Smith College to Offer Scholarship for Refugee and Illegal Immigrant Students

More than 20 immigration activists chant slogans and brandish banners on the front steps of the North Carolina Attorney General's office in Raleigh, N.C. Saturday, Jan. 11, 2014. Immigration activists made a trip from Chapel Hill to Raleigh to protest slience from North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper on whether …
Chuck Liddy/Raleigh News & Observer/MCT/Getty

The prestigious Smith College, a women’s liberal arts college in Northampton, Massachusetts, announced the establishment of a scholarship for refugee and illegal immigrant students on Wednesday.

The Marianne Ejier Olds ’47 Scholarship will support refugee and illegal immigrant students, according to a press release that was published on Wednesday. The scholarship is named after Marianne Olds, who was accepted into Smith’s refugee program in 1943 after traveling across Europe to escape Nazi rule.

“Smith changed the course of my mother’s life,” says Jacqueline Olds, Marianne’s daughter. “She always believed that the education she received there gave her the confidence to do whatever she wanted in life.”

“It is important,” Jacqueline Olds added, “that the college be able to continue to support the educational needs of these students who face unique challenges. Someone needs to stick up for refugees, and I hope this sets an example for others to follow.”

Smith President Kathleen McCartney vocalized her support for the program, arguing that Smith has a long history of enrolling students from around the world.

“Smith has a long and proud history of opening its doors to women from all over the world and making sure they have the means to succeed. This is especially important for refugees,” McCartney said. “I am grateful to Jacqueline Olds for her generosity and for her belief in the power of a Smith education.”

McCartney addressed the Smith community in February in response to President Trump’s immigration bill. “I remain adamantly committed to nondiscrimination in access to education regardless of citizenship or immigration status,” she wrote in a February 7 letter.

“Scholarships like this one reflect the college’s vision, values and goals,” added Vivian Nguyen, the chair-elect of the student organization Higher Education for Refugees at Smith (HERS). “They send a powerful message that Smith welcomes outstanding students of all backgrounds and truly embraces and celebrates diversity on our campus.”

Tom Ciccotta is a libertarian who writes about economics and higher education for Breitbart News. You can follow him on Twitter @tciccotta or email him at


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