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Kermit H. and Ruth M. Smith Endowed Scholarship Fund for Prospective Teachers

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Recipients shall be admitted students in the College of Education at the junior, senior, or post-baccalaureate level (intern year) pursuing a degree in elementary, secondary, or special education who have completed two years at a community college with a majority of credits earned accepted for transfer. Recipients will be selected based on academic merit with a minimum 3.7 GPA.

About Kermit and Ruth Smith

This award is given in honor and in loving memory of our parents, Kermit H Smith and Ruth M. Pennington Smith.

Our father’s career at Michigan State University spanned 45 years starting as a student employee of Miss Elida Yakeley, the first Registrar. Following graduation in 1935, he held various positions in the Registrar’s Office prior to becoming Michigan State’s third Registrar in 1956. In 1962 he moved to the Provost’s Office as Assistant to the Provost, remaining in that position until retirement in 1980. During his twenty-seven years in the Registrar’s Office, he was instrumental in developing and introducing in the 1940s a unique system of registration using high-speed mechanized IBM equipment. During his career, his strong interest in teacher education was evidenced by his work with the Teacher Education Council. With this group, he traveled across Michigan, meeting with school superintendents, principals, and MSU student teachers in order to learn what was needed to strengthen Michigan State’s teacher training program. His strong support of community colleges stemmed from the realization that as a farm boy in Dimondale, Michigan, in the 1930s, he would have been unable to obtain a college education if he had not lived close enough to Michigan State to commute.

Our mother, an avid reader all her life, also took a keen interest in learning and education. Upon graduation from Eaton County Normal in Charlotte, Michigan, she taught in a country school. At Michigan State, because she had had experience working at registration, she was asked by Miss Yakeley to assist in the early stages of the development of the new registration system. She also tutored in the math department, proctored Basic College exams, and took an active role in the Faculty Folk Club.

Both of our parents instilled in us the strong desire and appreciation for learning, as well as for teaching others. Upon graduation from MSU in 1962, Nancy began her 35-year teaching career in the Saginaw Township schools. While she spent most of her career teaching French and Spanish in the Birmingham schools, she also taught English in France and Switzerland. Mary graduated from MSU in 1965 and taught fifth and sixth grades in Dimondale, Michigan and in Tippecanoe County, Indiana.

Through this scholarship, we hope that our parents’ belief in the importance of education will have a lasting influence on the lives of future generations.

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