The letter recommending Christianne Beasley for admission to Smith College didn't come from the most unbiased of sources. But there was no disputing the writer knew this applicant as well as anyone, the Associated Press reports.

"Christianne and Smith seem to be a perfect match," wrote Nancy Beasley, four years ago, on behalf of her only daughter, now a Smith senior. She described Christianne's "grace and dignity," and explained why she thought the prestigious and diverse Northampton, Mass., women's college was the perfect fit for the girl she'd raised. Smith is among just a few colleges—among them nearby Mt. Holyoke and...

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