The initial Dr. Mary Alice Smith Special Education Scholarship Fund was established in 1979, at the time of Dr. Smith’s retirement from Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania. The purpose is to provide scholarship funds for students in special education attending LHUP. During her early tenure at Lock Haven, Dr. Smith initiated the Special Education Program and served in a variety of capacities, including Professor of Education, Professor of Special Education, Chair of Special Education, and Chair of Specialized Studies. After her retirement she retained Professor Emerita status until her death in 2010.
During her lifetime she made substantial contributions to the fund, as did colleagues and former students. Upon her death in 2010, the major portion of her estate was bequeathed to the Lock Haven University Foundation and the scholarships expanded.
Besides expanding student scholarships, the purpose of the fund is to provide support for special education programs at Lock Haven University. This includes: (1) “Comparative Studies in Special Education”; (2) study abroad opportunities for students seeking special education certification; (3) community service events and activities sponsored by the Special Education Department; (4) and international studies and exchanges for LHU faculty and students, as well as international faculty and students visiting LHUP. In addition to backing these four initiatives, she financed the state of the art Dr. Mary Alice Smith Classroom in Robinson Hall. Dr. Smith’s other major philanthropic undertakings encompass the Conestoga Area Historical Society, which she co-founded, and education scholarships at Millersville University of Pennsylvania.
Dr. Smith was born on February 29, 1920, in Conestoga, Pennsylvania, where she maintained a residence her entire life. She graduated from Millersville State University of Pennsylvania with a B.S. degree in Education in 1942. Five years later, while teaching grades 1 through 8 at the Stone Hill Elementary one room school house in her home town, she was conferred a M.A. in Education from Teachers College at Columbia University. In 1948, she became one of Pennsylvania’s pioneering special education teachers. She joined the faculty at LHUP in 1953. Dr. Smith received her Ed.D from The Pennsylvania State University in Elementary Education/Psychology in 1958.
Last year the Mary Alice Smith Fund generated $8,000 for student scholarships and an additional $8,000 of the fund was used to help fund student travel to the Dominican Republic.
For more scholarship opportunities, please visit the Lock Haven University Foundation website.