LAWRENCE — Faculty at the University of Kansas made such a positive impression on Jerry Smith of Norman, Okla., that he and his wife, Lee, decided to give back.
The Smiths have created a $10,000 gift annuity for faculty development in architectural engineering.
Stuart R. Bell, dean of the School of Engineering, said funds for faculty development often support faculty travel to help them stay current in their fields. The funds also are used to purchase teaching materials for the classroom.
“We appreciate the Smiths’ vision and foresight in investing in something that benefits students and faculty, as well as the classroom experience,” Bell said.
Jerry Smith earned two degrees at KU: a bachelor’s in architectural engineering in 1954 and a master’s in public administration in 1960. He said that as an undergraduate at KU, the architectural engineering faculty provided the guidance and nurturing he needed. Later, while studying public administration, Smith learned from other professors, including Ed Stene and Ethan Allen, who helped establish KU’s acclaimed public administration program.
“They were the premier people in the field,” Smith said. “I happened to be fortunate to be in school at KU when they were there.”
Smith’s degrees paid off. His career in public administration took him from Lawrence, where he was administrative assistant to the city manager in the early 1960s, to Parsons, Pittsburg and, later, to Norman, Okla. In 1973, he began working in the banking industry.
The Smiths also established a $30,000 faculty fund and a $10,000 gift annuity for the Department of Public Administration.
The foundation of any world-class university is its faculty, said Joseph Steinmetz, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The new fund provides support that will enable professors to inspire students and contribute to the wealth of knowledge offered by the Department of Public Administration in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, he said. “I am grateful Jerry and Lee Smith recognize the importance of career development opportunities to enhance our faculty members’ lifelong research and teaching efforts.”
KU Endowment is the independent, nonprofit organization serving as the official fundraising and fund-management foundation for KU. Founded in 1891, KU Endowment is the first foundation of its kind at a U.S. public university.
For more information, contact Lisa Scheller, KU Endowment, (785) 832-7398.