive information. While we don’t yet know what lies ahead, we’ll keep you updated via emails like this one and on our Class of 2001 Facebook page.

We’ll be recruiting for volunteers to fill key Reunion roles like Parade Chairs, Programming Chairs and House Reps. If you’d like to be involved in planning or volunteer, please reply to one of our discussion threads, reach out to our reunion chairs, Alexis Saarela and Kate Stano, or any of the class officers.

 We love reading your news! Send your class notes for the SAQ to our class secretaries Sadie Dingfelder and Heather Wiggins Berger. You can also use the new online submission form. Online submissions go directly to class secretaries.

 Despite all of the challenges ahead, crises can bring out the best in people. We have seen people come together during this difficult time to raise awareness about and make progress on these issues. 

We encourage you to support the causes you believe in and to consider a donation to Smith. We need Smithies to lead, now and in the future. 

Your gift can be used to support your choice of several priorities, including: Emergency Fund for Students of Color: Areas of support include needs resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic as well as medical/dental care, eyeglasses, medications, and travel for urgent family mattersEssential Smith: funds general financial aid, facilities, and student organizationsInclusive Smith: initiatives that engage, connect, and embrace underrepresented studentsResourceful Smith: Neilson Library renovations Student Emergency Aid Fund: supports student needs resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic such as broadband access, emergency airfare expenses, and the shipping of textbooksThe Smith Fund: meets the college’s most urgent needsTo learn more about these priorities, please visit this website.GIVE TO SMITH

 The college is hearing from Smith alumnae and friends who are taking this time of forced isolation to pause and reflect on their values, their personal and financial situations, and their legacies. Some have taken this moment to add a gift to Smith to their estate plans. A generous member of the class of 1964 has committed $1 million for financial aid. This gift will serve as a pool of matching funds. 

If you are interested in learning more, contact Smith College’s Office of Gift Planning at (800) 241-2056, option 5 or email at

Class of 2001 Volunteers 
  Kerri Tolokonsky Blabac
PresidentSadie Dingfelder
SecretaryMegan Russell
PresidentHeather Wiggins Berger
SecretaryAlexis Saarela
Reunion ChairLisa Burke
TreasurerKate Stano
Reunion Chair & Fund Team CoordinatorLizzy Zacharias Owens
Class Gift Agent 

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