Helen Crider Smith ’56, a member of the Ohio Wesleyan Board of Trustees since 1985, has been selected to receive the Ohio Foundation of Independent Colleges (OFIC) Earl F. Morris Trustee of the Year Award.
The annual award, to be presented in April, recognizes an exceptional trustee from one of the OFIC’s 34 member institutions. Smith is the first Ohio Wesleyan trustee to earn the Morris Award, created by the OFIC in 2010. President Rock Jones says Smith’s 30-year-plus legacy of service to her alma mater makes her the perfect choice for the prestigious honor.
“As an Ohio Wesleyan trustee, Helen Crider Smith’s leadership has been exemplary in every way,” says Jones, who nominated her for the award. “She is known by all for her wise counsel, penetrating and pertinent questions, and genuine concern for the University as a whole as well as for each individual on campus.”
Smith was the board’s first female chair and has been a Life Trustee since 1998. The University previously recognized her leadership with an Alumni Award in 1964, a Greek Alumni Award in 1992, and an honorary doctor of humanities degree in 2012.
Smith and her husband, Gordon Smith ’54, have been a driving force behind the development of one of Tanzania’s leading private schools, the School of St. Jude. The East African school provides elementary through high school education for children living in poverty. The couple’s connection with the School of St. Jude also has benefited Ohio Wesleyan students who study abroad as part of the University’s semester-long OWU in Tanzania program.