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05 February, 2009

Indian American president for New York college

Molly Easo Smith, an Indian American (see picture), has been named president of Manhattanville College, a private liberal arts college with about 1,600 students from 58 countries and 38 states, at Purchase, near New York City. .

Smith, who is currently provost of Wheaton College in Massachusetts, will start her new role in the summer of 2009 and will be the 11th president since Manhattanville was founded in 1841.

A SAJAforum message says:

SAJAforum asked Dr. Smith to share some info on her background, role models and more - here's what she sent us (journalists are welcome to quote from this):

Born in Madras (now Chennai). Parents: Anna Easo and P. C. Easo.
Attended Ewart School, Ethiraj College for Women, and Madras Christian College
Majored in English Literature

Two siblings: Brother Jacob Easo lives with his family in New Jersey and sister Annie Mathew lives with her family in San Diego, CA.

Molly came to the US in 1981. She earned her Ph. D. in English at Auburn University and also studied at the University of Delaware.
Her husband, Duane Smith, works as an academic director at Temple University in Philadelphia. Their son's name is Christopher Smith and their grandson is Eldan Christopher Smith.

Passionate about the transformative power of liberal arts education and deeply committed to fostering leadership in others, Molly attributes her own successes to faculty, colleagues, and mentors at the institutions where she has studied and worked -- in India, Scotland, and the US.

She has recently become deeply interested in re-visiting her roots and writes short stories based on her childhood in Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Her fondest memories centre on her grandmother who, married at twelve years of age and widowed at eighteen with two young children, never had the opportunity to pursue an education but ensured that her daughter benefited from the advantages that were available to later generations of women.

Molly draws her passion for education from the yearning she witnessed in her grandmother and others of her generation. Her other inspiration, also during her formative years, is her aunt and godmother, a professor of English at Women’s Christian College in Madras.

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