Smith College names Kathleen McCartney as 11th president

Smith College has named Kathleen McCartney, dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, as its 11th president.

McCartney, 57, succeeds Carol T. Christ, who has been president of the Northampton women’s college since 2002. Christ announced her retirement last year.

McCartney, a Medford ­native and a specialist in child development and early education, will assume the Smith presidency in July. An inauguration ceremony will follow soon afterward.


“I’m very excited, very humbled,” McCartney, who is already preparing for her move from Cambridge to Northampton, said in an interview Monday. “I got the phone call a week ago, and it has been a whirlwind week.”

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In the hope of learning about her new college community, McCartney said she plans to take a social approach to the start of her presidency by conducting a “listening tour.”

“I want to hear what makes people proud about Smith and what their visions are,” she said.

Sarah N. Mattero can be reached at sarah.mattero@