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Smith College Campus Center to be Named in Honor of Julia McWilliams Child ’34

News of Note

Naming will celebrate alum who pushed the world forward culinarily, culturally, and socially

Julia Child tasting a dish on the stove alongside two photos of the Smith College Campus Center

Published November 17, 2022

The trustees of Smith College have unanimously voted to name the college’s Campus Center in honor of Julia McWilliams Child, who graduated from Smith in 1934. The 60,000-square-foot Campus Center, which serves as the heart of student life on campus, was partially funded by proceeds from the 2002 sale of Child’s home in Cambridge, Massachusetts, which Child donated to the college. It includes flexible meeting spaces, the Campus Center Café, and areas for studying and socializing. These activities reflect Child’s spirit of hospitality, purpose and bonhomie.

“Smith College is honored to recognize not only Julia’s generosity and lasting impact on the college, but also her impact on American culture and beyond as a teacher, author and television personality,” said President Kathleen McCartney. “Throughout her life, she brought people together, so it seems appropriate to name the Campus Center for her as an ongoing celebration of her life’s work.” 

Since 2004, Smith has celebrated Child’s legacy on Julia Child Day, a beloved tradition held each year on the Thursday before Thanksgiving; it seems fitting to announce the naming of the Campus Center in her honor on this special day for the Smith community. Today, the dining halls and the Campus Center Café will serve many of her famous recipes like coq au vin, fruit crêpes and French onion soup. The naming of the Campus Center in honor of Julia Child will extend her spirit each and every day.

“The Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts, established by Julia, is delighted to have Julia’s contributions to Smith and beyond recognized in such a special way. A gathering space at the college which meant so much to Julia is such a fitting tribute to all that Julia represented and the mission she tasked the Foundation with fulfilling: promoting the joys of cooking, eating and drinking well, notably in good company and as a community. We think Julia would be delighted and humbled by the honor,” said Eric W. Spivey, chairman of The Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts.

About Smith College

Founded in 1871, Smith College opened in 1875 with 14 students. Today, it is one of the largest women’s liberal arts colleges in the United States, educating women of promise for lives of distinction and purpose. Smith enrolls more than 2,900 students from nearly every state and more than 75 other countries to cultivate leaders able to address the complex, urgent problems of today. As a global community of scholars, entrepreneurs, artists, scientists, activists and humanitarians, Smith is pushing the world forward. More information at

Julia Child Photograph by Lynn Gilbert, 1978; Campus Center photos by Jim Gipe, Pivot Media