But did you know that women's college basketball began at Smith College?
"Women's basketball began in the winter of 1892 at Smith College. Senda Berenson, an instructor at Smith, taught basketball to her students, hoping the activity would improve their physical health. Basketball's early adherents were affiliated with YMCAs and colleges throughout the United States, and the game quickly spread throughout the country.
However, Berenson was taking risks simply in teaching the game to women. She worried a little about the women suffering from "nervous fatigue" if games were too strenuous for them. And, in order to keep it "acceptable" for women to play at all, she taught modified rules. These included a court divided into three areas and nine players per team. Three players were assigned to each area (guard, center, forward) and could not cross the line into another area. The ball was moved from section to section by passing or dribbling. Players were limited to three dribbles and could hold the ball for three seconds. No snatching or batting the ball away from a player was allowed. A center jump was required after each score. Peach baskets and the soccer ball were the equipment. Variations of Berenson’s rules spread across the country via YMCAs and colleges."
"Experience a living tradition of intellectual rigor and scope. Take a risk on an untested concept. Develop the acuity to frame an argument, and the eloquence to persuade others of its merit. Take an art class even though your major is engineering. Work with a faculty of scholars who respect their students enough to expect the highest standards of academic achievement."
"A Smith education is about thinking for yourself instead of figuring out what a teacher wants you to say or echoing what your classmates believe. For every nine students, there’s a Smith professor to help you discover new information and reconsider theories and opinions you once took for granted.
There’s much more to Smith teaching than the "chalk and talk" approach you may be used to in high school. Smith professors expect students to speak up in class, contribute original ideas, question assumptions, even challenge their teachers’ views. The lively intellectual exchanges taking place in Smith classrooms (and student houses, snack bars and study lounges) prove that great minds don’t necessarily think alike.
Many institutions talk about employing teacher-scholars, but not every college lives up to that ideal. Smith's faculty members are truly dedicated teachers and active researchers, performers and writers. Our professors belong to top organizations like the National Academy of Sciences, lead national academic groups and are regularly recognized for their scholarly contributions. Ninety-six percent have doctoral degrees. Nearly half of Smith’s professors are women, and many of them serve as mentors and role models as well as teachers and advisers."
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