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Katharine Swibold ’78

Katharine Swibold ’78

Tarrytown, NY

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B.A., Smith College

Katharine is currently an administrative assistant at The Horace Mann School in the Nursery Division. Before her time here, Katharine spent time at the Hewitt School after her time as an executive assistant to the VP for Development at Barnard College for nine years.

In her time outside of work, Katharine is a member of the Executive Committee of the Friends of the Smith College Libraries and served on the Board of Directors of the Smith College Alumnae Association. In her community, Katharine is known for serving as the Elementary PTA President, her school’s foundation President, and as a member of the Board of the local region of the American Youth Soccer Organization where she coordinated the summer soccer camp for 10 years.


What is one piece of advice you would give to a graduating Walker’s student?

Life is not linear. You can make plans, and you should, but be prepared to adjust those plans. Take chances and risks when they present themselves. Don’t play it too safe. Life is indeed short, and if you don’t take those chances, you might regret it later in life when it might be too late… though, I’ve been told it is never too late! Also, cherish your friends from Walker’s. Stay connected to them. And go back to Simsbury for your reunions when ever your life allows it. Reunions are so much fun!

What do you find to be the most rewarding part of being on the board?

It is rewarding to support my alma mater, The Ethel Walker School, its students, faculty and staff, and the great work Meera is doing. I love working with the other members of the Board – meeting alumnae from other decades – and working with the staff. I love working with smart interesting women!

What is your fondest memory or tradition from your time at Walker’s?

I have so many wonderful memories of my four years at Walker’s! I sang in the choir and Grapes and was head of both groups as a senior. Music was my favorite thing to do outside of class. I loved chapel services and singing for others at the holidays. I loved performing in the musical every year and voice lessons with Miss Sala who was one of my favorite teachers. I remember fondly our day student back to school sleepovers at Cluett. I loved the Woonies, Ba-Na-Na’s, and the Old and New Girl Plays. I loved the annual initiation of new students into the Suns and Dials and the strawberries and cream breakfast for seniors before commencement.

Who was your favorite teacher? Why?

I loved Mrs. Elmore because she made algebra and geometry make sense to me. I loved Mrs. Dembrow for making Latin and Classical Humanities so engrossing. Dr. Leonard was my favorite English teacher! But if I had to pick one, it would be Miss Sala. She was a demanding music teacher who got beautiful music out of us in Choir. I appreciated her musical prowess and beautiful voice, her friendship and support, and I am especially grateful to her for seeing a leader in me! She also encouraged me to go to Smith because of their high quality choral program there, and she was right! Smith was perfect for me!

How did attending Walker’s impact your path and where you are now?

Walker’s gave me a top notch education. The rigor at Walker’s prepared me for the rigor at Smith. The opportunities to lead, to be at an all-girls school where all the leaders were other girls, that was invaluable! And for me, going to Smith after that was so natural for me. I am grateful every day to my parents for their sacrifice to Walker’s and her donors who made it possible for me to attend Walker’s. And Walker’s gave me friends, people in my life that even if I don’t see them often enough, they will always be there for me and me for them. I am so lucky to have these women in my life.

What are some fun facts about you?
  1. I was born in Liberia.
  2. I love to travel and wish I could do more of it. I’m an amateur photographer and love to photograph people and the places I love to visit.
  3. Concerts and live theater feed my soul.