Katy Smith Abbott

Katy Smith Abbott
Dean of Students
& Associate Professor of History of Art and Architecture

As Dean of Students, Katy Smith Abbott oversees the areas of Student Activities and Organizations, Orientation, Residential Life, and Judicial Affairs.  She works closely with colleagues in the Office of the Dean of Students and across campus to develop and assess collaborative initiatives, often involving the work of the Commons Heads and Deans.  Her work entails a great deal of direct contact with students, including advising the Student Government Association.

From 2007-2010, Smith Abbott worked as Associate Dean of the College, where her responsibilities included direct oversight for new student orientation, support for the academic vision of the Commons, and co-chairing the Community Judicial Board.  With her husband Steve Abbott, Professor of Mathematics, she served a six-year term as Co-Head of Ross Commons (2002-2008).  Together, they had the pleasure of advising the Ross Commons council, and can proudly claim to have been present when the idea for "Viva Ross Vegas" was born. In addition, they developed and sponsored countless events for faculty, staff, and students, and were consistently inspired by the conversations and connections that emerged.  The collaborative and often interdisciplinary spirit that lies at the heart of the Commons mission is one that Smith Abbott brings to her work as Dean of Students. 

Smith Abbott has been teaching in the Department of the History of Art and Architecture at Middlebury College since 1996.   Her research interests include the production and reception of devotional painting in early fifteenth-century Florence and portrait painting in Renaissance Venice.  She recently returned from a sabbatical year in Cambridge, England, where she was able to complete several articles related to these fields of research. 

Professor Smith Abbott earned her B.A. at St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN, and received her M.A. and Ph.D. from Indiana University in Bloomington, where she wrote her dissertation on Titian and the development of portrait painting in Venice.  She recently served as Guest Curator for the exhibition, The Art of Devotion: Panel Painting in Early Renaissance Italy, which was on view at the Middlebury College Museum of Art in Fall, 2009, and at the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum in Spring, 2010.  Professor Smith Abbott organized and contributed extensively to the exhibition catalogue for The Art of Devotion.  Before coming to Middlebury, she taught at St. Olaf College and at John Carroll University in Cleveland, OH.