Leaving a legacy to SCSU

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Jack Smith

As a student at St. Cloud State Teachers College, Jack Smith ’52 took advantage of opportunities and experiences the campus offered veterans like him. Now he and his wife, Phyllis, have arranged for others to achieve their potential through a generous bequest to fund graduate fellowships and faculty development.

Smith majored in speech with a concentration in speech correction.
St. Cloud State University was one of only two institutions in the state to offer certification in speech pathology. He was an exemplary student, involved in academics and campus activities such as Choral Club, Men’s Chorus, Wesley Foundation and Inter-religious Council. His junior year he was honored in “Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges.” 

“The education I received at St. Cloud State laid a good foundation for life as well as the profession I’ve enjoyed,” Smith said. “Even after receiving my degree from St. Cloud I would occasionally meet my former professor, Dr. Thomas Abbot, at national ASHA (American Speech and Hearing Association) conventions.”

Smith went on to become a certified speech therapist, earned his master’s degree, then joined the faculty of Towson State University in Maryland, where he was in charge of speech pathology, including the lab school. Jack and Phyllis concluded their lengthy careers in higher education at Clarion University of Pennsylvania, after which they retired to Tucson, Ariz.

“My wife and I were both educators at the college level, so we realize the importance of a college education for those who have the interest, motivation and ability but may need some financial help,” Smith said.

“Like many veterans, I would not have been able to go to college without the G.I. Bill,” said Smith, who grew up in Crookston, Minn. “All of the advanced education Phyllis and I had came through graduate assistantships. We would like to see others benefit from what we were able to accomplish.

“Today the cost of a college education has escalated, making it difficult for some students to further their advanced degrees,” Smith said. “At the same time funds for assistantships have dwindled.

“We also see a need to support faculty members in their efforts to enhance their education through conferences, workshops, short courses and the like,” he said. “Consequently the endowment to the University is for faculty support as well as financial assistance at the graduate level for students majoring in communication sciences and disorders. During the past few years we’ve maintained a close relationship with the faculty of that department and we are impressed with what they are accomplishing professionally.”

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