This month, we celebrated 20 years of the Smith Endowed Chair for Prevention and Education at the Arizona Inn with 80 guests. The reception captured the inspiration the Smiths imparted and the impact the Smith endowment has made in the community and for children. Lester L. and Roberta D. Smith were devoted benefactors to the UA College of Education. Formerly of Peoria, Illinois, Lester Smith was the owner of a company that manufactured aluminum and plastic products for homes. Lester Smith once wrote, "Since we came to Tucson in 1972, we have been fortunate to build an enriching and satisfying relationship with the college, which shares our belief that caring for children is society's most important responsibility." In 1996, the Smiths created the endowed chair dedicated to the development and distribution of scholarly work and research to prevent substance abuse and promote self-esteem and personal competence in school-aged children.
Professor Kris Bosworth was appointed as the first Smith Endowed Chair for Prevention and Education in 1998. Her work focuses on supporting schools in building and maintaining safe and protective school climates.
The impact of this partnership is impressive:
Many schools, agencies, and organizations talked about how funds from the endowment had impacted students in the K-12 and higher education systems."The Smiths' passion and dedication to making the world a better place for children was reflected in all the project reports at this amazing celebration," said Bosworth.