CSU, Chico News

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at CSU, Chico on Feb. 14 Celebrates Valene L. Smith’s $250,000 Donation to Expand the University’s Museum of Anthropology

Date: 02-13-2017

Adrienne Scott
Valene L. Smith Museum of Anthropology
Nicole Williams
University Advancement

California State University, Chico’s Valene L. Smith Museum of Anthropology already supports one of the country’s premier museum studies programs. The museum’s educational and community impact will now transform more lives, thanks to a new $250,000 donation from CSU, Chico Department of Anthropology Professor Emerita Valene L. Smith. Her donation will be used to expand the museum.

CSU, Chico celebrated the donation with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Feb. 14 at 11 a.m. at the University’s Museum of Anthropology, located in the Meriam Library complex.

“Chico State created a central focus for education, while bringing in students from across America,” Smith said at a reception immediately following the ceremony.

Smith taught in the CSU, Chico anthropology department from 1967 to 1988, and has been a major supporter of the University’s Museum of Anthropology since its inception in 1971. She was nominated Outstanding Professor in 1981–1982.

“The museum is visible, students can take ideas from here to their parents and say, ‘See what we’re learning?’” Smith said. “That’s more than you can say if you’re sitting in a psych class or a history class.”

Smith travels extensively throughout the world, and her continued advocacy of travel and anthropology lives on in the Museum of Anthropology, where museum studies students receive a distinctive hands-on educational experience.

“Thanks to her significant support of the museum and anthropology program, California State University, Chico is one of few universities in the country where museum studies students learn their craft in an on-campus working museum, providing students rare opportunities to conceive, research, design and install exhibits,” said CSU, Chico President Gayle E. Hutchinson.

As one of CSU, Chico’s unique and valuable assets, the Museum of Anthropology also serves the wider Chico community. In addition to offering a certificate in Museum Studies, the museum conducts tours for more than 1,000 K-12 students each year. The museum hosts public lectures, as well as three full-scale exhibits annually. The museum also regularly takes exhibits out to K-12 students in the community through its award-winning Museum-in-the-Classroom program.

“As a benefactor, she has taken her legacy as an educator to the next level, and in doing so enhances our collective mission to improve the lives and education of students, faculty and the wider community,” said Hutchinson. “We are grateful for her service, her partnership and her continued commitment to excellence.”